The majority of institutional investors are confidently looking to 2022, focused on tactical strategies to counter expectations of rising inflation and interest rates and greater volatility in the equity, bond and currency markets.
Thus emerges from the latest Natixis Investment Managers survey which involved 500 institutional investors with assets under management of $ 13.2 trillion between insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and foundations on a global scale. These investors plan to make few changes overall to their overall allocation to equities (39%), bonds (37%), cash (5%) and alternatives or others (19%) over the next year. Instead, they are positioning themselves for interventions of a tactical nature.
69% of respondents identify rising inflation as one of the main portfolio risks, although they are more likely to believe that it is a structural phenomenon (55%), resulting from a mix of accommodative monetary policy and low interest rates. rather than a cyclical phenomenon (45%). Inflation opens up a series of long-term economic problems, but it is the trend in interest rates that poses the most immediate investment challenges, with 64% of respondents identifying precisely in the issues related to interest rates one of the main portfolio risks.
More than a decade of low rates, and some even in negative territory during the pandemic, have pushed institutions to new sources of returns. Private assets, along with alternatives, were sought after in 2021, with 84% of institutions now investing in private equity, 81% in private debt and the same percentage in infrastructure. For 2022, investors have indicated some of the most interesting sectors are information technology (45%), healthcare (41%) and infrastructure (40%), followed by energy (34%). However, less than half of respondents (45%) recognize private assets as a safe haven in the event of a market correction as private markets continue to rise to record highs. 69% of respondents fear that institutions have taken too many risks in their search for yield.
Institutional investors are also showing greater interest in digital assets: 28% already invest in cryptocurrencies and a share of four in 10 believe that digital assets are a legitimate investment opportunity.
Finally, 60% of the institutions that participated in the Natixis IM survey believe in a return to normal pre-Covid once the pandemic is over, an aspect that should be reflected in the commercial dynamics. Institutions are less focused on streaming and digital products, expecting instead that we will return to real experiences, such as theaters, restaurants and travel, with a slowdown in home-trade, such as online shopping and Netflix. 59% of institutionalists believe that the energy sector will outperform in 2022, as the economic recovery will lead to increased demand. Nearly half (49%) see the potential for outperformance for the healthcare sector in response to the demand arising from the pandemic and subsequent vaccination pressures around the world. The pandemic has also impacted the outlook for the IT industry, put under pressure in lockdowns, when work from home pushed the need for home IT solutions.
Sources: Natixis Investment Managers, Finanza.com, Eurostat.
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