BNP Paribas AM survey reveals significant impact of demographic change on asset allocation

by | Sep 12, 2022

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BNPP AM reveals the key findings of its latest survey conducted by Coalition Greenwich[1] on how demographic change has and continues to impact asset allocation decisions.

  • 74% of respondents indicated that demographic change has already impacted asset allocation decisions.
  • 95% cited new technologies as an important change shaping their investment strategies, closely followed by ageing populations (91%).
  • 60% of investors viewed demographic change as an investment opportunity.

The survey found that demographic change has impacted asset allocation decisions for three-quarters (74%) of investors in the past three years and almost all (95%) believe it will have a greater influence on investment decision-making in the next decade.  By region, 42% of US investors indicated demographic change has already impacted asset allocation, compared to 78% of those in Europe and 83% in Asia.  The impact was most pronounced amongst intermediary investors, with 86% indicating it had already been factored into investment choices, compared with 69% of institutional investors.

Main demographic and societal changes set to impact investment strategies

Almost all investors surveyed (95%) cited the acceleration of digital and new technologies as an important change shaping their investment strategies, closely followed by the impact of ageing populations (91%), changes in consumer spending habits (89%) and population growth in emerging markets (86%).

These findings also reflect the more appealing sectors identified by respondents.  Healthcare was identified by almost all investors (91%) as significantly attractive, followed by Technology (84%), Energy (67%), Agrifood (63%), Leisure & Tourism (60%) and Real Estate (59%).  Their growing attractiveness is also linked to the pandemic and climate change.

Key regional differences:

  • Healthcare was seen as more important in Europe and Asia (both 95%) compared to the US (75%).
  • Technology, telecoms and IT were more important in Asia (93%) compared to Europe (81%) and the US (75%).
  • For investors in Asia, emerging market population growth was deemed an ‘extremely important’ aspect of demographic change for investment strategy by half of respondents (51%), compared to 21% in Europe and 15% in the US.
  • Diversity & Equality was deemed to be an ‘extremely important’ aspect by 30% of US investors, compared to 24% in Asia and 17% in Europe.

Asset classes most likely to benefit

Institutional investors indicated that Equities (52%), Real Estate (50%) and Infrastructure (47%) were the asset classes indicated as most likely to benefit from allocations as a result of demographic change, while for intermediary investors, Thematic Investment was top (63%), followed by Equities (53%) and Infrastructure (47%).  Results showed broadly equal preferences for changing allocations to active and passive strategies over the next 10 years, and across all regions.

Risk or opportunity?

Demographic change was identified as an investment opportunity by almost 60% of the investors surveyed and as a risk by 20%, and as a result there was a mix of preferences for taking on increased and decreased investment risk in the future. Investor preference in Asia was for less investment risk (39%), compared with increased investment risk expected in the US and Europe (both 17%).

Sandro Pierri, CEO of BNP Paribas Asset Management, comments: “The results of the survey highlight the significance of demographic and societal changes, and their investment implications.  The findings also show the extent to which demographic shifts and asset allocation considerations are interlinked with the ever-quickening pace of technology and the focus on sustainability, which requires a fundamental re-allocation of capital.  This will need deep transformation in the investment industry to cater for issues such as funding the pension gap, moving from wealth creation to wealth preservation adapted to clients’ risk profiles, or providing for a more digital way of investing.

“While this presents challenges, it also creates new opportunities.  Identifying the sectors set to solve these challenges and selecting the appropriate strategies can uncover long-term investment opportunities.  At BNP Paribas Asset Management, we are already seeing a shift to thematic investment as our clients seek to address specific challenges and tap into longer-term trends as part of a diversified investment strategy.”

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