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iShares Insights Series

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  • Currency Hedging: The Next Scandal in UK Financial Services?
    Currency Hedging: The Next Scandal in UK Financial Services?
    Ben Raven, Director at Tavistock Wealth Recorded: May 9 2018 45 mins
    In UK financial services the past 20 years have seen a fundamental shift in where retail client portfolios are invested. The UK-centric approach of years gone by has been replaced with the phenomenon of global diversification, coinciding with a weakening of the pound against a number of currencies. This has led to positive portfolio returns for UK investors across a wide range of asset classes. However, what proportion of these gains has been derived from the underlying asset allocation, and what proportion has been derived from simply owning more assets denominated in currencies which have been strengthening against the pound? If the asset allocation is not the sole driver of returns, then currency risk is significantly impacting the portfolio and could seriously compromise the suitability of the portfolio in relation to a client’s risk profile. What happens when the pound begins to move the other way and currency moves detract from portfolio returns rather than boosting them?

    In order to better understand this issue, one must address a number of key questions. Are financial advisers being made sufficiently aware of currency risk by fund providers? Is it in the fund provider’s best interests to discuss currency risk with financial advisers? Are financial advisers sufficiently discussing currency risk with their clients at the outset? Can you ever defend a complaint on the grounds of risks that were not sufficiently explained at the outset? Advisers shoulder all of the liability but are anybody’s interests truly aligned with theirs?
  • The million pound portfolio - How bond ETFs can help build better portfolios
    The million pound portfolio - How bond ETFs can help build better portfolios
    Hui Sien Koay, a member of the Product Strategy Team within BlackRock’s Fixed Income Portfolio and Zain de Belder, iShares UK Recorded: Apr 11 2018 35 mins
    Bond ETFs provide access to a wide variety of exposures, from pure single country government bonds to multi-currency, global corporate bonds.
    Much like traditional bond funds, the significantly smaller minimum required investment in bond ETFs than would be necessary to achieve the same level of diversification by purchasing individual bonds, is providing investors increased flexibility in portfolio construction.
    On top of that, trading characteristics of bond ETFs allow for nimble, transparent and cost effective access to fixed income beta, giving investors a set of tools to use either standalone in portfolios or within multi-asset portfolios such as equities.
  • Sustainable Investing: From idea to implementation
    Sustainable Investing: From idea to implementation
    Caroline Brady, a member of the BlackRock Sustainable Investing team within Multi-Asset Strategies and Lucy Langley, a member Recorded: Apr 9 2018 49 mins
    There is growing recognition that sustainability issues may have real and quantifiable financial implications. This marks a significant shift in the motivation to incorporate sustainable considerations into investment decisions. What began as a niche segment of investors divesting out of controversial businesses has moved to the mainstream. Today, global investors – ranging from large institutional investors to individual asset owners – are adopting a variety of sustainable strategies to achieve their investment outcomes. Whether targeting specific social and environmental objectives or enhancing long-term financial value, we believe sustainable investing is increasingly seen as a sensible investment approach. Today, there are more opportunities for investors to align their financial goals and sustainability goals across their total portfolio. Aligning these opportunities across asset classes and investment styles can be challenging.
  • The European ETF market – reaching maturity or continued growth?
    The European ETF market – reaching maturity or continued growth?
    Timo Toenges, Director, iShares Business Strategy: London, BlackRock Recorded: Apr 4 2018 29 mins
    The European ETF market has more than doubled over the last 5 years as institutional and retail investors have embraced them as a key tool to build efficient portfolios. Is the rapid growth trajectory going to continue over the coming years or will it taper off? What are the main drivers which could lead to outsized growth? Please join us as we discuss our outlook on the industry and dissect the growth drivers.

    Timo joined BlackRock in 2013 and has been leading efforts around defining the business strategy for the ETF business. Previously, Timo served as a Management Consultant for 6 years with McKinsey & Company in Germany.
  • Emerging Markets: From niche to necessity
    Emerging Markets: From niche to necessity
    Karim Chedid, CAIA and Hugh Arnold, Investment Strategists for ETFs and Index Investments (EII) Recorded: Mar 13 2018 42 mins
    Despite the growth of emerging market (“EM”) investing, many investors carry some assumptions about these assets that may no longer hold: ‘EM risk is singular and static’, ‘currency makes EM investing too risky’, ‘EM indexes are heavily tilted to commodities’ and ‘EM no longer offers diversification’.
  • Active vs. Passive Alpha: ETFs in a successful investment mix
    Active vs. Passive Alpha: ETFs in a successful investment mix
    Travis Robinson, Craig J. Lazzara, Pollyanna Harper, Linda Zhang, Tony Watson, Deborah Fuhr Recorded: Feb 14 2018 48 mins
    With ETFs continuing to grow in popularity, does Active Management have a place in the market? And, with so many proponents of Passive management, what are the contrarian voices saying?

    Thought Leaders on both sides of the aisle will discuss:

    * How to blend ETFs in a passive portfolio?
    * How to use Equity ETFs as an active strategy?
    * Can Alpha be generated with Smart Beta ETFs by producing more than marginal returns?

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