Aging populations are creating major opportunities, fund manager says. Here’s where he’s investing

Populations across the world are living for longer, and that’s opening up a slew of investment opportunities, according to fund manager Dani Saurymper. “This is an investable area today, and it will become increasingly more relevant and apparent as we go through forward into the future,” he told CNBC Pro Talks last week. Health care is just one area to consider, according to Saurymper, who manages Pacific Asset Management’s Longevity & Social Change Fund. As well as health care and pharmaceutical stocks, its holdings span fitness and nutrition, personal care, aesthetics and financials. The fund looks to tap themes that are “already investable with proven commercial viability.” Here’s what Saurymper says about how to invest in an aging population. First port of call Identifying companies with strong growth driven by an aging demographic is the “first port of call,” he said. This could include health-care companies with products targeting what Saurymper calls the “big diseases of aging:” diabetes, cancer, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, and arthritis. “Now I think about health care along the lines of units of health care, rather than a drug. Maybe it’s a medical device, maybe it’s a patient monitoring. Equally, there’s obviously … this excitement in the biotech world, looking at stem cell therapy, rejuvenation of body parts, not just replacement of your hip or knee,” Saurymper said. “So there’s a lot to touch on within health care.” In terms of traditional pharmaceutical companies, he prefers Eli Lilly , which he described as “a bit more diversified,” having exposure to both diabetes and obesity treatments. “They’re also a big player in oncology, and … and phase three [clinical drug trial] that is potentially close to the market for Alzheimer’s. So you got a bit more diversification there,” said Saurymper. Prevention and screening One theme the fund manager highlighted in particular is the prevention and screening of diseases. He likes Exact Sciences , which makes tests to detect colon cancer and has already soared more than 90% this year. “Its fundamentals have caught up with the share price,” he said. “We certainly think it’s got significant growth in front of it, and we wouldn’t be backing away just yet.” Under the screening theme, U.S. stock Hologic is also among the top 10 stocks in Saurymper’s fund. Tech Saurymper doesn’t hold Apple stock, but he acknowledged that the tech giant is at the forefront of wearable tech — a theme he is interested in. Despite that, he said Apple is “a bit of a tricky one from an investment perspective.” tech giant is not in his fund. “So wearables is about 10% of the Apple revenue base today, but that includes … the watch, earphones, beats and the like. It’s not obvious to me, at least, that people are going out to buy the Apple Watch, hypothetically, for its health benefits,” Saurymper said. “I think at some point … the pendulum will have swung enough that we can see a significant portion of revenues being derived from the aging consumer, whether it be from the health benefits, whether it be from the fitness benefits,” he said. Investing in companies that leverage technology to deliver efficient health care is also crucial in cutting costs, he added. He listed examples such as companies that offer patient monitoring technology or artificial intelligence that can analyze medical scans quicker. An example Saurymper cited is CVS , which has a significant market share in insurance and retail pharmacy, and focuses on delivering care more efficiently and at a lower cost. Education Looking beyond more obvious aging themes, the fund manager said education and well-being also offer investors a major opportunity. Saurymper likes U.S. education stock Adtalem , the top provider of nursing degrees in the U.S. and among the top providers for medical and veterinary degrees. As such, it’s well placed to plug the “massive skills gap” in the health-care industry, he said. “There is an acute shortage of doctors and nurses in the U.S. right now. There’s a predicted shortfall of about 400,000 nurses by 2025,” he said, adding that a third of U.S. doctors will be over the age of 65 by the end of the decade. – CNBC’s Ganesh Rao contributed to this report.

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