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Investment insights 2015

Vaulting financial technology

23-12-2015 | Insight | Frank van der Spek, Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

New technologies are adopted at an increasing pace in the financial sector. Besides exciting new opportunities, they also introduce security risks. Financial institutions need to find a balance between security and convenience of use. This creates investment opportunities.

The quarterly outlook for credits: zombies or creative destruction

22-12-2015 | Insight | Victor Verberk

Credit growth in China and Quantitative Easing (QE) in the US, Europe and Japan were medicines that worked for a while. Cheap money kept zombie businesses afloat and prevented creative destruction. However, the commodity cycle has rolled over and the credit cycle is proceeding. Funding pressure is increasing, the US credit market is full of animal spirits and volatility is back.

IPE webinar: Factor investing works for credits too

16-12-2015 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Watch our webcast in which Patrick Houweling and Jeroen van Zundert discuss this approach to investing in credits.

Factor Investing in the Corporate Bond Market

11-12-2015 | Research | Jeroen van Zundert, Patrick Houweling, PhD

We provide empirical evidence that the Size, Low-Risk, Value and Momentum factors have significant risk-adjusted returns in the corporate bond market. By combining these factors in a multi-factor portfolio, drawdowns and tracking error vs. the market are reduced, while the higher return and Sharpe ratio are preserved.

Factor investing – the flipside of following the index

07-12-2015 | Insight | Joop Huij, PhD

Investing in market-cap weighted indexes and factor indexes has serious disadvantages, according to Han Dieperink and Joop Huij. An active approach to factor investing works better.

Is value trapped?

04-12-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

The poor long-term live performance of the first generation of value indices indicates that capturing the value premium is not easy. This does not mean, however, that the value premium is beyond the reach of investors. We argue that a value premium still exists, but that harvesting it requires an approach that is much more sophisticated than simply following a straightforward value index.

Analyze this: valuing carbon exposures

03-12-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

In the 1999 motion picture ‘Analyze this’, a psychiatrist is reluctant to accept a mafia boss as his patient, but is then forced to accept and analyze him.

The industrial Internet of Things

26-11-2015 | Insight | Deyan Koychev

The falling cost of technology allows us to connect all sorts of devices to the internet at an increasing pace. The vast amount of generated data can be used to get insights and automate processes in our homes and workplaces.

Unilever to publish human rights report based on new framework

25-11-2015 | Daniëlle Essink

Human rights reporting has historically been the weakest part of corporate ESG reporting. Many reports remain anecdotal and until recently there was no clarity on what the standard should look like.

Environmental challenges in the electric utilities industry

25-11-2015 | Matthias Narr

Power generation requires substantial investments and long-term planning by the power generators. At the same time their strategies are greatly affected by regulatory decisions as a substantial part of the market remains regulated or impacted by regulatory decisions (e.g. subsidies).

Can mutual funds successfully adopt factor investing strategies?

24-11-2015 | Insight | Joop Huij, PhD

To the best of our knowledge, no study has been conducted on the added value of innovative investment strategies that incorporate academic insights. As a result, we do not know how many investment managers have incorporated academic insights or how successful they are. We have researched the topic to fill this gap in the literature.

Future of pharma is innovation, not Pfizer’s mega-deal

24-11-2015 | Insight | Stijn Vanacker

Investors in pharmaceutical companies should focus on value creation from innovative drug development rather than mega-deals that lower tax rates, says equities analyst Stijn Vanacker.

Advance November 2015 - Sustainability Investing in focus

24-11-2015 | Magazine

Our latest Advance magazine leads on how we engage with carbon companies, plus all the latest developments in sustainability investing.

The year of diminishing returns

17-11-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder, Léon Cornelissen, Peter van der Welle

The year of increasing volatility: that was the key takeaway in the Outlook 2015 we presented last year. Volatility we forecasted and volatility we got.

Stock selection more important than ever

17-11-2015 | Insight | Mark Glazener

Easy stock price gains will be a thing of the past in 2016. This is why we are focusing even more on good quality companies with solid cashflows and high returns on invested capital. Europe and Japan are our favorite developed markets.

Data and research key to success in volatile markets

17-11-2015 | Insight | Hans Rademaker

This year has really kept investors on their toes. Central banks set the tone again, but geopolitical developments also played a role. Volatility has increased and shows no sign of disappearing as we move into 2016. This does not mean that investors should be pessimistic about the coming year. We talk to Hans Rademaker, Robeco's Chief Investment Officer.

