Allianz Global Investors
] held a panel discussion for journalists at one of their offices near Times Square in NYC. The guest speakers from Allianz included: Ben Fischer
, a PM, analyst, managing director, and CIO of NFJ
; Doug Forsyth
a PM, managing director, and CIO of fixed income in the U.S.; Scott Migliori
, a PM, managing director, and CIO of equity in the U.S.; and moderator Kristina Hooper
, the head of U.S. investment and client strategies.
Before the discussion began, a complimentary breakfast in a neighboring conference room was held. Compared to similar events engineered by other fundsters, Allianz takes the cake when it comes to morning treats. In addition to the standard bagel and fruit fare, the firm also laid out a spread of piping hot breakfast options that included omelette wraps, home fries, sausage, bacon and french toast.
Attendees carried their generous breakfasts back to the conference room where the discussion would take place — an enormous space on the 42nd floor with each table placing sported a built-in microphone. In attendance were reporters from a number of publications including Reuters
, Money Media
Hooper kicked off the talks, inviting attendants to follow the firm on Twitter — a pitch you'd think you'd hear more often at these events. The word most heard by far throughout the morning was "tapering". Migliori joked about how just how commonly used the word is in this economic climate: "It's definitely a buzz word!" he quipped. And tapering, as was illuminated during the conversation, has every reason to be — if the Fed
does follow through with alleged plans to begin tapering in September, the impact will be felt.
The PMs of Allianz feel that the economy is not ready for such extreme measures, with Migliori asserting that the economy "isn't yet strong enough" for tapering to rationally occur.
"Rates are going up with no proof of economic growth," Migliori said, adding ominously, "that is not a good combination, historically."
However grave that sounds, these three Allianz CIOs are still somewhat optimistic that the economy is sorting itself out and on a slow but steady comeback despite volatility. Fischer put things in perspective when he referred to the first financial crisis of 2008, when "conventional wisdom said to hide your money under your mattress. There's a lot of volatility now, but in 4-5 years you'll be fine."
In the mean time, the Allianz honchos concur that corporate debt is where investor's dollars are safest.
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