26 Jan 2012

Eurozone crisis offers opportunities - Tower

9:03 am on 26 January 2012

One of the country's biggest fund managers is making the most of the eurozone crisis, saying it offers big money making opportunities.

Tower Investments, which manages $4 billion in investments, says the European bond markets have not been popular because they are seen as too risky.

But chief executive Sam Stubbs says Tower has benefited from investments in European bonds returning more than 5% in December alone.

He says there have been opportunities particularly with regard to investment grade European bonds recently because there's been so much short term fear about the ability of people to repay their debt.

Mr Stubbs says Tower Investments has been selectively investing relatively small amounts of money in some high quality European corporate bonds and high quality European sovereign debt and it's made some very strong returns.

He says as the world has got used to interest rates being lower for longer, the interest rates being paid for European bonds now seem relatively high and that's given some capital gains.

Mr Stubbs says the European Central Bank's money-printing exercise to shore up banks averted an immediate crisis.

But he warns that it will lead to an inflation blowout, turning long term bank deposits into bad investments.

Mr Stubbs says history indicates that property and shares are the assets that perform in inflationary times.

He says Tower is relatively bullish about investing in New Zealand, mainly because of the strong outlook for commodities.

One of its biggest local acquisitions is Trade Me, buying more than 3 million shares for $9 million.

Mr Stubbs says the stock is undervalued at $2.88.