Global approach increasingly important for bonds

17-11-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt

Flexibility is important. Don't get tied down. Keep searching for attractive yields, be selective and make sure you are rewarded for the risk you take. That is the mantra for bond investors in 2016.

Getting back on our feet and soldiering on

17-11-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

In terms of global economic growth, 2015 was not much to write home about and Robeco’s Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen expects 2016 to be at best only marginally better.

Governance issues underline need for ESG integration

16-11-2015 | Insight | Jankees Ruizeveld

In recent months, several telecom companies with operations in emerging markets were faced with corporate governance issues. These issues had huge consequences and highlighted the negative risks for bondholders. They show that integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into the analysis is key in assessing the downside risk of credit investments.

Emerging markets: the value of strategic allocation

12-11-2015 | Insight | Weili Zhou, CFA, Wilma de Groot, CFA

The added value of allocating to emerging markets (EM) has always been a topic of discussion among equity investors, especially when there was a large difference in performance with developed markets (DM). After a period of market decline, investors sometimes consider to lower the weight of emerging markets in their portfolio. What are the lessons that history can teach us?

Robeco Emerging Conservative Equities: an uncommon but proven combination of 3 factors

12-11-2015 | Insight | Arlette van Ditshuizen

Emerging markets are going through a volatile period, but the defensive investment strategy of Robeco Emerging Conservative Equities is proving its worth by outperforming the index. “Despite its relatively short history, we are very confident about the fund as is demonstrated by its Bronze Morningstar Analyst Rating. The results are more than promising.”

Are all low vol stocks really that sensitive to interest rate risk?

11-11-2015 | Insight | Pim van Vliet, PhD

Investors are still awaiting the first rate hike by the Federal Reserve since June 2006. According to Bloomberg, since the last Fed statement, at the end of October, the odds for a December rate hike have risen from 37% to 48%.

Stranded assets – an insurmountable hurdle for oil companies?

29-10-2015 | Insight | Dirk Hoozemans

Are stranded assets going to strike a lethal blow to oil companies? Things haven’t got that far yet, according to analyst Dirk Hoozemans.

Learn from the past, invest in the future

26-10-2015 | Insight | Henk Grootveld, Marco van Lent

Rolinco, Robeco’s flagship growth equity fund, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Time to look ahead to the next 50 years. What will the world look like in half a century’s time and how can investors benefit from this now?

Not all emerging markets are created equal

22-10-2015 | Insight | Fabiana Fedeli

Emerging markets have been battered indiscriminately these past months. Now that the baby has been thrown out with the bathwater, it’s time to pick those stocks that have been unfairly hit and that can outperform in the medium to long term.

Financial inclusion as a business opportunity

22-10-2015 | Insight | Elie Aloko, Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

Mobile payment technology in emerging markets makes it possible to reach the unbanked in a cost-efficient way.

Fixed Income Quarterly Outlook: Will she do it?

21-10-2015 | Outlook | Kommer van Trigt, Machiel van de Groes, Paul van der Worp

Is the Fed about to make a policy error by raising rates too soon? The whole of this year financial markets are obsessed with the question whether the Fed will start normalizing short-term rates. Fed policy makers have fueled the discussion themselves by speaking out intentions to do so.

Fama-French 5-factor model: why more is not always better

21-10-2015 | Best read 2015 | David Blitz, PhD, Pim van Vliet, PhD

Fama and French have expanded their original 3-factor model by adding two factors. What do we think of this?

Robeco Property Equities scores well on sustainability

15-10-2015 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma, Matthias Narr

Every year GRESB (Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark) conducts a survey that serves as input for its sustainability benchmark. Robeco uses this benchmark to engage with companies in which we invest in order to improve the real estate sector’s sustainability. Robeco Property Equities scores well above the average.

From the field: JP Morgan confirms our findings on momentum strategy

13-10-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

A recent paper* by JP Morgan (JPM) Quant explores applying a residualization technique to ‘purify’ the momentum signal and reduce the related risks

Market malaise is a good time to add risk

12-10-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Whereas the industrialized world experienced a pretty solid second quarter, there is no denying that underlying momentum deteriorated during the third quarter.

E-magazine Alternative Investments

12-10-2015 | Insight

More and more money is poured into alternative investments by institutional investors. In this magazine we look at the risks and opportunities in alternatives such as hedge funds, real estate, private equity and commodities.

