Advance Magazine Q4 2015

Sustainability Investing in focus - Advance November 2015.

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

Volatility remains on the menu in 2016

In early 2016, we expect a positive market environment, because the Fed does not want to nip economic recovery in the bud. Read more ...

Expected returns 2016-2020

What returns can investors expect over the next five years? Find out on our special theme page. Read more ...

Pursuing better ways of doing

We use ground-breaking research to boost performance with game-changing strategies – from leading the quant revolution since the 90s to integrating ESG into every investment decision. Read more…

Latest investment insights

Best economic links of the web

01-12-2015 | Lukas Daalder

Another sign that the ‘rally’ is carried by only a small group of stocks…

Demography: A dividend or a disturbance?

01-12-2015 | Insight

Rising populations will only drive economic growth if working age people are properly educated and trained, says demographics expert Hamish McRae.

Return to conflict is an inflation threat

01-12-2015 | Insight

A return to conflict following decades of stability after the end of the Cold War is a major threat to world inflation, says historian Niall Ferguson.

Better corporate governance could re-rate Asian stocks

01-12-2015 | Insight | Arnout van Rijn

Corporate governance improvements in Asia could lead to a massive re-rating of stocks, says Robeco’s Chief Investment Officer for the region, Arnout van Rijn.

E-commerce continues to lead Chinese investment opportunities

01-12-2015 | Insight | Victoria Mio

Investment opportunities in China will be led by e-commerce, healthcare and the drive to combat pollution, says Victoria Mio, CIO China and portfolio manager of the Robeco Chinese Equities fund.

Robotics will change society – and possibly even humans

30-11-2015 | Insight

Robotics will change society and possibly even the composition of the humans who invent them, says former Presidential advisor and technology specialist Pippa Malmgren.

Graph of the week

27-11-2015 | Lukas Daalder

Equities are expensive and you won't earn much on bonds right now, so how are you supposed to generate returns these days?

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).

Update: Quality of corporate boards

25-11-2015 | Michiel van Esch

In the second half of 2014, Robeco began working on an engagement project related to the quality of the corporate board of financial companies. Several selected companies are assessed on the ability of their supervisory board (SB) to perform its supervisory duties in the appropriate manner and the ability of their management board (MB) to realize the company's strategic objectives.

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.

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.

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.

Country Sustainability Ranking Update

23-11-2015 | Insight | Rikkert Scholten, Max Schieler

The recent update of the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking shows Sweden maintaining its firm lead, while Brazil turns out to be the biggest loser. Morocco stands out among the emerging market winners.

Biopharmaceuticals: alleviating the global burden of disease

18-11-2015 | Insight | Peter van der Werf

An interdisciplinary working group of Robeco and RobecoSAM specialists did engagement research into the ESG risks and opportunities of the biopharmaceuticals industry. Biopharmaceutical companies are important, as they control unique products that can greatly alleviate the burden of disease.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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?

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%.

What a difference a month makes

11-11-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

October was the month of the rebound, with almost all asset classes regaining some of the ground lost in the previous six months.

The fifth Plenum outlines ambitious plans for China

10-11-2015 | Insight | Victoria Mio

The Chinese Communist Party recently approved the 13th Five Year Plan for China’s economy. In addition to targeting a GDP growth rate of around 6.5% per year, the government aims to improve the population’s living standard and take concrete measures to protect the environment.

Chef Mario Draghi serves up a new monetary menu

09-11-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

ECB President Mario Draghi is open to a whole menu of monetary policy instruments. Lukas Daalder, Chief Investment Officer for Robeco Investment Solutions, analyzes the selection of dishes, assesses the likelihood of implementation and looks at the impact on financial markets.

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.

India drives ahead of China for trends investing

27-10-2015 | Insight | Jack Neele

India is becoming more attractive for equity investing than China as the Chinese consumer’s love affair with luxury goods wanes, says Robeco trends investor Jack Neele.

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.

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

21-10-2015 | Insight | 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?

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.

