Madrid Roundtable 2019: where traditional asset classes and ESG met

Eugenia Jiménez
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Madrid Roundtable 2019: where traditional asset classes and ESG met

Some 20 Spain-based fund selector delegates gathered in Madrid on 8 of November to look at the investment trends and hottest topics for the fund selector community.

InvestmentEurope made its annual appearance at the Westin Palace hotel in the Spanish capital to celebrate the Madrid Roundtable 2019.

Fund selector delegates were treated to a batch of investment topics ranging from Nordic equities, to fixed income markets, smart beta ETFs, and sustainable investment.

Presentations came from four leading asset management groups including DNB Asset Management, Janus Henderson Investors, Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management and State Street Global Advisors, which in a roundtable format featured their respective investment strategies and areas of expertise.

NORDIC EQUITIES

The event kicked off with the contribution of Øyvind Fjell, portfolio manager, Nordic equities at DNB Asset Management, who discussed the investment opportunities presented by the Nordic region, where the very low public debt levels, a high educated labour force, and a high score on ESG ratings(7,6 Nordic vs. 5,8 World),are some of the factors lying beneath the attractive returns registered in the northern European countries.

Fjell stressed the great performances of the MSCI Nordic index which, duringthe last two decades, it has outperformed the MSCI World by 115 % and the MSCI Europe by 155 %.

He said: "We believe in continued growth in the Nordic region. The economic situation in the Nordic countries is strong, and most of the companies in the Nordic countries are shielded from the effects of trade war and other global "noise"."

The Nordic equities specialist also shared with the audience insights, facts and figures around such region which, according to him, offers a global investment universe "in miniature" and where each of the Nordic countries specialises in different sectors, providing investors with a broad range of diversification.

In Norway, the best investment opportunities are primarily within the energy and seafood sector whereas Sweden offers a range of strong commercial brands and export commodities. Finland is big in the material sector with its forestry companies, while in Denmark the health sector is predominant.

Hence Fjell believes that by investing in Nordic equities, sufficient diversification of risk will be achieved, and at the same time a return potential benefit greater than in a wider global market.

SUSTAINABILITY THEME 

Tim Brown, senior product specialist at Janus Henderson Investors, came second to speak by addressing his company's approach to sustainable investing. This approach is rooted by the belief that a truly sustainable approach must consider the inter-connectivity between key environmental and social mega-trends, the low carbon energy transition, and the move towards a circular economy. 

To highlight such approach, Brown presented the Horizon Global Sustainable Equity fund , which invests at least 80% of its net assets in equities of companies worldwide, whose products and services are considered by Janus Henderson as contributing to positive environmental or social change and thereby have an impact on the development of a sustainable global economy.

The Fund, which will avoid investing in companies that the company considers to have a negative impact on the development of a sustainable global economy, does not have any constraint in terms of companies' size. It may also invest in money market instruments and cash.

The strategy targets low carbon investments and incorporates ESG factors into the analysis to construct a portfolio with a favourable risk profile.

Eugenia Jiménez
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Eugenia Jiménez

Eugenia Jiménez speaks Spanish and is Iberia Correspondent for Investment Europe covering Spain & Portugal, as well as Italy.