Brand relevance: mind the generation gap!

09-10-2015 | Insight | Jack Neele

Strong brands is one of the trends Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities capitalizes on. Fund manager Jack Neele discusses Interbrand's latest 100 most valuable brands. And talks about relevant brands and brands that miss the boat.

From the field: Investing for the long run

30-09-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

Ang and Kjaer argue in a paper* that pro-cyclical behavior and misalignments between asset owners and managers negate the long horizon advantages of long-term investors.

Video ‘Factor investing: it works for credits too’

29-09-2015 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Factor investing has been successfully applied to equity markets. It can also work in the corporate bond market and can generate substantial premiums. An interview with portfolio manager and researcher Patrick Houweling.

Manager selection is key when investing in illiquid assets

29-09-2015 | Interview | Jaap Hoek, Roderick Molenaar, Thijs Markwat

As institutional investors search for higher returns and better opportunities for diversification, they often opt for illiquid investments. But do these asset classes really offer the right return characteristics? Robeco’s conclusion is that effective manager selection is crucial.

White paper on the ins and outs of illiquid investments

24-09-2015 | Research

Investing in illiquid asset classes has become increasingly widespread among pension funds in the last few decades. There are a number of reasons for its increasing popularity, including the notions of higher expected returns and the potentially greater diversification opportunities that illiquid investments can offer.

‘A quantitative approach to sustainability investing’

22-09-2015 | Insight | Machiel Zwanenburg

“We wanted to create an alternative to the existing active and passive ESG solutions.” Portfolio manager Machiel Zwanenburg manages RobecoSAM Quant Sustainable Global Equities (QSGE) together with Peter Ferket.

Robeco Global Stars Equities: investing with higher conviction

21-09-2015 | Insight | Jan Keuppens, Willem Schramade

Jan Keuppens and Willem Schramade explain how ESG is integrated in the analysis and valuation of equities for Robeco Global Stars Equities. "We are thus able to make better informed investment decisions."

From the Field: Operating performance and the low-volatility anomaly

16-09-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

A paper confirms that low-volatility stocks earn higher returns than high-volatility stocks in equity markets around the globe, a finding which is consistent with our own work in this area.

Investing in euro government bonds with limited interest risk

15-09-2015 | Insight | Olaf Penninga

The Eurozone offers attractive opportunities for active bond investors. At the same time, more and more investors see a risk of interest rates rising in the not too distant future.

Still more bullish than bearish

14-09-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder, Léon Cornelissen

Charles Groenhuijsen interviewed Léon Cornelissen and Lukas Daalder on the main themes and issues of Robeco’s ‘Expected Returns 2016-2020’. Both are fairly optimistic about the world economy through to 2020. The re-emergence of inflation and rising rates will eat into sovereign bond returns, so both Cornelissen and Daalder prefer equities. They remain more bullish than bearish as the world continues to recover.

Financial technology: the Robin Hood of payments?

10-09-2015 | Insight | Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

The music sector has been re-shuffled by technology, Airbnb checked into the hospitality service sector and the most striking technological disruption is perhaps the drive-by shooting of Uber on the taxi-branch. These industries have been ‘robin-hooded’ by technology companies. Is the payment sector next?

Equities have become interesting again

10-09-2015 | Lukas Daalder

If we only had the published macro data of the US and Eurozone to go by, we would probably have concluded that August was a boring month: most economic data published was in line with expectations, showing a path of steady growth.

Five things about maximizing factor investing performance

07-09-2015 | Insight

For the best results, we look at several factors. Discover the five things regarding factor investing you need to know about.

The double-edged sword of changing technology

04-09-2015 | Best read 2015 | Lukas Daalder

Changing technology presents a double-edged sword for the world economy. Disruptive start-ups will probably remain important, particularly if new products are deflationary or challenge established players.

From the field: Volatility-scaled momentum

03-09-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

A paper* suggests scaling a conventional momentum strategy by its 6-month historical realized volatility in order to target a constant risk level. The authors find that this volatility scaling doubles the risk-adjusted performance of a momentum strategy, and significantly reduces drawdowns.

Alternative investments: absolute return dampens cyclical shocks

01-09-2015 | Insight | Klaas Smits

Absolute-return solutions can help to make your portfolio less sensitive to the economic cycle. It's difficult to navigate through the rapidly growing range of funds, with a larger portion of these funds bobbing along with the market than the name would suggest.

