At the time of this writing, the global equity markets have fallen sharply on coronavirus fears. The S&P 500 Index fell 11.5% in a week, and given the idiosyncratic nature of the fears, it’s difficult to know when it is fully priced-in. In the absence of facts, all sorts of theories emerge, but one thing is clear: The number of cases is still rising, and, in my opinion, these fears will continue to plague the market until they stop.
The impact of the equity market dislocation also impacts the bond market. There was, like there always is, a flight to quality in these situations. That means fund flood into the UST 10-year note dropping yields down to 1.15%. That is less than half of the yield a year ago, and we were all wringing our hands about low rates then. This puts even more pressure on insurers to meet their investment income and profit goals for the year. It may even call into question the viability of some insurance products in the longer run. Of all the things I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, everything above this sentence is on the list.
On a brighter note, we’ve got another great edition for you. First up, Rip Reeves is the featured interview. If you know Rip, no explanation is necessary. If you don’t, no explanation is possible. He has been a friend for many years and is a very knowledgeable investor having worked on both as a CIO and a third-party asset manager. Those experiences have given him a unique perspective on managing insurance assets. He is also the biggest LSU fan on earth (my assessment, not his) and is always a joy to be around. I think you’ll enjoy our talk with him.
We’re also blessed with a number of timely and topical articles from the best in the business. We have continued covering ETFs with our guest columnist, Mike Cafiero. We also are featuring an article from Broadstreet Consulting Group, founded by two amazing women, Margot DeMore and Milena Humplik. They have become leaders in the insurance asset management space and think you will find their article both interesting and insightful.
Lastly, we are making significant improvements to our business in the coming months. Thanks to you, we have grown, and it’s time to expand. Spoiler Alert: The data from our League Tables will now be available through S&P Global Market Intelligence. Everything is outlined in our two-page spread beginning on page 8, in this edition. Thank you for your continued support – we appreciate it very much.