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With the first jobs release of 2020 being published tomorrow, investors will be paying more attention than usual. Last October, Claudia Sahm, a former Federal Reserve economist, developed a new, and remarkably simple, measure of recession risk based on the unemployment rate.
The recent Middle East confrontations between the U.S. and Iran has done little to permanently push up the price of oil. Oil prices spiked on the days when there were acts of aggression, but quickly retraced as the other side contained its response. Was this moderation in oil volatility the result of adept diplomacy, or is it a more structural reduction in geopolitical risk?
Superbugs that resist treatment and spread rapidly like Coronavirus always catch the headlines. The market impact of most viruses tends to be intense, but it soon fades. However, this round is different, and investors could be underestimating the longer-term impact of this latest health emergency on global supply chains.
With another uneventful earnings season coming to a close, the long stretch of near-record corporate profit margins is making investors nervous that a correction is brewing. That anxiety seems overdone. There is mounting evidence that large U.S. companies are more resilient than ever.
Last week, the Federal Reserve System (Fed) surprised markets with an emergency 50 basis point (bps) cut. While this policy-easing will do little to stall the Coronavirus, it can support financial conditions and bolster liquidity by making it easier for consumers and small businesses to avoid a cash crunch.
The full effect of social distancing won’t be reflected in tomorrow’s tally of March’s U.S. non-farm payroll numbers, but it will signify the start of a historic period of unemployment. Jobless claims – which provide a real-time measurement – have already skyrocketed, and millions more could lose their jobs as COVID-19 continues to stifle activity. As reported, many of those impacted work for small businesses or are self-employed.
The global COVID-19 pandemic is unequivocally a black swan: a rare, but devastating event. Economists often draw parallels to wars and natural disasters to model the outcomes of pandemics, but while the analogy is apt in terms of human suffering, the economic aftermaths are different.
The global economy is entering what may be the deepest recession since the 1930’s. Today’s non-farm payroll numbers underline the scale of the financial crisis the U.S. is now facing. The 14.7% unemployment rate is undoubtedly higher as the report cuts off in mid-April while new jobless claims persist.
As the world starts to re-open, most economists agree that a V-shaped recovery looks unlikely. There won’t be a return to “normal” for a while. However, the investment themes that will drive performance over the next decade are already emerging. Investors who are quick to adapt to the post-crisis landscape should have a market edge.
As unemployment spiked this spring, the U.S. government put its faith in the $500 billion of loans to small businesses from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Yet this huge wave of stimulus did little to secure jobs, according to preliminary results from a study by economist Raj Chetty and his team at Harvard.
While the outlook for the pandemic remains unclear, demand has been strong as investors remain attracted to the incremental yield and structural protections offered by investment grade private credit.
President Donald Trump’s chances of keeping his job were a lot higher before a global health crisis reached the U.S. With COVID-19 battering the economy, public sentiment is rapidly shifting towards Democrat and Former Vice President Joe Biden – a pragmatic moderate who now holds a double-digit lead in national polls.
The U.S. and China relationship remains tense. The global devastation of Covid-19 provided a flashpoint for recriminations as countries quarrel about who should have done more. Geopolitical risks rise further as Americans go to the polls in November and China’s President, Xi Jinping, aims to sustain nationalism as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
In the press conference following today’s FOMC meeting led by Federal Reserve Chair, Jerome Powell, the shift in policy is an admission that there was more labor market slack than models or policy makers imagined over the last several years.
Examining market swings before COVID-19, during the peak of market panic and today, reveals how certain portfolio allocations and different asset classes performed during this period of volatility and the implications for defined benefit plan sponsors.
Recent research based on investment performance from 1906 through to 2008 makes a compelling case that investors could learn a lot from U.S. university endowments.
Book yield has continued to erode for many P&C insurers. They are desperately looking for new capital efficient investment strategies to help alleviate future income concerns against the backdrop of a “lower for longer” environment.
Bitcoin emerged from the scars of the 2008 financial crisis as distrust in governments and central banks inspired the digital currency to thrive outside the establishment. Unlike traditional currencies backed by sovereign credit and taxing authority, Bitcoin has no equivalent support. This push for monetary independence found early adopters in those that wanted to transact anonymously. Then with time, it captured broader investor interest. Yesterday, Tesla announced that it has bought $1.5 billion of bitcoin, which it plans to accept as payment.
Economic history shows a remarkable pattern of broad themes that play out over decades. Each subsequent shift to a new phase is usually accelerated by innovation or a geopolitical shock. These transitions usually have fundamental impacts on growth, inflation and asset prices.
Investment grade private credit continues to be seen as an attractive asset class. Year-in and year-out, throughout business cycles, and even pandemics. It can be a great diversifier in a portfolio, can demonstrate solid relative value and can benefit from covenants and structural protections.
