Perspectives Blog

The secret to managing pension plan risk

Frank Salem, Senior Portfolio Manager | February 10, 2014

Historical overreliance on risk assets have made pension plans vulnerable Why funded status is the best measure of a pension plan’s health How can pension sponsors manage funded status volatility? This past fall marked the one-year anniversary of the devastation to the New York area caused by Super Storm Sandy. Following the disaster, many who rebuilt also added safeguards, such as moving structures further from the beach and building higher a…

Another look at disability and labor force participation

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | April 7, 2014

In searching for explanations for the steep decline in the U.S. labor force participation rate analysts have rightly stressed the importance of retiring baby boomers. Increase in disability share accounts for 20-25% of the drop in the labor force participation rate since 2007 (vs ~45% for retirements). We expect this shift to be essentially permanent, but growth in the disability share will also probably slow down. In searching for explanation…

Predicting new drug sales is more art than science

Harlan Sonderling, CFA, Senior Healthcare Analyst | April 14, 2014

Predicting sales of new medicines is highly inaccurate and subject to significant and often costly errors. While investment analysts can draw on research tools and experience, history suggests new drug forecasting will remain more art than science. Despite the high level of uncertainty and variability in new drug forecasts, the innovative medicine industry is alive and well. Predicting sales of new medicines is highly inaccurate and subject to…

Special report – Commodity markets outlook

Columbia Management, Investment Team | July 21, 2014

In the following Q&A, David Donora, Head of Commodities for Threadneedle Investments, addresses some of the key concerns currently facing investors in commodity markets, and explains his view of the outlook for the market. What is your outlook for commodities for the remainder of 2014? We are bullish on the macro outlook for the rest of 2014. The OECD countries and in particular North America, the region where economic growth is currently th…

January asset allocation update

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | February 3, 2014

As we assess the global markets in early 2014, our overall portfolio strategy remains modestly overweight equities and underweight fixed income. While we have been anticipating an increase in volatility, we still believe equities will outperform bonds over the course of the year. The current low level of interest rates suggests returns from bonds remain unattractive on a longer term strategic basis. Real returns are likely to be low to potential…

When the QE tide recedes, focus on what is revealed

Robert McConnaughey, Director of Global Research | January 6, 2014

Monetary stimulus from central banks can no longer be counted on to lift asset prices For 2014 we see a market with lower cross-correlations and more divergent investment outcomes Finding alpha opportunities requires in-depth global research to take advantage of market inefficiencies While there is fierce debate on the ultimate effectiveness of monetary stimulus surging from the central banks, one cannot dispute the boost that it has given to…

Q&A with Jeff Knight

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | January 6, 2014

…r rates go up or down. The other reason for owning bonds is diversification, but we have to pay attention to how correlations are moving between bonds and other risky assets, particularly stocks. Since last summer, we’ve seen a much closer positive correlation between the returns to bonds and the returns to equities, meaning you’re getting less and less diversification benefit from owning bonds. Thus, you need to think more creatively…