Political deadlock prevents much-needed reforms in Brazil

16-10-2015 | Insight | Daniela da Costa - Bulthuis

Brazil is in recession territory. The country’s fiscal consolidation plan had a major set-back in July as finance minister Joaquim Levy announced a significant downward revision of the government’s primary fiscal surplus targets. Last month, S&P downgraded Brazil’s rating from Investment Grade to junk. Capital outflows have intensified and the currency has devalued very rapidly.

Fifty shades of China

15-10-2015 | Insight | Fabiana Fedeli

“This is not a black and white story. The opportunities lie in the gray area.” Portfolio manager Fabiana Fedeli has just returned from a trip on which she spoke with a number of political, financial and economic experts on the situation in China.

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.

The silver lining of Robeco BP Global Premium Equities

14-10-2015 | Insight

Morningstar’s increased confidence in Robeco BP Global Premium Equities has led to an upgrade of its Morningstar Analyst Rating from Bronze to Silver. ‘A solid option for investors who want to invest in global equities. It uses a consistent and proven investment process.’

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

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.

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.

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.

The quarterly outlook for credits: fleeing to Europe

08-10-2015 | Outlook | Sander Bus

After the US subprime crisis in 2008 and the European sovereign crisis in 2010 we have now reached the third leg of the Global Financial Crisis with the unwinding of the emerging markets credit-fueled boom. Europe seems to be the oasis of quiet.

Market shakeout is not the new normal

08-10-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

A rare market shakeout in which all major asset classes fell over the past six months is not the ‘new normal’, says Lukas Daalder, Chief Investment Officer for Robeco Investment Solutions.

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.

Catalonia vote means investors should not fear a Spanish break-up

29-09-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Investors should not fear an imminent break-up of Spain after separatists in Catalonia won control of the regional parliament but did not get over 50% of the popular vote, says Robeco’s Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Three economic consequences of the migration issue

25-09-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen would like the current migration issue to be a catalyst for further European integration. "If the three percent budget deficit ceiling is relaxed in order to release funds for the refugees, that's not a bad idea from an economic point of view."

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.

The trials of Big Pharma

23-09-2015 | Interview | Peter van der Werf

Half of all the results of clinical trials carried out on thousands of patients have never been made public, according to research by Sense About Science. The charitable trust runs the AllTrials campaign to try to disclose as many results as possible. Peter van der Werf, Engagement Specialist at RobecoSAM, explains how he is working with listed pharmaceutical companies to try to improve clinical trial transparency.

‘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.

Factor investing: it works for credits too

21-09-2015 | 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.

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."

Fed holds rates as wage growth stalls

18-09-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) has “wisely” held rates as wage growth poses no threat to inflation, says Robeco’s Chief Economist, Léon Cornelissen.

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.

Leaving your mark on the world without giving up returns

16-09-2015 | Interview | Daniel Wild

Investors increasingly want to use their investments to achieve a positive social or environmental impact. Our ambition is to do this without compromising financial returns, says Daniel Wild, Head of SI Research & Development at RobecoSAM.

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.

Sustainability criteria complete the investment puzzle

09-09-2015 | Interview | Edith Siermann

According to Edith Siermann, Chief Investment Officer Fixed Income at Robeco, the active way in which Robeco navigates changing market conditions and its leading position in the area of sustainability are a perfect illustration of what sets Robeco apart.

Sustainability and fixed income: an integrated approach

09-09-2015 | Interview | Edith Siermann

ESG integration has been applied in equity investments for years, but it has only recently started to gain widespread interest in fixed income. We interviewed Edith Siermann, CIO Fixed Income and Manager of SI at Robeco. Edith and her team were one of the pioneers of ESG integration over six years ago

Market rout does not imply a recession

08-09-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

The recent stock market turmoil does not mean that the US or wider world is heading for recession, says Lukas Daalder, Chief Investment Officer for Robeco Investment Solutions.

Video: Five things about maximizing factor investing performance

07-09-2015 | Insight

We aim for the best results in factor investing. Discover the benefits of 20 years of knowledge and experience in factor strategies.

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.

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.

