Affari & Finanza


There’s no shortage of liquidity, that’s for sure. What with rates at their lowest, quantitative easing getting under way and the return of capital with voluntary disclosure, the main threat is of underestimating the risks. So, for the boutique firms managing clients’ investments, attention is focused on building balanced portfolios, albeit in the knowledge that the most common solutions (starting with Italian government bonds) offer slim pickings nowadays. “The markets have already moved in the light of QE, pushing the euro down and creating the conditions for the economic recovery, with the fall in oil prices also playing a part”. The opinion is that of Luca Riboldi, Chief Investment Officer at BANOR (4.1 billion euro in assets under management at the end of 2014). “As long as we don’t see abrupt reversals, this year the Italian stock exchange could beat Wall Street’s performance by 15 percentage points”, he adds.

Michele Guerrieri, head of sales and business development at Zenit SGR, which at the end of 2014 had 770 million euro in assets under management and advisory, shares the optimism. “QE and oil prices will drive the European stock market”. In this context, Italy could be “a pleasant surprise in a scenario of timid, but constant, improvement and the boost that the weak euro could represent for a country that owes 30% of its GDP to exports”. As regards the stock exchange, Guerrieri is focusing first and foremost on broadly capitalised securities, while limiting his interest in SMEs to those most exposed on the export front.

David Basola, Italy officer for Mirabaud AM (8 billion Swiss francs in assets under management) underscores that the moves adopted by the Eurotower have brought the rates for government bonds to unappealing levels and pushed investors towards higher-risk assets. “We see opportunities in investment grade European corporate bonds (editor’s note: low yields as against a high issuer rating). We’re sceptical, however, on the current value of high-yield issues (editor’s note: high yields, low rating for the company) with respect to the risk they represent”, he explains. Turing to stocks, he is placing his bets on companies with robust fundamentals and dividend flows in the order of or above 3%.

For Paolo Boretto, investment director at Symphonia SGR (4.6 billion under management), in terms of equity a lot will depend on volatility. “If that is kept within limits, some categories of investors who in recent years underestimated that asset class, such as insurance companies and pension funds, will return”. According to the Turin-based firm, this should benefit list values, “especially of European securities, given that in the Stoxx 600 Index the proportion of companies paying a higher dividend yield than the return on their bonds is at a historic high”.

Original article in Italian language, available here: Affari & Finanza, February 16, 2015.


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