Diverging tides for New Zealand and Australia

Diverging tides for New Zealand and Australia

Economic developments in Australia and New Zealand are not running in tandem. Strategist Peter van der Welle explains why. Read more ..

High yield is back at attractive levels

The market is again offering good returns thanks to central bank support and high investor demand, says portfolio manager Sander Bus.  Read more ...

Spotlight on New Zealand

Investing 'Down Under': see our latest Volvo Ocean Race e-magazine

The Volvo Ocean Race competitors have arrived at the fourth stopover port in Auckland after a month at sea sailing from China. Our new e-magazine focuses on the varied investment opportunities 'Down Under'. Read more ...

Low Vol

2015 Edition of the Low-Volatility Investing Book

A collection of 24 research articles focusing on the volatility effect.
Read more ...

Latest investment insights

Diverging tides for New Zealand and Australia

05-03-2015 | Insight | Peter van der Welle

Economic developments in Australia and New Zealand are not running in tandem. Commodity-price developments play a role, but this is not the only explanation, according to strategist Peter van der Welle.

Best economic links of the web

05-03-2015 | Lukas Daalder

Good morning. Peak life-expectancy, anyone?

Helping pension funds to ‘do something’ with sustainability

04-03-2015 | Insight | Lucas van Berkestijn

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

High yield is back at attractive levels

03-03-2015 | Insight | Sander Bus

The high yield bond market is again offering attractive returns thanks to central bank support and high investor demand, says portfolio manager Sander Bus.

Malaysia: a wealth of low-volatility stocks

03-03-2015 | Insight

Portfolio Manager Pim van Vliet discusses what makes many Malaysian stocks attractive for low-volatility investors.

E-magazine: Spotlight on New Zealand

02-03-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race competitors have arrived at the fourth stopover port in Auckland after a month at sea sailing from China.

Investment-fund industry needs ‘female touch’

27-02-2015 | Insight

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

Graph of the week

27-02-2015 | Lukas Daalder

Let's go back in time – to 1899. People had never heard of a World War, the UK dominated the world and Europe was the place to be for shares.

Dollar poses a challenge for Fed policy

26-02-2015 | Insight | Peter van der Welle

Looking back at 2014, one of the more remarkable developments in the financial markets was the comeback of the US dollar. And we have not seen the end of it yet, thinks Peter van der Welle, strategist at Robeco.

How do you assess the track record of a strategy?

25-02-2015 | Insight

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

The land of ESG confusion

25-02-2015 | Insight | Willem Schramade

In the Genesis video clip ‘The land of confusion’, the world is depicted by Spitting Image dolls of politicians who go about messing up the world in utter confusion. This video clip vividly came to mind when attending several ESG events.

Draghi casts the die

24-02-2015 | Opinion | Mark Glazener

Alea iacta est – that’s what ECB Chairman Mario Draghi must have been thinking when he announced the euro bond-buying program at the ECB’s press conference on 22 January 2015. The very same words uttered by his fellow countryman Julius Caesar in 49BC, when he crossed Italy's Rubicon river.

Higher returns thanks to ‘sin stocks’

20-02-2015 | Insight | Mark Glazener

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

Bond markets might surprise on the upside again

19-02-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt

The low yield environment has made some investors question the merits of investing in the bond market, believing that it would mean poor returns.

Global fund manager buys back into Europe

19-02-2015 | Insight | Chris Hart

Europe is now more attractive as certain stocks have become cheaper relative to their earnings potential, says US-based portfolio manager Chris Hart.

Video: Team Brunel in Sanya

19-02-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

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

How investors implement ESG

18-02-2015 | Insight | Bas Eestermans

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

Beauty and the beast of low-volatility investing

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

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

Hypochondria in Japan

17-02-2015 | Opinion | Arnout van Rijn

Suppose for a moment you are a Japanese investor. You don't believe in equities. Things were going okay some 25 years ago, but over the last ten years, it was basically a case of buying high and selling low. Even smart investors who bought in after the crash in the early nineties and didn't take any further action have gained nothing on balance.

Navigating through flexible bond funds

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

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

Real-estate rally still not run out of puff

13-02-2015 | Insight | Folmer Pietersma

Every Friday chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses thought-provoking topics with Robeco experts.

Finding business solutions to sustainability issues

13-02-2015 | Insight

Markus Reichling is the European General Manager for Environmental Affairs at Panasonic, the Japanese electronics manufacturer. In this article he reveals how one of the world’s largest companies is developing modern business solutions for age-old sustainability problems, particularly in consumer products such as light bulbs.

Is rebalancing the source of factor premiums?

