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Brazil’s problems run too deep for Olympic boost

Brazil’s economy is unlikely to win the gold medal for hosting the Olympics as its problems lie too deep, say Robeco’s experts on investing in the country. Read more ...

Monthly Outlook

Stocks are too complacent about Brexit aftermath

Equities have not sufficient priced in the potential consequences of the UK’s historic vote to leave the EU, says Lukas Daalder. Read more ...

Advance June 2016

Advance magazine June 2016 - Sustainability Investing in focus

Our latest Advance magazine leads on our successful engagement in the troubled soy food chain, plus all the latest developments in sustainability investing. Read more ...

Factor investing case studies

We present three case studies of professional investors who are successfully implementing bespoke multi-factor solutions. Read more ...

Latest investment insights

Graph of the week

29-07-2016 | Lukas Daalder

Negative surprises ...

Best economic links of the web

29-07-2016 | Lukas Daalder

Yes! Volatility is coming up!!

Lower liquidity, collective responsibility

28-07-2016 | Insight | Robbert Vonk

The financial industry needs to collectively deal with lower liquidity in bond markets, says Robeco’s head of risk analysis.

The intricacies of engaging in Asia

27-07-2016 | Insight | Michiel van Esch

It was up close and personal for Engagement Specialist Michiel van Esch when he learnt the do’s and don’ts of engaging companies in Asia during a three-month spell in Robeco’s Hong Kong office. It requires a different approach to what is common practice elsewhere in the world.

Not paying above the odds

25-07-2016 | Interview | Weili Zhou, CFA

Managing transaction costs is one of the major considerations in Robeco’s Quantitative Equity strategies, and over the years we have put considerable effort into finding ways to keep them as low as possible. In this article, Weili Zhou, a senior researcher in our Quantitative Equities team, describes the approaches we adopt to achieve this aim.

Brazil’s problems run too deep for Olympic boost

21-07-2016 | Insight | Daniela da Costa - Bulthuis, Léon Cornelissen, Paul Murray-John

Brazil’s economy is unlikely to win the gold medal for hosting the Olympics as its problems lie too deep, say Robeco’s experts on investing in the country.

From the field: Forensic accounting research

20-07-2016 | David Blitz, PhD

Macquarie applies Benford’s law to identify firms which may be manipulating their accounting data, or perhaps even engaging in outright fraud. According to this law, there is a natural frequency of 1 to 9 occurring as the first digit in a number, with the chance of 1 for instance being around 30%, and the chance of 9 less than 5%.

Fixed Income Quarterly Outlook: yield drought & bond scarcity

19-07-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Paul van der Worp, Stephan van IJzendoorn

The world economy is marked by sluggish growth and absent price pressure. Despite unprecedented monetary easing, inflation expectations have declined further. Bond yields have set new historical lows and can continue to do so. Central bank buying programs add to the picture as bond scarcity in core government markets increases downward pressure on interest rates.

Beware of over-reacting to Turkish coup attempt

18-07-2016 | Insight | Wim-Hein Pals, Paul Murray-John

Investors should not over-react to the attempted Turkish coup as normality returns, say Robeco’s experts on investing in the country.

Multi-factor fund celebrates birthday with outperformance

18-07-2016 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

“Putting your research to the test is always exciting, and if it then works out well, then that’s very satisfying.” That’s how Patrick Houweling describes celebrating the first anniversary of the Global Multi-Factor Credits fund, with an outperformance chart to go with the birthday cake.

Bank of England keeps rates on hold despite Brexit

14-07-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The Bank of England surprised investors by keeping its base rate unchanged at 0.5%, despite expectations for a cut following the Brexit vote.

Moving to underweight in European equities post-Brexit

14-07-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit. Like many, we had hoped that the word would soon fall out of fashion, following a (predictable?) victory by the Bremain camp, but we turned out to be wrong.

Smart energy investments for a low carbon future

13-07-2016 | Interview | Thiemo Lang

Thiemo Lang, Portfolio Manager of the RobecoSAM Smart Energy strategy, discusses the future of the energy sector in the wake of the COP21 agreement to limit global warming to well below 2°C.

Integrating sustainability into factor credit strategies

12-07-2016 | Research | Jeroen van Zundert, Patrick Houweling, PhD, Frederik Muskens, Mark Whirdy

Our factor credit strategies have two main objectives: maximizing the portfolio’s factor exposure and limiting sustainability risks. How do we integrate these two goals?

Stock markets are too complacent about Brexit aftermath

11-07-2016 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

Stock markets are too complacent about the potential consequences of the UK’s historic vote to leave the EU, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

Defining the Quality factor

11-07-2016 | Insight

Robeco has added Quality to the key list of factors that it follows when constructing factor investing portfolios in equities. But how to define it? There is a disconnect between definitions of the factor ‘quality’ by academics and how it is defined by many in the asset management industry.

Direct real estate funds close as investors flee the UK

08-07-2016 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma

A list of UK asset managers have frozen withdrawals from real estate funds following massive redemptions by investors worrying over Brexit. We expect the impact on indirect listed real estate to be limited, although institutional selling pressure may affect the sector. In this climate, our focus on long-term winners capitalizing on long-term industry trends pays off.

Factor Investing with smart beta indices

06-07-2016 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

Smart beta indices are a popular way of implementing a factor investing strategy. However, research suggests that this may not the best way, as the factor exposure provided by popular smart beta strategies varies greatly and they do not unlock the full potential of factor premiums.

