Richard will offer his views and outlook for UK smaller companies. He will also share the ideas and themes that underpin his current portfolio and comment on the attractive valuation gap he believes has opened up between UK small-caps and their larger counterparts.
Richard Bullas, portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton
Richard is co-manager on the Franklin UK Smaller Companies Fund.
Ageing populations, an area where Japan is seen as a frontrunner, tend to hurt GDP figures. Reiko will explain that a combination of this demographic and a tight labour force in Japan, has sparked industry shifts and breakthroughs associated with the prevailing work-life reform, self-driving, the 5G network, personalised medical treatment and so on. She will also discuss how the rising wealth of neighbouring South East Asia and growing investment in manufacturing and the supply chain, together with the fears surrounding the trade war, should benefit Japanese manufacturers while improving corporate governance has increasingly contributed to better capital deployment and better shareholder returns.
Reiko Mito, investment director, GAM Investments
Reiko is co-manager of GAM Japan Equity and GAM Star Japan Leaders Fund.
Slowing growth, unsustainable business models and disruptive markets present challenges for high-yield investors. That said, a positive technical backdrop is provided by the shrinking high-yield market. With increased volatility and issuer performance dispersion, it should be a good year for stockpickers. Uli Gerhard will discuss the best way to invest in high yield given the current market environment.
Uli Gerhard, senior portfolio manager – high yield, Insight Investment
Uli became a portfolio manager in June 2012 and is responsible for the high-yield strategy.
The rising uncertainties of the recent past are confronting investors with a dilemma: while the low-return environment is tempting them to take on increased risk to generate sufficiently high outcomes, the accompanying uncertainty results in meaningful reluctance to do so. Thorsten will explain why Invesco’s Enhanced Index fund range offers a potential solution, with well-diversified investment ‘factors’ providing an explicit outperformance expectation, while limiting active risk. He will also explain how factors work and why they have proven to be a source of active returns.
Thorsten Paarmann, senior portfolio manager, Invesco Quantitative Strategies, Invesco
Based in Frankfurt, Thorsten is a member of the Portfolio Management Team and is responsible for business development, risk control and investment communication. He started his investment career in 2000 at Cominvest Asset Management, joining Invesco in 2004.
Jason will focus on three key areas that can help investors navigate a more turbulent environment: liquidity, balance sheet strength and barriers to entry. He will explain how his portfolio is tilted towards the largest and most liquid companies, which he believes could be a differentiating factor during bouts of illiquidity and discuss how he targets companies with good capital management, and sustainable and attractive dividend yields with a focus on total return.
Jason Pidcock, head of strategy, Asian income, Jupiter Asset Management
Jason is the manager of the Jupiter Asian Income and Asia Pacific Income funds.
The narrowness of market leadership in recent years has made it difficult – though not impossible – to outperform the US market without a heavy reliance on the momentum-driven gains in technology. John will discuss his diversified approach to US equities and explain why backing companies with long-term dividend growth is a compelling way to generate alpha. He will also share his views on topical themes, including the ongoing trade war, and highlight the exciting opportunities he sees arising from the uncertainty being generated.
John Weavers, fund manager, M&G Investments
John manages the M&G North American Dividend Fund, and is deputy fund manager of the M&G Global Dividend Fund and M&G Global Listed Infrastructure Fund. Prior to April 2015, he was deputy fund manager of the M&G Pan European Dividend and Dividend funds.
European equity markets continue their upward climb despite continuing geopolitical risks and corporate margins running above their long-term historical average. But what happens next? And how can investors identify companies that will outperform over the long term? Mathew will discuss the opportunities in European equities with a focus on continental Europe.
Matthew Barrett, equity portfolio manager, MFS Investment Management
Matthew is an investment officer and equity portfolio manager, running the firm’s International Growth and European ex UK strategies.
Despite the significant increase in negatively yielding bonds we have seen this year, there still remains plenty of opportunities in the fixed-income market for relative value managers, and those who are not constrained by restrictive volatility metrics. In an environment where concerns linger about trade wars, lower growth and a potential recession, investors should consider an alternative approach that relies less on the direction of markets. Charlotte will discuss how H2O’s investment approach can add value and diversification across fixed-income and forex markets.
Charlotte Sargent, client portfolio management, H2O Asset Management
Charlotte provides daily support to Natixis Investment Management’s business development units.
The way we produce, distribute and consume energy is about to change radically. To make the world’s energy system more sustainable, affordable and secure, it is estimated some $120trn of new investment must be spent on fossil fuel-free renewable energy, energy storage and intelligent electricity grids over the next 30 years. Mark will provide an overview of Schroders’ Global Energy Transition strategy, which offers investors a focused, thematic exposure to the best-performing companies driving this long-term structural shift to a lower-carbon energy system. These businesses, he will argue, are poised to capitalise on the significant new earnings growth opportunities the transformation will create.
Mark Lacey, head of commodities, Schroders
Mark is the head of commodities at Schroders, which involves being the fund manager for the commodities strategy. In 2006, he ranked as number-one energy investment specialist in the 2006 Thompson Extel Survey. He joined Schroders in 2013 and is based in London.
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