e-fundresearch: Which benchmark do you adhere to?
Jansen: Barclays Euro Aggregate Corporate Index
e-fundresearch: Are you also responsible for other funds at the moment?
Jansen: Yes, I’m the fund manager of ING (L) Renta Fund Euro Credit Sustainable, as well as the co-manager of ING (L) Patrimonial – Target Return Bond.
e-fundresearch: What is the total volume that you manage in all your funds?
Jansen: Including discretionary mandates, I manage around EUR 6 bln. in AuM.
e-fundresearch: Regarding the performance: which performance did you achieve since the beginning of the year and in the years 2007-2011? Absolutely and relatively to the relevant benchmark?
Jansen: The year-to-date performance of the fund is 6.42% (as of 30 March 2012, net of fees), outperforming the benchmark by 0.71% (net of fees). The 21-month – corresponding to the period during which I’ve been responsible for the fund – performance of the fund is 5.18% on an annualized basis, outperforming the benchmark by 0.42% on an annualized basis (as of 30 March 2012, net of fees).
e-fundresearch: How content are you with your own performance in the last years and this year?
Jansen: Reasonably content, given the above-mentioned performance track record since I became the fund manager of the fund. While I continue to strive for an even better performance, I also assign importance to the stability of performance, and in that sense I’m also happy to have outperformed (on a gross of fees basis) the benchmark also in the difficult and volatile year of 2011.
e-fundresearch: How are you able to deliver added value for your investors with your performance?
Jansen: Through offering a higher return on the Euro Credit asset class when compared to a passively managed fund through the cycle.
e-fundresearch: How long have you been a fund manager already?
Jansen: Since 1 November 2004, when I became the co-manager of ING (L) Renta Fund Asian Debt (which I continued to be until 30 June 2010, after which I became the fund manager of ING (L) Renta Fund Eurocredit). Before November 2004 and since 1 January 2002, I was a member of ING IM’s European Investment Grade Credit team (which I’m now heading), as a contributing portfolio manager, but not as the lead manager of the portfolios, which I’m now.
e-fundresearch: What were your biggest successes and your biggest disappointments in your career as fund manager?
Jansen: My biggest successes have been the successful performance of the funds that I have managed over the past 8 years, both versus the benchmark and versus their peer group. As it has been for many fund managers, underperformance in 2008, of ING (L) Renta Fund Asian Debt, which I (co-) managed at the time has been a disappointment. However, this underperformance was primarily driven by a large dislocation between valuations and fundamentals due to extraordinarily weak technicals in Asian Credit (due to its investor base). Given the sound fundamentals of our holdings, we managed exceed our outperformance target for the fund over the 2-year period ending 31 December 2009, extending the strong performance track record of the fund in the preceding period.
e-fundresearch: What kind of capital market situation do we have at the moment? How do you act in this environment?
Jansen: In my view, we are still in a range-trading environment, where periods of strong policy response and cyclical strength will be alternated with periods of renewed sovereign solvency concerns and cyclical weakness. Similar to what we have seen during the last few years, these market cycles tend to be shorter relative to what we have seen in the last decade. This, together with other structural changes and technical factors, will mean that risk premiums will also stay on the high side structurally. This is a market environment that calls for a strategy that benefits from these higher risk premiums but that uses periods of market strength to reduce exposure to those segments of the market that are most vulnerable to credit deterioration. Also, the current higher level of volatility also frequently creates opportunities that can be capitalized on by setting up relative value trades that can add value to the portfolio regardless of market direction.
e-fundresearch: What are the special challenges in this environment?
Jansen: A challenge in this environment is the vicious cycle that exists when market confidence in sovereign solvency weakens and government funding costs go up, which in turn undermines sovereign solvency itself. This vicious cycle is stronger for sovereigns than for instance for a non-financial corporate, which has more options available to manage a rise in funding costs. It is this feedback loop, combined with the highly political nature of the sovereign solvency issue as well as the support provided by ‘core’ politicians and policy makers that makes it difficult to rely heavily on market directional positioning to add value.
e-fundresearch: What objectives do you have till the end of the year and in the mid term for the upcoming 3 to 5 years?
Jansen: Having been responsible for Euro Credit at ING Investment Management for around 2 years now, my objective is to build up a very successful long-term track record for the strategy, similar to what I (together with another co-manager) have achieved for the ING (L) Renta Fund Asian Debt (Hard Currency), which I co-managed from 2004 until 2010.
e-fundresearch: Do you model yourself on someone? Any ideals?
Jansen: I do not model myself on other fund managers.
e-fundresearch: What motivates you in your job?
Jansen: I’m motivated by the competitive nature of the fund management industry and the clear/quantitative objectives, to generate better performance both in an absolute sense as well as relative to peers, and to help (end-) clients achieve their own goals.
e-fundresearch: What else do you want to achieve or do you have any further aims as a fund manager?
Jansen: As mentioned above, having been responsible for Euro Credit at ING Investment Management for around 2 years now, my first aim as a fund manager to continue building up a successful long-term performance track record versus the benchmark and versus peers in this asset class.
e-fundresearch: What other profession would you have taken interest in, apart from becoming a fund manager?
Jansen: I have a degree in Applied Mathematics, a study that I started on the basis of the interest that I had in mathematics and engineering. I suppose other professions (outside financial markets-related professions) I could have taken an interest in would have been engineering-related.
e-fundresearch: Thank you for the interview!