Factor investing case studies – the merits of tailor made solutions

06-07-2016 | Insight | Chris Suiker, Graham Elliot, Joop Huij, PhD, Mark van der Kroft

Factor investing – the investment strategy that aims to capture ‘hidden’ returns in financial markets – is rapidly gaining in popularity. However, it is important to follow the right factors, and to be wary of one factor counteracting another, to get the best results. Otherwise, investors might follow generic factor strategies that expose them to risks that are not properly rewarded, resulting in inferior performance.

Every advantage has a disadvantage – and that's true for ETFs, too

05-07-2016 | Insight | Peter Ferket

The rise of ETFs as the cheaper alternative to actively managed investment funds may rightly be called a success, with some USD 3 trillion under management. The index trackers are ‘cheap, safe and transparent’. But not everyone is quite so enthusiastic.

The quarterly outlook for credits: remortgaging shareholder equity

05-07-2016 | Outlook | Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

American companies are levering up and central banks are providing ever cheaper money. With increasing debt, markets are becoming more vulnerable to volatility. We pursue a guerrilla strategy, adopting a neutral starting point and taking tactical positions where value pops up due to excessive fear. We start with a higher beta driven by the Brexit spread premium.

Tackling climate change the economic way

04-07-2016 | Interview

Helen Mountford is the Director of Economics at the World Resources Institute and the Program Director for its New Climate Economy initiative, which provides independent evidence on the relationship between actions which can strengthen economic performance and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change. In this interview she outlines how she believes sustainable investment works best in combination with government policies.

ECB bond buying drives long-end yield curve flattening

30-06-2016 | Insight | Marck Bulter

Robeco Global Total Return Bond Fund, Robeco Euro Government Bonds and Robeco All Strategy Euro Bonds are positioned for a flattening of the long end of the German curve. The rules of its own Quantitative Easing program are forcing the ECB to buy long-end government bonds only, which will cause the yield curve to flatten.

Mid-term outlook depends on any Brexit domino effect

29-06-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

The mid-term outlook for investors depends on whether the Brexit either unifies or further breaks up the European Union in a domino effect, says Lukas Daalder.

What's behind the façade?

29-06-2016 | Insight | Willem Schramade

Many asset managers claim to do ESG integration. But do they really? It can be a tough call, as the marketing is often stronger than the execution; scores and ratings tell only part of the story; and the confusion over concepts makes it even harder. Here are four questions that can help you get behind the façade.

Focusing on stock picking in Financials post-Brexit

28-06-2016 | Insight | Patrick Lemmens

It remains important to focus on specific stocks when investing in UK financials as equities are battered by the Brexit vote, says Portfolio Manager Patrick Lemmens.

Simon Property's sustainability journey

28-06-2016 | Insight | Matthias Narr

Simon Property Group (‘Simon’) is a US real estate company that develops and operates shopping centers. The company has remarkably improved its sustainability performance since we started to engage with them in 2013.

Robeco New World Financial Equities: no ordinary financials fund

27-06-2016 | Insight | Patrick Lemmens

Don't expect the standard list of banks, insurers and asset managers in the portfolio of Robeco New World Financial Equities. Do expect a contrarian approach to the financial sector. “Investors need to consider the specific risk profile of this fund, though it's certainly not a downside. It is a solid investment fund of above-average quality that has earned the Morningstar Analyst Rating Bronze.”

Brexit impact on Robeco Global Total Return Bond Fund

27-06-2016 | Insight

Markets reacted strongly following the UK’s surprising vote to leave the EU. Yields of developed market government bonds came down significantly as investors fled into safe asset classes. Risky assets were under pressure. Credit spreads widened and the British pound experienced its biggest drop in 30 years versus the dollar.

ESG integration: the value-driver adjustment approach

27-06-2016 | Insight | Willem Schramade

Willem Schramade, Sustainability and Valuation Specialist in Robeco’s Global Equity team, recently published an article on ESG integration in the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment. In this article, he explains the Robeco Global Equity team’s advanced approach to ESG integration.

Financial markets get a ‘nasty surprise’ from Brexit vote

24-06-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Lukas Daalder, Mark Glazener, Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

Markets got the biggest shock from the Brexit vote since the financial crisis of 2008 and now face months of uncertainty, say Robeco’s portfolio managers for the major asset classes.

Britons stun the world by voting to leave the EU

24-06-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Britons stunned the world and sent financial markets into freefall after voting to leave the European Union in an historic referendum.

Brexit impact on Robeco Financial Institutions Bonds

24-06-2016 | Insight | Jan Willem de Moor

The Robeco Financial Institutions Bonds fund invests mainly in subordinated financial. The market for subordinated financials opened lower this morning, in line with other risky assets like equity. Throughout the morning prices started to recover a bit and we have seen buyers in the market. Market weakness was well spread, though obviously UK names underperformed.

Brexit impact on Robeco High Yield Bonds

24-06-2016 | Insight | Sander Bus

High-quality European issuers in the high-yield market opened 2 points down this morning after UK’s vote on Brexit. This price reaction is not severe, especially if you relate this to the fierce moves seen in equity markets. We considered the order of magnitude fair, given the strong support by the corporate buying program of the ECB and healthy balance sheet of European BB credits.

New business models shake up the establishment

23-06-2016 | Press release | Steef Bergakker

New business models can be disruptive forces, wreaking havoc among the established order of firms. While new technologies in themselves sometimes do have disruptive potential, more often than not it is new business models enabled by new technologies that are the true source of disruption.

From the field: Accounting-based anomalies in the bond market

22-06-2016 | David Blitz, PhD

This study examines whether over thirty accounting-based fundamental variables known to be related to future stock returns are also effective for predicting future bond returns. The frequency of significant returns to trading strategies based on these anomalies turns out to be similar for the bond and stock markets.