If there is one fear that seems to constantly haunt investors, it is that latent inflation flares up and flattens markets. Most central banks in developed economies look to target a 2% inflation rate and have, over the last several decades, succeeded in anchoring investor expectations.
As we look forward to an uncertain route out of the pandemic, we believe that long duration credit portfolios that marry strong credit research with efficient, nimble active management can help investors outperform their benchmarks across market cycles.
The most prominent commodity index, the S&P GSCI, is up over 86% since last March. While most markets have roared back since the depths of the COVID-19 market scare, commodities have been a frontrunner in the recovery. Talk of a commodity supercycle is already heating up, but investors should be careful not to overreact to recent data. Some commodities are notorious for fleeting booms and busts and typically need fundamental shifts in demand or supply to elevate prices for an extended period.
Learn how Randy Brown, Head of Insurance Asset Management at SLC Management and Chief Investment Officer at Sun Life, is thinking about the crises of today when incorporating ESG factors into investment portfolios.
Learn how the asset class performed in Q1, the outlook for Q2 and the three reasons why investment grade private credit can be more liquid than you might have assumed.
Successfully integrating ESG factors throughout a portfolio is even more critical as insurers and investors seek to sustainably achieve their risk-adjusted return and income objectives in today’s persistent low-rate environment.
Investment grade private credit has been a major investment theme for U.S. insurers of all types. The asset class can offer additional yield, diversification and risk charges similar to that of a public corporate bond.
In the league of elite investors, few can rival the late David Swensen, former head of the Yale Endowment. As Chief Investment Officer of this multi-billion dollar fund, he delivered top performance over multiple decades, and his investing style influenced an entire industry. Swensen’s innovative and rigorous approach to asset allocation and expanding its range was revered, with others rushing to replicate it. This approach became known as the “Yale Model”, and revolutionized endowment investing.
Learn how the proposed changes to Risk-Based Capital charges are good news for life company real estate allocations.
Synthetic equity is the replacement of a cash equity exposure (such as ETFs) with equity futures contracts. By using this strategy, an investor frees up cash that can be better used to meet strategic mandates.
Institutional investors may carry cash in their portfolios for a variety of reasons, but often it is for liquidity. A cash equitization overlay program can provide liquidity without cash drag on a portfolio’s performance. This program replicates the macro market exposure of the policy portfolio, aiming to improve portfolio return and reduce tracking error over the long term.
Microchips are the workhorses of the digital economy. Though they spend most of their time hidden under the hood of devices, supply disruptions get noticed quickly. Right now, the car industry is scaling back production as it waits for chip manufacturers to restock. Production of smartphones, gaming equipment, and home appliances are also feeling the pinch as chip manufacturers struggle to meet demand.
Learn how the asset class performed in Q2, the outlook for Q3 and from where the yield advantage in investment grade private credit is derived.
Institutions with inflation-linked liabilities can choose to manage that risk in a variety of ways. Assets like equities and real estate tend to implicitly offset inflation risk over time, while inflation-linked bonds can provide a more direct exposure to realized changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Candy Shaw, Senior Managing Director, Deputy Chief Investment Officer at SLC Management, discusses diversity, equity and inclusion challenges in the asset management industry and what can be done to make meaningful progress.
Inflation tends to top the list of economic risks that investors obsess most about. After all, runaway inflation has devastated some economies over the centuries. Corralling inflation and keeping expectations well-anchored have been key mandates for most central banks for decades. However, inflation expectations are not uniform across age groups.
The Special Financial Assistance (SFA) program aims to top-up underfunded multi-employer plans and nudge them towards a liability driven investment approach. Given the significant impact of these funds, as well as the restrictions attached, plan sponsors may want to revisit asset allocation decisions at a total plan level to ensure an efficient approach.
Learn how the asset class performed in Q3, the outlook for Q4 and the three reasons why intermediate duration private credit is an overlooked opportunity.
With the proliferation of cryptocurrencies, governments are grappling with the challenge of regulating these new currencies. And in concert, central banks are struggling with the inevitability that cash in circulation continues its decline as electronic payments surge. To maintain relevance, central banks feel pressure to offer their own digital coin.
After spending most of 2021 wondering if inflation would be transitory or persistent, consensus thinking as we begin 2022 is that it is here to stay. With insurers likely to feel the pain on both sides of their balance sheets if inflation remains elevated, it’s no surprise that this topic is top of mind for insurance investment staff as they assess how to position their portfolios in preparation of this growing threat.
Learn how the asset class performed in Q4 2021, the outlook for Q1 2022 and how issuance and new buyers were key trends in 2021, and our thoughts on the market in 2022.
Recent proposals from the Securities Valuation Office (SVO) aim to bring additional scrutiny to the ratings of private credit securities. While implementation of any new regulation is still someway off, we don’t believe the proposals will end up impacting traditional private placements.
