Markets at a Crossroads – It’s all in the mix

11 november 2021

Markets at a Crossroads – It’s all in the mix. On the 26th of October, Alpha Research hosted their first seminar in Brussels since the Covid-19 lockdown of March 2019. On this day various presentations were given by speakers from Nordea Asset Management and Columbia Threadneedle Investments and guest speakers from Vlerick Business School and SFPI-FPIM. The main theme of the seminar was “It’s all in the mix” focussing on one of Alpha Research’s specialties: expected returns.

Infrastructure investments post Covid-19

After an introduction given by Eelco Ubbels, RBA, from Alpha Research, the day began with a presentation given by Heiko Schupp and Ingrid Edmund from Columbia Threadneedle Investments. This presentation focussed on infrastructure investments post Covid-19. In the post-Covid era, an acceleration is taking place in terms of climate policy, the energy transition, and the social focus according to Columbia Threadneedle. Some of the main takeaways from the presentation is the need for a more sustainable energy system and the opportunity created in transportation via for example hydrogen. With Columbia Threadneedle vouching for green hydrogen as an opportunity.

Finding the winners of tomorrow

The second part of the seminar was an interview. Eelco Ubbels interviewed Roger de Passe, from Nordea Asset Management, about an active approach when incorporating ESG into an equity portfolio. When incorporating ESG considerations into the investment criteria investors are not making a trade-off between impact and performance but “finding the winners of tomorrow” according to Nordea AM. One of the standout facts of this interview was the current gap in investments to reach the Social Development Goals of the United Nations: with current investments at around 3 trillion USD, while 5-7 trillion USD is needed to reach the set goals.

Positive economic outlook

Jan De Bondt from Vlerick Business School gave the third presentation, which was about “the roaring 20’s” and the positive economic outlook for developed markets after the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Jan De Bondt, the outlook for after 2022 has potential to bring us back to the roaring twenties, with unorthodox fiscal- and monetary policy in place, a wave of innovation being expected and inflation (hopefully) staying on mild levels. The main risk posed to this positive outlook however is the geopolitical risk.

Sovereign Wealth Fund of Belgium

The final presentation of the day was given by Tom Feys of SFPI-FPIM, the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Belgium. During the presentation he spoke about the vision and dynamics of the fund. The aim of SFPI-FPIM is finding a balance between an acceptable financial return on one hand and societal impact on the other hand. Next to focussing on the long-term, SFPI-FPIM acts as a co-investor next to private investors with holding minority stakes in investments that show a promising long-term future.



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