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May 2024
Back to 2023 Best of the Best Awards Supplement

A rough road leads to the stars

The year 2022 was without a doubt one of the most challenging, if not the most challenging since the financial crisis of 2008; most asset classes moved in one direction, meaning downwards amidst a period of rising inflation and interest rates. As we move into the second half of 2023, the issues remain on the table and continue to dog markets and investors; welcome to the new world of geopolitics while the ongoing war in Ukraine continues unabated. 

Against this backdrop, it’s unsurprising that risk appetite has been sharply curtailed and investors, large and small, have retreated to the sidelines. Nonetheless, with bank deposit rates offering returns of 4% or more, public markets have a lot of competition ahead to regain investors after such a brutal year.

At the macro level, economic growth in the US and Europe will be slower and that will bear down on global economies. Inflation remains sticky while rates are poised to stay high longer than expected. In Asia, China’s long-awaited reopening has rekindled regional growth. The Mainland’s recovery will be led by consumption whilst troubles in the real estate sector appear to be contained. Elsewhere in Asia, inflation should begin to drop back but not for some markets.

As a regional bloc, ASEAN is regaining renewed interest and some countries, Vietnam for one, are benefiting from the disruption in the supply chain as firms move to relocate their facilities there from China; India, too, is a beneficiary of these moves.

While the second half outlook remains cloudy and volatility is the order of the day, value investing in a post-pandemic world is shaping up; differences between the 2021 wild market moves and now are indeed stark and painful of course for those who bought at the top of the tech boom. 

Going forward, for investors the traditional 60/40 allocation to equities and bonds – an accepted practice of the past 30 years – is coming under sharper focus; active managers, too, are grappling with a host of issues, not least the long-term threat to their franchise from the passive sector. While this is no new phenomenon, and one that has been a feature of the past 25 years or so, active managers have responded in measured ways. The ongoing market consolidation of asset managers has been one such outcome in recent years and we can expect this to continue in the years ahead.

In this special awards issue, we feature a host of the main awardees, many of whom are multiple winners of the Best of the Best Awards.

We congratulate them for their excellent achievements.

 

Tan Lee Hock
Founder and Publisher
Asia Asset Management
May 2023