ESG rankings help Neuberger Berman pinpoint undervalued EM debt

Rob Drijkoningen is one of the best-performing EM debt managers of his peer group. The way he picks alpha-generating debt securities in emerging markets is to put equal weight on ESG scores and hard financial data. AMWatch talked to him about this approach at the Nordic Investment Forum.

Neuberger Beuman's Rob Drijkoningen has 28 years of experience in the financial sector, and he has worked at firms such as Nomura, Goldman Sachs and ING Investment Management. | Photo: Jan Bjarke Mindegaard

In the five years to May this year, US-based asset manager Neuberger Berman's fund EM Debt Hard Currency generated a return of 27.2 percent, measured in USD, according to data from financial news service Citywire. By contrast, the average manager delivered a return on 10.3 percent in the same time span.

Rob Drijkoningen is the fund's portfolio manager. As Neuberger Berman's Co-Head of Emerging Market Debt, he oversees a portfolio of around EUR 1.02 billion in assets, divided between 267 corporate and sovereign securities with an average maturity of 14.3 years.

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