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

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

The mass food system under stress

12-02-2015 | Insight | Vera Krückel

Health & wellness considerations are increasingly important in a world where salt, sugar and fat (SS&F) make up the majority of packaged foods. Reducing SS&F is a challenge for food manufacturers because of costs and picky taste buds. Ingredient companies hold the key.

Fresh opportunities in Asia

11-02-2015 | Insight | Arnout van Rijn

Robeco’s Asian equities team is more bullish on the region’s stocks than before, thanks to improved prospects for the China market.

How investors implement ESG | Advance February 2015

11-02-2015 | Magazine

How do investors implement ESG? Opinions as to what counts as ESG differ widely, from exclusions to engagement. Our latest Advance sustsianability magazine analyzes the issue in depth.

Winter is coming for TV advertising

10-02-2015 | Insight | Jack Neele

Advertising revenues are shifting away from TV commercials. Portfolio Manager Jack Neele sees three main issues for investors.

China's mouth-watering investment opportunities

10-02-2015 | Insight | Dieter Küffer

Water is a precious resource in short supply. Long-term trends such as population growth, increasing water consumption per person, and pollution are major drivers of water scarcity. This is aggravated by an inadequate water infrastructure.

Just how much lower can bond yields go?

09-02-2015 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Bond yields may not have bottomed out, and negative yields are not necessarily a bad thing for certain investors, says Robeco’s multi-asset investment head, Lukas Daalder.

Views of pension fund participants important for the discussion on ESG

09-02-2015 | Insight

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

Active funds should nail their colors to the mast

06-02-2015 | Insight | Peter Ferket

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

Riding the Chinese e-commerce boom

05-02-2015 | Insight | Victoria Mio

China’s rapid growth is now being fueled by e-commerce as the country becomes more consumerist, says Chinese Equities portfolio manager Victoria Mio.

Strong performance for duration model over 2014

05-02-2015 | Research | Olaf Penninga

Government bonds posted strong returns in 2014 as yields declined in the US, Germany and Japan. The duration model performed well as it captured these moves in the second half of the year and in the first months as well.

Where are we headed in 2015?

04-02-2015 | Insight | Mark Glazener

The year has only just started but it already seems to have lasted an eternity. The oil price has not rebounded and interest rates have just carried on falling. The equity markets experienced corrections, but bounced back just as quickly. What else does 2015 have in store for us?

The importance of good data in selecting stocks

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

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

China goes for 'gently does it'

02-02-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Chinese economic reforms continue, but the authorities are going about it carefully. After all, they don't want to risk missing their growth targets. Oil-price declines and the US growth recovery are providing some welcome wind in China's wings.

Robeco High Yield Bonds performs well in a challenging 2014

02-02-2015 | Insight | Sander Bus

Robeco High Yield Bonds recorded a total return of almost 4% gross of fees over 2014, outperforming its underlying benchmark by 150 basis points . Over a three-year period, the fund also recorded a remarkable performance of 9.97%% annualized, against 8.54% for the benchmark. This puts it in top place amongst its peers (source: Morningstar).

The time for sitting back and relaxing is over

30-01-2015 | Insight | Jeroen Blokland

On Fridays chief editor Peter van Kleef discusses 'thought-provoking topics' with Robeco experts. This week: the end of the 60/40 era.

E-magazine: Spotlight on China

30-01-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race competitors have arrived at the third stopover port in Sanya, southern China, after a month at sea sailing from Abu Dhabi. Our new e-magazine focuses on opportunities in China and Asia, one of the greatest growth areas in the world. Find out why China has adopted a ‘gently does it’ strategy; how e-commerce is leading growth as a cultural lifestyle; and why we believe some things are more equal than others.

Two takeaways from the 2015 outlook

29-01-2015 | Insight

What are the main themes for both the equity and bond market in the Robeco outlook 2015 – and what funds are well equipped to play these ideas?

Bigger screens means bigger profits for Apple

28-01-2015 | Insight | Jack Neele

Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 has generated spectacular success that has restored the company’s fortunes, says Robeco’s consumer expert, Jack Neele.

QE won't work in the Eurozone, say Robeco investors

28-01-2015 | Insight | Arnout van Rijn, Chris Hart

Full-blown quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) is unlikely to save the struggling Eurozone economy, say two senior investors at Robeco.

India 2015: Bigger and better

27-01-2015 | Press release | Nimesh Chandan

In the 2014 General Elections the Indian Republic delivered a strong mandate to a single party for the first time in 30 years.

Euro area: a frozen economy

26-01-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt, Machiel van de Groes, Paul van der Worp

In its outlook for the first quarter of this year, Robeco’s Fixed Income Allocation team shares its views on Treasuries, credits and emerging debt.

