Reuters Funds Summit: Kingdom for a horse

March 17, 2009

Anyone expecting investors to start galloping back into riskier assets in a rush might have something of a wait, according to Kathleen Hughes, who runs money funds for JPMorgan Asset Management in Europe. They are more likely to wander back in.

“Risk appetite returns in stages. It leaves on a horse but comes back on foot,”  she rather neatly told a Reuters funds summit being held in Luxembourg.

There are nonetheless some signs around that show leather is getting some wear. Fund trackers EPFR Global says that although overall fund flows fell during the second week of March, there were some signs of growing risk appetite. Commodities, technology and energy sector funds as well as global emerging market equity and non-Japan Asia funds all saw net inflows.

Perhaps most noteworthy, money market funds, the bellwether for investor risk aversion, had net outflows of $381 billion in the week.

Hughes says she has seen something of the same. The size of the safest-of-safe segment of her money markets funds — the short-dated U.S. Treasury paper bit — has halved since the fourth quarter of 2008.

So there is some walking going on even if the horse remains in the stable.

(Reuters photo: Ilya Naymushin)

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