12 things to know about sustainable investing

31-08-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

Sustainable investing (SI) is a confusing field, with lots of different concepts and approaches. We will discuss twelve observations that should help asset owners find their way.

Moving back to overweight in equities

27-08-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

The equity market sell-off has been overdone and it is now time to get back into stocks, says Lukas Daalder, Chief Investment Officer for Robeco Investment Solutions.

How does Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities select structural winners?

21-08-2015 | Insight

Fund manager Jack Neele explains how his fund succeeds in finding structural winners for Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities.

Alternative investing: not all streets of hedge funds paved with gold

17-08-2015 | Insight | Roderick Molenaar

Hedge funds are surrounded by a certain mystique. There is something secretive about the way they operate. They are regarded as products that can make a profit irrespective of market direction. But are they really appropriate for an institutional portfolio?

The global ripple effects of China's yuan move

14-08-2015 | Insight | Arnout van Rijn

Robeco's Arnout van Rijn discusses the global impact of China's yuan move with Bloomberg's Angie Lau on "First Up." (Source: Bloomberg)

Emerging markets become less attractive as commodity prices fall

11-08-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Emerging markets are becoming less attractive as falling commodity prices and fears over Chinese growth pose a threat to equity values, says Robeco’s head of asset allocation.

Alternative investing: location is everything in real estate

10-08-2015 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma

Its stable rental income makes real estate a popular choice in periods when interest rates are low. According to Folmer Pietersma, fund manager of Robeco Property Equities, real estate prices will not automatically come under pressure if interest rates start to rise again.

Alternative investing: Infrastructure may prove a bridge too far

05-08-2015 | Insight | Steef Bergakker

Anyone thinking of investing in what appears to be financially beneficial new infrastructure offering stable cash flow for decades may wish to consider the case of the Skye Road Bridge.

Operational excellence in quant equity trading

30-07-2015 | Insight | Michael Strating, Bastiaan Berendsen

For our quantitative equity strategies we aim to minimize trading costs. We have developed our own trading cost model to estimate pre-trading costs. Trade evaluation results shows that we have realized cost savings of over USD 40 million for our clients over the 2009-2014 period.

Factor investing for credits: from research paper to fund

24-07-2015 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Most academic studies on factor investing are about equities. Patrick Houweling and Jeroen van Zundert show that factor investing also works for bonds. How has their research paper been used to create a fund?

A critical eye and patience are crucial in low-volatility investing

24-07-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

On Fridays chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This week: What to watch out for when selecting low-volatility products.

Balanced exposure to factors in credits

23-07-2015 | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Robeco Global Multi-Factor Credits, launched on June 15, 2015, is an innovative fund offering balanced exposure to the Low-Risk, Value, Momentum and Size factors in the credit market.

Profiting when interest rates rise

23-07-2015 | Insight | Mathieu van Roon, Remmert Koekkoek

When interest rates rise, pension funds' liabilities and fixed income investments both lose value.

Fixed income quarterly outlook: ESG integration leads to better informed investment decisions

22-07-2015 | Outlook | Kommer van Trigt, Machiel van de Groes, Paul van der Worp

In its outlook for the third quarter of this year, Robeco’s Global Fixed Income Macro team shares its views on Treasuries, credits and emerging debt and explains its positions in Rorento Global Total Return Bond Fund.

The beauty and the beast of value and momentum investing

22-07-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

We usually focus on how to make a good investment strategy even better, but in recent research we looked at how to make it worse.

Strong market momentum for financial bonds

21-07-2015 | Insight | Jan Willem de Moor

Jan-Willem de Moor, portfoliomanager Financial Institutions Bonds, on the opportunites of investing in financial institutions

Pioneering without skipping a step

16-07-2015 | Insight | Peter Ferket

According to Peter Ferket, CIO Equities, Robeco's step-by-step method of developing new quantitative strategies is exemplary in showing how caution and pioneering spirit can go hand in hand.

Robeco Global Credits

15-07-2015 | Insight | Victor Verberk

Victor Verberk, portfoliomanager on the opportunities of credit investing. Flexible, successful, and genuinely worldwide.

Rate hike in the US: the arguments and effects

15-07-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt

There are clear indications that the Federal Reserve is going to raise interest rates for the first time in more than nine years this September. Kommer van Trigt, manager of the Rorento Total Return Bond Fund, looks at the arguments for and the likely effects of a rate hike.

