japanja
Anno Domini: the best reads of 2019

Anno Domini: the best reads of 2019

26-07-2019 | インサイト

What were the best-read stories on Robeco’s main website this year? They say that ‘great minds think alike’, and if that involves a subject close to Robeco’s heart – sustainable investing – then we find it hard to disagree.

Speed read

  • New Sustainability Inside book tops SI content best reads
  • Listen and learn: year saw the launch of Robeco podcasts 
  • Quant and trends investing themes among our top 12 stories 

SI superstar Amy Domini’s interview for the ‘Great Minds’ section of Robeco Quarterly was one of the highlights of an action-packed 2019 that also saw the launch of podcasts for those who prefer listening to reading.

Our repertoire of quant stories remained as popular as ever, while trends investing themes are rapidly rising up the agenda, and keeping an eye on what’s happening in macroeconomics remains important to readers. So, here’s our top 12 stories for the year to date in 2019.

最新の「インサイト」を読む
最新の「インサイト」を読む
配信登録

Why we have Sustainability Inside

Our piece de resistance as far as sustainable investing went in 2019 was the Sustainability Inside book. We embrace SI wholly; environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are integrated into the investment process for most Robeco funds. But why do we like it so much? For the first time, the book detailed everything that Robeco does in this field, from ESG integration and active ownership, to our global leadership in it, underpinned by a strong commitment to research.

But we’re not the only pioneers of SI; one such person who can claim to have been there at the very beginning is American investment guru Amy Domini. She’s been involved with it since the apartheid era of the 1980s, and assisted with the launch of Robeco’s first sustainable equities fund in 1999. In our exclusive ‘Great Minds’ interview, ‘Let’s use finance to make the world a better place’, she outlined how far she thinks SI has come, and what it still need to do to become more mainstream. 

One direction that SI is taking is in following the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Robeco and RobecoSAM developed a proprietary scoring system to calculate the contribution that companies can make to any one of the 17 goals. We then became one of the first asset managers to develop a means of investing in them via bespoke credits and equities funds. Our animated video, How to invest in the SDGs, explained how this can be done.

Meanwhile, perhaps the greatest issue facing SI (and the world in general) is combatting global warming. In a special edition of her column to mark a new climate accord signed by the Dutch financial industry including Robeco, Head of Sustainability Integration Masja Zandbergen explained how investors are ‘Addressing the climate emergency’. She argued that the language has changed to now use the word ‘emergency’, but progress is slowly being made.

Podcasts prove popular

The issue of changing times for the asset management industry was the subject of a podcast by Robeco’s Chief Investment Officer Peter Ferket. We began doing podcasts in 2019 as a means of addressing investors with more limited time, typically listening in during their commutes. In the May edition entitled ‘Asset management is all about intellectual property’, Ferket frankly discussed the trends facing the business, including the difficult issue of clients demanding lower fees.

And there can be fewer fields demanding a higher intellect than quantitative investing, which uses factors to find anomalies in markets. In the February podcast, Head of Quant Research David Blitz argued that ‘Factor investing is by no means a black box’, since the low-volatility, value or momentum styles all have their owns pros and cons. It depends what the investors is looking to achieve, particularly regarding risk and return.

The factors behind factors

The many facets of this were discussed by Blitz further in ‘The characteristics of factor investing’, a research paper in which he explained that to make the most of the different factors, understanding how each of them works was key. Each factor has different performance characteristics, which means using multi-factor models where their relative attributes can be blended sometimes makes for better-performing portfolios.

Blitz goes further still in explaining how factors work by zeroing in on the one that is perhaps the most mysterious – the low-volatility effect. Research has shown that stocks with lower volatility perform better than higher-risk stocks, when logically the reverse would be true. However, the explanation that investor appetite for higher-profile stocks is responsible is not true, Blitz explained in his analysis ‘Media spotlight does not drive the Volatility effect in equities’. Stirring stuff!

But are these factors here to stay, or just another market fad? In a ground-breaking new academic research paper, Robeco quant experts Guido Baltussen, Laurens Swinkels and Pim van Vliet argued that ‘Factors are a permanent feature of financial markets’. Their research looks at the evidence supporting the existence of various factor premiums across multiple asset classes using new and previously unused historical financial data.

Healthy lifestyles tops trends

Something that by definition is here to stay is a trend. Consumer preferences come and go, but some do stand the test of time, and investing in the right ones is the real skill behind trends investing. In his synopsis, ‘The key consumer trends of 2019 – health and wellness’, portfolio manager Jack Neele explained why millennials and the new Generation Z care about having a healthy lifestyle, and are willing to pay a premium for it. That provides opportunities for investors. 

Another hot trend for 2019 has been Chinese A-shares, which became more accessible to western investors, particularly after MSCI took an additional step to include mainland China stocks in its indices. This has led to ‘Five reasons to allocate to Chinese A-shares’ according to analysis by Jie Lu, Robeco’s Head of Research for China. A-shares are actually the world’s second-largest equity market after the US, though some risks remain, particularly regarding what is sustainable.

Finally, no investor’s reading list would be complete without being thoroughly briefed on what the US Federal Reserve may be planning this year. In a special story combining our usual monthly outlook with a Credit Quarterly, we warned of the likely short-term effects of ‘The Fed’s sugar rush rally’. Jamie Stuttard, co-Head of Robeco’s Global Macro team, advised investors that it would be easier to be long on 2-year Treasuries than in corporate bonds. 

More stories are available on www.robeco.com. We wish you happy reading for the remainder of 2019!

重要事項

当資料は情報提供を目的として、Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V.が作成した英文資料、もしくはその英文資料をロベコ・ジャパン株式会社が翻訳したものです。資料中の個別の金融商品の売買の勧誘や推奨等を目的とするものではありません。記載された情報は十分信頼できるものであると考えておりますが、その正確性、完全性を保証するものではありません。意見や見通しはあくまで作成日における弊社の判断に基づくものであり、今後予告なしに変更されることがあります。運用状況、市場動向、意見等は、過去の一時点あるいは過去の一定期間についてのものであり、過去の実績は将来の運用成果を保証または示唆するものではありません。また、記載された投資方針・戦略等は全ての投資家の皆様に適合するとは限りません。当資料は法律、税務、会計面での助言の提供を意図するものではありません。

ご契約に際しては、必要に応じ専門家にご相談の上、最終的なご判断はお客様ご自身でなさるようお願い致します。

運用を行う資産の評価額は、組入有価証券等の価格、金融市場の相場や金利等の変動、及び組入有価証券の発行体の財務状況による信用力等の影響を受けて変動します。また、外貨建資産に投資する場合は為替変動の影響も受けます。運用によって生じた損益は、全て投資家の皆様に帰属します。したがって投資元本や一定の運用成果が保証されているものではなく、投資元本を上回る損失を被ることがあります。弊社が行う金融商品取引業に係る手数料または報酬は、締結される契約の種類や契約資産額により異なるため、当資料において記載せず別途ご提示させて頂く場合があります。具体的な手数料または報酬の金額・計算方法につきましては弊社担当者へお問合せください。

当資料及び記載されている情報、商品に関する権利は弊社に帰属します。したがって、弊社の書面による同意なくしてその全部もしくは一部を複製またはその他の方法で配布することはご遠慮ください。

商号等: ロベコ・ジャパン株式会社  金融商品取引業者 関東財務局長(金商)第2780号

加入協会: 一般社団法人 日本投資顧問業協会