Displaying items by tag: rates

State Street Global Advisors is looking to grow its model portfolio business from $5 billion currently to over $25 billion by the end of this decade. Model portfolios are experiencing increasing popularity among financial advisors and clients. They enable advisors to bundle funds into specialized, off-the-shelf strategies, creating more time and resources for client engagement and financial planning.


At the moment, Blackrock is the clear leader with nearly $100 billion in assets tied to its model portfolios. Recently, the asset manager predicted that over the next 5 years, model portfolios’ total assets will exceed $10 trillion over the next 5 years from $4 trillion as of July 2023. State Street is aiming to capture a piece of this expanding market. 


Peter Hill, State Street’s head of model portfolios solutions, remarked, “We are fully committed to investing in our model portfolio business to meet the needs of our advisors and our platforms as their adoption rate of models continues to grow.” To achieve this, State Street is investing in the segment from an ‘infrastructure perspective’. This includes hiring employees in sales and marketing while also increasing outreach to advisors.  

Finsum: State Street is looking to grow its model portfolio segment by 5-folds over the next 5 years. Over the next 5 years, model portfolio assets are forecast to exceed $10 trillion from $4 trillion currently.


Published in Wealth Management

BNP Paribas conducted its annual alternative investment survey which revealed some interesting insights. There were 238 respondents, collectively representing $1.2 trillion in hedge fund assets, who were surveyed in December 2023 and January 2024. 


Many allocators are expecting a regime change with more opportunities for alpha and beta with US equities underperforming. This type of environment is more amenable to hedge fund performance. 


In contrast, hedge funds struggled in 2023 with an average return of 7.6%, while the S&P 500 was up 24%. It was the inverse of 2022 when hedge funds outperformed while both fixed income and equities were down double-digits. Interestingly, hedge funds outperformed global equity markets by 5.7% over the full 2 years. 


Going forward, allocators seem bullish on hedge funds. History indicates the asset class outperforms during periods of ‘high, stable rates. Over the last 2 years, allocators increased their expected return from 7.5% to 9.1%, which is the highest over the last decade. 


In 2023, there was a $100 billion in net outflows due to rebalancing flows, underperformance, and competition from risk-free returns at 5%. This year, survey respondents are expected to add $17 billion on a net basis. 

Finsum: BNP Paribas conducted a survey of asset allocators. They are increasing allocations to hedge funds as the asset class has historically outperformed in high, stable rate environments.


Published in Wealth Management
Sunday, 18 February 2024 04:29

Household Balance Sheets Remain in Good Standing

There have been concerns that the housing market could be on the verge of a decline given the stress created by high interest rates and a weakening economy. However, one reason to be sanguine about the housing market despite near-term headwinds is that household balance sheets are in strong shape.


It’s sufficient to dismiss alarmists who see another housing crash on the scale of the financial crisis and Great Recession in 2008. While economic headwinds have started to damage the standing of renters, young people, and those with lower FICO scores, there is no indication that homeowners are in a troubled position.


In fact, bankruptcy and foreclosure rates have remained low even after the expiration of the CARES Act moratorium. This is a departure from the Great Recession when many households were overly leveraged, and higher rates led to a surge in foreclosures. Another major difference is that regulations have led to higher lending standards and the disappearance of exotic mortgages. 


Following the housing crisis, most buyers gravitated towards 30-year fixed mortgages. Periods of ultra-loose monetary policy also led to major waves of refinancing. Cumulatively, this means that the vast majority of households continue to enjoy low rates and have seen the value of their homes rise. 

Finsum: Inflation and higher rates have been damaging to certain segments of the population. Yet, homeowners are an exception as they have locked in low rates, while showing little indications of stress.


Published in Eq: Real Estate
Monday, 12 February 2024 05:26

Silver Linings for Homebuyers in 2024

The last few years have been brutal for first-time homebuyers. Prices have been trending higher for the last decade and accelerated in the post-pandemic period. The last couple of years have also seen affordability take a huge hit due to interest rates making mortgages more expensive, a consequence of the Fed’s battle against inflation.


Further despite many headwinds, home prices have remained flat rather than go down and provide relief to buyers. This was, in part, due to low supply as many homeowners elected to hold onto their homes and low monthly payments rather than move. However, there are some signs of positive developments.


The major one is the Fed pivoting and starting to cut rates which is expected sometime in May or June. One caveat is that declines in the mortgage rate in the summer and winter of last year led to sizable jumps in mortgage applications, indicating a healthy amount of pent-up demand if conditions ease. This means that any relief could be short-lived as prices could resume rising if activity picks up. In the interim, one group of winners could be cash buyers given that there could be some forced sellers who are unable or unwilling to refinance at higher rates. 

Finsum: The sharp rise in home prices in the post-pandemic period and spike in interest rates has been brutal for prospective home buyers who have seen affordability crumble. Here’s why 2024 could present more favorable conditions. 


Published in Eq: Real Estate
Friday, 09 February 2024 05:39

Powell Warns of Commercial Real Estate Risks

The crisis in commercial real estate (CRE) is starting to have knock-on effects on banks according to Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. In an interview with 60 Minutes, he remarked, “It feels like a problem we’ll be working on for years… it’s a sizable problem.” He added that most of the negative impact would be concentrated on smaller or regional banks who have greater exposure to CRE.


Already, the Fed stepped in following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in June of last year to prevent further damage that could impact the broader economy. In addition to this stress, banks are dealing with an inverted yield curve which has made lending less profitable, and it has led to the uncomfortable position of paying out high rates on deposits while holding loans made at much lower rates in the past. 


Ultimately, the crux of the problem is that demand for office space has declined due to more companies adopting remote work or hybrid arrangements. According to estimates, there could be 1 billion square feet of unused office space by the next decade. Another cause for concern is that over the next few years, loans will mature and need to be refinanced in a much more difficult environment. Given these bleak fundamentals, it’s inevitable that lenders will take losses.

Finsum: In a 60 Minutes interview, Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned that weakness in commercial real estate was starting to impact the banking sector. Already, the Fed intervened last year to prevent contagion following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. 

Published in Eq: Real Estate
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