Managing Director, Infrastructure EquityManulife
Q&A with Kate Roscoe
Many institutional investors in Canada, large or small, have allocations into private markets or real assets. How has the halted travel environment, as a result of COVID-19, changed the way that institutions conduct due diligence for their real asset holdings? Kate Roscoe, Managing Director, Infrastructure Equity, Manulife, answers questions on this plus diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- What are the emerging trends that you and your team have observed in global private markets since the beginning of the pandemic?
Repricing activity across different asset classes within private markets has fluctuated noticeably since the onset of the pandemic, particularly as the impact of COVID-19 has been so uneven across different sectors of the economy. Many private markets asset classes are showing the resilience that led us to invest in them in the first place – the same resilience they demonstrated during the global financial crisis – and an improved long-term outlook.
- How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way that your team as real assets investors conduct due diligence in your portfolios?
We certainly miss the opportunity to connect directly with our General Partners, and the management and operating teams of the companies in which we invest but feel fortunate that we had the technology to keep connected from Day 1. We, like much of the rest of the world, are on repeated online video conversations with our global partners. In addition, we are leveraging other available technology such as drones for visual inspection and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when the time comes to go on site.
- What advice do you have for institutional investors who are currently considering increasing allocations to private markets?
We believe that private markets offer an income alternative to low bond yields in the form of attractive risk-adjusted returns alongside the benefits of added diversification and the opportunity to capitalize on inefficient markets. Since they’re not publicly traded, there’s also the potential to earn an illiquidity premium over mainstream markets. We favor real assets that offer the opportunity to generate robust, recurring income because their intrinsic value is rooted in what’s concrete, enduring, and essential, which can make them less vulnerable to unexpected changes in inflation, consumer preferences, and global growth than other, more cyclical, financial assets.
- You are a member of Manulife’s leadership team who contributes to diversity and inclusion initiatives. As a global organization with team members on almost every continent, how do you see the business can benefit from these initiatives?
Many of us have personally experienced that diverse work teams help expand the range and elevate the flow of ideas and energy, making our firm a more interesting and dynamic place to work. It’s probably a function of being a global company, since so many of us have experienced directly the benefits and value of learning from a diverse set of colleagues. We’re looking to apply our success in improving gender diversity in recent years to build on our racial diversity, as well, by better engaging current and prospective colleagues from historically underrepresented populations, including Black and Indigenous communities across North America.
Kate Roscoe, Managing Director, Infrastructure Equity, Manulife, spoke at Institutional Connect Virtual Forum in October 2020.