From the field: Large-scale factor investing

08-07-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

A study* by MSCI for the Norwegian Ministry of Finance examines how factor investing can be applied to very large portfolios, such as the EUR 700 bln Norwegian reserve fund.

Return potential in various market environments through tactical asset allocation

01-07-2015

Speed read:When volatility rises, diversification often failsGTAA offers scope for positive and differentiated returns5-year track record of impressive results The capital markets in both fixed income and equity have over the last six years shown strong returns.

Alternative investing: Beware the economic ‘super-cycle’ in commodities

30-06-2015 | Best read 2015 | Lukas Daalder

A market strategist once said that “if you buy commodities, you are betting against the ingenuity of people”. When natural resources become too expensive, human resources step in to find alternatives, says multi-asset investment head Lukas Daalder.

Ten key questions on factor investing

29-06-2015 | Insight | Joop Huij, PhD

Investors are increasingly becoming aware of the advantages that factor investing has to offer. Joop Huij answers ten questions on the concept and the implementation.

From the field: Value and momentum profits declining?

24-06-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

A paper argues that many popular return anomalies have materially diminished in strength and significance over time. Are value and momentum profits declining?

Robeco Lux-o-rente does it again: sell-off avoided

22-06-2015 | Insight | Olaf Penninga

In the recent-sell-off on global government bond markets, Robeco Lux-o-rente managed to maintain a positive year-to-date return with its active duration positioning. This illustrates the importance of an active investment approach.

What Europe can learn from Sweden

22-06-2015 | Best read 2015 | Léon Cornelissen

Sweden is an ordinary Western European country, but one that does just that bit better, according to Robeco's chief economist, Léon Cornelissen.

Factor investing: five lessons for corporate-bond investors

16-06-2015 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Interest in factor investing – investing in systematic sources of return – is rapidly increasing. Up to now most investor interest in this area has been focused on equities. But what are the possibilities for applying it to credits?

Low turnover: a virtue of low volatility

08-06-2015 | Insight | Pim van Vliet, PhD

Trading is necessary to follow an active strategy, but excessive trading is linked to human behavior. In his new paper just published on SSRN Pim van Vliet looked into why investors trade and how much trading is needed for an effective low-volatility strategy.

From the field: Ranking better than optimizing?

03-06-2015 | David Blitz, PhD

A paper* compares the performance of low-volatility portfolios constructed by using a ranking methodology versus portfolios constructed with mean/variance optimization.

European low-vol stocks: lessons from ‘a lost decade’

29-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race | Pim van Vliet, PhD

Europe has seen a modest pick-up in economic growth in the first quarter, with unexpectedly strong figures coming in from France and Italy. But the region still faces an environment characterized by low interest rates with low expected economic growth and low inflation. This environment resembles the scenario Japan faced in the 1990s. What are the lessons for investors in low-volatility European stocks?

From the field: Low-volatility anomaly among mutual funds

27-05-2015 | David Blitz, PhD

A paper* argues that size, value, momentum and other factor portfolios might be considered as alternative building blocks for strategic asset allocation, because these offer an attractive risk premium and powerful diversification benefits.

How to keep Asia’s growth sustainable? | Advance May 2015

21-05-2015 | Magazine

To keep up the strong growth it displayed in the past - and ultimately catch up with western economies – emerging Asia has to address some very concrete environmental challenges.

From the field: Factor investing for diversification purposes?

20-05-2015 | David Blitz, PhD

A paper* argues that size, value, momentum and other factor portfolios might be considered as alternative building blocks for strategic asset allocation, because these offer an attractive risk premium and powerful diversification benefits.

US low-vol: why it's time to be selective

19-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race | Pim van Vliet, PhD

Portfolio manager Pim van Vliet discusses how he selects low-volatility stocks within Robeco Conservative Equities and explains why the strategy works in the US and in other parts of the world.

The Brave New World of Finance

14-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race | Patrick Lemmens

As the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race are reaching the coast of the ‘new world’, the global financial sector is coming to grips with a brave new world of its own. Long-term trends are changing the core of the financial industry and investors can benefit. Patrick Lemmens, fund manager of Robeco New World Financial Equities, explains how he does it.

From the field: EBITDA/EV the most powerful value measure

11-05-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

Academics typically define value as the ratio of a company’s book value to market value (B/M), but this is just one of many possible ways to define value.

