In Stormy Weather and Markets, Allianz Gathers Gotham Reporters
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Thursday, September 10, 2015

In Stormy Weather and Markets, Allianz Gathers Gotham Reporters

Investing and asset management industry reporters converged on midtown Manhattan this morning to get a take on all the recent market craziness.

Kristina Hooper, US investment strategist for Allianz Global Investors, moderated a panel discussion at the asset manager's 42nd-floor offices at 1633 Broadway. Panelists included global chief investment officer Andreas Utrmann, global strategist and CIO equity Europe Neil Dwane, and global CIO equity and global head of research Steve Berexa. Before the program kicked off, journalists and fundsters chatted over a hot breakfast and enjoyed the view of a stormy New York City morning.

The quartet of investing gurus discussed the possibility of a Fed rate hike, the devaluation of China's currency, ways to reap solid returns in a low-return environment and more. Utermann and Dwane also talked about the opportunities the uncertain markets offer to active asset managers (like Allianz, of course).

"The concept of active investing is changing quite a bit," Utermann told reporters, adding that stockpicking is "more attractive" when beta (i.e. market returns) is low.

To win investors over to "active 2.0," Utermann said, active asset managers "need to be much better at demonstrating that [they] do have sustainable active management capabilities."

"Everybody was complicity in this failure of active management," Utermann said, calling on fundsters to get customers to free managers "from the shackles."

"We've got to do a better job as an industry to un-constrain us," Dwane agreed.

Utermann and Berexa also shared concerns about the negative effects of low interest rates.

"Animal spirits are dampened," Berexa said. "We're in a room where the fire alarm is still going seven years after the fire."

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