In January, Boston Partners’ Daniel Farren published a contributed article in Pensions & Investments that highlights why diversification, borne out of rigorous analysis and high conviction, can yield returns in line with far more concentrated portfolios, though with lower risk and reduced volatility.
Many investors are convinced that alpha has disappeared from U.S. equity markets and prefer to use passive investment
tools such as exchange traded funds (ETFs) to broadly gain exposure to these markets. The problem with this approach is
that it gives up any chance of outperformance and forces an investor to settle for benchmark returns minus fees.
Even after a five year run up in the U.S. equity markets, many investors still have ample memories of the financial crisis of 2008. Investors are uncertain of where to invest that will offer some protection against market volatility and also mitigate drawdown risk. As a result, “liquid alternatives” have seen tremendous asset flows.
For the past few years, the passive versus active debate has been characterized as a pitched battle between two sides. Upon closer inspection, however, some might recognize that this ongoing argument is far more nuanced than it appears at first blush and actually involves multiple sides with somewhat vague allegiances.
Joseph (Jay) Feeney, Boston Partners Co-CEO and CIO, discussed the firm’s long/short strategy in a Financial Advisor article looking at liquid alternative funds. Feeney noted that Boston Partners has employed a long/short strategy since the late 1990s, years before liquid alts were considered a category.
A search on LexisNexis, scanning just the past 12 months, will return well over 3,000 news articles, all focused on the active-versus-passive debate that has come to define today's investment landscape. The arguments are all pretty much the same, with proponents of passive strategies keying in on the themes of lower costs and comparable performance, while those defending active strategies will underscore the value of a hands-on approach in a sideways or downward moving market.
BOSTON, April 28, 2016 — Boston Partners, a premier provider of value equity investment products, today announced that Morningstar has named Senior Portfolio Manager Chris Hart as Fund Manager of the Year: Global Equity, for his management of the Robeco Boston Partners Global Premium Equities fund.