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Author Archive for Nick Spencer


Integration of ESG in a disruptive world

Responsible investing: Will ESG factors disrupt the way you invest?   Our recent quarterly update focused on disruptions — how the current environment can be disrupted by new approaches and technologies. Often disruptors sit in plain sight. The trends and efforts they represent can emerge over time, but ESG factors can also suddenly impact both

Being Responsible Voters

Even before the US Primaries & UK referendum, voting has been a highly debated issue. Executive pay, board governance and climate change have been areas of focus in recent shareholder meetings. Whilst the UN Principles of Responsible Investment (UNPRI) and Stewardship codes have asked asset owners and managers to be more pro-active on voting practices,

Jun 17, 2016 Categories: Investment, Markets, Pension Insights

Illiquidity: a booster engine, not concrete boots

Travelling across different countries reveals very different institutional attitudes to illiquidity. Some institutions embrace it, considering it the true advantage of long term investors; others seem to consider it akin to donning concrete boots ahead of a swimming lesson. How should pension trustees consider illiquidity? As ever, it depends on their current needs and objectives.

Oct 9, 2014 Categories: Investment Strategy
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Infrastructure who? Peeling back the paper from a former budget darling

  Should the lack of focus in the budget mean an end to interest in infrastructure investment? This year’s budget focused on different aspects for pensions and savers – skipping the headline infrastructure announcements and initiatives of previous years. However, the lack of action and progress with these plans had long since made the budget

Mar 26, 2014 Categories: Investment Strategy
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Five ‘real’ great ways to improve your 2014 portfolio

As my colleague Andrew Pease pointed out in our first blog of the year, 2014: is a year for investing cautiously. We expect equity returns to be modest and interest rate rises to impair fixed income returns. The question is how to best broaden and diversify your portfolio whilst still generating returns. I see particular

Jan 30, 2014 Categories: Investment Strategy
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I’m an alternative – get me in here!

When working with clients on their portfolios strategy, “alternatives” are a continual challenge. The desire to increase diversified portfolios is clear – but challenges large. Even once alternatives are understood, their role in the portfolio, the allocation size, and how reliable “hedge funds” or “private equity” can undertake it is not clear. The key to

Dec 23, 2013 Categories: Investment Strategy
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The most shocking news in finance this year!

Wow, maybe I should know better but I found the results of a recent P&I online poll truly shocking: More than 50% of Institutions are saying they are no better prepared for a crisis than they were five years ago. It was five years ago, last weekend that Lehman filed for Bankruptcy – do you

Sep 16, 2013 Categories: Investment Strategy
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Liability surrogates can be attractive – but don’t surrender to the sloths!

With real interest rates incredibly low, investors are seeking better ways of liability driven investment than just buying more gilts. One option we have been exploring for clients is “liability surrogates”. Liability surrogates are an emerging group of assets which can undertake a similar role to index-linked gilts but provide a more attractive return than

Mar 26, 2013 Categories: Investment Strategy

The return of the sloth

Among the causes of wealth destruction during the 2008 Financial Crisis, it is quite easy to identify six of the seven deadly sins (greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony). The only one visibly missing was anger; and arguably we have had plenty of that since! Sloth is a particularly invidious wealth destructor characterized by

Jan 15, 2013 Categories: Investment Strategy

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