Review 2014 by Robeco CEO Roderick Munsters

26-01-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen, Roderick Munsters

I am pretty comfortable looking back at the year 2014, says Robeco CEO Roderick Munsters. Find out why he expects more volatility this year.

‘European leaders have to explain what is at stake’

26-01-2015 | Insight

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission until November last year, thinks that Europe would benefit from further economic and political integration.

Outlook for 2015

26-01-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

2014 has been an exceptional year for investors, says Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen. What are the investment opportunities and risks in 2015?

Experts are divided on the Fed's influence in 2015

26-01-2015 | Insight

What effect will the divergent policies of the Fed and the ECB have in 2015? Robeco expects that this could have a negative influence on the stock markets, while two major banks have a different opinion.

'Making the best of capitalism'

23-01-2015 | Insight

Capitalism is a complex system and easily misunderstood. But it’s still the best we have available, says economist and bestselling author Ha-Joon Chang. There is the constant necessity to improve it, though.

ECB surprises, but it is not a real game changer

22-01-2015 | News item | Lukas Daalder

The European Central Bank, as expected, introduced QE to the European markets. And it came with a positive surprise.

Video: Team Brunel in Abu Dhabi

21-01-2015 | Volvo Ocean Race

Robeco quant EM equities outperforms generic factor indices

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

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

China bull can continue to rage

16-01-2015 | Outlook | Victoria Mio

The Shanghai stock market ended 2014 with an impressive 53% gain for the year, but Victoria Mio, portfolio manager Robeco Chinese Equities, thinks the rally can continue. According to Mio the past year marked ‘the beginning of a multi-year bull market’ in Chinese A-shares.

Is European unity in jeopardy?

15-01-2015 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Former European Commission President Barroso thinks that Europe should bridge its internal differences. Unity seems a long way off – with controversy over budget policy and threat of British and Greek secession from the union. Why is Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen not too worried about these issues?

Toxic chemicals a lion in the cage or in the wild

14-01-2015 | Insight

Intensified legislation on toxic chemicals impacts chemical manufacturers and retailers. As consumer awareness grows, these companies are evaluating the negative implications of hazardous chemicals for their image and competitiveness. At the same time, they are investigating opportunities to develop less toxic alternatives. We believe investors should be considering these implications in their analysis. The topic provided a nice platform for trying a new engagement tool: a roundtable with chemicals companies.

Key consumer developments to watch in 2015

13-01-2015 | Outlook | Jack Neele, Richard Speetjens

Consumer spending in developed markets will continue to grow at a relatively slow but sustained pace. This calls for a more focused investment approach.

Emerging credits: separate the wheat from the chaff

12-01-2015 | Insight | Reinout Schapers

With the rally in stock markets entering a new, more volatile phase Robeco Asset Allocation has taken some risk off the table.

Why low-volatility investing is exciting and important

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

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

Smart credit investing: harvesting factor premiums

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

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

Happy new investment strategy

09-01-2015 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

With the rally in stock markets entering a new, more volatile phase Robeco Asset Allocation has taken some risk off the table.

Secular stagnation isn’t a bad thing for bonds

07-01-2015 | Insight | Kommer van Trigt

Secular stagnation in Europe is not necessarily a bad thing for bonds, says Rorento’s portfolio manager, Kommer van Trigt.

Factor investing works

06-01-2015 | Interview

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

The Gulf: Gateway between East and West

05-01-2015 | Insight | Rob Schellekens

Huge growth in the airline industry in the Gulf States has had a major impact on the local economy. The construction and financial sectors offer interesting investment opportunities.

Fundamental Law of Active Management shows way to higher information ratio

05-01-2015 | Insight

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

Low-Volatility Investing: Collected Robeco Articles

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

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

Economics is too important to leave to the experts

30-12-2014 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Robeco Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen discusses the book Economics – The User's Guide written by the development economist Ha-Joon Chang. Chang is one of the main speakers at Robeco Live, the event where Robeco explains the investment outlook for 2015. “Chang has succeeded admirably in his ambition to write an accessible introduction to economics,” says Cornelissen.

Sensible approach to rising interest rates

22-12-2014 | Insight | Jaap Hoek, Lukas Daalder, Remmert Koekkoek

How should pension funds deal with the risk of rising interest rates on the capital markets? Is it sensible to hedge interest rates or should we focus more on inflation risks? Three experts highlight the interest rate related issues for pension funds in the light of the new Financial Assessment Framework.

