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Multi-Asset Insights

Strategic Forum Series
02 October 2023
    Download the full reportPDF, 4.52MB


    As valuations continue to reflect an optimistic scenario, we anticipate that we may soon enter a more challenging macroeconomic context that could result in choppy waters for the markets. In the coming months, we expect the resilience of our asset allocations to be put to the test.

    Enhancing portfolio resilience

    • Bonds have traditionally been a reliable source of positive returns and diversification in multi-asset portfolios, but they posted large negative returns in 2022 while equities experienced a bear market, highlighting the need for diversification beyond bonds
    • Simple correlation analysis may not adequately capture an asset's defensiveness, and investors should also consider metrics such as defensive return and defensive consistency
    • Strategies that exhibit desirable defensive properties, such as put options, gold and low volatility equity factors, can be combined to build strategic defensive allocations that balance reduced drawdowns with limited cost-of-carry during normal times
    • Accordingly, government bonds should not be the only option for diversification; their ability to systematically diversify equity risk in portfolios – as they did during the last 20 years – having most likely come to an end

    China and India: Shifting sentiments

    • India has achieved several milestones recently, including surpassing China as the world's most populous country, and overtaking the UK as the world's fifth-largest economy
    • Conversely, China has been experiencing a deceleration in its economic growth, primarily attributed to the cautious approach taken by Chinese authorities towards increasing support for the economy
    • From a market perspective, Indian Government Bonds have consistently outperformed both Chinese Government Bonds and US Treasuries in their respective local currencies over the past two decades, providing a basis for the prevailing positive sentiment towards India
    • In addition, India's recent inclusion in JP Morgan's benchmark emerging markets government bond indices is expected to attract a substantial influx of foreign capital into India's considerable government debt market
    • On the equity side, India's growth trajectory has been seen in its representation in the MSCI Emerging Markets index, ticking up from single digits to 15 per cent in recent years, and potentially approaching China's weighting in the years ahead. The question is now about how justified current valuations are
    • For asset allocators, taking exposure to both India and China, as well as other Asian countries with compelling growth narratives, is a valid option, assuming they have the necessary research resources to tap into the diverse growth potential offered by these economies