The CEO of KBL Monaco Private Bankers (KBL mpb), Jean Danckaert, last week hosted an investment conference at the Monaco Yacht Club, and attended by more than 100 guests, including clients, partners and industry peers.
KBL mpb, a full-service bank with clients from almost 70 different countries, had two of its key figures on board, Marie-Hélène Royet, Chief Investment Officer, and Philippe Giordan, Head of Advisory, to present the end-of-the-year investment outlook.
Investors sat on the sidelines for much of the summer as they waited for Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, to speak at Jackson Hole, Royet said, but despite popular fears of impending doom, triggered by events such as the Brexit vote, the global economic outlook remains modestly positive.
“In the current context,” she said, “at a time when yields continue to slide lower, short duration bonds are among one of the most attractive in the fixed-income universe.”
While it’s difficult to find value in fixed-income – with many government bonds now trading at negative yields – Royet indicated a preference for bonds offering better potential returns but also more risk, including corporates, US high-yield, emerging-market debt and inflation-linked bonds.
Regarding equity markets, Giordan cited the overall positive macro outlook, but estimates for 2017 seem too bullish and uncertainty remains. In the US, consumer spending is the predominant driver, reflecting the lowest level of US unemployment since 2008, leading to higher wage levels and confidence. He also highlighted the risks of a potential Trump victory in the US election.
In Europe, early indicators such as confidence data only show minor signs of worsening sentiment or growth outlook. Nevertheless, he still believes that the uncertainty due to Brexit and upcoming elections will drive volatility up from current low levels.
Royet and Giordan concluded by presenting two interesting examples of investment themes. The first was European family-held small and midsize companies, averaging higher returns than their peers with lower risk – making this niche a potentially attractive long-term investment opportunity. The second, strategies based on volatility indices, can also lead to longer-term stable returns by trading volatility futures or cashing in through option sales.
Established in 1996, KBL Monaco Private Bankers, with its core business in personalised financial services, ranging from a cash desk and order execution on international markets to high-value property mortgages and tailored asset management, is a member of KBL European Private Bankers, a pan-European private banking group.