Insurance Asset Risk Awards 2023 - North Americas

Emerging markets manager of the year - PineBridge Investments

PineBridge has one of the largest and most experienced Emerging markets debt (EMD) investment teams globally, built on strong performance gained via diligent portfolio management and a focus on credit selection.

It has leveraged this to achieve strong risk-adjusted returns for insurers, despite the constraints of the industry's specific investment objectives.

Much of its insurance expertise comes from its background, starting life as part of AIG, before becoming independent in 2010.

On a returns basis, two of its flagship EMD strategies – PineBridge Global Emerging Markets Corporate Investment Grade Bond and Investment Grade Bond Plus – are mainly held by insurers and have consistently been ranked at or near the top of all investment grade EM corporate bond composites.

Given the inherent country and geopolitical risks that exist in EM investing, in addition to general credit and market risks, PineBridge intentionally designed a dedicated team of 17 EM corporate credit analysts to sit within the broader 34-member global EM fixed income team. The strength and breadth of the team, coupled with an investment process rooted in in-depth fundamental credit analysis, has led to strong performance across market cycles.

The EMD team works with PineBridge's insurance investment solutions team to navigate the regulatory, changing rating agency capital models and varying accounting standards applicable to the insurance industry.

The company worked with a P&C insurer to properly model EM corporate debt for strategic asset allocation, helping to effectively position the asset class with their investment committee and ensure the company's first dedicated allocation to EM debt. It also helped a life insurer grow their annuity business by analysing and advocating for a portfolio shift from US investment grade (IG) credit to long duration EM high grade corporates to increase investment yield.

It has also focused on a variety of other customised solutions, including targeting yield premiums compared to US IG credit for shorter duration and more diversification for a higher-quality, shorter-maturity focused client, achieving index yields and outperformance with a limited BBB- allocation to half the index weight. And it helped another insurance client reduce hedging costs by 100bps by using cross-currency swaps.

All of this has led it to double its insurance assets under management in less than four years and wins PineBridge the award for emerging markets manager of the year.