The boomerang effect of reducing corporate tax liabilities

22-12-2014 | Opinion | Mark Glazener

Sooner or later companies that avoid paying tax will have to face the music, says fund manager Mark Glazener. A low tax liability may create value for shareholders, but it also brings risks.

Disentangling Rebalancing Return

19-12-2014 | Research | Winfried Hallerbach, PhD

The use of portfolio rebalancing as a profitable strategy (or ‘volatility harvesting’) is a hot topic. Indeed, it is interesting to know what the impact of periodic rebalancing is on the growth rate of a portfolio.

Risk Parity versus Mean-Variance: It’s all in the Views

19-12-2014 | Research | Winfried Hallerbach, PhD

The key problem in portfolio optimization is not per se the optimization itself, but the specification of the inputs, notably the views on ex-ante risk premia.

The year of the sheep

18-12-2014 | Outlook | Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

In China, 2015 is the year of the sheep. It’s an animal liked by most people, white and soft, and associated with positive things. At the same time a flock of sheep has a tendency to herd. That is what is happening in markets as well. Markets are positive, equity markets set new highs, and most people might be long credit risk too given a long period of low yielding alternatives. Robeco’ Credit team still considers this the correct position going into 2015.

Hon Hai pressed for better governance and labor standards

18-12-2014 | Insight | Carola van Lamoen, Peter van der Werf

As a sustainable investor, Robeco is convinced that engaging with companies on the most material sustainability issues enhances their competitiveness and profitability. In addition, it generates measurable benefits for investors and society as a whole. A good example is our current engagement with Taiwanese electronics company Hon Hai.

Team Brunel wins second leg of Volvo Ocean Race

16-12-2014 | Volvo Ocean Race

Team Brunel, the Dutch boat sponsored by Robeco in the Volvo Ocean Race, has won the second leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi.

E-magazine: Spotlight on Abu Dhabi

16-12-2014 | Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race competitors have arrived at the second stopover port in Abu Dhabi, ending a leg that was won by Robeco-sponsored Team Brunel.

Three implications of the current low oil prices

15-12-2014 | Insight | Peter van der Welle

The oil price has reached its lowest level in five years and Brent crude fell as low as USD 65. The lower oil price has been welcomed in the West, but it is having a major effect on some OPEC countries. The pain within OPEC – which includes the United Arab Emirates – is not evenly divided, as some can cope with depressed prices better than others. However, the effects of a lower oil price on bonds and equities are mostly positive, explains strategist Peter van der Welle.

Kommer’s 2015 outlook on fixed income

11-12-2014 | Interview | Kommer van Trigt

Kommer van Trigt, portfolio manager Rorento – Total Return Bond Fund, reflects on macro-economic developments, the opportunities in the bond market and the need for a flexible approach.

Short-term stock selection model boosts performance Enhanced Indexing

11-12-2014 | Research | Michael Strating, Weili Zhou, CFA, Wilma de Groot, CFA

Robeco Enhanced Indexing invests in global developed markets equities, and has a low tracking error against its benchmark, the MSCI World index. In recent years, performance has been strong. In this article we focus on one element that distinguishes Robeco’s strategy from those of others: our short-term stock selection model (SHOT).

Testing the simplest asset allocation rule: 1/N

04-12-2014 | Insight

An important decision investors have to make, is how to allocate their assets. They need to strike a balance between risk and expected return in order to realize their financial goals.

Europe is already beyond Japan's ‘lost decade’

03-12-2014 | Interview

Richard Koo, chief economist of the Nomura Research Institute, was a keynote speaker at a recent conference for Robeco’s investment professionals. In this Q&A he explains why Europe’s situation is already worse than Japan’s ‘lost decade’ and why he believes QE is not the answer unless the issue of deleveraging is addressed.

SI fund classification now publicly available for all Robeco funds

03-12-2014 | Insight | Michiel van Esch, Peter van der Werf

Aiming to be fully transparent on the degree of ESG integration in its investment portfolios, Robeco has included an SI fund classification on the factsheets of all its individual funds.

Time to catch up this winter

02-12-2014 | Magazine

It’s almost the end of the year, and the holidays are approaching, so it’s the idea opportunity to catch up on our best stories in 2014.

Switching from High Yield to Equities

01-12-2014 | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

What started out as a gradual decline in the oil price has in recent weeks developed into a real selling frenzy. Since mid-June, oil prices have dropped by 40%. Last week’s decision by OPEC not to cut production levels was the final straw that pushed oil below the USD 70 mark, the lowest level since 2009. There were two main reasons behind this correction – declining demand due to the weak growth prospects of the world economy and rising supply linked to the shale gas revolution in the US.

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