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Dutch asset manager bets on market rebound

Marco Willner, head of investment strategy at NN Investment Partners, speaks during a virtual conference on Tuesday. (Access Communications & Consulting Co.)
Marco Willner, head of investment strategy at NN Investment Partners, speaks during a virtual conference on Tuesday. (Access Communications & Consulting Co.)
Companies across the globe will see their earnings return to pre-pandemic levels next year and European equity markets in particular could offer good investment opportunities, Dutch insurer NN Group’s asset management arm said Tuesday.

Marco Willner, head of investment strategy at NN Investment Partners, said inflation fears, along with supply disruptions and a potential energy crisis triggered by the pandemic still pose challenges, but inflation is transitory and the global economy has room for a recovery.

“Central banks have so far acted responsibly. … Inflation will fall after hitting its peak in the first or second quarter next year,” Willner said in a virtual conference at the Federation of Korean Industries.

Willner said central banks will normalize their expansionary monetary policies -- a change that opens space for investments in value stocks, which trade at relatively low price-to-book values. Europe has the highest number of such companies, according to Willner.

But a sudden shift in monetary policy could add to market volatility and global equity markets are exposed to risk in the short term, Willner added, saying South Korea will have to mull a rate hike to match the US Fed’s tapering.

Meanwhile, the chief of the asset manager, which is the third biggest in the Netherlands, overseeing 420 trillion won ($353 billion), highlighted ESG investing, once a sideline practice that has recently gone mainstream encouraging investors to look at environmental, social and governance factors.

Demand for ESG investment will grow because it is sustainable, according to the asset manager. NN Investment Partners handles the world’s largest volume of green bonds used to fund projects that leave a positive environmental impact.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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