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Working From Home: BNPP AM and CSOP AM

Caroline Yu Maurer, head of Greater China equities, BNPP Asset Management and Kerry Zhang, fixed income portfolio manager at CSOP Asset Management, explain how they have been working from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Sly red cat turned on the laptop and plays on it.



Caroline Yu Maurer, head of Greater China equities, BNPP Asset Management, based in Hong Kong


1.What has been your daily routine while working from home?

My daily routine is to carry on my daily responsibilities in conducting market/company research as well as making investment decisions – hence it is compelling for me to add structure by dividing my daily work time into different periods.

Generally, I spend most of the day conducting calls with the listed companies and industry experts. Client calls will be generally done after trading hours given our diverse global client base. Part of my regular routine also involves maintaining regular communication with my team to ensure that we discuss and review our investment ideas. Virtual chat groups within my team are set up to keep each other abreast of what is happening.

2. Besides face-to-face meetings, what tasks can you only do in a sub-optimal way when working from home compared with working in the office?

To work from home efficiently, you need to have the right technology gadgets in your home office. Our firm has come with a new generation of tech tools and efficient communication which help bring staffers who work in distant locations into the day-to-day give-and-take of the office. This way, we have demonstrated great efficiency in staying regularly connected with both our potential and existing clients, providing them with timely updates.

Although working from home is gradually becoming the new normal, we miss the spontaneity and face-to-face interactions with companies and clients as well as the onsite insights from company visits. We will certainly continue to put a great emphasis on this post-crisis.

3. Compare the full year 2020 forecast for client portfolio performance today with the assessment in December 2019.

At the end of December 2019, we were quite comfortable with the recovery and were expecting a rebound in a number of macroeconomic indicators. External demand appeared recovering with China and global export orders bouncing back, as well as auto and semiconductors (the two largest manufacturing sectors), showing signs of recovery. With the current epidemic outbreak becoming global, we are now seeing a delay in this recovery.

Since the beginning of this year up to now (April 2020), the appetite for risk globally has significantly decreased. Amid the heightened uncertainties observed globally over the recent weeks, there is considerable uncertainty about the corporate EPS impact especially for the next two quarters.

With all the liquidity pumped both by China and central banks globally, equity markets will turn out to be more attractive when we start seeing stabilization post-COVID-19 crisis. We should not overlook the short term risks associated with a sharp drop of global GDP in Q2 or even H2 2020, but we should also appreciate the market opportunity to invest into long-term competitive businesses at a cheaper price.

We are likely to see faster acceleration in industry consolidation, which should play favourably for industry leaders over the longer term,  as well as faster adoption of online working, online education, online entertainment, higher demand for healthcare devices from hospitals to households – this transformation being already part of our market outlook.

4. How do you keep balanced and healthy during this period of isolation?

I try not to work overtime and on the weekends if necessary – which means taking necessary rest and include some form of exercise routine after ”official” work hours. I am also taking advantage of the fact that there is no commute time now and taking the opportunity to spend quality time with my family and children.



Kerry Zhang, fixed income portfolio manager at CSOP Asset Management, based in Hong Kong


1.During this shutdown period, how often do you get outside and what do you do?

As we have the A&B group arrangement (rotation arrangement) in our firm, each group needs to work in the office every other week.

The company also provides transportation subsidies [for taxis, for example] to help us avoid crowds when commuting.

Personally, I went outside once a day to buy some daily necessities from the supermarket nearby but I try to stay at home for most of the time.

2. What tasks can you do in the office that cannot be done well when working from home?

Actually, all work can be done when working from home because we have a good VPN (virtual private network) system.

However, it is indeed more efficient to work in the office compared with working from home. One reason is that the space of houses in Hong Kong is relatively small, and the company is relatively spacious. Thus it is more efficient to work in the office.

Moreover, in the office I have four screens to monitor the market and my portfolio, while I only have one screen at home.

Another thing which I feel inconvenient is that the financial reporting events of many companies during the epidemic were changed from offline to online. It used to be simple to participate in them because all we need to do is just go directly to the event at a hotel. However, now we need to go through a registration process [online individually for each company], which is quite inconvenient.

3. During the extreme market volatility and uncertainty about the shape of the economic recovery, what are some recurring client concerns?

First of all, whether the default rate of the Asian US dollar bond market would rise due to market volatility is the major concern.

Second, the possibility of whether liquidity issues in the financial markets would affect their investments.

Last but not least, they are also worried about how long extreme market volatility will last and how the uncertainty due to the coronavirus will negatively affect the cost of their [bond] investments.

4. To what extent it has been difficult to communicate with clients?

Although the borders were closed during the epidemic and there was no way to travel, our communication with our customers remained relatively smooth. We communicate with customers through telephone conferences and Wechat conferences. Our IT colleagues provide us with sufficient support 24 hours a day.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.