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Best Real Assets and Alternatives Paper 2020

  • ,  Investment Content Specialist |
  • 07 Dec 2020

Nuveen wins Best Real Assets and Alternatives Paper 2020

Over the last two decades, institutional investments in real and alternative assets have grown considerably. From real estate to farmland to infrastructure, these assets are now to be expected in any serious large investor’s portfolio. But given the illiquid nature of these assets (compared to stocks and bonds), investors need to carefully consider how this risk might affect the overall performance of their portfolio. The winning paper by Nuveen in this category explores this precise issue. It offers detailed insight into the complexities that lie behind managing this sort of risk.
Real Assets and Alternatives Papers 2020


Pension Plan Optimization Using Public and Private Real Assets (Nuveen, 2020)

Portfolio diversification is an essential part of managing portfolio risk during periods of lowered future-return expectations. Real assets – whether farmland, timberland, real estate or infrastructure – can help mitigate these concerns. This Nuveen paper explores three unique approaches to portfolio diversification using real assets. They provide pension plans with a helpful framework for allocating funds and they highlight the complexities that lay behind such a strategy.


Private Markets 2020 (BlackRock)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in the United States and Canada

Over the last two decades, private market investments have played a historically bigger role in most institutional portfolios. This BlackRock paper suggests moving beyond the asset class view still employed by many investors, and the concentrated allocations and overemphasis on capital growth strategies that often accompany it.

Building a Better Portfolio: Balancing performance and liquidity (PGIM Institutional Advisory & Solutions, Apr 2020)

As greater allocations are made to private assets, the nature of a portfolio’s liquidity characteristics changes. In periods of market uncertainty, failing to understand (and plan for) this can have detrimental effects. This paper by PGIM IAS aims to help investors centre their allocations to private assets around portfolio liquidity choices.

REITs: The missing ingredient for a holistic real estate allocation (Janus Henderson, 2020)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in the United States and Canada

In recent years, institutional investors have sought higher returns from various private assets – private debt, private equity, private real estate, etc. And while private assets have broadly delivered, the same can’t be said for private real estate assets. This 9-page paper by Janus Henderson Investors makes the case for listed real estate (REITs) as part of a holistic real estate allocation strategy.

European Private Debt: Shifting dynamics (M&G Investments, Apr 2020)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in certain geographies

Private debt assets continue to entice global institutional investors. The breadth of the asset class means that a private debt investment can comfortably play a role in different parts of an investor’s portfolio. In this M&G Investments paper, the authors examine Europe’s private debt market in 2019. They provide some market highlights and delve into some key themes shaping the opportunity set.

Does the Illiquidity of Private Markets Affect Asset Allocation? (State Street, 2020)

Liquidity’s importance is widely known. But investors haven’t always known how to account for it when constructing their portfolios. This 11-page paper by State Street proposes a novel approach to this dilemma by treating liquidity as a shadow allocation to a portfolio. The authors believe that it improves on other methods in four main ways which are explored in the paper.

The Relevance of Gold as a Strategic Asset (World Gold Council, 2020)

For compliance reasons, this paper is only accessible in certain geographies

In recent years, gold has played a more prominent role in investors’ portfolios. The rise of systemic market risk, among other things, has meant that investors have sought safety from market volatility. This paper by the World Gold Council takes readers back to first principles and educates them on the strategic importance of gold assets.

Real Estate Outlook: Global overview (UBS AM, May 2020)

When nationwide lockdowns were announced as part of the fight against the coronavirus, it was expected that the global real estate market would bear the brunt of the measures. While that assumption was largely correct, the global recession and drop in retail sales have affected various parts of the world in slightly different ways. This UBS AM paper presents some interesting findings.


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The Savvy Investor Awards celebrate the best content from across the global institutional investment industry. We present awards across 14 different categories including the best overall paper.

Every year our Content Team handpicks and uploads over 10,000 articles and papers to the Savvy Investor platform. This library, alongside engagement data from 50,000+ members, means our judges are well-placed to identify and assess the award-worthy papers of 2020. The Awards are judged on many elements including the depth, quality, readability, and of course, appeal and relevance to our institutional investor audience. In a world saturated with content, and where it’s difficult to cut through the noise, it is a great pleasure to highlight quality, cutting edge, and deeply engaging thought leadership for the investment community.

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