20 Oct 2018 3 min read

How a multi-asset team approaches investment themes

By Emiel van den Heiligenberg

“Familiarity breeds complacency”. With the best intentions in the world, even an annual review can feel like you’re simply going through the motions year after year. Recognising this means shaking things up when the chance presents itself. In this case, that's when a birthday and the opportunity to record a podcast came around.


Having started our blogging journey two years ago, Emma continues to keep us on our toes. This time she proposed recording a team podcast to shed some light on the less talked about challenges that we face as a multi-asset team and reflect on how well we’ve responded to those challenges using three key themes as our working examples: the new political paradigmtechnology and the US dollar.  



I made my podcasting debut with Willem, and Chris Jeffery as our moderator.

So why have we done a podcast?

Two reasons: I like to listen to podcasts while travelling (it’s very handy to consume information while on a tube or walking home) and secondly, why not?

The big question is: “How responsive are we, and can we be, as a team?"

The team has a strong urge to improve, challenge the consensus and look for new ways to do things. The blog is proof of this urge for innovation. In fact I think we all can be proud of what we have achieved since launching the blog two years ago. But now that blogging has become the new norm, we need to think “What else we can do?” – what can we do to reach new people, start new conversations, and continue evolving our relationship with you, our existing readers? Podcasts are one such new way, which we were eager to explore.

It’s the challenge forcing you to look at things differently and be more responsive that ultimately provides the improvement that makes the effort worthwhile. We did not want to make a podcast on our current views. Not that they are not interesting, but that would be the easy thing to do. Instead, we've tried to provide some insight on how we take on market challenges, work as a team and balance risk versus opportunity in our portfolios, to answer the big question: “How responsive are we, and can we be, as a team?”

To this end, this year was all about new ways of working and facilitating how we work. Spearheaded by our CIO, Anton Eser, working groups were introduced to provide a more rigorous look at long-term themes from a cross asset class perspective. The launch of the Future World Blog has allowed us to build synergies with our colleagues’ thinking outside of the team. To bring it all together, we’ve also been trying out new mediums like vlogging and podcasts, as well as giving our site a bit of a spruce up.

“Thank you” for your continued readership and “Welcome!” to those who have recently joined. As is the only appropriate response to the uncertainty of what markets (and life) can throw at you – Bring it on! 

If you've enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to the LGIM Talks podcast on:

Emiel van den Heiligenberg

Head of Asset Allocation

Emiel is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the team’s investment and business strategy. He claims to have been a promising lightweight rower at university until French fries got the better of him. Reflecting his love for rowing in a team, he firmly believes that excellence can only be achieved by a great team made up of motivated individuals that are also eager to work together. To this end he is the self-proclaimed inventor of the verb 'teaming' to acknowledge that shaping a top team and culture of excellence is an ongoing process. Outside of work-family obligations, Emiel’s spare time is filled by a passion for shark diving and skiing. Prior to dedicating his career to portfolio management in 1996, Emiel worked as a policy adviser in the Dutch Ministry of Finance and he graduated from Tilburg University in the Netherlands ages ago. When not glued to his Bloomberg screens, this Dutch man is hooked on computer games, peanut butter and his favourite dark beer made by Belgian monks.

Emiel van den Heiligenberg