A perfect moment to interview the Chief Investment Officer (CIO) Fundamental Equity, Guy Lerminiaux, the CIO Quantitative Equity Philippe Denef and Peter De Coensel, CIO Fixed Income.
Guy and Philippe, these Awards are a nice recognition for your equity expertise, both fundamental and quantitative. How would you summarize your approach?
This Award confirms our strong focus on research. We want to buy the best companies in our portfolios, regardless of the industries or regions they operate in. Critical thinking and a long experience on markets have resulted in strong performance and added value for our clients. Also unique in our approach is that equity and fixed income managers and analysts often exchange ideas. This allows us to look at companies from an holistic point of view and have a permanent focus on portfolio construction and risk management.
What is the outlook for equities after a strong year 2017?
We expect higher, but more volatile financial markets. Equities still present attractive perspectives in the long run, especially in Europe.
Peter, how would you summarize the fixed income approach?
In this low-interest era, it is important to be innovative and focus on a global fixed income universe. In addition to bottom-up security selection, supported by the help of 6 credit analysts, the top-down view continues to play an important role. Strong and sometimes contrarian views on interest rates, credit spreads and currencies have resulted in attractive returns.
And in terms of outlook for the fixed income asset class?
Bonds continue to deserve a position in a diversified portfolio as they are useful and necessary instruments. Newspapers will be reporting on rising rates, but we need to filter out the noise. Innovative solutions like emerging market debt, corporate high yield and floating rate notes are interesting additions in the fixed income sphere. Also in the fixed income markets volatility is poised to increase, but it is up to us to continue to make a difference and create added value.