Embracing change in European real estate

Real estate is typically a slow mover in the investment world. It tends not to be affected by the day-to-day rumblings in the equity and bond markets. Nevertheless, change is still afoot in real estate, with both short- and long-term trends affecting how we use properties and how we invest. Real estate is now at … Continue reading “Embracing change in European real estate”

No time to be pig-headed

The trade war is dominating headlines and shaking investor confidence in China. But as we enter Year of the Pig, it’s worth remembering this is a long-term growth story. No sooner have the Christmas decorations come down than new ones have gone up to mark the Lunar New Year, which starts on February 5. It’s … Continue reading “No time to be pig-headed”

Davos: world leaders miss out on the personal touch

In some ways Davos looks much the same as in previous years. The world’s great and good from politics, academia, business and the media have once again descended on Switzerland. The combination of all of these companies and leaders from around the world in an otherwise quiet and rural backwater is as incongruous as ever. … Continue reading “Davos: world leaders miss out on the personal touch”

Is the US technology industry being defanged?

Paypal founder Peter Thiel predicted in his 2014 Wall Street Journal essay ‘Competition is for losers’ that Silicon Valley would become the centre of the global economy. He claimed that by operating under a set of rules that involve little competition or regulation, his own company, along with the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Google … Continue reading “Is the US technology industry being defanged?”

G20 stare down does not de-escalate tensions

It would be easy to see last weekend’s G20 meeting a heralding a thaw in the US-China trade war. But it hasn’t. There are some positives. It looks increasingly likely that the US will not put in place a fresh 10-25% tariff hike in January on $250bn of Chinese exports, as most had thought. It … Continue reading “G20 stare down does not de-escalate tensions”

Fear not – volatility is normal

After the long period of rather calm markets in 2016-17, we predicted that from 2018 onwards, we would see a return towards more normal levels of market volatility. Swings up and down in share prices – even big moves – are normal behaviour for markets. The upside from investing in equity markets is the potential … Continue reading “Fear not – volatility is normal”

How to survive a zombie company apocalypse

Zombie companies do exist but are not staffed by people that behave like extras in the “Walking Dead”. Actually, a zombie company is a technical term for a business which, if it is not yet numbered among the undead, is only earning just enough cash to pay the interest on its borrowings. It does not … Continue reading “How to survive a zombie company apocalypse”

Panic not: earnings season matters more than the current rout

Once again, markets are roiling. As with so many sell-offs, this is a story of pressure building steadily until it must vent. Volatile markets are here to stay, but the next few weeks will tell us whether this episode is a sign of something more ominous to come or just another bump in the road. … Continue reading “Panic not: earnings season matters more than the current rout”

Europe’s struggle to break free

At the start of 2018, it looked likely that interest rates could start to rise across Europe, signalling the end of the necessary post-crisis readjustment in the financial sector. However, as is often the case, the themes that drive markets at the start of the year can often be forgotten by the end. As 2018 … Continue reading “Europe’s struggle to break free”

Hubris and Nemesis: insights into the financial crisis

Ten years ago, the demise of Lehman Brothers marked the height of the financial crisis. At the time, I was an economist at one of the UK’s largest financial institutions. Working there gave me abundant insights into the psychological biases at play, both in that institution and in the companies that it supported. Many of … Continue reading “Hubris and Nemesis: insights into the financial crisis”

Doom Loop

The most likely candidate for the next ‘Lehman moment’ is in Europe. In some ways the regulatory response that followed in the years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers has been a success. The days of racy balance sheets chasing outsized profits on wafer thin capital are largely over; replaced by a mantra of prudence … Continue reading “Doom Loop”

The growing role of China and India in emerging market bonds

Diversification across asset classes has become an essential part of investing for the long term. Investors are increasingly looking further afield to deepen their portfolio diversification and lower total risk as they seek attractive returns. The EMD asset class will continue to see strong growth and we believe that China and India will become increasingly … Continue reading “The growing role of China and India in emerging market bonds”

What can we learn from the shape of the yield curve?

Surveys of investors show a distinct degree of nervousness this summer. One reason may be President Trump’s propensity for off-the-cuff Twitter activity, taking aim at Turkey, NATO, and Iran, the global trading system or any of his other enemies. Another explanation is rather more technical – prosaic, even. But it also illustrates how caution about … Continue reading “What can we learn from the shape of the yield curve?”

Emerging markets: increasing or decreasing risks?

So far, 2018 has been a difficult year for emerging market (EM) assets, which in the last few months have fared significantly worse than their counterparts in developed markets. This has been due mainly to worldwide issues but also country-specific political uncertainty. Many investors are now asking if the sell-off presents a buying opportunity – … Continue reading “Emerging markets: increasing or decreasing risks?”

Globalisation – Nothing new under the sun

There is nothing new about geopolitics. Geography – both physical and human – has influenced politics and international relations for centuries, even millennia. But the nature of geopolitical risk has changed over time. During the Cold War, geopolitical risks for Western governments and the corporate world were focused on Moscow’s motivations and behaviour, the possibility … Continue reading “Globalisation – Nothing new under the sun”