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The power of Top Down: 7 implications for EM equity investors

The Emerging View

18 October 2019

Welcome to Emerging Markets! A huge array of economies all at various stages of development and maturity with different capital market structures. Add in as many different currencies, political frameworks and policy stances and the result is a complex, diverse, evolving and inefficient market universe. Therein lies both the opportunity and the challenge. How can an investor harvest such market inefficiency, especially with any degree of consistency? The majority of active managers turn to tried and tested approaches employed in developed markets dominated by stock picking approaches. However, investors beware. Emerging Markets are more dynamic and volatile compared to developed markets with a different balance of price and volatility drivers. While stock research and selection is key, so are a number of other factors, not least country, industry and currency. Indeed, Emerging Markets’ underlying characteristics mean that these so called ‘Top Down’ factors can be disproportionately important in driving prices and hence the alpha opportunity. We consider seven implications that illustrate why explicitly incorporating a Top Down approach is both a return enhancer and a risk mitigator.

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