Nigeria takes short-term pain

21-06-2016 | Press release | Cornelis Vlooswijk, Jeroen van Oerle

The Central Bank of Nigeria ended a 16-month currency peg and moved to a floating exchange rate regime on 20 June. As a result, the Nigerian naira fell by 42%. This decision should boost Nigeria’s economic growth and foreign direct investments in the long run. However, Robeco Afrika takes a cautious stance until tangible improvements are clear.

How to achieve attractive bond returns in a low-yield environment?

21-06-2016 | Insight | Johan Duyvesteyn, PhD, CFA, Kommer van Trigt, Martin Martens, PhD, Olaf Penninga

Actively managing a portfolio’s sensitivity to interest rate movements is crucial for the returns on fixed income portfolios, as they are predominantly driven by changes in government bond yields. To forecast yield changes, Robeco developed a quantitative model in the 1990s, which has proven to have very good predictive power.

Blockchain – short-term impact exaggerated, long-term impact underestimated

20-06-2016 | Insight | Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

Blockchain’s ‘Administration 3.0’ will turn the financial sector upside down. But for banks, insurers and asset management companies this will not cause total disruption. Patrick Lemmens and Jeroen van Oerle look into the potential impact of blockchain and explain how investors can take advantage of this trend.

MSCI verdict on Chinese shares could speed up liberalization

17-06-2016 | Insight | Victoria Mio

A decision by MSCI to delay the inclusion of Chinese A-shares in a key index could speed up liberalization of the market, says fund manager Victoria Mio.

Three investors’ perspectives on Brexit

16-06-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Lukas Daalder, Mark Glazener

On June 23, 2016, the British will vote whether or not they want to remain a member of the European Union. In this article, three investors – Lukas Daalder, Mark Glazener and Kommer van Trigt - give their take on the consequences of a potential Brexit for, respectively, the main asset classes, global equities, and global bonds.

Who will handle economics in a Clinton or Trump presidency?

15-06-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

A future US President Clinton or Trump will need to appoint someone to handle economics as neither has any experience in this vital field, says Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Is Microsoft’s bid for LinkedIn more than an attempt to reinvent itself?

15-06-2016 | Insight | Jack Neele, Michiel Plakman

Microsoft has launched a takeover bid for LinkedIn for USD 26 billion. A desperate move or a well-timed bid to reinvent itself

Robeco adds fourth factor Quality to its factor investing strategies

15-06-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD, Joop Huij, PhD, Pim van Vliet, PhD, Simon D. Lansdorp

Investors increasingly decide to allocate strategically to factor premiums such as Value, Momentum and Low-Volatility. Robeco is now incorporating a fourth factor, Quality, in the investment process of its factor funds.

Implementing factor strategies in corporate bonds

14-06-2016 | Insight | Patrick Houweling, PhD

Research shows that factor investing strategies work well in corporate bonds, but actually building a portfolio requires greater care due to liquidity issues, Robeco’s quantitative experts argue in a new white paper.

Winners and sinners in country sustainability rankings

13-06-2016 | Insight | Max Schieler

Sweden is still the world’s most sustainable country, while the UK faces a stability threat due to the Brexit vote, and the refugee crisis is a major global risk, according to the latest RobecoSAM assessment.

Advance Magazine June 2016

09-06-2016 | Magazine | Vera Krückel

Our latest Advance magazine leads on how investors need to rethink demographics, plus all the latest developments in sustainability investing.

India is playing catch up with China

08-06-2016 | Insight

The IMF’s April 2016 World Economic Outlook publication outlined how India will be the world’s fastest growing major economy through 2016-17 at 7.5% – something that has not gone unnoticed by fund buyers and investment professionals across the globe.

From the field: A critical perspective on ETFs

08-06-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

ETFs are rapidly gaining popularity, but do they ultimately benefit private investors? Using data from one of the largest brokerages in Germany, the authors in this study find that individual investors using these products do not improve their portfolio performance.

Stock markets caught between hope and fear

06-06-2016 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

Equity markets are caught in a classic ‘hope versus fear’ cycle as investors face a number of major events, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

FIRST comes, FIRST serves

01-06-2016 | In the news

A new era began for Robeco in May when 800 employees moved to a new state-of-the-art head office in Rotterdam to work in a smarter and more client-centric way.

Real estate to be a sector on its own

30-05-2016 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma

Real estate will be taken out of the financials sector to become a sector of its own as of September 2016. We expect this change to boost institutional demand for real estate, as investors will become more aware of its unique risk-reward characteristics.

From the field: Do fund flows cause the value and momentum effects?

25-05-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

In his witty style, James Montier takes a critical look at recently popular investment concepts such as smart beta, risk parity and real assets*. We actually agree a lot with what he is saying.

Britons set to vote with their wallets against a Brexit

24-05-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Britons will vote to remain in the European Union, as the economic consequences of leaving it would be severe, says Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Robeco Lux-o-rente: dynamic duration protects and delivers

23-05-2016 | Insight | Olaf Penninga

Yields are low, but they are still moving substantially. And that means that there are opportunities for Robeco Lux-o-rente’s dynamic duration model, says Olaf Penninga.

How will blockchain impact the financial industry?

20-05-2016 | Insight | Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

Distributed ledger technology, such as blockchain, has been gaining a lot of attention as the underlying infrastructure of Bitcoin. Thanks to the open architecture of blockchain’s programming code, many alternative use cases are rapidly being developed. How will this impact the financial industry?

