The FT Nordic Investor Outlook 2019 was dedicated to the topic „Agile Investment in Uncertain Markets“. High caliber speakers were discussing China, ESG and Brexit. 

Agile Investment in Uncertain Markets

On 23 October, the Nordic Investor Conference that was entirely dedicated to the topic of “Agile Investment in Uncertain Markets” took place in Stockholm.

Over 100 participants from the financial industry gathered at the Grand Hotel to explore the major issues dominating the conversation within the Nordic investment community. Erste Asset Management was one of a few selected sponsors and exhibitors of the event.

Main topics of the event

At the center of the discussions were current challenges facing the investment community.  

The day started with an attempt to decode the economic outlook to see whether predictions are still possible amid uncertainty. This introduction was followed by an extensive line-up of speakers providing the audience with an in-depth discussion of Brexit, the low-yield environment and Global trade tensions.

Andy Rothman, Investment Strategist at Matthews Asia provided first-hand insights into the Chinese economy. Although China is facing difficulties, it is still offering interesting investment opportunities and hence great potential for investors. Rothman explained the best strategy in order to be successful in this market and also shed a light on what is to be expected from the Chinese legislators in the coming years.

Another key topic of the day was the increased focus on responsible investment solutions.

What we mean when we speak about responsible investment

Over the past couple of years, responsible investing has undergone a massive transformation. It has evolved out of its niche and is now on everyone’s lips. However, there is still room for discussion on how to best acknowledge and implement this important topic into existing investment processes and set-ups.

What needs to be done in order to successfully manage the challenges that are brought about by the increased focus on responsible investing? Is there a standard definition that all market participants can agree upon?

Does it make sense to have a defined minimum standard and what should investors use as a meaningful reference? Are the current reporting standards sufficient to meet the requirements and interests of investors? Are ESG investments delivering alpha? These questions were addressed by a panel of recognized specialists in this field that were discussing the ideal path “From Policy to Practice”. There was a clear distinction made between responsible investing where the focus is on screening and filtering out certain companies on the basis of predefined exclusion criteria and impact investing where the aim is to tackle the problems facing the world. In the Nordic region, investors are increasingly focusing on the latter with the idea to support companies that are on a good path in order to help them grow and increase their positive impact – positive selection is becoming increasingly appealing as opposed to negative selection. However, it also became obvious that we are still far from a common standard. The industry has only just started to work together on defining the way forward.

Networking on pressing issues

The FT Nordic Investor Outlook 2019 offered an ideal platform for the Nordic investment community to exchange ideas and connect with the larger network. The different thematic roundtables that were available throughout the day offered room for in-depth talks on ESG, Fixed Income, Alternative Assets and Equities and facilitated to connect with peers and clients.

Further information on the solutions that Erste Asset Management is offering institutional clients to best address current challenges can be found here.