Randy Brown, Chief Investment Officer at Sun Life & Head of Insurance Asset Management at SLC Management, provides his thoughts on how the Russia/Ukraine conflict is impacting our global macro views.
BentallGreenOak discusses the decline of the pandemic and resultant economic expansion; digitization and technological disruption; demographics, labor, and housing affordability; and how all these forces are driving and disrupting the real estate space.
In the midst of economic transition, investors continue to seek out private credit for its attractive risk-return profile, consistent yield premium to public fixed income markets, and low default rates. What does this period of change and volatility mean for a private credit manager? And what should investors be on the lookout for when evaluating private credit opportunities in today’s market?
The first quarter of 2022 saw extreme volatility in public fixed income markets. However, amidst this surging volatility, private credit market issuance has remained steady due to the unique supply/demand dynamics of the market.
Rates have been driven higher as inflation and inflation fears have spooked investors. The rate rise has led to improved funded status across most corporate DB plans and our conversations with clients have been focused primarily on two things to do with their hedging portfolio: de-risk and diversify.
As recession is front of mind for investors across the globe, we believe now is the time for bond buyers to reconsider municipals.
In the last few years as more plans have matured and moved down their glidepaths, we have seen a surge of interest in asset classes that fall in the grey areas between the growth and hedging buckets. These asset classes can come with higher return expectations, additional diversification benefits and varying degrees of liability hedging attributes.
In this extraordinary time of market transition, private credit appears uniquely positioned to remain resilient and capitalize on compelling investment opportunities and higher returns generated by volatility and dislocations in the public markets.
A combination of high inflation, aggressive monetary policies and a possible recession may have left investors with questions on how to best adjust their investment strategy. SLC Management explores how different asset classes have performed in such inflationary conditions and provide insights into the current environment.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently held its Summer National Meeting and provided updates regarding proposals related to insurance company investments.
BentallGreenOak recently released its 2022 Corporate Responsibility Summary, which highlights the organizations’ approach to ESG, diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as philanthropy.
A key area of interest at the NAIC's Summer National meeting was the potential changes in regulatory treatment of collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) held on insurance company balance sheets. The details regarding the recommendation will not be available until later this year, but a few key themes have emerged.
Learn more about three rising rates considerations for fixed income investors.
The search for yield and diversification has made real estate an increasingly popular alternative asset class for insurers.
We are pleased to present our first-ever mid-year investment outlook for 2022. This report includes our macroeconomic views for the rest of the year, as well as our expectations for public and private fixed income, real estate, infrastructure, insurance asset management, and retirement plan solutions.
In Q2, while volatility was high and other markets closed, the investment grade private credit (IGPC) market continued to execute transactions in the face of a myriad of headwinds. Dissecting this year’s issuance, we are seeing some interesting trends, including a shift in terms and industry participation.
The third quarter of 2022 was a continuation of the challenges seen all year as the U.S. Fed continued to combat inflation with significant rate increases, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and deteriorating global growth prospects.
Issuance in Q3 was weaker amid the rise in interest rates and market volatility. However, we are also seeing interesting opportunities emerge among sound European and U.K. issuers looking outside their regional public bond markets. And as October action winds up in the world of professional sports, we are reminded of the select robust private credit opportunities in this market.
Treasury and credit markets continued to be highly volatile in October thanks to a combination of inflation, aggressive central bank actions and recession concerns. These conditions, however, meant continued opportunities for the Multi-Asset Credit strategy group.
Today’s environment of rising interest rates has injected considerable uncertainty into fixed income allocations for institutional portfolios. This may lead to suboptimal portfolio positionings, such as effectively remaining on the sidelines with significant allocations to cash and/or low-yielding securities, or otherwise not investing effectively against the backdrop of rising rates.
Treasury and credit markets continue to be highly volatile, with inflation, aggressive central bank action and recession fears dominating headlines. However, we continue to take advantage of market volatility though security selection and relative value trading.
2022 marks a historically poor year for Treasury and credit markets, dominated by aggressive tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve in efforts to moderate inflation.
Issuance in Q4 was an improvement from the previous quarter, but lagged year on year. In total, 2022 is expected to be either the second or third largest issuance year on record, albeit behind a record-setting 2021. The issuance pipeline in 2023 could be more uncertain due to rising rates and recession concerns, although volumes could be aided by postponed deals from 2022 transpiring in the new year. Amid increased interest in private credit, we offer insights into the specialized operational nature of these investments.
We are pleased to present SLC Management’s investment outlook for 2023. This report reflects the diverse viewpoints of our investment teams and solutions providers, with analyses of public and private fixed income, real estate, infrastructure, insurance asset management and retirement plans.