Robeco’s star search in Asia

18-05-2016 | Insight | Michiel van Voorst

In his skeptical, contrarian and patient manner, Robeco Asian Stars fund manager Michiel van Voorst searches for companies that are wrongly undervalued. Join us on a contrarian investment journey through Asia. “China sometimes takes two steps forward and one step back, but the economy is reforming.”

GTAA celebrates five years of differentiated returns


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.

Fintech is the battle for control of customers

17-05-2016 | Insight | Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

With financial technology, or ‘fintech’, banks, insurers and investment managers will not become superfluous. They will however be forced to make a strategic decision to invest in new technology to maintain their customer relationships. This is the view of Patrick Lemmens and Jeroen van Oerle of Robeco New World Financial Equities.

Dare to be contrarian with Robeco Global Credits

12-05-2016 | Insight | Victor Verberk

Victor Verberk is bracing himself for more market volatility for corporate bonds. As a bond investor, he is also a risk manager, and there is no shortage of risks at the moment. "But as active research-driven bond pickers, we love this market." The analysts at Morningstar gave his contrarian investment style a Bronze rating.

Brazil after the impeachment, what is next?

12-05-2016 | In the news | Daniela da Costa - Bulthuis

After four months of discussions in Brazilian Congress, Brazil's Senate concluded that President Dilma Rousseff should face a full impeachment trial. The emerging markets equity team is cautiously optimistic and has reduced its underweight in Brazil.

Signs of stabilization in emerging markets

10-05-2016 | Insight | Fabiana Fedeli

Last year was a perfect storm for Emerging Markets: concerns about China amid slowing growth, volatile domestic equity markets and the removal of the currency peg to the US dollar, along with weak commodity prices, the Fed hike and its impact on local currency depreciation all took their toll.

Robeco Global Credits: We know where to find Alpha

10-05-2016 | Insight | Victor Verberk

Victor Verberk explains why being contrarian is vital in the later stages of the global credits cycle.

Bargain Hunt: looking for value in global equities

10-05-2016 | Insight | Maarten Polfliet

Investors looking for value in global equities have been disappointed in recent years, as ‘expensive defensive’ and growth stocks have held sway in markets. But over the long term, value investing can be shown to outperform growth investing, depending on the economic environment of the time, says Robeco portfolio manager Maarten Polfliet.

Who’s to blame for volatility?

09-05-2016 | Monthly outlook | Lukas Daalder

Who’s to blame for the volatility seen in 2016? The temptation is to look for scapegoats, or blame it on structural problems, but is this correct?

Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities Fund: investing in three structural growth trends

04-05-2016 | Insight | Jack Neele, Richard Speetjens

Worldwide, there are over 7.3 billion consumers. All of these consumers are spending and this gives rise to trends which you would, of course, like to profit from as an investor. This is exactly what the Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities fund does: investing in lasting consumer trends and achieving an optimal return from this.

Chinese growth recovers as restructuring takes hold

02-05-2016 | Insight | Victoria Mio

Chinese growth is recovering as services and domestic consumption take a greater share of GDP, says Chinese Equities fund manager Victoria Mio.

Trend investing: I’ve seen the future and it will be

28-04-2016 | Outlook | Henk Grootveld, Jack Neele

How should you go about investing in developments that will shape the future? Robeco trend investor Henk Grootveld has some answers. And Jack Neele explains how he reflects the digitalization megatrend in the portfolio holdings of his Robeco Global Consumer Trends Equities investment fund. The do's and don'ts of trend investing.

Morningstar: Robeco’s Chris Hart is ‘best global equity investor’

26-04-2016 | Insight | Chris Hart, Stephan van IJzendoorn

Portfolio manager Chris Hart of Robeco BP Global Premium Equities is proclaimed ‘European Fund Manager of the Year’ by Morningstar in the category ‘global equity’. “Hart has vast experience as an analyst and portfolio manager and has proven himself a talented stock picker. The returns of his fund are impressive.“

Passive Low Vol versus Robeco approach: Interview Pan-European Congress 4 March

25-04-2016 | Interview | Jan Sytze Mosselaar

Today low-volatility investing is gaining a broader acceptance within academic circles and among investors.

Panama Papers yet again stress the importance of ESG

22-04-2016 | Insight | Carola van Lamoen, Mark Glazener, Taeke Wiersma, Aaron Reem

The Panama Papers appear to be yet another scandal in the banking sector. The relevance for us as investors is that if banks are found to have engaged in illegal tax evasion practices, their reputation will be damaged and they can face big fines. This affects profitability and debt repayment capacity.

From the field: Smart beta = Dumb beta + Smart Marketing?

20-04-2016 | David Blitz, PhD

In his witty style, James Montier takes a critical look at recently popular investment concepts such as smart beta, risk parity and real assets*. We actually agree a lot with what he is saying.

The future of asset management

19-04-2016 | Insight | Jeroen van Oerle, Patrick Lemmens

Having been cautious on the asset class for years, Robeco Global Total Return Bond Fund has recently built up a 6% position in local emerging debt

Fixed income quarterly outlook: Time to scale in emerging local debt

18-04-2016 | Outlook | Kommer van Trigt, Paul van der Worp, Stephan van IJzendoorn

Having been cautious on the asset class for years, we are becoming more constructive on local emerging debt because of its attractive valuations, the first signs of inflows back into the asset class and a recent improvement in fundamentals.

Conservative Equities in historical perspective: Investment behavior since 1602

18-04-2016 | Research | Jan Sytze Mosselaar, Pim van Vliet, PhD

Since the birth of the modern stock market in 1602, the pendulum of the investment culture has moved from a return focus to a risk focus and back.

How impatience kills your value performance

14-04-2016 | Opinion | Maarten Polfliet

Suppose that over the last few years value investing had outperformed, what would happen?

