What an interesting month February turned out to be, as the AsianInvestor team spoke to some heavyweights in pension funds, insurance, and family offices.
The topics ranged from asset allocation and efforts to extract accurate ESG data to the expanding number of family offices in Singapore.
Here is our specially curated list of some of the big names we wrote about over the month.
British life insurer Prudential will continue to diversify into the private markets in 2023, with a focus on ESG-themed assets like private equity impact funds, green real estate, and blended financing investments.
“An alternative portfolio can provide meaningful diversification and enhance our returns in a market challenged by continued market volatility, inflationary pressures, and rising interest rates,” said Don Guo, CIO at Prudential.
The company will aim to build a diversified alternative portfolio in private credit, private equity, real estate, and infrastructure, in order to deliver long-term returns.
Sun Life Philippines, the local insurance arm of Canadian giant Sun Life Financial, plans to look at credit and private markets as part of broader asset allocation plans for 2023, a senior executive told AsianInvestor.
The insurer is also putting the final touches on a new ESG framework, which it has been developing recently.
“We would look into more onshore and offshore credits to improve both yield and duration of our portfolio,” said Ivan Corcuera, head of investments at Sun Life Philippines. “There may be some bias on offshore credits due to better availability and liquidity.”
China’s economy is set to make its stock market attractive again in 2023, according to Danica Pension. The firm is also looking among the fully privately held companies in Greater China, as in other markets.
“There is still room to grow, and we see China as entrepreneurial culture to rapidly build businesses. Take the huge tech companies that grow relatively swiftly, for instance, and the generally high technological adoption rates are remarkable,” Esben Larsen, head of equities at Danica Pension, told AsianInvestor.
“An important part of the asset management business is getting a perspective from the ground, because more often than not it’s very different from the outside view,” Thijs Aaten CEO of APG Asset Management Asia told AsianInvestor.
APG has fast been increasing its regional capabilities across the board and its Asian investment headcount has more than doubled since Aaten relocated to the Hong Kong office just over 4.5 years ago.
Leading institutional investors in Asia and Europe are stepping up efforts to collect their own ESG information rather than relying exclusively on third party data providers, as reputational risks of collecting inaccurate information increase.
“It is reputational for us: we don’t want to leave it to a third party to do it, we want to do it ourselves. That way we can ensure what we do is genuine, transparent, and something we can report on,” said Hans Op’t Veld, principal director for responsible investments at PGGM Investments, the investment manager for the €228 billion ($248 billion) Dutch pension fund.
The number of family offices operating in Singapore has soared in the past two years as wealthy Chinese sought to diversify their risk exposure against a backdrop of Beijing’s increasing influence in Hong Kong.
By the end of 2022, as many as 1,500 family offices had operations in the city-state, according to some industry experts, more than double the 700 as of end 2021 that was calculated by its central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) — and way up from the 400 as of end 2020, and the mere 50 as recently as 2018.