MarketWatch reports “some of America’s biggest corporations on Tuesday plan to pry open the U.S. investment-grade bond market,” with Bank of America, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo and Progressive “among a rash of companies on Tuesday planning to raise funds by borrowing in the U.S. corporate bond market.” Corporate credit markets have been hammered in recent days by coronavirus-related uncertainty. However, Voya Investment Management Co-Head of Investment-Grade Credit Travis King believes it will ultimately be a positive move, saying, “In general, the investment-grade market is still in pretty good shape. For the right issuer, at the right pricing level, there is liquidity available. Of course, spreads can still go wider from here, and the stock selloff worse.”
Voya Investment Management CEO Interviewed About Market Implications Of Federal Reserve Monetary Policy
Bloomberg features a video interview with Voya Investment Management Chief Executive Officer Christine Hurtsellers, who discussed “the market implications of Federal Reserve monetary policy” with Bloomberg’s Scarlet Fu, Romaine Bostick and Sonali Basak on “Bloomberg Markets: What’d You Miss?”
Voya Investment Management Managing Director Mike DeFeo was quoted by PlanAdviser in an article looking at changes in the defined contribution investment only (DCIO) marketplace, which has now seen “the lion’s share of assets ... attracted into the target-date funds (TDFs) offered by Vanguard, American Funds and State Street Global Advisors.” According to DeFeo, more Voya clients “are seeking collective investment trusts (CITs), which used to only be available at the larger end of the market,” while sponsors are increasingly “inquiring about environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment.” Looking forward, DeFeo believes offerings such as a recent American Funds product that incorporates income into its TDF will become more popular, saying “more providers, including Voya, will be coming out with their own versions of that, including standalone retirement income offerings. Firms like Voya that have robust fixed income platforms are trying to figure out how to use that strength to provide unique investment opportunities in the market.”
Voya Investment Management CIO of Multi-Asset Strategies and Solutions Paul Zemsky was on CNBC discussing what impact the coronavirus was likely to have on the U.S. economy. Zemsky acknowledged that “first quarter data is going to look lower everywhere around the world,” but he anticipates a “v-shaped” rebound in the short-term. Zemsky notes that the U.S. economy does not rely heavily on China, the center of the outbreak, which should mitigate any potential impact. Looking forward, Zemsky believes stocks are “a little bit cheap compared with 10-year Treasuries,” especially as earnings growth continues to be strong and interest rate expectations remain muted.
Bloomberg reports U.S. equity markets rose for a third consecutive day on Wednesday as markets believe the economic impact of the coronavirus will be limited. Voya Investment Management Chief Investment Officer of Equities Michael Pytosh said of the overall sentiment, “The market is shrugging it off. You can see that the effort is there and the market is saying that this isn’t going to break out into a pandemic. It’s not going to cause some cataclysmic medical problem in the world.”
Voya Investment Management Head of Asset Allocation Barbara Reinhard was on CNBC discussing how optimism and a touch of complacency are driving current market gains, especially in the face of coronavirus fears. Reinhard cited ample global liquidity as one of the primary macroeconomic conditions helping propel markets higher, saying, “there’s a central investment decision that you have to make – do you believe that what has happened over the last several weeks dislodged the 5-6 months reacceleration that you’re seeing in the rest of the world?” Reinhard believes there is not enough data yet to accurately answer that question, with concerns about when Chinese factories reopen a key data point to watch.
Fortune has named Voya Financial to its annual ranking of the World’s Most Admired Companies for 2020. Voya was ranked #4 in the Financial Services sector. In a statement, Voya Financial Chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr., said, “We are extremely honored to have once again been named a World’s Most Admired Company by Fortune. In addition to our strong financial performance over the past several years, we have placed equal importance on advancing the character of our brand, including a number of the reputational attributes that are considered in earning the World’s Most Admired Companies designation. For example, at Voya, we have placed a high importance on building a strong culture, meeting the needs of our customers, advocating for people with special needs and disabilities, and advancing diversity, inclusion and equality – both within and outside of our organization. This recognition from our peers and others in our industry is something that all of us at Voya are extremely proud of achieving.”
Bloomberg has named Voya Financial to its annual ranking of companies most committed to gender equality, “a distinction awarded to companies around the world that demonstrate their commitment to equality and advancing women in the workplace.” The index “measures equality across five pillars: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand.” Voya Financial Chairman and CEO Rodney O. Martin, Jr., said in a statement, “We are proud to again be recognized on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, which reinforces our unwavering commitment to fostering a culture of inclusion. Voya’s longstanding dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is a business priority and a key enabler to the success of our company.”
Financial Advisor IQ cites new research from Voya Investment Management showing that “the biggest challenge for plan sponsors ... is increasing employee participation and contribution levels.” According to Voya, “some 28% of sponsors of both small- and medium-sized plans polled said participation was their biggest challenge, while 27% of large plan sponsors agreed.” Second on the list was educating employees about retirement and investment issues, “an area where good financial advisors can stand out from the crowd.”
Voya Investment Management Managing Director and Head of Insurance Solutions John Simone was quoted throughout a Best’s Insurance News & Analysis article about the shift towards holding private and other alternative assets in the search for higher yields. Simone notes that risks in public markets are on the rise, especially a potential downgrade in BBB-rated corporate debt which could cause “a capital impact to insurance companies.” To help reduce volatility and secure stronger returns, Simone says that many in the insurance sector are moving towards private assets, specifically infrastructure debt. Simone points out that “investors need to be careful in making sure they are getting paid for the risk they are taking. But there’s definitely opportunities within that market that we’re being very selective around.”