With lower ratings than their developed market counterparts and potential economic dependencies to oil, emerging markets are on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. It is raising questions for insurers' allocation to the asset class. Vincent Huck reports
The pandemic and its effect on the economy and markets will not affect allocation trends towards emerging markets and in particular increased interest in Chinese opportunities. Invesco head of EMEA for fixed income Nick Tolchard discusses the reasons why China remains a land of opportunities. Interview by Stephanie Harris
Ben Deng, chief investment officer of China Pacific Insurance Group, the third largest life and P&C insurer in China, tells David Walker how the Chinese market is coping with COVID-19 disruptions, and how China will come out of it stronger.
A tactical approach across the credit spectrum should offer attractive opportunities for insurers. Learn why we think focusing on higher-quality credits and shifting to pockets of dislocation makes sense now.
The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus. The article considers how this may increase inflationary pressures, and approaches that insurers can use to mitigate this.
The rating agency has run stress tests on European insurers' corporate bond portfolios and reveals that, in the most extreme scenario, solvency ratios could decrease by up to 50 percentage points. Vincent Huck reports
Half of the world's largest asset managers are neglecting the ecological and social harms of their investments, according to a research by ShareAction. However, insurers' affiliates seem to be ahead of the curve. Vincent Huck reports
Ever a patchwork of underwriting industries, the insurers of Asia will go their own ways when investing in 2020, as demands of performance, new regulation and even mild governmental cajoling come to play in varying degrees in the different jurisdictions. By David Walker
Many had bet on the market staging a final whimper last year before recession. But the talk of a global downturn suddenly vanished in the last few months of 2019. Now investors are looking at the market with rosy spectacles and hoping for more rewards in 2020. Sarfraz Thind reports
Insurance companies have traditionally focused most on balance sheet liabilities, with investment assets often overlooked opportunities – strategies now exist that allow insurers to create capital-efficient investment portfolios to enhance yield, improve returns, and optimise capital.
In the face of growing uncertainties around the date and terms of Brexit, underwriters with UK operations are leaning ever more heavily on their chosen asset managers for help, advice and expertise. David Walker reports
While outsourced CIOs have been predominantly used in the pension space up until now, small US insurers are increasingly seeing the benefits of such a move. But insurers' needs differ widely from those of pension funds, and service providers will need to prove their worth to win mandates. Sarfraz Thind reports
Many insurers’ affiliated managers have been sent out by their parents to gather third-party assets in recent years – with varying success. The managers might put their affiliation to an underwriting group forward as a credential to win more insurance mandates, but a European CIO questions whether this can be a universal truth. David Walker reports
As many non-life insurers come to rely on their investment performance for an ever greater slice of their total profits, or to make up for underwriting losses, investment teams are looking at new asset classes with the help of external managers. Far greater transparency about the insurers' business practices is offering a unique glimpse into what they want and to whom they outsource this key task. David Walker reports
Holding asset-backed securities has been a challenge for most insurers since the dislocations of the global financial crisis and introduction of Solvency II. This year, new regulation offers the potential for Solvency II-regulated firms to return to securitised debt investments, says James King, fund manager at M&G.
Physical assets, particularly infrastructure and real estate, have a critical role to play in facilitating the transition towards a more sustainable economy and a greener world. Incorporating ESG considerations is a fundamental part of an asset manager's duty to their clients.
The UK has for many years been heralded as a treasure trove of investable infrastructure assets. However, as the industry faces potential disruption from renationalisation, regulatory reforms and Brexit, we discuss the risks and rewards of investing in UK infrastructure.
Strong returns, stable performance, low risk—the market for commercial mortgage loans has run on tailwinds in the last 10 years with more insurers bringing the asset onto their portfolio than ever before. But, with a looming economic downturn, is the love affair with CMLs about to run out? Sarfraz Thind reports
Three major Japanese insurers – Tokio Marine Group, MS&AD Insurance Group, and Nippon Life Insurance – are beginning to integrate climate risks and environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their strategies, each with its own focus area. Elena K. Johansson reports.
Lisa Longino, head of insurance asset management at MetLife Investment Management, argues that while it is prudent to keep a close eye on the horizon, uncertainty and volatility create opportunities for investors willing to take smart risks.
Hilde Jenssen, product manager for fundamental equities at Nordea Asset Management provides a 2019 outlook for equities in the Asian region as well as latest trends in environmental, social and governance factors (ESG). The outlook is based on views from Nordea Asset Management emerging markets portfolio management team.
Prashant Sharma, head of international fixed income insurance at JP Morgan Asset Management, predicts a slowdown in growth for 2019, but all is not lost for insurers’ assets and a bit of forward thinking and preparation could help the resilience of their investments in the case of a downturn.