Sustainability leadership or déjà vu CSR?

13-04-2016 | Opinion | Willem Schramade

Willem Schramade, Sustainability and Valuation Specialist within Robeco’s Global Equity team, has flashbacks of Groundhog Day.

Neutral for equities, overweight for high yield bonds

12-04-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Whether you think the first quarter of 2016 was a horror story or rather an interesting experience mostly depends on two factors: on timing and on whether you were active in the bond markets.

New: Factor investing – collected Robeco articles (2nd edition)

11-04-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD, Joop Huij, PhD

The much anticipated ‘Factor Investing – Collected Robeco articles’ (the 2nd edition) is now available. We’re delighted to present this book on factor investing, which brings together ten articles that Robeco researchers have published over recent years.

Oil is losing its power to shock

08-04-2016 | Monthly outlook | Lukas Daalder

Oil is losing its power to shock as its risks have been better discounted into financial markets, while the passing of time will bring the positive impact of lower oil to the fore, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

The dynamic duo: how to really understand the nature of your investment portfolio

07-04-2016 | Research | Alexander de Roode, Roderick Molenaar

The current volatile markets provide plenty of food for thought for investors. To make better-informed investment decisions, Robeco has further developed its Dynamic Strategic Asset Allocation and Stress Test tools. "These analyses help a professional investor to make his portfolio more robust to cope with different economic regimes.”

Omni channel retail: can ecommerce boost physical shops

06-04-2016 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma

In several parts of the world, including the US and certain European countries, the crisis has blown over and consumer confidence is returning, together with a strengthening housing market.

From the field: What’s driving the value premium?

06-04-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

The academic literature provides two competing theories on what drives the value premium: exposure to risk factors, or mispricing of securities.

Is local emerging debt on its way back?

05-04-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Paul Murray John

Having been cautious on the asset class for years, Robeco Global Total Return Bond Fund has recently built up a 6% position in local emerging debt.

The quarterly outlook for credits: we are on borrowed time

04-04-2016 | Outlook | Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

How much further can the US business cycle be extended? After seven years of economic expansion, profitability and leverage, data suggest that the end of this cycle is nearing.

Investors need to rethink demographics, says Credit Suisse expert

30-03-2016 | Insight

Investors need to rethink their entire views about demographics because the current pensions system is unsustainable, says population expert Amlan Roy.

Robeco GTAA: a complementary strategy to CTAs


In an environment of low yields, lower-than-average expected returns, rising volatility and increasing correlations between asset classes, investors are increasingly looking to diversify their portfolio away from their traditional equity and bond beta exposures.

Making the most of Momentum

29-03-2016 | Insight | Willem Jellema

There is strong evidence that momentum investing works, even though some critics claim that a stock’s past performance can’t be relied on to predict its future returns, and that momentum strategies can involve high turnover and the risk of a trend reversing.

Extensive engagements with Royal Dutch Shell

29-03-2016 | Insight | Sylvia van Waveren

Like many companies in the oil and gas sector, Shell is facing a constant stream of allegations related to environmental issues. Since the start of Robeco’s engagement programs in 2005, we have been in dialogue with this global energy company on several topics.

Five reasons why value will be back with a vengeance

24-03-2016 | Insight | Mark Donovan, David Pyle

Value investors have had a rough ride over the past 18 months, but the tide may now be turning due to five major catalysts, says US fund manager Mark Donovan.

From the field: Institutional investors cause stock return anomalies?

23-03-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

This study* shows that institutions typically trade on the wrong side of anomalies. For instance, they tend to buy growth stocks and sell value stocks, thereby going directly against the value anomaly.

Factor ETFs: Investors should tread carefully

22-03-2016 | Insight

While at Robeco we strongly believe in the benefits of taking a highly active approach to factor investing, there’s no denying that passive factor strategies are growing in popularity among many investors.

10 years of Conservative Equities Investing

21-03-2016 | Interview | Pim van Vliet, PhD

Pim van Vliet explains why Robeco’s Conservative Equities Strategy has been successful for 10 years. “Low-risk stocks paradoxically give high risk-adjusted returns.”

The era of index hugging is behind us

17-03-2016 | Insight | Peter Ferket

Rarely deviating from the index but charging for active management is something that ‘5 to 15% of active investment funds’ are guilty of, according to data published by the European financial watchdog ESMA in February. The regulator reviewed 260 investment funds, after the alarm was raised by Swedish investors.

Putting the promises of COP21 into practice

16-03-2016 | Insight | Dirk Hoozemans

Dirk Hoozemans, energy and utilities analyst within the Robeco Global Equities team, outlines why he is optimistic that the targets set at December’s climate change summit can be implemented.

Opportunities for high yield bonds

15-03-2016 | Insight | Sander Bus

Present-day volatile markets offer opportunities for high yield bonds in sectors where we see a change in management behavior, e.g. in metals & mining and in financials.

Four unjustified stress factors for high yield bonds

14-03-2016 | Insight | Sander Bus

Investors in high yield bonds should be careful that they do not get carried away by the unpredictable sentiment on financial markets. Sander Bus, Robeco High Yield Bonds portfolio manager, puts this investment category into perspective and looks ahead. "There certainly are investment opportunities among high yield corporate bonds, but it remains important to be selective."

ECB stimulus is ‘clever move’ to boost bank lending

10-03-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The European Central Bank’s latest stimulus package is a clever move to boost bank lending that was welcomed by markets, says Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

High yield remains our preferred risky asset

09-03-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

February was a month with two faces. The first part of the month was terrible for risky assets. At a certain moment it felt like we were reliving the financial crisis of 2008.

