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Opportunities in steepening curves, AT1 securities and emerging markets

H2O expects the Fed to pause between rate cuts to combat inflation fears and predicts a falling dollar in the long term.

Central banks more focused on risk management and macroeconomic spillovers than on curbing inflation without ifs and buts, a steepening strategy on bond yield curves could work well in several scenarios. Also because the Fed, for the reasons outlined above, could take breaks between interest rate cuts. This was stated by Matthieu Genessay, Deputy Head of Sales & Marketing at H2O AM, who elaborates on the macroeconomic picture and talks about the opportunities in AT1 bonds and emerging markets, and also says that he expects a declining dollar in the long term, even though there are very good carry trade opportunities today given the high rates offered in the US.

The trajectory of inflation in the US and Europe is not entirely clear and the Fed and the ECB are becoming more and more wait-and-see about announcing possible rate cuts. What are your expectations for the coming months?

The reaction function of the central banks is gradually shifting towards risk management to avoid excessive macroeconomic recessions, potentially at the expense of containing inflation, and to manage the trajectory of national debt. This means that their actions may become more difficult to predict using standard economic models. This trend creates a growing gap between the perceptions of investors, reflected in market prices that have anticipated the Fed’s cuts too early since December last year, and the forecasts of economists. Our forecast is that the Federal Reserve will prioritise growth promotion over in- flation control. Therefore, the possibility exists that there will be an earlier-than-expected pause in rate cuts in the United States as financial conditions may ease too quickly. This approach represents a substantial risk from a monetary policy perspective, especially in a demand-driven economy like the US. Stimulating demand too quickly could lead to a rapid recovery of core inflation. In contrast, the UK and Europe faced an inflationary supply shock, unlike the US which faced a demand shock, potentially allowing them to cut rates more aggressively.

What are the main impacts of these expectations on bond yield curves?

Since the curve has been inverted, we prefer to adopt a steepening strategy and now bet that the spread between long-term and short-term interest rates will widen, especially in the US. This position performs well in various scenarios, such as in the case of a Federal Reserve rate cut followed by a halt due to inflation fears, resulting in a rise in long-term rates, and during periods of loss of confidence in the country’s debt management, as happened in the US in the summer of 2023. In addition, this strategy benefits during recessions or significant market shocks when short-term rates tend to fall.

In the bond sector, do you have particular preferences for certain segments (investment grade or high yield), or do you have a particular view on the development of corporate defaults and spreads?

In the area of credit, we have an exposition contrast, other sectors appear more saturated and do not offer the same quality of return commensurate with the underlying risk. Moreover, the net supply of AT1 bonds in 2024 is limited, while banks have solid fundamentals characterised by high CET1 ratios, better asset quality and favourable liquidity coverage ratios, thus well positioned to meet short-term obligations even in adverse conditions.

The possible drop in interest rates in both the US and emerging economies was seen as a positive factor for an allocation to emerging debt. What is your current expectation for emerging debt?

After having gone through a decade of recession, emerging markets now show an improved relative risk profile in the post-Covid landscape. These markets are less dependent on portfolio flows and are benefiting from positive trade balances and increasing foreign direct investment (FDI), partly as a result of nearshoring and a shift away from China. Meanwhile, investors see an opportunity to be paid to wait, as the premium for investing in emerging markets can offer long-lasting returns. Furthermore, commodity-producing countries are characterised by their advantageous exposure to the prevailing cycle, which favours nominal growth.

The dollar, despite its fluctuations, remains quite strong against other currencies. Given your expectations on monetary policies, which currency crosses are the most interesting to trade?

We maintain a long-term bearish outlook on the dollar, but manage the position actively as the dollar can perform in an inflationary backdrop or during extreme market shocks. Currently, the dollar’s strength is mainly supported by high interest rates, in particular the sell-off in fixed income since the beginning of the year, but we pre- see a change in this cycle. Although the dollar’s status as a reserve currency may take time to change, we are already seeing some commodity markets traded outside the dollar, which could affect its status as the pre-eminent trading currency, in addition to lower foreign demand for US-denominated assets. The markets offer strong carry trade opportunities in this context and we also fund them with negative exposure to EUR, CHF and GBP.

The stock markets continue their upward trend that began at the end of last year. What risk factors could undermine this positive trend?

It seems that the markets missed the equity rally at the beginning of 2023. Now, speculation about rate cuts is fuelling the fear of missing out. We have moved from a long-term deflationary environment to a more inflationary one, and investors are increasingly comfortable holding equities. Equities also have stronger fundamentals, contrary to what some might expect. This convergence of factors has led to significant improvements in corporate margins and higher productivity gains. Stocks are expensive but not yet in a bubble as growth and profits are on a positive trajectory. We favour a relative value approach that is more exposed to equity markets benefiting from the macro cycle but with a lower positioning (more resilience if things go wrong) in sectors such as value in Europe.

