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  • 18/04/2015

Demand Grows for Multi-Asset Investments


Demand Grows for Multi-Asset Investments


By Bee Lin Ang

Multi asset investment strategies have gained popularity in recent years as increased volatility and expensive valuations led investors to seek tailored solutions. Bee Lin Ang reports.

Asset allocation is not easy, as most active investors know. What investors need from their fund provider of choice is a tailored solution that makes the asset allocation decision easier. “There is a broad recognition from investors that the ‘one size fits all’ mentality we had in the past for all asset classes does not work anymore,” says Al Clark, Global Head of Multi Asset at Nikko Asset Management. “The ability to customise solutions makes multi-asset strategies very attractive.”

Clark says high leverage in recent decades combined with relatively low and stable inflation have helped to increase asset prices. “It didn’t really matter in the 1980s and 90s whether you were invested in equities or in bonds – you could still make money,” says Clark. However market dynamics have changed since the global financial crisis: “Household leverage has dropped considerably since 2009, whether it drops further is open for debate, but it is no longer a significant support for asset prices.”

Volatility in equity markets has heightened amid uncertainty over the timing of the Federal Reserve’s first interest rate hike. The six-month chart of the CBOE (Chicago Board of Exchange) Volatility Index spiked in March, April and in August.

So what does a multi-asset strategy offer?

Clark says under multi-asset strategies, portfolio allocation will vary with the clients’ risk profile, however for a general balanced-risk portfolio under current market conditions, Nikko would be underweight sovereign bonds. “That is not to say we don’t own any sovereign bonds; we still need to maintain that defensive component in our portfolios but currently sovereign bonds don’t offer very much value particularly Japanese government bonds,” adds Al Clark.

Increasing demand for multi-asset investment strategies has led Nikko Asset Management to form a specialist team in Singapore, led by Clark. The team, which oversees $24 billion of assets for institutional and intermediary clients, According to the asset consultant Mercer, global investors increased their searches for multi-asset products by 33% in 2013. The US asset manager State Street says there is a limited supply of managers who can provide multi-asset solutions.

Valuation is the key driver of returns, complemented by an understanding of momentum and macro cycle, Clark says. Nikko uses quantitative valuation models at the country and sector level. The price movements of each asset over different periods are also analysed to assess whether the current momentum is likely to persist or deteriorate. Nikko also uses indicators to help determine if cycles influenced by fiscal and monetary policies are a headwind or a tailwind.

In equities, Nikko’s least preferred market is Europe and it would overweight Japanese equities. ‘We will put Asia and the U.S. in the neutral to slightly positive range.” In Nikko’s Global Multi-Asset Conservative Strategy, the allocation to equities is capped at 30% and its target annual return is 12-month SIBOR (Singapore Interbank Offered Rate) plus 3%.BM

Photo: Ollyy / Shutterstock.com

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用心聆聽

BM Author 撰文

保誠憑藉卓越的顧問團隊,榮獲《指標》雜誌財富管理年度大獎 頒發的「卓越培訓學院年獎 ― 保險業」。

保誠保險有限公司「下稱 (保誠)」副 首席業務總監(專業發展)林忠成這樣形 容保誠卓越諮詢及服務背後的企業理 念:「我們的座右銘是『用心聆聽,更 知你心』。這是我們做所有事情的核心 思想。」

「在很多公司,聆聽是一門失傳已久的 藝術,因為聆聽並非這些公司文化中根 深蒂固的一部分。保誠用心了解顧客的 需要,並進行客戶焦點意見調查來設計 適合香港大眾的產品,我們透過銷售論 壇和問卷來與理財顧問團隊進行諮詢。 此外,我們的培訓互動性很強,我們甚 至將公司的企業社會責任扎根於聆聽社 會需求之中。」

「這一切創造了『聆聽的基石』。當客 戶及理財顧問一起探討客戶的財務狀況 時,此基石便能起到關鍵作用。」

林忠成說道:「理財培訓學院設計包含 各個層級的學習路線圖,從理財顧問, 一直到高級營業經理。其中還包括特 別針對新晉和資深的理財顧問而設的特 別課程。

我們設立了內部『榮譽培訓導師』項 目,邀請一些優秀並合資格的營業經理 向理財顧問授課,並與他們一起分享實 戰經驗以及在理財規劃、營業管理以及 事業規劃方面的技巧及最新資訊。」

客戶需求分析和風險規劃是一個持續不 斷的評估過程。保誠努力確保初次評估 的正確性:「我們有信心,從五十年前 我們第一天進入香港市場起,客戶就 享受到我們最謹慎、最準確的理財規劃 服務,並就其特殊需求獲得最恰當的建 議。今天的科技日新月異,產品變得更加複雜。然而,聆聽和理解客戶需求仍 是我們一貫堅持的原則。」

保誠也認為,漸趨嚴格的市場監管是一 件好事。市場監管的目標在於保護消費 者免受無良或不合格金融機構欺詐而購 買不合適的產品:「我們歡迎政府繼續 努力對保險市場進行監管,引進更好的 監管標準,我們尤其歡迎政府設立獨立 保險業監管局。」

「與此同時,不斷變化的稅務或金融規 管可能會對客戶的財務狀況產生影響。 這些變化將會繼續對銷售流程產生影 響。我們努力確保本公司的理財顧問時 刻遵守專業準則,以符合這些新規範或 要求。」

「例如,銷售流程是我們培訓課程的重 點,而相應的測驗評估亦十分嚴謹。我 們已經設計出一個全面的銷售流程圖, 使理財顧問可以根據最新規範,採用最 恰當的流程,而我們將隨市場變化繼續 更新資訊。」

保誠重視客戶參與和客戶教育。林忠成 說,為幫助客戶理解並投入到理財規劃 流程之中,「我們最有效的工具是我們 對於影響香港的問題採取全面的策略。 我們不妨以癌症來舉例。目前,癌症是 香港頭號殺手。我們的培訓是全方位 的,我們邀請醫生來舉辦專家研討會, 並邀請相關專家甚至是癌症患者一同進 行培訓和會議,讓他們一同分享經驗。 我們向理財顧問提供有關癌症的數字及 資訊,幫助他們解答客戶可能提出的一 些日常健康相關問題。我們亦採訪頂尖 的癌症科學家,讓客戶獲得最新消息。 我們還為客戶和理財顧問開設了健康專 題網站。」

「同時,我們積極支持各種健康活動, 例如,我們贊助了2014保誠香港網球 公開賽。在承諾贊助這項盛事之前,我 們首先向理財顧問諮詢,了解此贊助活 動是否能切實對客戶的健康有所幫助。 結果答案是肯定的,因此我們毫不猶豫 着手贊助。」

「對於我們來說,投資重點並不在於結 構複雜的產品或金融工具,而是運用情 報、理解力和客觀立場來對財務需要進 行客觀分析藉以啟發客戶,而非教條式 的照本宣科。」

保誠很高興看見客戶投入參與公司的企 業社會責任(CSR)活動。「由於理財 顧問和客戶建立了密切的關係,我們發 現很多客戶都十分希望支持我們的社區 計劃,但礙於各種法律或技術原因而未 能如願。」

「2014年,我們啟動了一個試驗項 目,透過我們的旗艦青年計劃『成功在 望』,首次將客戶納入到我們的『保誠 義工隊』之中。結果非常成功,我們的 理財顧問和客戶都十分贊賞這一機會, 而我們希望藉此再向前邁步,讓計劃更 上一層樓。」BM

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