Last updated: 17:18 / Friday, 24 October 2014
Aberdeen AM Survey

Financial Advisors Remain Bullish on Emerging Markets, Despite Headwinds

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Financial Advisors Remain Bullish on Emerging Markets, Despite Headwinds
  • Geopolitical uncertainty and expectation of rising U.S. interest rates not causing reactive investment decisions
  • They have not reduced their clients' exposure to emerging markets because of recent political turmoil in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere
  • 41 percent of those surveyed state they are most likely to increase allocations to emerging market equities over the next 12 months

Despite ongoing geopolitical turmoil across a range of developing countries and the impending hike in U.S. interest rates that is expected to slow growth in emerging markets, financial advisors remain bullish on emerging markets. 

According to a survey of more than 100 financial advisors, registered investment advisors (RIAs) and other investment industry experts, conducted by Aberdeen Asset Management at the Financial Planning Association (FPA) Annual Conference in late-September, sentiment remains positive on both emerging market stocks and bonds over the next 12 months.  The vast majority of respondents (88 percent) indicated they have not reduced their clients' exposure to emerging markets because of recent political turmoil in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere.

When presented with a range of asset classes, 41 percent of those surveyed state they are most likely to increase allocations to emerging market equities over the next 12 months. This was higher than U.S. equities (31 percent), alternatives (14 percent) and non-U.S. international developed market equities (14 percent).

"Although recent headlines can cause worry for the markets, advisors recognize that an allocation to emerging market equities over a long period of time is an important component of any growth portfolio," said Devan Kaloo, Head of Global Emerging Markets at Aberdeen Asset Management, whose team manages a number of Aberdeen's closed-end funds including the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Smaller Company Opportunities Fund, Inc. "We believe that emerging market policy makers have learned from past crises and used their experience to strengthen strategies and governance standards." Kaloo adds, "We believe that closed-end funds represent one of the best ways to invest in emerging markets as their assets can be nimbly deployed to potential opportunities in thinly traded markets."

Similar to emerging market equities, advisors expect emerging market bonds to offer the most attractive risk adjusted returns over the next 12 months as compared to other asset classes. Nearly 40 percent (38 percent) favor emerging market bonds. This compares to U.S. high-yield bonds (24 percent), U.S. investment grade corporate bonds (23 percent) and international developed market bonds (15 percent).

The survey also found that 60 percent of advisors consider risk tolerance the most important factor when evaluating investment options for clients, to ensure that investors have a realistic understanding of their ability to tolerate large swings in the market. Other important factors considered by advisors when determining asset selection include clients' investment time horizon (32 percent) and fund expenses and fees (8 percent).

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