Car engine innovation is key to CO2 reduction

30-04-2015 | Insight | Evert Giesen

Although there are still some climate sceptics, most scientists share the view that man-made CO2 emission leads to global warming and climate change. This has led to efforts to reduce CO2 emission levels. As the car industry is one of the largest sources of man-made CO2 emissions, car manufacturers who can deal with this challenge in an innovative way, can be attractive for us as investors.

A good strategy starts with a good design

29-04-2015 | David Blitz, PhD

David Blitz discusses research to improve existing strategies and explains how he designs new ones. “Our mission is to make good strategies even better and to design the next generation.”

Pioneers in factor investing

20-04-2015 | Insight | Joop Huij, PhD

In 2014 Robeco went live with its Factor Investing Solutions: tailored solutions based on multiple factors. “Robeco is not the founder of factor investing, but we are among the first to translate the theory into practical investment solutions,” says Robeco’s Head of Factor Investing Research Joop Huij with pride.

Using quant strategies in emerging markets

15-04-2015 | Insight | Wilma de Groot, CFA

The growing popularity of passive investing using index trackers has enabled many investors to access emerging markets, of which Brazil is a prominent member, at relatively low cost. However, trackers lack the positive exposure to factors which can identify the most attractive stocks.

Ireland catches up with Germany on sustainability measures

15-04-2015 | News item

There is a clear relationship between the strength of a country’s ESG profile and its creditworthiness. From this perspective, it’s interesting to see that according to RobecoSAM, Ireland has caught up with Germany with regard to sustainability measures. The asset manager evaluates 60 countries in its yearly sustainability framework on a range of 17 environmental, social and governance factors. The April 2015 update of this ranking shows some interesting trends.

Beyond BRICs

14-04-2015 | Best read 2015 | Wim-Hein Pals

For about a decade many investors believed investing in the four BRIC countries – a concept launched by Goldman Sachs Asset Management – was the easiest way to profit from growth in emerging markets. But times have changed. Simplification is not always the best approach.

Shell's takeover of BG could lead to a flood of M&As

09-04-2015 | Insight | Dirk Hoozemans

Royal Dutch Shell is forking out EUR 64.3 billion for British BG in the biggest takeover in the industry in the last ten years, and is paying a 50% premium on its current share price. While this takeover is the biggest M&A deal this year and likely to remain so, it will certainly not be the last takeover in the energy sector.

Duration management is key to bond returns

31-03-2015 | Insight | Olaf Penninga

Active management of bond duration can protect against any future rate rises while still generating returns if yields continue to fall, says Robeco’s Olaf Penninga.

The Formula: Maximum drawdown

24-03-2015 | Best read 2015

Preservation of capital and a steady performance are important considerations in investing. Therefore, the maximum drawdown is highly relevant.

The robots are coming

23-03-2015 | Opinion | Mark Glazener

The renowned British physicist, Stephen Hawking, predicts that the advent of artificial intelligence will mean the end of mankind. Elon Musk, founder of PayPal and Tesla, thinks that robots could be potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons. Dutch minister Lodewijk Asscher is somewhat less gloomy but feels that robots do pose a threat to employment.

Getting old and staying wealthy

19-03-2015 | Insight | Jeroen van Oerle

As the demographic dividend is used up in many Western countries and dependency ratios are increasing, the current set-up of many pension schemes is unsustainable. We see four trends that are likely to influence global pension systems. Fully integrated insurance companies, ICT providers and financial planners are most likely to benefit.

Passive indexing? Enhanced indexing!

16-03-2015 | Insight | Petra Sagel

Investing in a purely passive manner is increasingly popular. Although we do not deny that passive investing has its merits, we argue that enhanced indexing may be an even better alternative. It is supported by theory and evidence, allows for better ESG integration, and contributes to a liquid and efficient market.

Sustainability integration in Quantitative Equity strategies

10-03-2015 | Insight | Bart Van der Grient, Michael Strating, Pim van Vliet, PhD, Wilma de Groot, CFA

Robeco is committed to sustainable investing. All Robeco Quantitative Equity strategies already integrated ESG factors (Environment, Social and Governance), and since December 2014, we have taken this one step further.

Helping pension funds to ‘do something’ with sustainability

04-03-2015 | Insight | Lucas van Berkestijn

While many institutional investors may have the ambition to integrate sustainability into their investment processes, they often don’t know where to start, struggling to make more concrete steps. “We can help them by making a step-by-step roadmap to implement sustainability investing and keep in control of their progress”, says Lucas van Berkestijn, Sustainability Investing Client Specialist for RobecoSAM.

