After a busy summer screening, short-listing and interviewing investment managers, results of the latest round of outsourced global equities mandates have surfaced at the Public Service Pension Fund and the postal saving fund at Chunghwa Post. The public funds in Taiwan are almost ready to get back into the market.
The panic-stricken PSPF investment committee's decision to short-list and interview all 27 investment managers for its four global equities mandates drew raised eyebrows among observers in the asset management industry earlier; and those eyebrows are being raised even higher as the list of final managers surfaces.
Sources reveal the four $250 million PSPF mandates are set to be awarded to Blackrock, ING, Allianz Global Investor and Morgan Stanley. However, the firms are still undergoing late-stage fee negotiations with the PSPF. Should the negotiations break down, there is a chance either Deutsche Asset Management or JP Morgan Asset Management, listed as backup candidates by the PSPF, could step in and nab one of the four mandates.
More than one source that AsianInvestor spoke to for this story criticised the PSPF's decision in selecting managers without professional advisors. The committee apparently has leaned towards big brands and firms with a strong domestic presence in Taiwan. They question, however, the logic of choosing managers by brand recognition over track records in global equities investment performance. Even if past performance is not indicative of future performance, the list doesn't exactly shine.
According to Mercer's data for five-year annualised returns in the global equities core category up to end-2008:
Blackrock has GIPS and retail global strategies that rank 67 and 72, respectively; Deutsche has a global thematic and a growth optimal strategy that ranks 47 and 49, respectively, and a global diversified strategy with no ranking; JP Morgan has a global dynamic and a global opportunities strategy ranked at 59 and 49, respectively; Morgan Stanley has a global equity allocation and global franchise ranked respectively at 17 and 14; and Allianz, under the RCM brand, has four ranked strategies: best styles global at 35, customised global equity at 17, global equity core at 51, global equity unconstrained with no ranking and a global high alpha strategy at 45.
ING's performance has not shown up in the ranking for core global equities. It does, however, have a high dividend strategy that ranks 22 in the value-biased category and a global sustainability strategy that ranks 9 out 21 in the socially responsible space. Morgan Stanley also has a global value equity strategy ranking at 42 that falls into the value biased category. RCM has a global sustainability strategy that ranks 10 in the socially responsible space and a global equity enhanced index strategy that ranks second out of eight in the enhanced index category.
The positions for these firms are equally mediocre in the three-year rankings. And when looking at the one-year results, Blackrock, Deutsche and RCM have strategies that ranked beyond the 100th position around the globe.
Meanwhile, at Chunghwa Post, sources say the investment committee has named five managers as recipients of its five $100 million mandates. The five include Franklin Templeton, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Allianz, Schroders and Deutsche Asset Management.
The new global equities mandates from the PSPF and Chunghwa are expected to be funded by the end of the third quarter.