Thought Leadership

Read our latest thought pieces for insight into our critical thinking.

200 years of asset allocation: Lessons from the pioneers of investing

200 years of asset allocation

From the perspective of even the most seasoned investment professional, a series of unprecedented events has occured over the last 40 years. Interest rates have been in almost constant decline. A global financial crisis forced both governments and central banks to step in to support financial markets. The fall in bond yields has led investors to shift into evermore exotic alternative assets.

 
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Pipe(line) dream: Investing in US midstream energy infrastructure

In this report, we navigate one segment of the energy value chain, midstream energy, as an investable asset class.

 
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Emerging-markets debt: Taking a blended approach

Emerging markets are major contributors to global growth, and over the past few years emerging markets debt has gained even more traction as an asset class. Uncertainty in the developed world, whether due to political developments or the potential for rising interest rates, has encouraged investors to take a closer look at the many opportunities emerging economies have to offer.

 
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Outlook for traditional portfolios: Preparing for a new future

Investors in traditional stock-bond portfolios who may be concerned about future return and diversification potential should consider broadening their portfolios to include a wider range of investment opportunities.

 
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Seeds of change for U.S. farmland

As part of the collection of sub-asset classes loosely referred to as “real assets,” agriculture is a broad category that includes a myriad of sectors, including commodities, agribusiness opportunities, and farmland investments.

 
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Impact Investing - Embracing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in mainstream investment

Impact investing’ involves investing in companies and investment portfolios that have the intention of generating positive social and environmental impacts alongside financial returns. While environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis has become a necessary tool for investment managers, screening for positive rather than negative impact remains a niche activity.

 
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Considering ESG for Emerging Market Sovereigns

A country’s creditworthiness is fundamentally dependent on its competitiveness and ability to sustain economic growth over the long term. To assess this, investors traditionally look at a range of macroeconomic variables, including public debt, inflation, fiscal deficits and current account balances. Along with political and governance factors, these are enablers of economic development and elements of the country’s willingness and ability to repay its debt.

 
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Bridging the Return Gap in Asset Allocation

Government bond yields are close to multi-decade lows. Respondents to the Asia Pacific Insurance Survey, representing an estimated 60% of the total Asia Pacific insurance market, hold more than half their assets in fixed income securities. These low yields mean insurance companies are struggling to generate sufficient returns on their investments to generate a profit on their guaranteed-return products. At the same time, regulatory changes are forcing insurance companies to recognize the risks created by this gap in returns. This is forcing insurers to rethink their asset allocation strategies.

 
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Labor Relations – Why do labor relations matter to investors?

We examine the issues involved in labor relations and the policies and practices required of companies in their treatment of employees. We discuss why labor issues are such a crucial consideration for investors, and what we should seek from those companies in which we invest.

 
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Doing the Right Thing and Making Money: ESG and the Corporate Bond Investor

ESG analysis is a fundamental tool for corporate bond investors. We define what it means to do ‘the right thing’, look at how portfolio managers can incorporate ESG analysis in their investment process, and consider how investors can do ‘the right thing’ and make money.

 
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Evaluating Multi-Asset Strategies

Fairly evaluating the performance of a multi-asset portfolio requires looking beyond simple correlation measures. In this paper, published in the Journal of Portfolio Management, Aberdeen Standard Investments Investment Director, Stuart Peskin, discusses the limitations of correlation and proposes a range of techniques to help us appraise the effectiveness of these strategies.

 
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Unique Possibilities in EMD

Unique possibilities in EMD

As emerging markets continue to develop and strengthen, the unique potential of opportunities in emerging-markets debt can benefit fixed income investors hungry for additional yield and diversification.

 
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Asia Pacific Insurance Survey

The Asia Pacific insurance industry is being reshaped by twin forces: low interest rates and modernizing regulation. We surveyed investors responsible for $4 trillion of assets. We identify five themes that are driving a fundamental change in the way investment decisions are made.

 
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Infrastructure investing: Limitless opportunities over the long term

Infrastructure is the foundation of the global economy. However, basic resources such as drinking water, electricity, sanitation and transportation are still not accessible for a significant proportion of the world's population. Demand for the necessary investment in infrastructure continues to increase, giving investors the potential for a variety of opportunities.

 
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Look Sharp: Perceptions of risk in emerging markets

Given the rapid pace of economic development, investors can get left behind and miss valuable opportunities if they cling to their old prejudices and assumptions. One of the areas that investors should reevaluate is their perceptions of the differences between emerging and developed markets.

 
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