In this series, asset managers provide insights into the roots of their success and clarity around specific asset classes.

Fixed Income

There has been a regime change in fixed-income markets, according to Michael Trudeau and Frédéric Belhumeur at MFS Investment Management.

“Increased market volatility and macroeconomic uncertainty create more opportunity for active fixed-income managers to add long- term value,” says Frédéric Belhumeur, MFS Investment Management’s director of institutional sales. He’s joined by Michael Trudeau, MFS’s director and investment product specialist, in the latest Investment Insights.

What’s responsible for recent market volatility?

“In a financial environment shaped by unpredictability, we asked BlackRock’s Chief Investment Officer of Global Fixed Income, Rick Rieder, what approach his team takes on managing risk in these uncertain times and insights on what could be responsible for market volatility.”

Feeling Opportunistic?

“Opportunistic fixed-income investing has the potential to improve yields, returns and diversification, says Brij Khurana, multi-asset portfolio manager at Wellington Management. We asked him to share his perspective on opportunistic investing and on global fixed-income markets.”

Are Core Plus solutions the answer?

“Building an effective fixed income allocation in today’s environment is full of challenges. Are Core Plus solutions the answer? Investment Insights asked Rémi Tétreault, investment specialist, at Aviva Investors how institutional investors can benefit from adding Core Plus to a Core fixed income allocation.”

Think global, act local. Could that be the secret to successful Canadian fixed income investing?

“Find out why Robert Prospero, portfolio manager at Aviva Investors, thinks a global perspective with local portfolio management is critical to deliver resilient core plus Canadian fixed income solutions.”

Canadian Core or Core Plus Fixed Income?

“A Core Plus approach to Canadian fixed-income investing has the potential to improve returns without appreciably increasing risk exposure compared to a more traditional Core approach, according to Sunil Shah, Head of Canadian Fixed-Income at Aviva Investors.”


Time for the 60/40 model to evolve?

“With both stocks and bonds in freefall in 2022, it was a tough year for traditional 60/40 portfolios. David Picton, president and CEO of Picton Mahoney Asset Management (Picton Mahoney), and Robert Wilson, head of Picton Mahoney’s portfolio construction consultation service, agree that while the 60/40 model isn’t dead, pension funds must recognize and address some of its weaknesses.”

We're in a perfect storm – what comes next?

“After we go through a slowdown, which could be a recession, we will start to recover. Bonds will likely rally first, and then risk assets, especially stocks, will bounce back.”

How is Mackenzie differentiating itself as a leading asset management company in Canada?

“To me, agility and the ability to deliver truly bespoke service, with the backing of scale, is what sets Mackenzie apart”

What has the COVID-19 pandemic taught you about investment management?

“Successful investment management is a mix of science and art,” says Manulife Investment Management’s Patrick Blais. Learn how his team blends disciplined analysis, human insight and collegial portfolio construction in the latest Investment Insights.”

Aren’t emerging market equities very volatile for Canadian investors?

“Up to five years ago, “yes” was the answer to this question, but times have changed and emerging market equities have rarely been more diversifying for Canadian investors than they are today. Wellington Management’s Dáire Dunne adds that an unconstrained approach to EM investing can potentially reduce risk.”

How much is home country bias costing you?

“Pension plans are shifting their equity portfolios away from a home country bias and towards global equities – but there's still plenty of room for improvement, according to Maksim Piskunov, Associate Portfolio Manager of AGF's Global Team. Find out why he thinks a global approach to investing is more relevant than ever in an environment of rising populism and de-globalization.”


Qualitative or Quantitative? Why not both?

“We look at companies through independent fundamental and quantitative lenses, because we see strength in incorporating two different signals into our decision-making,” says Jeff Bradacs, portfolio manager at Picton Mahoney Asset Management.

The pandemic ‘shecession’ showed the impact of career breaks on women’s savings journeys — how can employers help them catch up?

“Compared to men, women are found to be more risk averse and have lower levels of financial literacy overall — and this definitely influences their attitude towards saving. We need to improve investment returns on women’s retirement savings by implementing non-conservative default investment options.”

What role can investment managers play in the climate transition?

“The road to climate transition has become the focal point of several sectors over the past few years, and the financial sector is no exception.”

Surviving the hurricane: What happened in the quant market?

“We have built our own proprietary risk model, which served us well last year because we believe it’s better at predicting risks for our strategies than off-the-shelf risk models.”

What is driving increased investor interest in ESG?

“As a tangible consequence of COVID-19, we think investors will increasingly pay attention to companies’ social performance – particularly, issues around human capital and business continuity.”

Do good to do better

“High visibility in the news and in social media means environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues can have a significant impact on stock and bond prices. Investment Insights asked MFS how ESG analysis is integrated into their investment process to help identify companies with the potential to achieve best possible risk-adjusted returns.”