Does SI drive performance? Academia’s answers

02-09-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

The 64,000 dollar question in sustainable investing is whether it improves investment performance or not. The answer from academia is a cautious ‘yes’.

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.

How good are your directors?

31-08-2015 | Insight

Having top quality board members who can take a long-term view is critical for strong corporate governance, say leading business figures.

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.

Alternative investing: In it for the long haul with private equity

27-08-2015 | Insight | Erwin Quartel

Private equity has much in common with equity investment, given that both involve investing your own assets in businesses. The main difference is that in private equity a premium can theoretically be harvested due to its illiquid character.

Sustainability Investing in focus | Advance August 2015

25-08-2015 | Magazine | Edith Siermann

Our latest Advance magazine leads on how strong corporate governance starts at the top - plus all the latest developments in sustainability investing.

Renminbi devaluation deserves applause not panic

25-08-2015 | Insight | Arnout van Rijn, Fabiana Fedeli, Mark Glazener, Richard Speetjens

The sudden decline of the renminbi sent a wave of uncertainty through international equity markets. But in the eyes of various specialists at Robeco, the decision to allow the Chinese currency slightly more freedom of movement deserves applause not panic.

Chinese volatility provides longer-term buying opportunities

24-08-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

The huge decline of Chinese equities is a sign of increasing market volatility rather than the start of a bigger correction, argues Lukas Daalder, Chief Investment Officer for Robeco’s 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)

Renminbi depreciation, an unexpected but welcome move

14-08-2015 | Insight | Victoria Mio

The depreciation of the Chinese currency took many investors by surprise. And a surprise it was, although not necessarily a negative one, says Victoria Mio.

Five reasons why the Fed can hike rates with confidence

14-08-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This week: why the way is clear for the Federal Reserve to hike rates.

Our holiday reading: From American pilots to vegan crusaders …

12-08-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen, Peter van der Werf, Wilma de Groot, CFA, Wim-Hein Pals

The holiday season is always a good time to catch up on some reading, on the beach or on an aircraft flying off to sunny climes. We asked some key people at Robeco what they have read, or will be reading, while taking a much-needed vacation.

Robeco gets top score in PRI assessment

11-08-2015 | News item | Carola van Lamoen, Edith Siermann

Robeco has been rated as A+ across all sectors in the annual review by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

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.

The crackdown on obesity and its impact on food companies

29-07-2015 | Insight | Taeke Wiersma

Food companies are forced to re-evaluate their product portfolios due to the rising concern over whether they promote obesity. In the credit team we examine the downside risk of this trend on the companies we cover. Earlier this year, Robeco’s equity analyst, credit analyst and RobecoSAM sustainability analyst visited companies to discuss obesity related ESG considerations. This deepened our understanding of the companies’ efforts.

Video: Team Brunel Bouwe Bekking looking back

29-07-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Looking back ...

Overhaul of KB Financial Board bodes well for corporate governance

29-07-2015 | Insight

KB Financial is a financial conglomerate based in South Korea and parent company of Kookmin Bank, one of the largest banks in South Korea. Investors have long been concerned about the company’s corporate governance. After a relatively short engagement process, we were pleasantly surprised by the proactive stance of the company’s new chairman who announced various measures to improve the company’s governance.

Deepwater drilling, five years after Macondo

28-07-2015 | Insight | Sylvia van Waveren

In April 2010, the BP-operated Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling platform Deepwater Horizon caught fire as a result of the Macondo well blowout, killing 11 employees and causing an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil to spill into the sea. BP was confronted with litigation cases, fines, negative media coverage and a fall in its share price. This triggered us to start an engagement with 10 companies involved in deepwater drilling.

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?

Rorento’s leading approach to ESG integration

24-07-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Rikkert Scholten

The Rorento Global Total Return Bond Fund aims to capture opportunities in fixed income classes around the globe.

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.

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.

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.

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

Digging deeper for sustainability in the mining sector

21-07-2015 | Insight | Jaap Smit

Sustainable mining appears to be a ‘contradictio in terminis’, an area of tension prone to difficulties. It is in this field where we think value can be added for credit investors.

