At first sight, the two sides of Federated Hermes seem culturally distinct. Federated is a staid, family-controlled, and Pittsburgh-based money manager with a history of providing services to bank trust departments. Hardly a hotbed of ESG or shareholder engagement, you might think.
After an extended period in the wilderness, distressed debt funds – bereft of opportunities because of ultra-low interest rates and economic buoyancy – are back in the spotlight with large players coming to the market.
Global debt reached a new record during the first quarter of this year, reaching 331% of GDP, or $258trn (€229trn), according to the Institute of International Finance, the global association of the finance industry.
Pension funds have shifted assets worth hundreds of billions from actively managed funds to passive funds in recent years. In doing so, they are part of an ongoing money mass-migration from high-fee active funds to low-fee index funds.
I didn’t intend to get a permanent job in ‘responsible investment’: my pitch for a consulting contract got misfiled in a recruitment folder and the rest really is history. Having held two good jobs in the sector, at USS and Axa Investment Management, I appreciate the 12 years I’ve spent inside the investment world.
How should pension schemes best position themselves to take advantage of portfolio secondary sales opportunities? Are there lessons to be learnt from the GFC for pension schemes selling portfolio positions during COVID-19?
“This time is different”. Such claims were rightly skewered in a well-known book by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. But with the benefit of recent experience it should be clear that their argument did not go far enough.