A market downturn is deemed to have more impact on emerging markets (EM) than on developed economies. It poses the question whether EM debt is a smart investment at this stage of the credit cycle. Ian Coulman, chief investment officer at Pool Re, speaks with Vincent Huck on the topic.
Emerging markets should be an attractive option for US insurers as the Federal Reserve looks to cut rates, making opportunities at home less attractive. But, as the Trump government continues building trade barriers, are US government policies stymying enthusiasm for the asset class? Sarfraz Thind reports
Despite strong buffers over and above their minimum capital requirements, two of the four largest Singaporean insurers by assets breach minimum capital requirements in the International Monetary Fund's stress test. Vincent Huck reports
Sanjeev Gupta, executive director at Africa Finance Corporation and former CEO of Sanlam Investment Management Emerging Markets operations speaks to Insurance Asset Risk about mitigating risks in African infrastructure investments and why insurers are under-investing in the asset class. Interview by Vincent Huck
“Emerging market debt (EMD) is still not seen as a core asset class for many European insurers, due to concerns over its risk/return profile, credit spectrum and market capacity. We believe these concerns are misplaced.”
The intensification of climate risks and the degree to which they are accurately priced by financial markets are of increasing concern to global economic stability. However, as awareness around those risks has risen over the last years, there is still a long way to go to consistently measure and monitor their costs, which can result in substantial gains or losses for institutional investors. Vincent Huck reports
In recent investor presentations and earnings calls, we have increasingly come across the terms ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) and its terminology bedfellows, ‘machine learning’ (ML) and ‘Big Data’. While companies have addressed these concepts for a few years now, they have taken centre stage in the last 12 months.
MetLife's chief digital officer Greg Baxter talks to Paul Walsh about which technologies are his top priorities, how such technologies can be applied to asset liability management in a Solvency II environment and what investments the firm is making in the digital economy.
In a two-part series Allianz's CIO, Carsten Quitter, speaks to Insurance Asset Risk some three years after his predecessor Andres Gruber told of his challenges. In part two, Quitter talks about the latest themes affecting his role as CIO: technology, ESG and the relationship with Allianz's asset managers. By Sarfraz Thind
Insurers have increasingly invested in private assets in recent years to counter the low yield environment. But as we enter the later stages of the credit cycle, questions are being raised on whether private assets were tactical short-term choices, or if insurers have fully embraced these asset classes. Vincent Huck reports
A US infrastructure overhaul is due—that much is common knowledge. However, so far, institutional investors and especially insurers have been coy to invest due to policy hurdles at the federal level. As each state administration starts to address these issues, insurers are seeing opportunities building up. David Turner reports
With insurers showing greater appetite for private credit, authorities are keen to ensure firms are applying robust credit risk assessments – but the lack of rating agencies in the space is giving regulators and insurers a headache. Asa Gibson reports.
Johanna Köb, head of responsible investment at Zurich, talks to Cintia Cheong on the importance of adequate pricing of greenhouse gases and how investors can make a profit while doing good to the society and environment.
From the diesel emissions scandal to the perceived exploitation of zero-hour contracts, there have been many examples in recent years of how failures in the way companies are run can have a harmful impact on the environment, society and investor returns.
Asset prices do not seem to be adequately reflecting the long-term systemic risk from global climate change. Wellington Management's Alan Hsu explains why insurers are likely to lead the repricing of climate risk – and how multi-decade public-equity approaches might help.
A growing body of evidence suggests that ESG investing fosters better investment decisions, performance and risk management. While insurers lag other institutional investors in embracing ESG investing, momentum is building and things look set to change.
Insurers are looking more closely than ever at the current trend of green bond investment. But is this just a fashion? And what should investors be aware of when putting money into this still nascent sector? David Turner reports
The ageing population in Europe, often viewed as a great risk for the life sector, may also provide attractive investment opportunities through retirement and care home properties. Axa's real estate business is already active in the space. Asa Gibson reports
Within the booming UK real estate industry, where a lack of supply has inflated valuations and rental prices, the build-to-rent sub-sector offers an alternative revenue stream for insurers. Cintia Cheong reports
Real estate debt can offer a set of outcomes well suited to the needs of insurers, including a solid relative value proposition, stable cashflows, strong investor protections and transparent security against physical underlying assets. John Barakat, head of real estate finance, M&G Investments explains
The projected growth of e-commerce and urbanisation has seen real estate investors showing increasing interest in urban logistic centres. Paul Walsh explores the nascent asset class as an opportunity for insurers.