High yield market gripped by rising rates, oil prices and takeover deluge

20-07-2015 | Insight | Sander Bus

Increasing takeover activity, fluctuations in the oil price and an outlook of rising interest rates are creating new opportunities and dangers for high yield bonds: this is the domain of Sander Bus, fund manager of the Robeco High Yield Bonds Fund.

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.

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.

Robeco Global Credits

15-07-2015 | Insight | Victor Verberk

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

Grexit risk falls after bailout agreed

13-07-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The chance of a Grexit has gone back to 30% after Greece reached agreement with the Eurozone over a third bailout, says Robeco’s chief economist.

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.

Waiting for better buying opportunities

08-07-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

The top three of the most important trends for June?

Chinese shares catch up with reality

07-07-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

Investors who have been fixated on Greece are missing a far bigger picture: the potential for the USD 8 trillion Chinese stock market to implode, warns Robeco’s head of asset allocation.

Greek referendum result should not worry investors

06-07-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The surprising ‘No’ vote in the Greek referendum is likely to be a disaster for Greece, but should not worry investors, says Robeco’s chief economist.

Data privacy: who is watching Big Brother?

06-07-2015 | Insight | Daniëlle Essink

An increasing amount of scandals in the news have revealed the risks involved with data privacy. The topic of data privacy is however under-researched in the investment industry. As the risks can impact companies’ earnings, it is important to create more transparency. Engagement specialist Daniëlle Essink had the issue researched.

Why China will dominate the emerging middle class

01-07-2015 | Insight | Steef Bergakker

The Chinese middle class will dominate the ranks of emerging consumers in the next 5-10 years while predictions about India are too optimistic, says Robeco trend analyst Steef Bergakker.

Where are you heading, O bond investor?

01-07-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Very low interest rates mean investors are faced with a dilemma – be satisfied with minimal returns on safe bonds or move higher up the risk curve. Lukas Daalder, chief investment officer at Robeco, discusses the possible options in the current market.

Technorealist sees a dynamic future full of opportunities and challenges

01-07-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

We are running out of fossil fuel, pollution is rapidly on the rise, the earth is overpopulated and we are exhausting our food supplies. It's enough to make anyone depressed.

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

30-06-2015 | Insight | 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.

Seven key questions on the Greek debt crisis

30-06-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

European stock markets fell sharply as the extent of the problems in Greece became evident last weekend. Lukas Daalder, Chief Investment Officer of Robeco Investment Solutions, explains where the real issues lie, and what investors can expect in the days to come.

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.

The quarterly outlook for credits: dot plots and tantrums

25-06-2015 | Insight | Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

In our latest Credit Quarterly Outlook, we note two changes that are taking place in the credit markets. First, the US credit cycle is becoming unfriendly. Corporate releveraging is accelerating and margins have peaked.

Chinese equity rally can continue

25-06-2015 | Insight | Victoria Mio

Chinese stocks can continue their rally due to strong fundamentals and ongoing economic structural reforms, says portfolio manager Victoria Mio

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?

What Europe can learn from Sweden

22-06-2015 | Insight | 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.

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.

Time2Read: 26 stories on sailing and investing

19-06-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Robeco has been proud to sponsor Team Brunel, the Dutch entry into the nine-month Volvo Ocean Race. In this edition of Time2Read, we include some stunning new pictures and new or updated stories that capture the highlights of the eight e-magazines that we have produced for the ports visited by the race.

Real ESG impact on the Robeco NV portfolio

18-06-2015 | Insight

Since January 2014, the Robeco fund’s investment cases need to include an assessment of how the most material ESG issues affect a company’s competitive position and target price. We can therefore systematically calculate the impact of ESG analysis on the portfolio.

The riddle of diminishing productivity growth

17-06-2015 | Insight | Peter van der Welle

In many countries, productivity growth has considerably declined in recent years. According to Peter van der Welle, strategist at Robeco, there is no cause for alarm. Thanks to the power of 'creative destruction', productivity growth will return to the usual level.

Investing in the sustainability of Asia’s growth

17-06-2015 | Insight | Roland Pfeuti

Joint private equity initiative Asia Climate Partners invests in successful companies that offer solutions to Asia’s sustainability challenges.

