28 October 2021 | 3 min. readingtime
On Wednesday 27 October, the annual a.s.r. vermogensbeheer seminar was held. Its varied programme attracted some 60 institutional relations. The issue of sustainability, and climate risk in particular, was examined from various angles. In his welcome speech, CEO Jos Baeten discussed a.s.r.’s key strategic themes, i.e. climate change & energy transition, sustainable employability & vitality and financial self-reliance, diversity and inclusion.
“Markets 2022: bumpy ride towards recovery”
Then Professor and former State Secretary Rick van der Ploeg took the floor. In an impassioned speech, he said that it was high time CO2 and other greenhouse gases were priced realistically. Governments have an important role to play here, because a lot more subsidy goes to fossil fuels than to new sources of energy at present. Financial institutions also bear significant responsibility in driving the energy transition. Not so much in terms of differences in return, according to Van der Ploeg, but mostly as concerns the higher risks of investing in ‘dirty’ companies.
After that, Jack Julicher discussed the financial markets outlook for 2022. He outlined a ‘bumpy ride’ towards recovery, with uncertainty being the only certainty there is, it seems. COVID-19 will probably be the biggest risk to economic recovery. At the same time, Jack says, the spectre of inflation is looming, so central banks will need to stay on top of their game. On balance, 2022 will be a challenging investment year. Government bonds will be relatively the least attractive asset class, while equities might be interesting despite their high valuations, with Asia in particular offering great potential. Much is expected of less liquid asset classes in the year ahead, including mortgages, property and private loans.
As a representative of the younger generation, Talitha Muusse then challenged the audience with a number of statements, including regarding the responsibility of current generations for the generations to come. She also discussed the underrepresentation of young people in decision-making processes, as a result of which issues such as the energy transition are not given enough priority in her view. A positive development, according to Talitha, is the great willingness among young people to take action on socially relevant issues.
Finally, during an exciting panel discussion Rick, Jack and Talitha debated the roles and responsibilities of the government, politicians and businesses in making a real difference.