Australian asset managers, owners, and investors are focusing on offshore assets as they attempt to navigate the current climate of volatility and low returns, according to BNP Paribas Securities Services.
The BNP Paribas Securities Services 2016 Investment & Operations Outlook survey found that institutional investors expect offshore equities to provide the greatest return this year.
The survey, conducted in February 2016, included feedback from 100 respondents from inside the financial services sector, many of whom were asset managers, asset owners, or superannuation funds.
BNP Paribas found that despite the number of challenges facing global markets, the local investment industry “expects offshore equites will generate the greatest return” this year, followed by infrastructure and emerging market equities.
Additionally, respondents noted they were facing specific challenges as a business and were seeking to improve their own efficiency to offset the low returns – with 40 per cent of respondents listing investment strategy as a key management concern.
The survey also found that investment risk was now a bigger concern for investors, asset managers and asset owners than last year, with analysis and reporting being the challenge most in need of addressing, according to those surveyed.
Results from the survey conducted in 2015 put "meeting regulatory requirements” as the biggest concern of those in the industry. However, this concern had dropped to fourth place in this year’s survey, a fact BNP Paribas said may suggest “the industry is getting used to regulatory change”.
The firm also noted a “growing recognition of the need to integrate risk management into business practices”, which it said was part of a broader trend.
“Australians are not alone. On a global level, a separate worldwide survey undertaken by BNP Paribas Securities Services last year identified risk management as becoming more complex and [this] was rated the greatest challenge the industry faced,” the firm said.