High-conviction, active investing across a broad range of markets is what defines us at PineBridge. Distinguishing us from other asset managers is our agile investing capability and a culture that focuses on collaboration, enabling a constant exchange of information across borders of all kinds.
Key to achieving our goals is our connected and collaborative investment culture. Ehret describes regular interactions across geographies and asset classes – for example, equity managers frequently attend fixed income team meetings, and vice versa, to leverage their market insights. These touchpoints around the globe from our offices across the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia-Pacific (where half of our assets are managed for Asia-based clients) form a communication infrastructure that differentiates us from larger players in the industry.
This sense of cohesion among the investment teams stems from having ridden the highs and lows of the previous market cycle together. PineBridge emerged from insurance giant AIG in the wake of the financial crisis, and the transition from AIG to PineBridge fortified the teams’ dedication to each other – and to helping clients thrive.
“Even though each of our investment teams has its own culture, everyone understands that we work better when we are open, transparent, and collaborative,” Ehret says. To further reinforce this dynamic, the firm recently moved its headquarters in New York City to a state-of-the-art open-plan space to deepen collaboration both within teams and across the organization.
Data as of 30 June 2021. Investment professionals include portfolio managers, research analysts, traders, portfolio strategists and product specialists, and are subject to change.
The cohesion also comes from staff retention. Our senior investment professionals have an average tenure with the firm of 13 years.1 And a culture of entrepreneurial spirit – the ability to get things done –generates a high level of satisfaction among employees. “It’s gratifying to see your hard work come to fruition and be recognized among your colleagues. This comes through in the feedback from the employee engagement surveys we conduct each year,” says Ehret.
Our broad employee base has consistently expressed strong satisfaction with their jobs, our values, our focus as a company, and our efforts to build a diverse and inclusive company culture. “Yet we recognize that there’s always room to do more, and we encourage our employees to invest in their own individual and their overall team development,” Ehret says.
“Consider large-cap equities. You have to be careful how you play in that space,” Ehret says. “You have to provide real differentiation, you can’t look like the index, you must be focused, you must have deeper portfolio holdings, and you must be more than benchmark-aware. If you can’t do it that way, then you shouldn’t do it at all.” That’s why we avoid US large cap as an overall strategy outside of our quantitative equity business. This group differentiates itself by using an active and systematic approach through a combination of quantitative modeling and a proprietary company lifecycle framework that values holdings according to where a company is within its lifecycle.
Differentiation also means a strong focus on our strengths, and a consequence of this strategic focus is that we’re positioned to avoid what Ehret sees as two areas impacting the asset management landscape. “One is US retail investing, where ETFs are taking market share at a rapid rate,” he says. “The second is US corporate defined benefit plans, which are quickly accelerating toward liability-driven investing (LDI) and away from the dwindling growth assets. Within the LDI space, a small percentage of assets are set aside for growth, and that’s a market where we can focus our efforts.”
Given the challenges that rapid technological changes bring, from a firm-wide strategy perspective we are active in asset classes and areas that are less susceptible to disintermediation through passive investing and technological change. “We’re not interested in running right into the passive territory of our competitors. We have conviction that our active approach can add the most value for our clients,” Ehret says.
Another industry change that we’re harnessing is the rise of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) investing.
At PineBridge, we believe that incorporating ESG principles in investing isn’t a zero-sum game. Ehret explains that this “is becoming more of a focus, not just because of our clients and their needs, but because there has been a shift among investors at large. People increasingly believe business models that improve their sustainability create value not only for society, but for investors in those businesses. This is why we take an analytical approach that considers how companies are seeking to improve upon ESG issues.”
But the effort goes beyond that. Says Ehret: “As active managers, we’re able to advocate for – and hasten – change in the select companies we invest in. This can generate meaningful results for our clients – both in investment returns and risk mitigation – over the medium to long term.”
We’re also a signatory to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI). Over 1,700 signatories are required to disclose their responsible investment process to the PRI each year through a detailed reporting framework. This report is reviewed and assigned a rating – ours is A+, a distinction achieved by less than 25% of our peers.7
Ehret notes that our investment teams have a long-standing focus on sustainability as part of their investment processes. “Whether they’re in equities or fixed income, our people are committed to strengthening and refining our approach to responsible investing.”
