Questions & Answers
We believe that AssetWise is characterized by several distinctive features with respect to both investment philosophy and investment procedure, which genuinely differentiate it from other companies in the same industry. Some of these features are the following:
(i) All of our procedures are forward-looking. Anticipating shifts in market’s expectation about the realization of risk factors is at the kernel of our approach. What has happened in the past is of value only to the extent that it offers us insights about the evolution of prices in the short-term future.
(ii) Our procedures are based on the combination of state-of-the-art academic insights with many years of practical experience. Academic research offers us a multiplicity of potential solutions to any given problem; it is however the down-to-earth wisdom and maturity that inform us which of those solutions actually work.
(iii) We always take into account the fact that correlations among the returns of major asset classes are not static but dynamically evolving. Specifically, we regularly estimate the correlation matrix of the returns of major asset classes and make the necessary adjustments in our portfolios.
(iv) We are well aware of the presence of typical behavioral biases in investment practice, such as “confirmation bias”, “regret aversion bias”, “trend-chasing bias”, “herding behavior” etc. Our procedures are designed in such a way as to insulate our investment decisions from such noxious dispositions.
(v) The views of the members of our Investment Committee are formed, by design, independently of each other. There is no “dominant view” that dictates what one should believe at any given point in time. Independent views amount to independent asset allocation decisions, which in turn fortify the portfolio with valuable diversification elements.
The basic tenets of our Investment Philosophy stem from answering the following fundamental question: What drives changes in asset prices? As explained in detail in our Investment Philosophy section , we firmly believe that the principal driver of these changes is a shift in market expectations about the realization of certain risk factors (that is factors that in the market’s mind influence the performance of major asset classes). In fact we believe that there cannot be an active strategy for portfolio management which does not involve some kind of forecasting activity. However, forecasting is feasible and useful only if one has identified correctly what to forecast and how to do it. As a result of this belief, we focus on methods whose principal aim is to forecast our target variable, namely shifts in market’s expectations. These methods are analyzed in detail in the Investment Process section.
AssetWise’s existing clients include almost all types of investors, namely individuals, pension funds, insurance companies and family offices. For each type of client, we have developed a unique set of procedures, especially designed to meet the specific needs of that client. For Pension Funds and Insurance Companies, the corresponding procedures are described in the Fiduciary Management section. For Family Offices, the relevant investment procedures are illustrated in the Family Offices area.
Since we are an employee-owned company, we have invested an overwhelming amount of resources to build an exemplary client-firm relationship. All our existing clients share the belief that they along with AssetWise’s team are in the same boat. Apart from having developed a unique Investment Procedure for active asset management, we have also exercised extra care in accommodating our clients’ needs for steady communication, regular reporting about the course of their portfolios and supply of information about the current conditions of world economies and markets. We are always available to answer your calls, e-mails and also to welcome you at our offices to discuss in person any question that you might have about the course of your investment.
A recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)* predicts that the asset management industry is set for booming growth in the next decade. Global assets under management are forecasted to reach $145.4 trillion by 2025. However, the sector is far from being at equilibrium, as far as its technological and innovation characteristics are concerned. In particular, the asset management industry is at the verge of a “transformational change”, which will be centered on recent breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and machine learning. In a recent article in Bloomberg**, we are informed that “If computing power and data generation keep growing at the current rate, then machine learning could be involved in 99 percent of investment management in 25 years.” As a result, companies that are embracing this technological change will almost certainly acquire a comparative advantage with respect to both access and processing of information. This advantage, in turn, is likely to transform into superior portfolio performance for all possible levels of risk taking.
*PwC, 30 October 2017, article with title “Global Assets under Management set to rise to $145.4 trillion by 2025”
**Bloomberg, 5 December 2017, article with title “How AI Will Invade Every Corner of Wall Street”
Research and Development are at the core of our Investment Philosophy. We have invested an enormous amount of time and resources in developing innovative tools that promote our decision making process. Fruits from our R&D activities have already been incorporated into our investment process. A non-exhaustive list of such outcomes is presented in AssetWise’s R&D section.
Our benchmark portfolios are comprised of the following indices: Medium Risk Benchmark Portfolio: 28% MSCI World index, 12% Eurostoxx index, 40% Bloomberg-Barclays Euro Aggregate Total Return index (European Bond index) and 20% one-month Euribor. The corresponding weights for the Low Risk Benchmark Portfolio are: 14%, 6%, 40% and 40% whereas for the High Risk Benchmark Portfolio these weights take the values of, 50%, 20%, 20% and 10%, respectively.
Αctive asset allocation refers to a portfolio management procedure in the context of which the portfolio manager is allowed at any given point in time to change the asset allocation in the client’s portfolio according to his/her own views about future market prices at that time. On the other hand, passive asset allocation is a mode of portfolio management in the context of which the portfolio manager does not actively intervene in the re-allocation of portfolio assets over time. The main difference between active and passive portfolio management is that in the former case, as opposed to the latter, the portfolio manager is forced to formulate clear views/forecasts about the future evolution of asset prices.
Such a decision (over-weight or under-weight) is successful, when it yields an asset allocation mix that exploits the future price changes in the asset classes represented in the relevant portfolios. For example, if our Investment Procedure informs us about a looming positive surprise in the equity market and a negative surprise in the bond market, then the resulting decision of over-weighting equities and under-weighting bonds is successful if future equity prices rise and bond prices fall.