'Down' with alpha and 'up' with targeted returns, greater use of alternatives
NEW YORK and LONDON, Feb. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Over 80% of institutional investors expect risk management to play an even greater role in the investment decision process in the future, according to a new study published by BNY Mellon, a global leader in investment management and investment services, in collaboration with Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. Harry Markowitz. In addition, over the next five years 73% expect to spend more time on investment risk issues, while 68% expect to spend more time on operational risk issues. Only 25% of respondents, however, had a chief risk officer.
Entitled New Frontiers of Risk: Revisiting the 360° Manager, the new study looks at a broad array of risk-related topics and issues, including: market risk; investment risk measures; performance vs. liabilities; credit risk management; emerging markets and non-domestic investing; alternative investments; asset allocation; diversification vs. returns; liability-driven investing (LDI); operational risk management controls; operational risk insurance; liquidity risk; political risk; regulatory change; and best practices.
"Institutional investors are up against some formidable risk pressures, from new regulations to transparency concerns to investment risks across the board," said Debra Baker, head of BNY Mellon's Global Risk Solutions group. "For many, risk management has been a puzzling proposition – just when they think most risks have been measured, managed and mitigated, new ones emerge and old ones evolve. We see the need for a collective risk management framework that incorporates all areas of risks, their impact on each other, and one's overall investment program. Using some form of quantitative scoring across major risk categories may be the next frontier of risk management."
The new study arrives almost a decade on from the publication of BNY Mellon's 2005 white paper New Frontiers of Risk: The 360° Risk Manager for Pensions & Nonprofits, which also included input from Dr. Markowitz. The 2005 paper highlighted how the need for more structured and holistic risk management was just beginning to be recognized, and the new study finds that, in the wake of the 2008 financial crises, risk management has now become a key priority of almost all institutional investors.
Dr. Markowitz notes: "The crisis of 2008 was different. So was the crisis that started in March of 2000 with the bursting of the tech bubble. So will be the next crisis. The moral is that one will never be able to put the portfolio selection process on automatic. The trusted quant team needs to constantly evaluate the current situation. It should also make sure that higher management understands what assumptions are being made, how and by whom any exotic asset classes being used have been evaluated, and what the vulnerabilities are of the general approach that is being taken. Furthermore, the push to integrate risk-control at the enterprise level, rather than at the individual portfolio level, should be continued."
Key findings of the new study, which surveyed more than 100 institutional investors, including pension funds and endowments & foundations, with approximately $1 trillion in aggregate assets under management, include:
Respondents to the 2013 survey indicated that the market events surrounding the 2008 financial crises and subsequent recession represent their biggest motivator when it comes to focusing on risk. More than 60% said increased management awareness of the growing field of risk management caused their firm to institute risk management practices.
Over the last five years, 59% of respondents felt their firms had benefited through the evolution of risk management, though many remained undecided about the impact, with results varying markedly by region.
In a significant shift since the 2005 survey, respondents rated "under-achieving overall return targets" and "underperforming versus liabilities" as their two most important risk policy measures. Between the 2005 and 2013 surveys, these two measures increased more than any other response within this category.
The full report is available online at:
BNY Mellon is a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment management and investment services in 35 countries and more than 100 markets. As of December 31, 2013, BNY Mellon had $27.6 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration and $1.6 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Learn more at www.bnymellon.com or follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon.
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