Sustainability also includes a focus on diversity, inclusion, our environment, and how we engage with our communities. “Just like our clients and prospects, we care about the diversity of our management teams and our workforce. Our goal is to value and leverage the unique backgrounds, talents, and perspectives that all our people bring to work. We believe diversity, in all its dimensions, is core to delivering the best outcomes for our clients,” said Ehret.
By being both an asset manager and an employer, we’re providing financial security to many different people. “We never lose sight of that,” Ehret says, “so delivering results for clients is the central part of our purpose.”
2021 Gold Award PineBridge Asian Bond Fund in the Regional Bond category
2021 Gold Award PineBridge India Equity Fund in the Regional/single country Emerging Market Equity category2
2020 Fund of the Year– PineBridge Global Technology Infrastructure Fund3
2021 Most Innovative Product Award- PineBridge Global ESG Quantitative Bond Fund4
2020 Best Places to Work in Money Management5
2020 Gender Diversity Awards- Best Gender Representation
2020 Gender Diversity Awards- Regional Leader Asia6
Third-party rankings and recognition from rating services or publications are no guarantee of future investment success. Working with a highly rated advisor does not ensure that a client or prospective client will experience a higher level of performance or results. These ratings should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client nor are they representative of any one client’s evaluation. Generally, ratings, rankings, and recognition are based on information prepared and submitted by the advisor, and are part of a process in which not all advisors elect to participate. A more detailed disclosure of the criteria used in making these rankings is included herein.
1Includes investment professionals at the senior vice president and managing director levels.
2Source: Fund Selector Asia, announced February 2021. The shortlist was given to an independent panel of professionals from Asia’s fund selector community. For details of methodology, please visit: https://fundselectorasia.com/winners-of-the-2021-fsa-fund-awards-in-hong-kong-are/. Last accessed 8 March 2021.
3Source: Morningstar, 2021. Awarded to the Alternative Fund Division. Five funds (one hedged fund and four REIT funds) were selected from 540 funds of the Alternative Fund Division. PineBridge Global Technology Infrastructure Fund is sub-advised by Center Square Management Investment. It launched in January 2018.. For details on methodology, please visit: https://www.morningstar.co.jp/event/foy2020/index.html. Last accessed 8 March 2021.
4Source: Asia Asset, the Journal of Investments & Pensions. Best of the Best Awards 2021 Asia Asset Management. Winners announced in 2021 January and selectively profiled in the April 2021 pull-out Awards section of monthly AAM journal. Please visit: https://s3-ap-southeast1.amazonaws.com/i.aa.ievent.hk/upload/aa/files/Awards/2021%20Best%20of%20the%20Best%20Awards%20-%20Winners%20List.pdf. Last accessed 8 March 2021.
5Source: Pensions & Investments. PineBridge was recognized by Pensions & Investments’ Best Places to Work, among companies with 100-499 employees. This is the firm’s first year participating in the annual survey, which identifies and recognizes the best employers in the asset management industry .Please visit: https://s3-ap-southeast-1.amazonaws.com/i.aa.ievent.hk/upload/aa/files/Awards/2021%20Best%20of%20the%20Best%20Awards%20-%20Winners%20List.pdf. Last accessed 8 March 2021.
6Source: Citywire, first Gender Diversity Awards. PineBridge was recognized by Citywire’s inaugural Gender Diversity Awards, winning two accolades for Best Gender Representation (20-50 managers) and Regional Leader Asia (20-50 managers). The Gender Diversity Awards aim to recognize the progress made by fund management groups on the representation of women. To determine the awards, Citywire qualitatively and quantitatively assessed PineBridge’s approach to Diversity and Inclusion, company-wide gender diversity practices, and how PineBridge incorporates gender issues into investment decisions. Please visit: https://citywireselector.com/news/gender-diversity-awards-fund-group-winners-revealed/a1437029?section=global&_ga=2.75416850.1480167802.1607954296-1559907904.1607954296 Last accessed 9 March 2021.
7To access the Full Assessment Report, please visit: https://www.pinebridge.com/PRI-assessment. To access the Transparency Report, please visit: https://www.pinebridge.com/PRI-transparency. Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) ratings are based upon information reported by PRI signatories. For further details on PRI methodology, please visit: www.unpri.org/signatories/about-pri-assessment. PineBridge Investments has been a PRI signatory since 22 June 2015.