Pensions & Investments reports Voya spokesperson Kristopher Kagel confirmed that Voya Investment Management Managing Director and Head of Product Management and Development Bill Golden assumed Stephen Dougherty’s responsibilities as a managing director and head of structured assets and alternatives. Pensions & Investments mentions that “Dougherty was named global head of product at Aegon Asset Management.”
"The Final Round" on Yahoo! Finance! featured an interview with Voya Investment Management CEO Christine Hurtsellers. During the interview, Hurtsellers discussed the implications of the Department of Labor's (DOL) proposal to establish more stringent rules on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment in retirement accounts. Hurtsellers said that in its proposal, the DOL "is putting a higher bar, or level of standard on somebody that is designing a" retirement "plan for their employees if they want to include ESG investments." Furthermore, Hurtsellers added that "we do not believe" that it "is in the best interest of plan participants" for the DOL "to single out ESG investments specifically in that way." According to Hurtsellers, the DOL "should not single out ESG investing as a higher bar for qualitative judgment that the plan" designer "or employer has to consider." Hurtsellers said a Voya survey that found 76% of the company's clients "want their employer to consider ESG" investments. In addition, Hurtsellers continued, 60% of those survey by Voya said they are "more likely to save if they have" ESG offerings in their plan.
Bloomberg TV What’d You Miss? featured an interview with Voya Investment Management CEO Christine Hurtsellers, who discussed her thoughts on stock market performance and macroeconomic trends. According to Hurtsellers, the U.S. “still has a long way to go before” the economy returns to its pre-pandemic level, especially as the unemployment rate remains above 10%. However, Hurtsellers said that the “underlying fundamentals and momentum” of the economy “are actually quite good,” with “retail spending rebounding,” and more activity on the restaurant-reservation platform OpenTable. When asked about the relative strength of the stock market, and if the Fed’s liquidity actions are obscuring some risks to investors, Hurtsellers answered, “I would say, for the most part, no,” adding that “when you peel back the covers and look deeper into the market ... we are still seeing a tale of two cities, meaning that” some sectors, such as commercial real estate “have really lagged.”
MarketWatch reports that “consumers drove the U.S. economy to its longest period of economic expansion in history – or at least until the pandemic hit.” According to MarketWatch, “That is something bond investors want policy makers in Washington to keep in mind as they haggle over another coronavirus aid package, and get down to the wire on the fate of the extra $600 a week CARES Act unemployment benefit that expires Friday.” Voya Head of Securitized Credit Dave Goodson said, “In an environment like this, and even before the economic slowdown, your most levered borrower has had to borrow to stay afloat, and already has been victimized by income inequality.” Goodson told MarketWatch that “the CARES Act was a godsend for those borrowers,” and “that it not only propped up struggling households, but also contributed to an eye popping rate of personal savings since February.” Goodson asked, “If we get caught up in a world of uncertainty, because both sides of the political aisle negotiate this aid package into oblivion, how are borrowers supposed to plan what to do next?” Such a scenario, Goodson continued, “could be a real recipe for disaster.”
Bloomberg TV What’d You Miss? featured an interview with Voya Senior Portfolio Manager and Asset Allocation Head Barbara Reinhard, who discussed her general expectations about the earnings season and longer-term market outlook. Reinhard said that “in terms of earnings expectations, you are starting to see revisions start to climb,” especially as the market is “really looking towards 2021.” She added that what investors should “focus on is central bank liquidity,” because that “drives asset prices.” Looking ahead, Reinhard said that Voya is focusing its portfolios “much more so on the U.S. than anywhere else in the rest of the world” and that “we do believe that the U.S. dollar is likely to take a respite from its recent declines.” Furthermore, Reinhard said that “there is no country in the world that has as much fiscal and monetary support as the U.S. does.” Reinhard added it’s for these reasons that “we think the U.S. is probably going to be the longer-term winner over the next one to two years while we’re still slugging it out with COVID.” Reinhard also commented that ultimately “we know it would come down” to federal government fiscal support to underpin U.S. markets. She said more fiscal supports are likely on the way because the high unemployment rate will force the federal government to act.
Pensions & Investments reports that Voya Investment Management named Tom Frost as Managing Director and Head of EMEA Insurance and Pension Solutions. Voya spokesperson Kristopher Kagel confirmed the move in an email. A Voya news release issued Tuesday says that Frost “delivers ‘asset management solutions to insurance, pension and sovereign wealth fund clients in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.’” The article adds that Frost will be based in London and report to Voya Senior Managing Director and Head of Distribution Charlie Shaffer and Voya Managing Director and Head of Insurance Solutions John Simone. Frost last worked for Interritus Advisory.
Connect Media reports that, in response to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and subsequent economic downturn, both investors and lenders believe that the real estate sector is likely to face headwinds as the economy recovers at different speeds in areas across the country. Voya Investment Management Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Finance Greg Michaud said he believes the recovery will be “idiosyncratic,” saying, “You’re going to have to pick your spots on where relative value is, and go to the markets where you want to be.”
Ignites reports Jane Conway recently joined Voya Investment Management as its new Head of Distribution Enablement and Intelligence. In her new role, Conway “is responsible for leveraging Voya’s data capabilities to help the firm’s sales, marketing and client service teams be more efficient and effective.” In a statement, Voya Head of Distribution Charlie Shaffer said that Voya is looking to take a more data-driven approach to its distribution capabilities to engage clients “at the right time in the channel they want to engage with us.” Conway is expected to help further those efforts, with Shaffer saying, “Jane brings a tremendous amount of expertise and we look forward to working with her to advance our various initiatives in this space.”
Voya Investment Management Head of Real Estate Finance Gregory Michaud recently appeared on ABS in Mind, a Debtwire podcast presenting “the latest issues affecting asset-backed securities markets and the loans they finance.” In the interview, Michaud “details how insurers are taking advantage of dislocations created by COVID-19 and discusses where they’ve become more selective.” Voya’s new strategies “include backing away from lending on retail properties, steering clear of hospitality and sticking with office buildings,” though Michaud notes that it has become more selective in its building choice. Additionally, Voya “continues to fund multifamily loans – in part because of signs the sector will perform well despite rising unemployment, and also because it enjoys deep support from the government sponsored enterprises.” In the near term, Voya is busy helping CMBS borrowers who have found themselves in trouble, specifically those left in limbo as markets seized in March. “We’ve been doing a lot of stranded loans” Michaud said.
Voya Chief Investment Officer for Fixed Income Matt Toms was on Bloomberg TV discussing debt markets and what factors are likely to have an impact in the future. Looking forward, Toms said, “in our view, it’s unlikely that [the Federal Reserve] needs to specifically use yield curve control ... the market is saying the Fed is near zero for an extended period, beyond 2-3 years all the way out to that 5 year bond. It’s only at the very back end with that 30 year where you see the real steepening, so bond markets are saying we could stay at a low level for a very long time.”