Insurance asset manager of the year: Conning
Finalists: Schroders, Standard Life Investments
At a time when underwriting profitability is challenged by low growth in developed economies, insurers have become more reliant on the performance of their investments to generate profitability.
Historically low interest rates and volatile financial markets in recent years, however, have made the hunt for yield trickier. On top of this, insurers around the world have been subjected to new prudential regimes, adding layers of complexity to the investment and asset management processes.
Against this backdrop, Conning Asset Management has successfully been delivering customised investment solutions for insurance clients with the industry's unique investment needs in mind, such as sustainable and tax efficient income, muted volatility and efficient use of capital.
The investment subsidiary of Taiwanese financial services group Cathay Financial has capabilities in all aspects of fixed income, as well as equity, alternative and non-US dollar markets. Conning has spent years developing "non-core" solutions, including various specialty fixed income and equity products as well as non-US dollar solutions for its clients that operate in other or multiple currencies.
Using its award-winning risk management software, the company assesses insurers' strategic asset allocation process, focusing initially on reserves and the liabilities, what they look like, how volatile they are, and how they respond in varying economic conditions. Once Conning gets to grips with the liabilities, it looks at changing the investment allocation using different mixes of asset classes.