Mark Heppenstall

Chief Investment Officer
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Mark Heppenstall

Mr. Heppenstall serves as Chief Investment Officer of Penn Mutual Asset Management. Mark leads the investment team and is responsible for all investment management functions.

Prior to joining The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company in June 2014, Mr. Heppenstall served as the Managing Director of Fixed Income for the Pennsylvania Public Schools Employees Retirement System (PSERS) from 1998 to 2014. At PSERS, Mr. Heppenstall was responsible for management of both internal and external fixed income strategies. Mr. Heppenstall has more than 25 years of experience managing fixed income assets for institutional investors.

Mr. Heppenstall graduated in 1984 from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in U.S. History. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial Administration from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in 1987.

Mark has been a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder since 1991.

Stories by Mark Heppenstall

Pricing a ‘Powell Put’

By Mark Heppenstall | February 22, 2018

Financial markets have a history of testing the incoming Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman shortly after taking office. There is no better example than October 19, 1987, the day infamously known… Read More

2018 Capital Markets Outlook

By Mark Heppenstall | January 12, 2018

Despite correctly calling the long-running bull market to extend into “extra innings” last year, we did not foresee financial markets finishing 2017 with a perfect batting average. For the first… Read More

2017 Economic and Market Review

By Mark Heppenstall | January 5, 2018

Economic Growth & Inflation The ‘Goldilocks’ U.S. economic recovery has now moved beyond its 100th month with few signs of normal late-cycle imbalances or excesses to derail the current expansion…. Read More

Gold Shimmers in the Face of Fed Tightening

By Mark Heppenstall | November 9, 2017

After five years of disappointing returns, this year’s double-digit gains in gold prices have surprised many investors, especially in light of the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) continued monetary policy tightening. Conventional wisdom held that as the Fed hiked short-term interest rates, the higher opportunity cost to own gold would put additional downward pressure on prices.

Corporate Bond Credit Quality Moving Lower with Yields

By Mark Heppenstall | September 7, 2017

This week’s chart highlights the dramatic shift in credit quality for the corporate bond market during the past 30 years. Investment grade rated corporations have been on a 30-year borrowing binge judging by the increasing weight of BBB-rated credits in the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Index. U.S. companies are taking advantage of lower and lower borrowing costs and embracing the use of higher leverage. Nearly half of the index is made up of BBB credits today ─ double the level from 30 years ago. Despite more than 60 companies being rated AAA in the 1980s, only Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft remain as the two U.S. companies with the top rating.

Geopolitical Risks, Market Forecasts and a Tax Reform Clause

By Mark Heppenstall | August 30, 2017

While trading slowed during the summer months, as it historically does, the headlines did not! From squashed healthcare reform to placing sanctions on North Korea to the Amazon/Whole Foods deal, there was no shortage of market-moving news in the last several months. Before we unofficially say goodbye to summer next week, we checked in with CIO Mark Heppenstall for his take on what’s been happening in the news cycle and its impact on markets as well as what investors can expect leading into the final quarter of 2017.

Misery Index on Track for New Lows

By Mark Heppenstall | July 13, 2017

The Misery Index, developed in the 1960s by Yale University economist Arthur Okun, has been a widely followed measure of national economic performance. The Index is calculated by simply adding together the trailing 12-month inflation rate and current unemployment rate. This week’s chart shows a 70-year history of the Misery Index in the U.S.

Credit Conditions Easing in the Face of Tighter Monetary Policy

By Mark Heppenstall | May 18, 2017

The Federal Reserve (Fed) Bank of St. Louis provides investors a weekly gauge of financial stress in the markets with its publication of the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index. The Index is constructed using 18 different financial market indicators: seven interest rate series, six yield spreads and five others indicators, including equity and fixed income market volatility. Readings above zero indicate above-average financial stress while values below zero suggest below-average financial stress.

Foreign Demand Driving Credit Spreads Tighter

By Mark Heppenstall | March 23, 2017

Despite recent signs of accelerating growth and inflation in the global economy, central bank monetary policy remains very accommodative. Short-term rates are stuck near or below the zero-level across most of the developed world, and more than $8 trillion in sovereign debt still trades with negative yields. Even BB-rated Portugal can issue 2-year bonds at just over 50 basis points (bps) today, less than half the rate paid by 2-year on U.S. Treasury notes.

Changes in Store for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

By Mark Heppenstall | February 16, 2017

The Trump Trade has emerged as new vernacular across the investment world since Election Day. In just three months, the Trump Trade has led to the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking 20,000, a S&P 500 Index market capitalization in excess of $20 trillion and—maybe most remarkably—a hawkish Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen.