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Latest investment insights

The Risk-Return Paradox of Low-Volatility Investing

25-04-2017 | Insight | Pim van Vliet, PhD

In its Credit Quarterly Outlook, Robeco’s Credit team expects inflation to pick up. Monetary easing will end and wage inflation may eat into profit margins. This is good news for active managers. In the coming period, the team of Sander Bus and Victor Verberk aims to prove its added value by avoiding losers and identifying segments of the market that can still perform well in this environment.

French elections: short-term relief for the Eurozone

24-04-2017 | Insight | Léon Cornelissen, Lukas Daalder

Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the second round of the French presidential election on 7 May. This represents some short-term relief for markets, even though many challenges still lie ahead.

Robeco appoints Juan Carlos Briones Director, Consultant Relations

20-04-2017 | News item

Robeco is pleased to announce that Juan Carlos Briones has been appointed Director, Consultant Relations with immediate effect.

Boom & Bust

10-04-2017 | Insight | Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

In its Credit Quarterly Outlook, Robeco’s Credit team expects inflation to pick up. Monetary easing will end and wage inflation may eat into profit margins. This is good news for active managers. In the coming period, the team of Sander Bus and Victor Verberk aims to prove its added value by avoiding losers and identifying segments of the market that can still perform well in this environment.

To reflate or to stagnate – that is the question

10-04-2017 | Insight | Lukas Daalder

The reflation trade has dominated the financial markets over the past months. Has it been a temporary blip, or is there more to come?

Three ways to implement factors and smart beta

05-04-2017 | UK | Insight

Factor-based strategies and smart beta exploit proven factor premiums. Targeting these premiums can improve the risk-return profile of a portfolio. But practical implementation remains a puzzle for many investors.

Robeco comes second in European sustainability investing ranking

04-04-2017 | Insight | Bas Knol, Carola van Lamoen

Robeco has ranked second for sustainability investing in a survey of 40 of the largest asset managers in Europe by ShareAction.

UK triggers Brexit and starts divorce talks with EU

30-03-2017 | UK | Insight | Léon Cornelissen, Lukas Daalder

The UK government finally began the Brexit process for leaving the European Union, and now faces two years of tough talks with Brussels.

Factor investing challenges: unintended factor biases

14-03-2017 | Insight

Allocation to factors has become increasingly popular in recent years, but practical implementation remains a puzzle for many investors. Avoiding unintended factor biases often ranks amongst their top concerns.

Synchronized global recovery makes investors optimistic

07-03-2017 | UK | Insight | Lukas Daalder

A synchronized recovery in the world economy is making investors more optimistic, though there remain risks for equities, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

Practical implementation of credit factor strategies

02-03-2017 | UK | Insight | Mark Whirdy

Well-established factors, such as Low Risk, Value, Momentum and Size, generate economically meaningful and statistically significant premiums in credit markets. However, the peculiar structure of these markets entails challenges when it comes to implementing a strategy. We spoke with Mark Whirdy of our Factor Credits team about the way Robeco addresses these issues.

US Conservative: the best defense

01-03-2017 | UK | Insight | Jan Sytze Mosselaar

It is hard to predict when the present uptrend will end in the US, but it always pays to reduce volatility with a Conservative strategy.

Emerging markets first, despite Trump

27-02-2017 | UK | Insight | Fabiana Fedeli

After outperforming Developed Markets in 2016, the outlook for 2017 is positive too for Emerging Markets, says Robeco's Fabiana Fedeli. Despite Donald Trump.

Peter Walsh appointed as Head of Robeco UK

23-02-2017 | UK | News

Robeco today announces the appointment of Peter Walsh as Head of its UK business. In this role Peter Walsh will lead the overall sales and marketing efforts for the Robeco UK office and will also have responsibility for the operational management of the UK office.

Trump’s plans may be a net positive for US equities

15-02-2017 | UK | Insight | Chris Hart, Josh Jones

Plans by new US President Donald Trump to cut taxes and regulations may outweigh the costs of tariffs and be net positive for US equities, say Boston Partners’ portfolio managers.

High Yield Outlook: Winning by not losing is key

14-02-2017 | UK | Insight | Sander Bus

2016 was a very strong year for global high yield. Spreads tightened from 650 basis points to 400 basis points. The total return for the asset class was 15.0%, making it the best performing fixed income asset class in 2016. Out outlook for 2017 is more conservative, especially since we are so late in the credit cycle already.

Optimizing alpha in Core Quant Equity: it's about risk, risk, risk

13-02-2017 | Insight | Machiel Zwanenburg, Michael Strating

Risk management plays a central role in our Core Quant strategies. Key element is that we distinguish between risks we take to enable long-term risk-adjusted outperformance on the one hand, and unrewarded risks that we avoid on the other.

Research shows link between sustainability and competitiveness in mining

13-02-2017 | Iva Koçi, Jaap Smit

Robeco views sustainability as a long term-driver of companies’ performance. In a recent study, we find that miners with lower emissions per unit of material produced are also miners with a lower cost base. As investors, we therefore regard emissions per production unit as a valuable indicator of miners’ competitiveness.

Cyclical and value stocks may gain from Trump presidency

13-02-2017 | Insight | Brad Brezinski

Cyclical stocks may emerge as winners from the Trump presidency if his campaign promises on infrastructure and regulation come to fruition, says value equity specialists Boston Partners.

From the field: The virtue of patience

13-02-2017 | Research | David Blitz, PhD

In a previous study, Cremers showed that high active share funds (funds where the holdings differ substantially from those of their benchmark) beat the market on average, while low active share funds (closet indexers) do not. In this follow-up study* he shows that, among high active share

It’s the economy, stupid: markets will follow data, not Trump

07-02-2017 | UK | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Financial markets will continue to follow hard economic data rather than the latest rhetoric of President Trump in deciding asset values, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

The quarterly outlook for credits: Spectacularly wrong

06-02-2017 | UK | Insight | Sander Bus

Trump’s election will lengthen the business cycle, overheat the US economy and might trigger more Fed rate hikes. Corporate credit quality keeps deteriorating. Still, we need a bigger shock than Trump to derail global credit markets. The Fed might do it in the medium term. We remain positioned close to a neutral beta while trading the ranges in the short term.

A glittering decade for Robeco Emerging Stars

01-02-2017 | UK | Insight | Jaap van der Hart

It has been an eventful ten years for emerging markets. Marked by the rise of China, political turmoil, seesawing commodity prices, but also growth and positive market returns, according to Jaap van der Hart, portfolio manager of Robeco Emerging Stars Equities.

Higher yields are boosting financial credits

26-01-2017 | UK | Insight | Sander Bus

The recent rise in yields has boosted the performance of financial credits, the subordinated segment in particular. The insurance sector in particular can act as a great hedge for further rising yields, if and when this occurs.

Lifting the lid on factor investing

19-01-2017 | UK | Insight

Factor investing is becoming mainstream, but not everyone agrees on how it is defined, or what factors should be used. A recent round table by Pensions Age magazine brought together leading proponents in the field, including Joop Huij, head of factor investing research at Robeco.

Winds of change, as investors face optimistic 2017 but with Trump risks

09-01-2017 | UK | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Investors will see the ‘winds of change’ in 2017 and have reasons for optimism while facing new risks related to Trump, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

Concerns regarding the new Fama-French 5-factor model

21-12-2016 | Research

Nobel prize laureate Eugene Fama (pictured) and fellow researcher Kenneth French have revamped their famous 3-factor model by adding two new factors to analyze stock returns: Profitability and Investment. But this 5-factor model raises many questions.

Financials are back with a vengeance

13-12-2016 | Insight | Patrick Lemmens

Donald Trump’s election as the next president of the United States has firmly pushed up financial stock prices. Asset flows into the sector have picked up susbstantially.