From the field: Systematic underestimation of mutual fund alphas

09-03-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

This study argues that because mutual funds often disappear following poor performance, some funds disappear because of bad luck and not because their true alpha is low.

Helicopter money flies into view

07-03-2016 | Monthly outlook | Lukas Daalder

Helicopter money is moving onto central banks’ radar as they run out of ammunition to stimulate economies, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

US election race swings in Clinton’s favor

02-03-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

The US presidential election race has turned in Hillary Clinton’s favor after she and her Republican rival Donald Trump won big victories in the ‘Super Tuesday’ primaries, says Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Robeco High Yield Bonds: getting more than you pay for

02-03-2016 | Insight | Sander Bus

In the volatile high yield bond market Robeco High Yield Bonds’ investment process has to prove its strength. Morningstar is convinced it can. “Because of its stable and experienced management team, solid track record and low costs, this fund deserves Morningstar’s Silver rating.”

Brexit: Balancing between country risk and currency tailwind

01-03-2016 | Insight | Mark Glazener

The chances of a Brexit still appear low, but the stakes are high. The polls show that a growing number of the British want to turn their back on Europe.

Brexit fears in credit markets 'are overblown'

01-03-2016 | Insight | Victor Verberk

Fears that the credit markets will be adversely affected much further by a Brexit are overblown, or at least have been priced in to a certain extent, as fundamentals are unchanged, says portfolio manager Victor Verberk.

Brexit unlikely, but what if…?

29-02-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

What are the odds that the UK will leave Europe on 23 June? And what will the potential impact thereof be? We asked Lukas Daalder, CIO Investment Solutions.

It's all about income and stable returns

25-02-2016 | Insight | Pim van Vliet, PhD

This year is the tenth anniversary of the launch of Robeco Emerging Conservative Equities. It is more than just a pure low-volatility fund.

Is the oil price finding a bottom?

23-02-2016 | Insight | Dirk Hoozemans

Oil prices are at record lows, having fallen to levels of before the Great Financial Crisis. Four major OPEC members recently announced a freeze in production. Will the oil price find a bottom this year?

Why a Conservative Equities strategy works in emerging markets?

22-02-2016 | Interview | Jan Sytze Mosselaar

Winning more by losing less, that’s the motto of Robeco’s conservative strategies. In this video Jan Sytze Mosselaar explains why this also works in emerging markets.

Flexible navigation through bond market turbulence

18-02-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt

The choppy financial markets of recent weeks were a test for the investment strategy of Robeco’s Global Total Return Bond Fund.

Successfully integrating sustainability

18-02-2016 | Insight | Edith Siermann

In an institutional masterclass on Asset TV a panel of industry experts discuss how they manage sustainability, how they select prospects and talk about their research process.

From the field: Characteristics of different low-volatility strategies

17-02-2016 | David Blitz, PhD

A study* by three Blue Sky pension provider researchers (Bastiaan Pluijmers, Imke Hollander and Ramon Tol) together with Dimitris Melas from MSCI compares the characteristics of nine different low-volatility strategies.

Integrated reporting: more than a box-ticking exercise

16-02-2016 | Daniëlle Essink, Johan van der Lugt

Integrated reporting, which combines financial and sustainability information, is starting to appear more on companies’ agendas. Although this is a step in the right direction, integrated reporting should not be the final objective, but rather a means of meaningful reporting, say financial analyst Johan van der Lugt and engagement specialist Daniëlle Essink.

Low-volatility evidence dating back to 1873

15-02-2016 | Insight | David Blitz, PhD, Pim van Vliet, PhD

As new historical databases are opening up, there are great opportunities for out-of-sample tests of market anomalies. Research shows that the volatility effect also existed in the 19th century.

Reducing our risk profile as markets sink

11-02-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

If you believe in the January effect – the predictive power of the returns of the first month for the rest of the year – it is clear that 2016 is not going to be a very pleasant experience for a substantial part of the financial markets.

Keep your nerve in high yield!

11-02-2016 | Insight | Sander Bus

Keep your nerve – and you will be rewarded in high yield bonds. That’s the core message from portfolio manager Sander Bus as macroeconomic fears continue to wobble the market.

Good prospects for prime retail and office space in 2016

10-02-2016 | Outlook | Folmer Pietersma

After a strong performance of over 10% in 2015, the global real estate sector still looks attractive. Especially the prime retail and office space will offer good opportunities

Are we seeing a turnaround for emerging markets in 2016?

09-02-2016 | Outlook

After three years of poor performance, senior European fund buyers and strategists are asking themselves if 2016 could possibly be the year when a little optimism might break out in emerging markets.

Beware the ‘self-fulfilling outcome’ of market sentiment

08-02-2016 | Monthly outlook | Lukas Daalder

Financial markets are in danger of creating a ‘self-fulfilling outcome’ that will send asset values even lower unless common sense breaks out, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

The rationale of a total return approach in bonds

05-02-2016 | Interview | Kommer van Trigt

When achieving maximized risk-adjusted returns, the Robeco Global Total Return Bond Fund offers the right combination of a global universe, a flexible investment style and no benchmark constraints.

Robeco Global Total Return Bond Funds leading approach to ESG integration

05-02-2016 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Rikkert Scholten

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

Google takes a bite out of Apple

04-02-2016 | Insight | Jack Neele

‘The king is dead. Long live the king!’ After years of being the company with the highest market value, Apple has been successfully dethroned by Google. Or rather, by Alphabet – as the company has officially been called since 2015.

