Return expectations are declining amid expectations of rising interest rates, growing market volatility and increasing geopolitical risk, according to a survey of professional fund buyers by asset manager Natixis Investment Managers.
The firm reported that its latest survey of fund buyers—which was conducted in October and November 2018 with professionals who select funds for insurers, funds of funds and firms’ investment platforms—found that they have lowered their long-term return expectations to 7.7% from 8.4%.
The survey found the “vast majority” of respondents are expecting higher rates, and that this is regarded as a top portfolio risk by more than half of them.
“More than the absolute level of interest rates, professional fund buyers are concerned about the pace of central bank rate hikes,” it noted.
Additionally, the survey found most respondents are anticipating higher equity market volatility, with about half of them reporting that they are concerned about the prospect.
In particular, almost two-thirds of respondents said they see the U.S. bull market ending within 12 months.
At the same time, concerns about geopolitical events and trade disputes are also weighing on their performance expectations, the survey found.
Natixis said only a few respondents were expecting another financial crisis, but that most (60%) didn’t believe measures taken in response to the previous crisis will do much to mitigate future market risks.
Despite these concerns, Natixis reported that most respondents aren’t planning any big changes to their basic asset allocations. Instead, they expect to make “some meaningful changes within each of the asset classes,” it said.