WSDKWTWD – We Simply Don’t Know What Trump Will Do

09-12-2016 | Insight | Lukas Daalder, Max Schieler

President Trump will have to deal with many well-known acronyms when he takes office, including NAFTA and NATO. But here's a new one that is rather more difficult to pronounce, and which will worry markets rather more: WSDKWTWD.

Country Sustainability Ranking shows shifts in Europe

07-12-2016 | Insight | Max Schieler, Rikkert Scholten

Recently, the semi-annual update of the RobecoSAM Country Sustainability Ranking was released. It shows some notable shifts in Europe.

Corporate Risk Oversight in the Mining Sector – challenges of broad ESG risks

15-11-2016 | UK | Insight

A sound corporate risk oversight is relevant for the investment process in various ways. As risk taking can lead to both profits and losses, it’s important for investors to gain insight in the specific risks that are relevant for companies and the type of policies they use to mitigate those risks. The board of directors is responsible for determining the company’s risk appetite and overseeing that management has taken adequate risk management policies and procedures.

Trump’s rhetoric versus reality will center on three issues

14-11-2016 | UK | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

President Donald Trump will face three major issues when he takes office, as pre-election rhetoric turns into harsh economic reality, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

Investors should adopt a defensive stance to equities

09-11-2016 | UK | Insight | Mark Glazener

Investors should adopt a defensive stance towards stocks following the Republican landslide in the US elections, say Robeco’s equity portfolio managers.

Increased uncertainty after Trump triumphs

09-11-2016 | UK | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

Investors face increased uncertainty after Donald Trump was confirmed as the next President of the United States.

Bonds shrug off Trump's Brexit-style surprise win

09-11-2016 | UK | Insight | Kommer van Trigt

The reaction of bond markets to Donald Trump’s surprise victory was not as bad as the aftermath of the Brexit, and could eventually benefit fixed income investors, say Robeco’s fund managers.

Bond climate calls for unconstrained investing

03-11-2016 | UK | Insight | Victor Verberk

One of the biggest challenges facing fixed income investors today is how to achieve attractive returns in a dysfunctional market environment. In such a climate, global, unconstrained credit strategies can prove their worth, as they have the freedom to pursue opportunities throughout global credit markets, without being limited by traditional benchmarks.

From the field: Not only high-volatility stocks, but also options with lottery-like characteristics underperform

02-11-2016 | UK | Insight | David Blitz, PhD

One of the explanations for the low-volatility anomaly is that stocks with lottery-like characteristics (a small chance of experiencing a large positive payoff) are overpriced. This paper finds a similar result for stock options. The authors find that the degree of lottery-like features can explain differences in expected option returns between 10% and 50% per week.

America – a melting pot of opportunity mixed with stalemate

17-10-2016 | UK | Insight | Léon Cornelissen

America is a melting pot of opportunity mixed in with political stalemate that will give its new president a difficult path to steer, says Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen.

Europe-wide pension solutions are a godsend

14-10-2016 | UK | Insight | Jacqueline Lommen

The EU is pro-actively developing Europe-wide pension solutions with a view to supporting multinational companies, pension providers and individual citizens. New EU rules will make setting up and running cross-border occupational pensions funds (IORP) an even more realistic option. The proposed Personal European Pension Plan (PEPP) is an easy and cheap solution for individuals wishing to save.

Volatility sticks to the script in September

13-10-2016 | UK | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

Markets wake up from summer slumber

Sustainable Development Goals: an opportunity for investors

12-10-2016 | UK | Insight | Bas Knol, Matthias Narr

The UN has released the Sustainable Development Goals, asking the private sector to contribute as well. Asset managers such as Robeco cannot only make an important contribution, they can also benefit from the investment opportunities that arise.

Sustainability Investing in the UK: An Asset Owners Perspective

11-10-2016 | UK | Insight

Robeco’s first Insight Report which explores the sustainable investing landscape in the UK and the key themes driving its evolution.