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?

Newsflash Multi-Factor Credits

15-06-2015 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Robeco brings factor investing to credit markets, launching the Robeco Global Multi-Factor Credits fund on June 15, 2015. This credit fund allows investors to benefit from factor investing, which has been so successful in equity markets over the past years.

Greek deadlines: all roads lead to July 20

12-06-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Investors are playing a game of ‘guess the real deadline’ for Greece to make a deal over debt repayments – but all roads lead to July 20, says Robeco’s chief economist.

Rates up, stocks down?

12-06-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

On Fridays chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This week: is this stock market correction really caused by rising interest rates?

Strong market momentum for financial bonds

11-06-2015 | Insight | Jan Willem de Moor

The case for financial bonds is more compelling than ever. Having learned some lessons in the Great Financial Crisis of 2007-2008, banks and insurance companies have been tidying up their balance sheets. While new regulations such as Basel III require new types of bonds to be issued that offer attractive yields, increased supervision and regulation will substantially lower the risk of default.

'L’exception Française' is still interesting for investors

11-06-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

France is still an interesting country for investors, despite its economic sluggishness and internal political problems, says Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Video: Team Brunel in Lisbon

10-06-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Get up to speed with what happened on the seventh leg of the journey to Lisbon by watching our latest race update.

Show me the impact – putting numbers on sustainability

10-06-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

It’s easy to claim that sustainability is important. But it’s a lot harder to show it is, let alone quantify and monetize it. Willem Schramade, Sustainability and Valuation Specialist in Robeco’s Global Equity team, outlines the problems and the solutions to them.

Volatility has been the name of the game

10-06-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Some puzzling shifts Volatility has been the name of the game, but not where you would have necessarily expected it.

Why the outlook for Spain is sunny

09-06-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Spain is in recovery mode, but has not been rewarded for this by equity investors so far in 2015. What is the outlook for the rest of the year? Robeco’s Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen explains why he is optimistic.

Credits: how to factor in the risk of banks misbehaving

09-06-2015 | Insight | Taeke Wiersma

Conduct and litigation issues are a widespread phenomenon in the financial sector and because of the sheer size of the fines, they can have a material impact on a company’s ability to pay back its debt. We think that, despite recent improvements, these issues are here to stay for at least several years to come. Consequently, we spend much time analyzing related ESG factors to account for this risk in our credit investment decisions.

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.

Going neutral on equities

08-06-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

It is time to take a neutral stance on equities as company earnings don’t keep up with share price rises and volatility is expected to get worse, says Robeco’s head of asset allocation.

Innovation – the key to future growth

05-06-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

“We have our four core values carved on the wall in the lobby. But there is more to it than just being able to recite them – we need to make them happen."

How investors can influence climate change policies

03-06-2015 | Insight

David Pitt-Watson is Executive Fellow of Finance at the London Business School, and chairman of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI). He is a former chairman of Hermes Focus Funds. In this Q&A, he addresses how sustainability investors can make have a huge influence on climate change policies.

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.

Europe leads the way in sustainable investment

01-06-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Sustainable investment is growing rapidly. Although it has been growing fastest in the US over the past two years, Europe remains the undisputed leader, says Nicolas Bénéton, Sustainability Investment Specialist for Robeco France.

Celebrating five years of differentiated returns

01-06-2015 | Insight | Alexander de Roode, Daniël Haesen, CFA

Robeco Global Tactical Asset Allocation (GTAA) celebrates its fifth anniversary this month. And the icing on the birthday cake for investors has been a great track record, with consistent and considerable return in turbulent markets.

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?

Dutch TV program about the Volvo Ocean Race 3

29-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

One thing Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel, has noticed during this his eighth Volvo Ocean Race is just how much marine pollution has increased. “Plastic, plastic, plastic. Everywhere.”

Integrating ESG criteria into fixed income investments

28-05-2015 | Insight | Edith Siermann

Institutional investors are attaching increasing importance to the sustainability of their investments. Whereas in the equity space, this trend has been going on for years, in fixed income investments sustainability investing has only recently started to generate widespread interest.

