Who are the best asset managers and ETF providers?
Investing has never been more challenging and exciting. Rates are at record low, while risks – with the collision of the world’s two largest economies – have never been higher
4 Jun 2020 | The Asset
IT'S fire and ice for the best asset managers and ETF providers these days. Yes, 2019 was a spectacular year with majority of the asset managers able to post double-digit returns thanks to Federal Reserve’s Jay Powell reversing course in January. But 2020, is turning out to be a year of living dangerously with Covid-19 adding to the anxiety of a US-China trade war, and a recession that makes the 2008 global financial crisis looked like child’s play.
The industry’s search for the big idea used to be about being active or being passive. Passive investing in the form of exchange-traded funds/exchange-traded products (ETFs/ETPs) took off thanks for the longest bull run in history that started in March 2009. In the Asia Pacific (ex-Japan), assets invested in ETFs/ETPs stood at US$250 billion as of the end of September 2019, a 40% jump year-on-year according to data from industry research firm, ETFGI. More than a decade later, the next new thing seems to be to blur the lines between passive and active strategies.
To add to the challenge and excitement of investing is the emergence of ESG (environmental, social, governance) as the overarching theme. Plenty of asset managers are happy to share their long legacy in incorporating ESG. But truth be told, it was only belatedly that environmental and social factors meant much more thanks to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement signed in 2016.
The ESG agenda also reflects the views of asset owners, who more than ever are aware of the value of sustainable investing. It is not only as a positive reinforcement to address climate change and redress social issues, but also as a risk mitigant to keep tabs of the good companies from the rest.
With Covid-19, sustainable investing has become the new normal. As active managers launch new ESG funds, ETF sponsors are not far behind expanding the range of thematic funds that is adding to the collage of opportunities.
This year’s recognition for the The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards starts with The Asset Triple A Asset Management Company of the Year and The Asset Triple A ETF Awards.
For active strategy, Barings is the Asset Management Company of the Year for fixed income. The fund house’s high yield bond fund is leading the way in terms of risk-adjusted performance. BNP Paribas Asset Management is Asset Management Company of the Year for multi-asset based on its extraordinary suite of multi-asset products.
Alcentra is the Asset Management Company of the Year for alternative investments in Europe. The firm secured a number of notable mandates during the year.
In China, international investors continue to stream in as regulators relax the market access rules. In addition, the inclusion of Chinese fixed-income assets in the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index in January 2019 and the inclusion of A-shares into the FTSE Russell Emerging Market Index in June 2019 greatly benefited the market.
At the end of 2019, foreign investors held around US$350 billion onshore bonds and US$295 billion in A-shares.  
E Fund Management emerged as the winner in both the onshore and offshore market with its dominant and proactive approach in onshore mutual funds and its overall suite of products. It’s strongest competitor, China Asset Management emerged as the winner in the offshore equity market as was recognized as highly commended on the onshore mutual fund space.
In the category for passive investing Yuanta Securities Investment Trust retains the award for Best ETF Provider for Asia on the back of its strong leadership in terms of market share and product development. Yuanta SITC also launched its Yuanta FTSE4Good TIP Taiwan ESG ETF, the first ETF in Taiwan fully incorporating ESG and financial performance factors into its portfolio.
Mirae Asset Global Investments is recognized for its most innovative ETFs, which include the launch in Hong Kong of Global X China Biotech ETF and Global X Cloud Computing ETF, the first Hong Kong-listed ETFs investing in the China biotech and cloud computing space, respectively.
This year's edition, conducted as Covid-19 started to spread, is the first time in the awards’ history when face-to-face meetings with asset managers and investors have not been possible. The absence of face-to-face meetings, however, was more than made up for by the number of teleconference and video calls, which more than doubled.
The best investors and ESG awards for The Asset Triple A Sustainable Investing Awards 2020 will be featured in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.
To see the Asset Management Company Awards 2020 please click here.
To see the ETF Awards 2020 please click here.
For more details about the awards, please click here.
For more information about receiving the awards, please contact events@theasset.com
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