No sugarcoating the facts for Bunge

04-02-2016 | Insight | Peter van der Werf

Following allegations of human rights and environmental breaches against the Brazilian subsidiary of Bunge, we started an enhanced engagement with this global agribusiness company in addition to our dialogue on challenges in the soy and palm oil supply chain. The company has taken decisive action, showing good progress on our engagement objectives.

Corporate governance in Japan

04-02-2016 | Insight | Michiel van Esch

Over the recent past Robeco has followed closely the developments that change the corporate governance landscape in Japan.

Engagement as a means to lower the carbon footprint of our portfolios

04-02-2016 | Insight | Sylvia van Waveren

When national governments are starting to actually implement global warming policies after COP21, stranded assets will become an unprecedented problem for sectors relying on fossil fuels.

Investors cheer Japan’s adoption of negative interest rates

29-01-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Japan’s surprise move to introduce negative interest rates will have little direct economic impact, but is great news for its battle against deflation and was cheered by investors, says Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Timing is everything in global bond markets

28-01-2016 | Insight | Olaf Penninga

Timing is everything in bond investing as yields constantly rise and fall, says portfolio manager and seasoned market watcher Olaf Penninga.

Buying opportunities arise in volatile high yield market

27-01-2016 | Insight | Sander Bus

The turmoil in financial markets sparked by Chinese growth concerns and the associated decline in commodity prices is causing investors to worry about the high yield credit market.

Robeco wins Savvy Investor award

26-01-2016 | In the news | Lukas Daalder

Robeco Investment Solutions has won the award for ‘Best Asset Allocation Paper 2015’ by research hub Savvy Investors.

Investment experts: investors should steer a pragmatic course

25-01-2016 | Interview

Investors are still operating in a difficult, volatile market. Investment strategists Han Dieperink (Rabobank), Nathan Levy (ING) en Pim Lausberg (ABN Amro) agree on this, but they also each add their own interesting nuances to the outlook for financial markets and investing.

Investing in digitalization: easier to avoid the losers than find the winners

21-01-2016 | Insight | Henk Grootveld

We are already digital consumers and we are set to become digital producers. We are connected to the digital financial network and have a digital doctor who keeps an eye on us. Digitalization is the engine for economic growth and Henk Grootveld explains how investors can take advantage of this.

Global economy: Down but not out

21-01-2016 | Outlook | Léon Cornelissen

“Things aren‘t going well, but apart from that everything’s fine.” According to Robeco board member Hester Borrie, this quote – from Gerard Reve’s book The Evenings – perfectly encapsulates chief economist Léon Cornelissen’s view on the situation in the global economy.

Check how susceptible your investment portfolio is to disruption

21-01-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

The digital revolution will be a game changer in relationships between macroeconomic factors such as production, consumption, labor and inflation. Lukas Daalder outlines the effects on investors. “The disruptive effect of digitalization promotes the case for active equity investing.”

Apple, Google and shale gas – all thanks to the government playing venture capitalist

21-01-2016 | Interview

Economist Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Economics of Innovation at the University of Sussex and author of 'The Entrepreneurial State' cannot repeat this often enough. Major innovators like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk are the heroes of their generation and yes, they have undeniably made a huge contribution, but the story we keep on telling each other isn't necessarily accurate.

2016: about blockchain, Solvency II and double digits

19-01-2016 | Outlook | Patrick Lemmens

After quite a volatile 2015 and a significant sell-off in December, we are rather optimistic on the outlook for financial equities in 2016, even seeing potential for double digit returns.

Fixed Income Quarterly Outlook Q1 2016: Be selective

19-01-2016 | Outlook | Kommer van Trigt, Paul van der Worp

How to navigate fixed income markets in the New Year? Being selective in terms of regions, sectors, maturities and seniority will grow in importance.

Africa: the next investment frontier

18-01-2016 | Insight

Although ‘Africa risk’ has increased because of falling commodity prices, investors should look through this short-to-medium-term macro turbulence and position themselves for a rebound.

The battle for the digital consumer

15-01-2016 | Outlook | Jack Neele, Richard Speetjens

The time when digitization was an activity for technology companies alone has gone. Technological innovation is no longer solely the domain of big internet companies and hip startups in Silicon Valley. More and more ‘normal’ companies, in a wide range of business sectors, are embracing technological developments.

New year fireworks, but we stick to our risk-on positioning

14-01-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

We can be relatively short with respect to our look-back assessment of 2015: disappointing.

Thirteen things that could move markets in 2016

13-01-2016 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

The annual predictions season officially kicked off the moment we tore the last page off our 2015 calendar. Anything from simply making future projections based on existing movements and trends to coming up with top-of-your-head ideas for ‘black swans’ – unexpected events that could have a major impact.

Unlocking global opportunities in equities

12-01-2016 | Interview

In a recent webinar, Funds Europe spoke to Chris Hart, portfolio manager of the Robeco Boston Partners Global Premium Equities Fund, about how he seeks to tap into global opportunities from a value and growth perspective.

Review: 'The Entrepreneurial State'

12-01-2016 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

How innovative should governments be? Very innovative, according to Mariana Mazzucato. Robeco’s chief economist Léon Cornelissen reviews her book The Entrepreneurial State.

The three things spooking markets: rational or not?

11-01-2016 | Monthly outlook | Lukas Daalder

Equities are being rattled by three fears that are leading to an overreaction in markets, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

China averts short circuit, markets relieved

08-01-2016 | Insight | Jaap van der Hart, Victoria Mio

On January 7, the A-share market fell sharply after the opening bell. This triggered the new circuit breaker mechanism which had been implemented on the first trading day of 2016, freezing trading on the stock markets for the second time this year.

