Economic recovery and strong earnings growth offer opportunities for equity investors

Aviva Investors Multi-Manager Equities survey highlights positive sentiment towards economic recovery, but hints at negativity around market uncertainty.

  • Eurozone issues no longer a concern for majority of fund managers
  • Mid-cap expected to perform best in 2014
  • IPO activity to continue to soar in 2014.

Conducted in January 2014, the Aviva Investors Multi-Manager Equities Survey asked fund managers with around £3 trillion of assets under management for their views on markets, including return expectations and likely macro-economic influences for 2014. The respondents were based in the UK, US, continental Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Market uncertainty and macro-economic issues continue to be listed as the biggest risk facing equities, with 35% of respondents indicating that this was their biggest challenge for 2014, followed by valuations at 31%. This contrasts with 2013 that saw 61% indicate that market uncertainty was the biggest risk, followed by inflation. 9% of respondents claimed that valuations were the biggest risk in 2013.  

Just 8% of responses expect flows into equities to decelerate for 2014, with the vast majority (62%) expecting an acceleration. 

There was a complete turnaround on the subject of the Eurozone, with 74% indicating that Eurozone issues would not affect the markets negatively this year, compared to 29% last year. In the 2013 survey 71% suggested that Eurozone issues would negatively impact the market. However, previous fund manager predictions that IPO activity would grow and that emerging markets would experience between 5-10% growth were both borne out over the past two years.*

Economic recovery and strong earnings growth represented the biggest opportunity for equities in 2014 the survey found, with 65% of respondents highlighting that progress would be largely driven by top line growth. In 2013 the top answer was an increased focus on equity valuations, relative to bonds, highlighting the changing market conditions.

On the issue of GDP, 33% of respondents expected it to be highest in the Emerging Markets, with US achieving 31% of the vote. Asia accounted for 25%, with UK and the Eurozone combined accounting for just 11% of the vote.

Mid-caps were expected to achieve the best performance in 2014, with 41% of respondents indicating that this was the sector expected to do the best. Large caps achieved 35% of the vote, with just under a quarter (23%) expecting small caps to be the best performer for 2014. 

Ian Aylward, head of multi-manager research at Aviva Investors, said:

“I am particularly interested to see that respondents still expect mid caps to outperform despite the strong run they have enjoyed over recent years. 

“This tallies with the positioning of the majority of the external managers that we use in our products - with managers citing to us their expected superior growth prospects despite elevated valuations.” 

On the question of ‘what is your expected return for the mainstream equity index in 2014 in: UK, US, Eurozone, Japan, GEM’. GEM was the only sector where the most likely return was between 0-5%, accounting for 37% of the vote. 

Equity managers

  • Were in agreement that IPO’s would continue to dominate the agenda in 2014, with less than 5% suggesting that there would be less activity than in the previous 12 months. 
  • Indicated that the financial sector (51%) would continue to drive performance, along with industrials (41%), technology (34%) and consumer discretionary (31%).
  • On expected returns for the mainstream equity index, between 6-10% was seen as the most likely return, accounting for 47% of the vote for the UK, 46% of the vote for the US and Japan and 44% for the Eurozone. 

Peter Fitzgerald, Head of Multi-Assets at Aviva Investors, said: 

"It is interesting to note the consensus view is that developed market equities will outperform emerging market equities in 2014. This is particularly interesting given many investors actually expect better economic growth in Emerging Markets.  Our portfolios are overweight equities and remain overweight developed markets but we are seeing some value starting to appear in some emerging markets. 

“It is also clear that respondents believe the weight of money will continue to support the markets despite an expected increase in IPO activity.”

- Ends –

* Aviva Investors Multi-manager survey 2013

Notes to Editors

The information and opinions contained in this document are for use by the financial press and media only. Investment markets and conditions can change rapidly and as such any views and opinions expressed should not be taken as statements of fact or advice nor should reliance be placed on these views when making investment decisions. The value of an investment and any income from it may go down as well as up and the investor may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a guide to the future

Aviva Investors

Aviva Investors is the global asset management business of Aviva plc. The business delivers investment management solutions, services and client-driven performance to clients worldwide. Aviva Investors operates in 15 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and the United Kingdom with assets under management of £246 billion at 30 September 2013.

Aviva plc

  • Aviva provides 34 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products.**
  • We are the UK’s largest insurer and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance.
  • We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand.
  • We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work

** Based on Aviva plc Annual Report and Accounts 2012.  

*** Based on aggregate 2011 UK life and pensions sales (PVNBP) and general insurance gross written premiums.

Aviva Investors Global Services Limited 

St. Helen’s, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ 

Phone +44 (0)20 7809 6000 

Fax +44 (0)20 7489 7940



Aviva Investors Global Services Limited, registered in England No. 1151805.  Registered Office: St. Helen’s, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ.  Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and a member of the Investment Management Association. 

Contact us at Aviva Investors Global Services Limited, St. Helen’s, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ. Telephone calls may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes

Latest company news