How is your alternative fund offering composed? Which strategies are best positioned to take advantage of current market conditions?

Our internal views are consistently reflected in all our global macro portfolios. However, our fund range offers investors options tailored to their pre-wound risk profile, investment horizon and the scope of their investment universe, including choices with or without equities. Looking ahead to 2024, our core strategies include proactive duration management, anticipating a steepening of the US yield curve and maintaining a bullish position on emerging markets, complemented by strategic hedges such as a long position on the Japanese yen.

Italian version below

H2O si aspetta che la Fed possa fare delle pause tra i tagli dei tassi per combattere i timori sull’inflazione e prevede un dollaro in ribasso nel lungo termine

Con Banche Centrali più attente alla gestione del rischio e alle ricadute macroeconomiche che non al contenimento senza se e senza ma dell’inflazione, una strategia di steepeing sulle curve dei rendimenti obbligazionari potrebbe comportarsi bene in diversi scenari. Anche perché la Fed, per i motivi evidenziati,
potrebbe fare delle pause tra un taglio e l’altro dei tassi di interesse. Lo afferma Matthieu Genessay, Deputy Head of Sales & Marketing di H2O AM, che approfondisce il quadro macroeconomico e parla delle opportunità nei titoli AT1 e nei mercati emergenti, dicendo inoltre di attendersi un dollaro in ribasso nel lungo termine, anche se oggi esistono delle ottime opportunità di carry trade visti i tassi elevati offerti negli Usa.

La traiettoria dell’inflazione negli Stati Uniti e in Europa non è del tutto chiara e la Fed e la Bce stanno diventando sempre più attendiste sull’annuncio di eventuali tagli dei tassi. Quali sono le vostre aspettative per i prossimi mesi?

La funzione di reazione delle Banche Centrali si sta gradualmente spostando verso la gestione del rischio per evitare eccessive recessioni macroeconomiche, potenzialmente a scapito del contenimento dell’inflazione, e per gestire la traiettoria del debito nazionale. Ciò significa che le loro azioni potrebbero diventare più difficili da prevedere utilizzando modelli economici standard. Questa tendenza crea un divario crescente tra la percezione degli investitori, che si riflette nei prezzi di mercato che hanno anticipato troppo presto i tagli della Fed a partire da dicembre dello scorso anno, e le previsioni degli economisti. La nostra previsione è che la Federal Reserve darà priorità alla promozione della crescita rispetto al controllo dell’inflazione. Pertanto, esiste la possibilità che si verifichino pause prima del previsto nei tagli dei tassi negli Stati Uniti poiché le condizioni finanziarie potrebbero allentarsi troppo rapidamente. Questo approccio rappresenta un rischio sostanziale dal punto di vista della politica monetaria, soprattutto in un’economia guidata dalla domanda come quella degli Stati Uniti. Stimolare la domanda troppo rapidamente potrebbe portare a una rapida ripresa dell’inflazione core. Al contrario, il
Regno Unito e l’Europa hanno dovuto affrontare uno shock inflazionistico sull’offerta, a differenza degli Stati Uniti che hanno affrontato uno shock sulla domanda, consentendo loro potenzialmente di tagliare i tassi in modo più aggressivo.

Quali sono i principali impatti di queste aspettative sulle curve dei rendimenti obbligazionari?

Poiché la curva è stata invertita, preferiamo adottare una strategia di irripidimento e ora scommettiamo che lo spread tra i tassi di interesse a lungo e a breve termine aumenterà, soprattutto negli Stati Uniti. Questa posizione si comporta bene in vari scenari, come nel caso di un taglio dei tassi della Federal Reserve seguito da uno stop dovuto ai timori di inflazione, con conseguente aumento dei tassi a lungo termine, e durante periodi di perdita di fiducia nella gestione del debito del paese, come è successo negli Stati Uniti nell’estate 2023. Inoltre, questa strategia trae vantaggio in caso di recessione o di shock significativo del mercato quando i tassi a breve termine tendono a scendere.

Nel settore obbligazionario avete particolari preferenze per alcuni segmenti (investment grade o high yield), oppure avete una visione particolare sull’andamento dei default societari e degli spread?

Nell’ambito del credito, abbiamo un’esposizione positiva verso obbligazioni additional Tier 1. Al contrario, altri settori appaiono più saturi e non offrono la stessa qualità di rendimento adeguato al rischio sottostante. Inoltre, l’offerta netta di titoli AT1 nel 2024 è limitata, mentre le banche presentano fondamentali solidi caratterizzati da elevati coefficienti CET1, migliore qualità degli attivi e rapporti di copertura della liquidità favorevoli, quindi ben posizionate per far fronte agli obblighi a breve termine anche in condizioni avverse.