Asia has what it takes to face the challenges of 2016

08-01-2016 | Insight | Arnout van Rijn

A stabilizing Chinese economy; a greater focus on corporate governance in Japan – and also in Korea and China; and less volatile currency markets, with no further depreciation of Asian currencies.

Factor investing needs an active approach

07-01-2016 | Insight

We talked to Mark Voermans, senior portfolio manager at APG Quantitative Equities and an early proponent of factor investing in the Netherlands.

Using ESG to assess the quality of Return on Equity

06-01-2016 | Insight | Johan van der Lugt

We firmly believe that ESG analysis, combined with traditional financial analysis, can offer investors powerful insights. With our proprietary Sustainable ROE Analyzer, we use ESG information to assess the quality and sustainability of Returns on Equity (ROEs) of property & casualty insurance companies

Forget China - it’s the US that really moves markets

05-01-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Chinese growth fears and Middle East tensions caused equity markets to open the new year with significant falls – but it is the US that investors should focus on, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

We keep our trading costs low

05-01-2016 | Insight | Edwin Scheffers

The Robeco Trading Desk executes around 22,000 quantitative equity orders a year. Robeco has traders in three different time zones around the world (Rotterdam, Boston and Hong Kong). This live presence enables us to monitor the executions closely and react immediately on price movements in stocks.

Trust is key in improving global access to healthcare

04-01-2016 | Interview | Stijn Vanacker

Distrust among the major protagonists in the healthcare supply chain is leading to costly inefficiencies for society. Better cooperation would have major long-term benefits for global access to care as well as innovation, says Stijn Vanacker, Healthcare Analyst in Robeco’s Global Equity team.

Graph of the year, part 3

31-12-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Countdown part 3: 6-1

Graph of the year, part 2

30-12-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Countdown part 2: 13-7

Acquisitions on the way in oil sector

30-12-2015 | Outlook | Mark Glazener, Michiel Plakman, Stijn Vanacker, Vera Krückel

Low rates, rising equity prices and large corporate cash positions have created a favorable climate for mergers and acquisitions over the last year. Over three articles, Robeco’s equity investors first review the year, then look forward to see what investors can expect in 2016. Part 3: developments in the oil and gas, consumer goods and technology sectors.

Graph of the year, part 1

29-12-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Countdown part 1: 20-14

Exciting year for pharmaceutical sector

29-12-2015 | Outlook | Dirk Hoozemans, Mark Glazener, Michiel Plakman, Stijn Vanacker, Vera Krückel

Low rates, rising equity prices and large corporate cash positions have created a favorable climate for mergers and acquisitions over the last year. Over three articles, Robeco’s equity investors first review the year, then look forwards to see what investors can expect. Part 2: not more acquisitions in pharma sector, but of a different type.

Wave of corporate acquisitions rolls on for now

28-12-2015 | Outlook | Mark Glazener, Michiel Plakman, Stijn Vanacker, Vera Krückel

Low rates, rising equity prices and large corporate cash positions have created a favorable climate for mergers and acquisitions over the last year. Over three articles, Robeco’s equity investors first review the year, then look forwards to see what investors can expect. Part 1: the wave of acquisitions in perspective.

Vaulting financial technology

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

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.

Using engagement to lower carbon footprints

23-12-2015 | Insight | Francis Condon, Sylvia van Waveren

Divesting fossil fuel companies from portfolios is not the most effective way to decarbonize portfolios, or deal with stranded assets, say RobecoSAM’s specialists.

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.

Sugar may become the new tobacco as health problems soar

22-12-2015 | Insight

Sustainability investors will face a new challenge in how they view sugar and the role played by processed food companies in portfolios, says US nutritional and pediatric expert Robert Lustig.

How lawyers can help combat climate change

21-12-2015 | Interview

Howard Covington was a founding shareholder and CEO of New Star Asset Management. He is now a trustee of ClientEarth, a not-for-profit environmental law group that uses the law to combat climate change.

South Africa: damage control after finance minister uproar

18-12-2015 | Insight | Cornelis Vlooswijk

On Sunday evening, December 13, South African president Zuma reappointed respected veteran Pravin Gordhan as finance minister to succeed David van Rooyen who had replaced Nhlanhla Nene three days earlier.

Fed ushers in a brave new world

17-12-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Lukas Daalder, Léon Cornelissen

Investors have woken up to a brave new world as the US Federal Reserve raised its interest rate for the first time in almost a decade.

Emerging markets may suffer most from US rate rise

17-12-2015 | Insight | Fabiana Fedeli, Kommer van Trigt, Lukas Daalder, Mark Glazener, Pim van Vliet, PhD

The long-awaited Fed rate rise will affect some asset classes more than others, with emerging markets rather than Western bonds bearing the brunt of it, Robeco’s portfolio managers say.

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.

Self-learning robots: indispensable friend or threat?

16-12-2015 | Insight | Henk Grootveld, Marco van Lent

Although some see robots as a threat, they may also provide a potential solution to current problems, such as the lack of care for an aging population. This was the idea behind a lecture by Pieter Jonker, professor of Vision-based Robotics at Delft Technical University, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the growth fund Rolinco.

China is a unique place of contradictions

16-12-2015 | Insight

China is a unique place of contradictions and risks that will continue to perplex the world as it further transforms, says economist Linda Yueh.

My personal journey into sustainability investing

15-12-2015 | Interview

Solange Rouschop, global head of investment services and sustainability at ABN AMRO Retail and Private Banking, outlined to a recent RobecoSAM forum how her journey into sustainability investing began with a newborn baby in a polluted Chinese megacity.

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