Fund Selector Asia’s most read article in 2022 encapsulated the year as a whole, which was an interview with T Rowe Price’s head of international equities and chief investment officer, Justin Thomson, in which he said that the current downturn was a once in 300-year event.
“If you look at how a 60:40 portfolio has performed and…the positive correlations between equities and bonds, we see that as being a very remote event and statistically it’s a one in 300-year event,” he said.
Few fund selectors would disagree with that interpretation of events as equities and fixed income fell last year in tandem, while there were few bright spots except perhaps for money market funds and some of the more illiquid alternative offerings.
The second most popular story was an unexpected one, which was a study by Eastspring Investments, showcasing that Asia looked set to drive sustainable debt issuance, bucking the trend globally in which volumes fell during the first half of the year.
The author of the report, Ren Goh, a Singapore-based portfolio manager at Eastspring, singled out China in particular as a bright spot.
“The world cannot afford to ignore China in the transition to a zero-carbon world. With China accounting for more than a quarter of the world’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, China’s decarbonisation journey matters,” he esaid.
Despite a dismal year for ESG, largely because of its correlation to growth beta as well as the anti-ESG backlash in some parts of the world, particularly in the US, the topic remained of interest among readers with ESG stories featuring regularly in the top 10.
Providing a throwback to happier times, the fourth most read story was a study from Morningstar, illustrating that in 2021 out of the firm’s 116 ESG indexes, 57% outperformed their non-ESG equivalents.
Meanwhile, the third most read story was more in tune with last year’s themes, which was an interview with Ross McSkimming, senior investment specialist at abrdn, extolling the virtues of dividend stocks.
While dividend stocks have often been overlooked by investors in previous years, they were popular last year in helping protect portfolios against equity declines, while at the same time offering a steadier source of income compared with fixed income, which gets eroded by higher prices.
The 10 most read Fund Selector Asia articles are listed below:
- T Rowe Price’s Thomson views current bear market as once in 300-year event
- Asia poised to drive sustainable debt
- abrdn favours high dividend stocks
- ESG indexes outperform their non-ESG equivalents
- Lioner names Singapore CEO
- Singapore sees fund outflows in Q2
- Fidelity backs Asia’s structural growth story
- Mutual Fund Top Trumps – Apac ex-Japan Equities
- Best and worst performing fixed income funds in 2021
- Three major trends for green bonds in 2022