Il possibile calo dei tassi di interesse sia negli Stati Uniti che nelle economie emergenti è stato visto come un fattore positivo per un’allocazione al debito emergente. Qual è la vostra aspettativa attuale sul debito emergente?

Dopo aver attraversato un decennio di recessione, i mercati emergenti mostrano ora un profilo di rischio relativo migliorato nel panorama post Covid. Questi mercati dipendono meno dai flussi di portafoglio e beneficiano di saldi commerciali positivi e di crescenti investimenti diretti esteri (IDE), in parte come risultato delle tendenze di Nearshoring e di allontanamento dalla Cina. Nel frattempo, gli investitori vedono l’opportunità di essere pagati per aspettare, poiché il premio per investire nei mercati emergenti può offrire vantaggi duraturi nel tempo. Inoltre, i Paesi produttori di materie prime si distinguono per la loro vantaggiosa esposizione al ciclo prevalente, che favorisce la crescita nominale.

Il dollaro, nonostante le sue fluttuazioni, rimane piuttosto forte rispetto alle altre valute. Date le vostre aspettative sulle politiche monetarie, quali sono i cross valutari più interessanti da scambiare?

Manteniamo una prospettiva ribassista a lungo termine sul dollaro, ma gestiamo la posizione attivamente poiché il dollaro può performare in un contesto di ricaduta dell’inflazione o durante shock di mercato
estremi. Attualmente, la forza del dollaro è sostenuta principalmente dagli alti tassi di interesse, in particolare dal sell off del reddito fisso dall’inizio dell’anno, ma prevediamo un cambiamento in questo ciclo. Sebbene lo status del dollaro come valuta di riserva possa richiedere del tempo per cambiare, stiamo già assistendo ad alcuni mercati delle materie prime scambiati al di fuori del dollaro, il che potrebbe influenzare il suo status di valuta commerciale preminente, oltre alla minore domanda estera di asset denominati negli Stati Uniti. I mercati offrono forti opportunità di carry trade in questo contesto e
noi li finanziamo anche con un’esposizione negativa a Eur, Chf e Gbp.

I mercati azionari continuano il loro rialzo iniziato alla fine dello scorso anno. Quali fattori di rischio potrebbero minare questo trend positivo?

Sembra che i mercati abbiano mancato il rally azionario dell’inizio del 2023. Ora, le speculazioni sul taglio dei tassi stanno alimentando il timore di perdersi qualcosa. Siamo passati da un contesto deflazionistico a lungo termine a uno più inflazionistico e gli investitori si sentono sempre più a loro agio nel detenere azioni. Anche le azioni presentano fondamentali più forti, contrariamente a quanto alcuni potrebbero aspettarsi. Questa convergenza di fattori ha portato a miglioramenti significativi nei margini aziendali e a maggiori guadagni di produttività. Le azioni sono costose ma non ancora in bolla poiché la crescita e i profitti sono su una traiettoria positiva. Privilegiamo un approccio relative value più esposto ai mercati azionari che beneficiano del ciclo macro ma con un posizionamento inferiore (maggiore resilienza se le cose vanno male) nei settori come quello value in Europa.

Come è composta la vostra offerta di fondi alternativi? Quali strategie sono meglio posizionate per sfruttare le attuali condizioni di mercato?

Le nostre opinioni interne si riflettono costantemente in tutti i nostri portafogli macro globali. Tuttavia, la nostra gamma di fondi offre agli investitori opzioni personalizzate in base al profilo di rischio preferito,
all’orizzonte di investimento e alla portata del loro universo di investimento, comprese le scelte con o senza azioni. Guardando al 2024, le nostre strategie principali includono la gestione proattiva della duration, anticipando un irripidimento della curva dei rendimenti statunitensi e mantenendo una posizione rialzista sui mercati emergenti, integrata da coperture strategiche come una posizione lunga sullo yen giapponese.

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If any provision of these Terms is found by a court or regulator to be invalid of unenforceable the other provisions shall continue to apply.

CLIENT COMPLAINTS – please refer to the dedicated policy here

Our priority is client satisfaction. For that reason, we pay close attention to client’s complaints relating to H2O AM’s products and/or services. We commit to examine your request and answer your complaint on time. H2O AM’s complaint-handling system deals with any client complaints accurately, in a uniform way and in accordance with the applicable regulation. Access to the complaints service is free-of-charge, and clients can lodge their complaint, in French or English.

