Marina Bays Sands, Singapore

abrdn gather: APAC Investment Forum 2024

Investing in change - shaping opportunities

We concluded our abrdn gather: APAC Investment Forum 2024 series in March 2024.

We were delighted to welcome over 300 clients in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand, discussing key investors’ concerns and identifying key investment themes for the year ahead.

Here are the key takeaways from the forum:

  • House View: Be aware of political, economic and market uncertainty; yet it’s time to activate cash, focus on quality, look for income and diversify into assets less correlated with stocks and bonds.
  • Income: Income-generating assets help mitigate risks and make portfolios more resilient across economic cycles. Diversify across equity, fixed income and multi-asset investments with funds that have quality assets and deliver stable income.
  • Emerging markets: Emerging markets are attractive again, after being restrained by higher interest rates over the past couple of years. From emerging market corporate debt to the Indian bond market to income-generating stocks, there are several options.
  • Alternatives: Interest in alternative assets is increasing as investors seek higher returns, inflation hedge and diversification benefits. Look for opportunities in European residential and logistics, as well as in private credit.
  • Sustainability: Asia contributes to 50% of global carbon emissions. Yet the region is also one of the biggest opportunities for investors in renewable energy. Energy grid upgrades, ‘brown’ companies with credible transition plans and public-private partnerships are three examples.

Watch our Event Highlights

Here are the recordings from the Singapore flagship forum

Welcome remarks

Rene Buehlmann, Global Chief Executive Officer, Investments

When Politics Meets Economics

As we enter 2024, everyone is focused on the path of inflation, and the likely timing and pace of central bank interest-rate cuts, amid a broader economic slowdown that clouds the outlook for many major economies.

Complicating matters, voters in countries representing more than 40% of the world’s population go to the polls this year. Analysis of political risks will become even more important with a possible Trump presidency in the US and a general election in India having far-reaching political, economic and financial market implications. Meanwhile, tensions in a number of geopolitical hotspots around the world remain unresolved.

Looking further ahead, we need to ask ourselves whether AI is a curse or a boon, if countries can set aside their differences to achieve global climate goals, and whether ageing populations will force a rethink of growth assumptions?

  • Manu Bhaskaran, Founding Partner and President/Chief Executive at Centennial Asia Advisors
  • Peter Branner, Chief Investment Officer, abrdn

Key Investment Decisions for 2024

The world is entering a new economic phase and investors need to adapt their strategies accordingly. How should you navigate this changing landscape and identify the optimal asset-class mix?

In this session, we shared our macro outlook and house view on how we believe different asset classes will perform in the coming 12-18 months.

  • Rene Buehlmann Global Chief Executive Officer, Investments
  • Peter Branner, Chief Investment Officer
  • Irene Goh, Head of Multi Asset Investment Solutions Asia Pacific and Head of Hong Kong
  • Adam McCabe, Head of Fixed Income - Asia Pacific
  • Flavia Cheong, Head of Equities - Asia Pacific
  • Ted Roy, Head of Investments and Capital – Real Estate APAC

Investing for Income

In volatile market conditions, a diverse range of income-generating strategies may help investors enhance returns and reduce risk. In this session, we weighed up different ways to access stable income from equities, fixed income and multi-asset investments.

  • David Hanzl, Head of Wholesale - Asia Pacific
  • Alex Smith, Head of Equities Investment Specialists - Asia Pacific
  • Thomas Drissner, Head of Asian Credit Research
  • Dongyue Zhang, Head of Multi-Asset Investment Solutions Specialists - Asia Pacific

Investing in Asia's Green Transition

Asia is responsible for more than 50% of global CO2 emissions, but it also accounts for almost half the world’s installed renewable energy capacity. The energy transition is a global challenge that requires the collaboration of different countries and industries. Asia plays a key role in driving this change.

In this session, we discussed decarbonisation and the green transition in Asia and how these issues affect investors.

  • David Choi, Director – Options, Portfolio Construction, Asset Allocation, AustralianSuper
  • De Rui Wong, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Office, GIC
  • Emily Zhou, Portfolio Manager, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)
  • Sean Lee, Head of Institutional Client Group, South East Asia and Head of Consultant Relations, Asia Pacific, abrdn
  • Danielle Welsh-Rose, Head of Sustainability Investment Specialists, abrdn
  • David Smith, Senior Investment Director, abrdn

An Emerging Market Comeback?

Several factors will affect the prospects for emerging markets in 2024 – China's possible shift to a more pro-growth and stimulus-oriented stance, the strength of the US dollar, and the changing trade relationships between major economies. These will create challenges and opportunities. Can emerging markets offer attractive returns and diversification benefits?

  • Ray Sharma-Ong, Investment Director
  • Yoojeong Oh, Investment Director, Asian Equities
  • Kenneth Akintewe, Head of Asian Sovereign Debt
  • Henry Loh, Head of Asian Credit

A Treasure Map to Navigate Alternatives

Allocating to alternatives is a trend likely to continue in 2024 as investors seek diversification to protect portfolios amid economic uncertainty. How will this asset class fare and where are the best opportunities hiding?

  • Oliver Barbagallo, Executive Director, Asia & Middle East, Plenary Group
  • Vivian Tang, Head of Institutional Clients – Asia Pacific, abrdn
  • Martin Barnewell, Investment Director - Private Credit, abrdn
  • Ted Roy, Head of Investments and Capital, Real Estate, APAC, abrdn

Our income strategies push forward

Our income strategies are diversified to deliver return opportunities throughout the economic cycle.

Discover Income Investing