Active management may be one of the only ways to generate alpha from China’s turbulent trade, according to one investor.
Chinese stocks slumped this week as one of the country’s biggest real estate developers, Evergrande, could default on billions of dollars in debt.
Given the growing litany of risks in China – not only from Evergrande but also regulatory crackdowns on domestic tech, games and education companies – it is imperative to remain nimble in this market, said Monday the chairman of Adviser Investment Management, Daniel Wiener, at CNBC’s “ETF Edge”.
“I don’t think you can index China right now,” said Wiener, who manages $ 7 billion in assets. “You have to work with investment managers, portfolio managers with on-the-job skills. This means using actively managed funds, not ETFs. “
One such option exists at Vanguard, where Wiener is editor-in-chief of The Independent Adviser, a monthly newsletter.
The Vanguard International Growth Fund, an open-ended mutual fund with an almost 14% position in China, has outperformed Vanguard’s Total China Index ETF since the start of the year and over the past 12 months, three years and five years, Wiener said.
“They have people on the ground. They make choices about which businesses to buy and which to avoid, and that makes all the difference,” he said.
Either way, Evergrande’s debt dilemma is not expected to have a major impact on global markets, said Arne Noack of DWS Group in the same interview.
“We obviously take the issue very seriously and are looking at all the implications,” said Noack, his company’s head of systematic investment solutions for the Americas and the man behind the Xtrackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF ( ASHR).
“Evergrande being a struggling development company is obviously of concern to us, but we don’t see it as a larger systemic risk in China. “