Manulife Investment Management’s Global Intelligence report anticipates sustainable investing growth; forecasts economic recovery to pick up pace in second half of 2021


Manulife Investment Management released its semiannual Global Intelligence report, a firmwide outlook highlighting notable perspectives from its private and public markets investment teams. Key themes in the report include the projected global economic recovery, importance of forward-looking climate risk analysis in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, fundamental benefits of fixed income, future of real estate investing, and how COVID-19 has driven policymakers in Asia to take major steps toward sustainable investing.

Christopher P. Conkey, CFA, global head of public markets, Manulife Investment Management said, “We start 2021 with much to be optimistic about—from the distribution of vaccines, the stability and liquidity in the global markets, and the worldwide introduction of fiscal stimulus packages. As we look to turn a corner on economic recovery, the latest edition of Global Intelligence provides an overview of the investment landscape and identifies continued and emerging areas for growth.”

Stephen J. Blewitt, global head of private markets, Manulife Investment Management, added, “After a year riddled with economic uncertainty, there are bright spots across a number of private market assets in 2021, as the findings from our real estate team will indicate.”

“As corporate accountability and ESG dominate boardroom conversations across the globe, our latest report showcases a rapidly growing appetite for sustainable investing,” said Paul R. Lorentz, president and CEO, Manulife Investment Management. “We expect to see increasing demand for carbon solutions from investors, and will continue to seek opportunities for ESG investing across both traditional and alternative asset classes.”

Notable asset class themes, shifts, and guidance within Global Intelligence include:

  • “Global economic outlook: the rise of macro disruptors”—Managing Director, Global Chief Economist and Global Head of Macroeconomic Strategy Frances Donald projects the state of this year’s global economy with four key themes: a year of two halves, a K-shaped recovery, a temporary spike in inflation, and the continued search for yield.
  • “Unlocking sustainable investing opportunities in Asian fixed income”—Deputy CIO, Global Fixed Income, Endre Pedersen, Deputy CIO, Fixed Income, Asia, ex–Japan, Murray Collis, and Asia Head of ESG Eric Nietsch, CFA, dissect how COVID-19 accelerated the growth of sustainable investing in Asia and created compelling opportunities in Asian fixed income.
  • “The future of real estate investing resides in flexibility”—Global Head of Real Estate Investment Michael McNamara explores how real estate stays relevant in a world of changing needs and why it should be considered with flexibility in mind.
  • “The Paris Agreement as a long-term investment framework”—Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager Patrick Blais, CFA, and Head of ESG, Canada Margaret Eve Childe take a deep dive into the Paris Agreement and how that provides a suitable framework for investors seeking to align their portfolios with the overarching goal of curbing carbon emissions.
  • “The case for core: fixed-income investing in an era of yield scarcity”—Senior Portfolio Manager, Head of U.S. Core and Core Plus Fixed Income Howard C. Greene, CFA, and Senior Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager of Core and Core Plus, and Securitized Asset Jeffrey N. Given, CFA, revisit some of the overlooked reasons for owning bonds in the first place and how they can add value in challenging markets.