Novel Japanese plans won’t solve underlying problems

10-10-2016 | UK | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

The Bank of Japan’s latest plans to stimulate the economy by controlling bond yields and targeting higher inflation won’t solve the underlying structural problems, warns Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

The quarterly outlook for credits: I buy when you buy

06-10-2016 | UK | Outlook | Sander Bus, Victor Verberk

Fundamentals have deteriorated and credit valuations are not very appealing either. But that does not matter anymore. There is only one trade and that is the Central Bank. Although we would rather be underweight risk, this very strong technical support keeps us neutrally positioned.

Benefiting from the Value factor in a fundamental credit strategy

04-10-2016 | UK | Insight | Reinout Schapers, Victor Verberk

Value investing has been researched extensively in equity markets and has recently been shown to exist in credit markets as well. In our fundamental Global Credits strategy, the Value factor also plays an important role. Here we look for cheap stocks with strong mean reversion potential.

It’s always darkest just before dawn

26-09-2016 | UK | Insight | Lukas Daalder

Every year Robeco takes a fresh look at the outlook for the global economy over the next five years. Our analysis gives a prognosis for the major asset classes and three potential scenarios (baseline, stagnation and high growth).

Factor investing versus sector investing

20-09-2016 | UK | Insight | Milan Vidojevic, Simon Lansdorp

A recent study suggests that sector investing does as well or even better than factor investing in a long-only context. We challenge this conclusion and show that an explicit allocation to well established factors yields better results than allocation to sectors.

Bank of England keeps rates on hold despite Brexit

20-09-2016 | UK | 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.

Wind of change

16-09-2016 | UK | Insight | Chris Berkouwer

The wind industry is past its growing pains. It hardly needs subsidies anymore and is showing much better returns on invested capital and free cash flow generation. It’s finally investment worthy.

Year to date: Successfully integrating sustainability

14-09-2016 | UK | 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.

Factor Investing with smart beta indices

14-09-2016 | UK | Insight | 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.

Integrating sustainability into factor credit strategies

13-09-2016 | Research | Frederik Muskens, Jeroen van Zundert, Mark Whirdy, Patrick Houweling, PhD

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?

No news is good news for markets

09-09-2016 | UK | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

The old phrase that ‘no news is good news’ has been working its magic in the markets lately – but it may be the calm before the storm, says Robeco’s Lukas Daalder.

Factor investing case studies – the merits of tailor made solutions

29-07-2016 | Insight | Chris Suiker, Joop Huij, PhD, Patrick Houweling, PhD

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.

Stock markets are too complacent about Brexit aftermath

11-07-2016 | UK | 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.

Implementing factor strategies in corporate bonds

07-07-2016 | 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.

Britons stun the world by voting to leave the EU

24-06-2016 | UK | Outlook | Léon Cornelissen

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

Financial markets get a ‘nasty surprise’ from Brexit vote

24-06-2016 | UK | Outlook | 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.

Stock markets caught between hope and fear

06-06-2016 | UK | 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.

Britons set to vote with their wallets against a Brexit

24-05-2016 | UK | 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.

Who’s to blame for volatility?

06-05-2016 | UK | 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?

Oil is losing its power to shock

08-04-2016 | UK | 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.

Brexit fears in credit markets 'are overblown'

16-03-2016 | UK | 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: Balancing between country risk and currency tailwind

15-03-2016 | UK | 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 unlikely, but what if…?

14-03-2016 | UK | Insight | Lukas Daalder

What are the odds that the UK will leave Europe on 23 June? And if this occurs what impact will it have? We asked Lukas Daalder, CIO Investment Solutions.

Helicopter money flies into view

07-03-2016 | UK | 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.

Reducing our risk profile as markets sink

11-02-2016 | UK | 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.

Beware the ‘self-fulfilling outcome’ of market sentiment

09-02-2016 | UK | 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 three things spooking markets: rational or not?

11-01-2016 | UK | Outlook | Lukas Daalder

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

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