The 2014 All-Europe Fixed-Income Research Team: Currency & Foreign Exchange, No. 1: Muhammad Umar Bilal Hafeez & team


< The 2014 All-Europe Fixed-Income Research Team

Muhammad Umar Bilal Hafeez
& team
Deutsche Bank

First-Place Appearances: 2

Total Appearances: 3

Team Debut: 2012

London-based Muhammad Umar Bilal Hafeez — “the best for the big picture,” according to one fan — steers his Deutsche Bank squad of 12 to a repeat first-place showing. The strategists forecast that yen weakness, a big theme in 2013, will continue this year, and they believe that the euro is also set for a decisive fall. The European Union’s currency staged a rally in the second half of last year as the Continent’s crisis abated, Europe benefited from equity and bond inflows and conditions generally began to return to normal. However, cautions the 36-year-old crew chief, “much of that normalization has happened now, so it’s unlikely that we’ll see such normalization-linked support for the euro.” Other regional currencies that do appeal to the team — which is spread across offices in London, New York, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo — include the Norwegian krone and Swedish krona. After weakening significantly last year, their valuations are attractive, notes Hafeez. In addition, the central banks of both nations have been “extremely dovish, and the rates markets have priced that dovishness in,” he says. “What we are seeing now is that the domestic business cycle is starting to turn up. There’s much more scope now for a repricing of the Scandinavian currencies.” Hafeez and his colleagues provide clients with “enlightening medium- and long-term insights,” another money manger reports.