Rising like a phoenix from the ashes

28-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race | Peter van der Welle

While the spotlights are still on Greece – as an escalation in various forms could still occur any day – two other large southern European economies are, nearly unobserved, finally showing signs of recovery.

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.

E-magazine: Spotlight on Europe

27-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race competitors have arrived at the seventh stopover port in Portugal after sailing across the Atlantic from the US.

Team Brunel celebrates victory in Lisbon

27-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Brunel has won the seventh leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. After an exciting neck- and- neck race with Dongfeng and Mapfre, skipper Bouwe Bekking and his crew finally crossed the finish line in first place.

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.

Targeted investing: flexible solution for individual asset accumulation

21-05-2015 | Insight | Pieter Krom

Accumulating a supplementary pension, investing for your children's education or saving to pay off your mortgage – all require specialist knowledge. How can you accumulate capital yourself without losing sight of the right risk-return mix?

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.

Marine pollution is a major challenge

20-05-2015 | Insight | Daniel Wild

Tackling the level of pollution is a major challenge that sustainability investors can help to solve, says RobecoSAM’s research chief, Daniel Wild.

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 cutting edge – where banking and technology meet

19-05-2015 | Insight | Patrick Lemmens

Companies operating on the cutting edge where the banking and technology sectors meet are very much in the public eye. Patrick Lemmens, fund manager of Robeco New World Financial Equities, sees interesting opportunities, but warns that investors should not get too carried away.

‘The century of the US’… again

18-05-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

China and India are making progress, but the US continues to be the main player on the world economic stage.

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.

Flattener trade closed in bond market

13-05-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

April turned out to be a month with limited positive news across the board. US, Japanese and Chinese economic data all disappointed, while European data – although broadly still better than expected – failed to impress as much as it did in the first quarter, as analysts raised the bar with respect to European growth expectations.

Video: Team Brunel: Bouwe Bekking about sustainability.

12-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Get up to speed with what happened on the this leg of the journey by watching our latest race update.

Finding the right wave points in equities

12-05-2015 | Insight | Chris Hart

They say that a rising tide floats all boats – but for Chris Hart, it’s about finding the right wave points in his brand of active fund management.

Quantifying the chance of a ‘Grexit’

11-05-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

The prospect of Greece leaving the Eurozone may not be that bad for investors, and may even be positive in the long run, says Robeco’s head of asset allocation.

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.

Tory election win may unsettle investors

08-05-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The UK’s ruling Conservative Party has stormed to victory in the UK general election, surprising pollsters but potentially unsettling investors in the medium term.

Bond market: shaken, not stirred

08-05-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This week: have we seen the end of the great bond market bull run?

Dutch TV program about the Volvo Ocean Race 2

08-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Peter Ferket, CIO of Equities at Robeco, sees parallels between investing and the Volvo Ocean Race.

E-magazine: Spotlight on the US

07-05-2015 | Magazine

The Volvo Ocean Race competitors have arrived at the sixth stopover port in the United States after three weeks’ sailing from Brazil. Our new e-magazine focuses on the US and what is still the ‘New World’ for investing after the financial crisis. Read how both Robeco and Team Brunel watch which way the wind is blowing for thematic investing and sailing respectively; find out how it is still the ‘US century’; and discover the ‘Mast-er’ Plan’ for mending battered boats.

Emerging market consumers loosen their purse strings

05-05-2015 | Opinion | Jack Neele

The growth in global consumption will be driven mainly by emerging markets in the coming decade. The OECD predicts growth in Asia of no less than 571 percent between now and 2030, predominantly on the back of strong growth in China, India and Indonesia. How can investors use this to their advantage?

Video: Team Brunel: Captain Bouwe Bekking on leg 5

01-05-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Get up to speed with what happened on the fifth leg of the journey by watching our latest race update.

The buyback party will soon be over

01-05-2015 | Insight | Peter van Kleef

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts. This week: companies are buying back their own shares on a massive scale, but is it a good idea?

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