Definition of complaints

A complaint is considered as an expression of dissatisfaction (oral or written) about the provision of, or failing to provide, a financial service. It alleges how you have suffered (or may suffer):

  • financial loss;
  • material distress; or
  • material inconvenience

A request for information, opinion, clarification, service or provision of a service does not constitute a complaint.

Handling complaints

Complaints may be sent by post, telephone and/or e-mail, or may be provided via the client’s usual point of contact.

  • By Telephone: The Client’s usual point of contact
  • By Post:
    • H2O Asset Management L.L.P.: 9th Floor, 33 Cavendish Square, W1G 0PW, London, United Kingdom
    • H2O AM Europe SAS : 5th Floor, 39 avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie 750008 Paris, France
    • H2O AM ASIA PTE. : 12 Marina Boulevard #17-01 – Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3 – Singapore 018982
    • H2O AM SWITZERLAND SA : rue Cornavin 11, c/o DYN Genève SA (CHE 372.076.788) – 1201 Genève
  • By Email: The Client’s usual point of contact AND/OR

Processing deadlines

  • H2o AM Group entities are required to acknowledge receipt of all complaints within the timeline of 5 business days. H2O AM Europe has the same objective but this timeline can be expanded to 10 days from the date on which the written complaint is sent.
  • Respond to any complaints within a maximum period of eight weeks following their receipt or 2 months for H2O AM Europe from the date on which the written complaint is sent. H2O AM will collate all the information, documentation and comments relevant to your complaint. 
  • If our investigation is going to take longer than eight weeks or two months for H2O AM Europe, we will write to you again to explain why and let you know when we expect to be able to conclude matters. When we have completed our investigation we will let you know the outcome in writing.

As a last resort and if you are not happy with our final response you may refer your request, free of charge, to the Ombudsman according to jurisdiction where complaints shall be addressed. The Ombudsman must be referred to within a year of the complaint submitted to H2O AM and only after all the internal remedies mentioned above have been used.

United Kingdom:

The Financial Ombudsman Service can be contacted in a number of ways:


The AMF Ombudsman Service can be contacted in a number of ways:

Monaco :

The Ombudsman Service can be contacted


The Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC) is an independent and impartial institution that resolves consumer financial disputes through mediation and adjudication. It can be contacted in a number of ways:


Association Finanzombudsstelle Schweiz (FINOS) is a neutral institution to develop consensual solutions for all parties within the framework of mediation and thus avoid costly legal disputes. Their ombudsman service deals with questions and complaints from clients of our affiliated financial services providers.

By post : Talstrasse 20 CH-8001 Zürich

By website :

Data Protection

According to Data Protection Act (DPA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), H2O AM is required to retain Personal Data for as long as is necessary for the purpose for which it has been collected. Where Personal Data is no longer required this will be disposed of securely in accordance with H2O AM’s Data protection and Privacy Policy.

Record Keeping

When complaint has been settled, the complaint record and associated correspondence will be retained the records for at least five years from the date the complaint was received. The date on which the complaint was resolved will be recorded. All complaints records, even in relation to minor complaints and those complaints resolved within one business day will be maintained for 5 years in relation to MiFID business.

Reporting to the FCA

Twice a year H2O AM will provide the FCA with a complete report concerning complaints received from eligible complainants including those settled within 3 business days.

Nature of commitment to the UK Stewardship Code

Under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Conduct of Business Sourcebook Rule 2.2.3, H2O Asset Management LLP (H2O) is required to make a public disclosure on its website in relation to its commitment to the Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC) Stewardship Code (hereafter, the Code).

In October 2019, a substantially revised and strengthened UK Stewardship Code was published and took effect on 1 January 2020. The revised version comprises a set of twelve Principles, implemented on an ‘apply and explain’ basis. These Principles apply to asset managers and asset owners, with a separate set of six Principles applying to service providers. The revised Code defines stewardship as “the responsible allocation, management and oversight of capital to create long-term value for clients and beneficiaries leading to sustainable benefits for the economy, the environment and society.”

Whilst H2O strongly endorses this definition of stewardship and the purpose of the Code, we are currently not a signatory due to the nature of our investment approach, which is essentially top-down and global macro.

H2O’s investment strategy is driven by views on the government bond, credit and currency markets, with the majority of positions taken through derivative contracts such as futures, and with limited allocation to individual equity securities and corporate bonds. We are currently exploring possible approaches to exercising stewardship activities across our investment universe, notably by incorporating ESG criteria into our investment decisions (Principle 7). We will therefore review our approach to the Code in the future and update this disclosure accordingly.


The full version of H2O Data Privacy and Protection Policy is made accessible on this website.



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