Investment-fund industry needs ‘female touch’

27-02-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This time: the endangered female portfolio manager.

How do you assess the track record of a strategy?

25-02-2015 | Insight

How do you assess the track record of a strategy in order to ensure the best possible future returns?

Higher returns thanks to ‘sin stocks’

20-02-2015 | Insight | Mark Glazener

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This time: the remarkable outperformance of ‘sin shares’.

How investors implement ESG

18-02-2015 | Insight | Bas Eestermans

The drive to including sustainability factors into mainstream investing has become unstoppable – but investors approach it in different ways. Robeco recently held a series of round tables with existing and prospective clients to find out how investment professionals now tackle the subject.

Beauty and the beast of low-volatility investing

17-02-2015 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD, Pim van Vliet, PhD, Matthias Hanauer

Usually focusing on how to design the best low-volatility strategy, David Blitz, Matthias Hanauer and Pim van Vliet have set out to construct a very bad low-volatility strategy. Comparing good and bad low-volatility strategies they found very different performance characteristics. Clearly, not all low-volatility stocks are created equal. The results highlight the importance of being selective when investing in low-volatility stocks.

Navigating through flexible bond funds

16-02-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Winfried Hallerbach, PhD

Flexible bond funds have become increasingly popular. Being benchmark unaware, their portfolio allocation can shift quickly over time and across fixed income asset classes – and sometimes beyond. However, these dynamics and the diversity in flexible bond funds make them difficult to evaluate and compare. In our white paper ‘Navigating through flexible bond funds’, we provide a list of focus points that can help.

Is rebalancing the source of factor premiums?

12-02-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

Some argue that the mere mechanism of rebalancing increases returns, and that this explains the success of factor investment strategies. Although factor strategies do need rebalancing to maintain their exposures, there are several reasons why it is unlikely that this is their source of added value.

Views of pension fund participants important for the discussion on ESG

09-02-2015 | Insight

Social preferences in sustainability can play a role in investment decisions, says Paul Smeets PhD, an expert in behavioral economics and finance. Quantitative investors should pay attention too.

Active funds should nail their colors to the mast

06-02-2015 | Insight | Peter Ferket

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This week: the active share lobby.

The importance of good data in selecting stocks

04-02-2015 | Insight | Bart Van der Grient

Bart van der Grient explains how Robeco ensures good data quality, which is vital for selecting stocks and conducting empirical research. “Our approach makes the stock selection and portfolio construction process more transparent,” he says.

Robeco quant EM equities outperforms generic factor indices

19-01-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD, Wilma de Groot, CFA

We have compared the realized performance of our quantitative emerging markets equities (QEME) strategies with the hypothetical performance of recently launched generic factor indices.

Why low-volatility investing is exciting and important

12-01-2015 | Research | Eric Falkenstein, Ph.D

Low-volatility investing is a great place for investors and researchers. For long-term investors, it can create a simple tilt that offers an attractive alternative to following market capweighted equity indices, generating at least the same return for two-thirds of the risk.

Smart credit investing: harvesting factor premiums

12-01-2015 | Insight | Jeroen van Zundert, Patrick Houweling, PhD

Although most factor research focuses on the equity market, the concept and benefits of factor investing apply equally well to the corporate bond market. A smart way of investing is combining the factors into a multi-factor credit portfolio in order to diversify across factors.

Factor investing works

06-01-2015 | Interview

Factor investing is in vogue. Investors are increasingly focusing on factors such as value, low volatility, momentum and small cap. But what do we know about the relevance of factor investing?

Fundamental Law of Active Management shows way to higher information ratio

05-01-2015 | Insight

The Fundamental Law of Active Management by Grinold and Kahn is designed to assess the value of active management, as expressed by the information ratio, using only two variables. The first is the portfolio manager ‘skill’ in selecting securities and the second is the number of independent investment opportunities.

Low-Volatility Investing: Collected Robeco Articles

01-01-2015 | Research | David Blitz, PhD, Pim van Vliet, PhD

The second edition of the first and only book to focus on the volatility effect, "Low-Volatility Investing" by David Blitz, PhD, Head Robeco Quantitative Equity Research and Pim van Vliet, PhD, Senior Portfolio Manager, Robeco Conservative Equities, presents our research on low-volatility investing from a number of different angels important to investors.

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