"Kapitalertrag oder Kapitalerhalt?" Unter diesem Motto lud das Team von Natixis Global Asset Management am 17. September zum "DPC Symposium" in die Wiener Hofburg. Zahlreiche Investoren aus den Bereichen Dachfondsmanagement, Private Wealth und Insitutionals folgten der Einladung und bekamen die Gelegenheit, sich an Kurzvorträgen sowie Paneldiskussionen verschiedener Kapitalmarktstrategen aus dem mehr als 20 Gesellschaften umfassenden Affiliate-Netzwerk von Natixis Global Asset Management (beispielsweise H20, Seeyond, Loomis Sayles & Co.) zu beteiligen.
In einer Diskussionsrunde mit Absolute Return und Alternative Investment Experten von H2O (Marc Maudhuit), Natixis Asset Management (Philippe Berthelot) und Seeyond (Emmanuell Bourdeix), beschäftigte man sich mit den Fragen: Ist Kapitalerhalt nur mit Absolute Return Strategien möglich? Und wie definiert man „Absolute Return“? Darüber hinaus wurden die aktuelle Positionierung sowie die Auswirkungen und Erwartung einer möglichen US-Zinserhöhung auf die Strategien der einzelnen Manager diskutiert.
Zum Zeitpunkt des DPC Symposiums herrschte noch Ungewissheit darüber, ob und in welchem Ausmaß der US-Leitzins erhöht wird - wenige Stunden nach der Veranstaltung folgte das FOMC-Meeting und die Entscheidung, die Zinsen unverändert zu lassen. e-fundresearch.com nutze die Gelegenheit, um die oben erwähnten Natixis-Experten (Berthelot, Maudhuit und Bourdeix) mittels einer schriftlichen Anfrage nach ihren aktuellen Einschätzungen zum Fed-Entscheid und den konkreten Auswirkungen auf ihre jeweiligen Core-Strategien zu befragen:
Experte Nr. 1: Philippe Berthelot, Natixis Credit Opportunities
e-fundresearch.com: What is your comment on the decision of the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at the current level? Please describe the position in your core strategy (Natixis Credit Opportunities) and what are the opportunities and risks when interest rates stay unchanged this year.
Philippe Berthelot: Without hiking the Fed has disappointed part of the market participants. The Fed chair seems to be worried by external factors like China as well as internal ones like the vanishing inflation pressure amongst others. That said, in order to preserve its credibility, the FED might implement something by year end (see below part 2)
If there are no shifts in interest rates, investors may have a propensity to add carry assets in the US (opportunities) but in the same time, the uncertainty driven by this blurred environment may create a further rise of volatily which is a threat for traditional long only strategies and an opportunity for our fund which includes long-short strategies.
e-fundresearch.com: In the case of an interest rate hike this year when do you expect this to happen and what is the most likely increase? How would that impact your core strategy (Natixis Credit Opportunities)?"
Philippe Berthelot: It would be 25 bp in December. It should not have a major impact on our total return credit strategy as its rate sensitivity is low.
Experte Nr. 2: Marc Maudhuit, H2O Allegro Fonds
e-fundresearch.com: What is your comment on the decision of the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at the current level? Please describe the position in your core strategy (H2O Allegro Fonds) and what are the opportunities and risks when interest rates stay unchanged this year.
Marc Maudhuit: The Fed has once again seized the opportunity to postpone its first rate hike on the back of the recent equity market turmoil triggered by the devaluation of the Chinese yuan, which came days after another flurry of downbeat economic data, confirming the unrelenting slowdown of the Chinese economy and spurring fears of a global recession. The recent collapse in the oil price is also providing a tactical opportunity to claim comfort on the inflation front, as was the case at the end of 2014 when the oil price experienced its first big leg down. As Janet Yellen said on Thursday, this is expected to be transitory. However, it has opened a window for the current postponement that, with hindsight, she was very keen to make the most of. Unfortunately for investors, the duration of this window is highly uncertain as it will be decided on the basis of a wide and not-well-defined range of indicators (market-based inflation expectations, labour market, external developments, the USD and more…).
From a market point of view, there is better visibility in the short-term (a few hours/days) but more uncertainty beyond, as now it is somehow difficult to determine which indicators will drive her decision (J. Yellen’s own words).
Lower short-term risk combined with higher medium-term risk is a bad environment for risky assets, and by no mean positive for EM assets. The question remains whether investors will use this postponement to put on more risk, or to do reduce it further where fundamentals have been turning down (EM and commodity producers), and the consequences of the Fed’s eventual normalisation will be felt the most ? Indeed, we continue to believe the US economy is barely affected by what is going on in China/EM, and has a lot of domestic momentum (households’ purchasing power with lower commodity and strong housing sector). Last Thursday’s status quo should be followed by a clear step forward, as soon as the robustness of the US economy becomes obvious to the Fed in the coming months. The next important US data is the job report of September that will be published on October 2nd, only two weeks from now. High frequency labour market indicators points to a strong report.
As it is always difficult to anticipate the exact timing of a first hike, we have implemented a bear flattener on the US yield curve, by being short the 5-year, and long the 30-year spectrums. Indeed, the 5-year maturity is far less sensitive to the actual date than the 2-year segment, allowing us to be less dependent on the adequate forecast of this first lift-off. The 5-30 spread is more driven by the perspective of an upcoming normalisation of the Fed’s monetary policy, than by its actual kick-off.
e-fundresearch.com: In the case of an interest rate hike this year when do you expect this to happen and what is the most likely increase? How would that impact your core strategy (H2O Allegro Fonds)?"
Marc Maudhuit: Under our expectation that the US economy should continue to cruise along in spite of EM difficulties, the Fed should hike its policy rate as soon as it is has enough reassurance that this is indeed the case. A strong job report for September would be an important landmark, especially if the recent upswing in wages were to be confirmed. Such wage pressure would strengthen the case that the US labour market has definitely healed beyond the point where extremely loose monetary policy is no longer required for good. A lift-off by October or December would come naturally out of this scenario. Under a less buoyant labour market, the surprisingly dovish tone of last week’s Fed meeting could prevail until the end of 2015. However, it would only postpone the inevitable normalisation of the US monetary policy.
An interest rate hike this year would off course enhance the return profile of our US bear flattening strategy.
Experte Nr. 3: Emmanuell Bourdeix, Seeyond Multi Asset Conservative Growth Fund
e-fundresearch.com: In the case of an interest rate hike this year when do you expect this to happen and what is the most likely increase? How would that impact your core strategy (Seeyond Multi Asset Conservative Growth Fund)?"
Emmanuell Bourdeix: We would perceive the interest rate hike as a normalisation towards more sustainable levels. It would be a positive message signalling that the FED perceives a fundamental improvement of the US economy. In the Seeyond Multi Asset Conservative Growth Strategy, we would subsequently increase our Equity allocations in the US, but especially in Europe. Europe and the US are at different phases of their economic cycle and a US rate normalisation would benefit European equities even more than US equities (all else kept equal).