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The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic poses many difficult questions for investors. Pension funds will probably have to reconsider many long-standing assumptions. These are some of the most intractable.
Despite the more immediate concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, the spectre of ‘Japanisation ’ casts a dark shadow over euro-zone investment markets. It is possible that the current crisis will supercharge the pre-existing trend for Europe to follow Japan’s economic and financial experiences.
- Opinion Pieces
There are good reasons why even the most ardent technophile should be wary of the excitement surrounding new investment-related technology. Big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain all no doubt have promising applications in the investment world.
Gold is unlike any other commodity. It has few industrial applications of any note. It is widely used in jewellery partly because of its aesthetic appeal but also in many cases as a form of investment. Central banks distance themselves from acknowledging the precious metal as a kind of universal currency yet still keep thousands of tonnes of it locked away in their vaults.
It is all too easy to forget that the markets are in a peculiar state. For example, nominal yields on US 10-year Treasuries have trended downwards since 1981. Real interest rates – that is, adjusted for inflation – have also trended downwards from about the same time. Estimates vary but there are also many trillions of euros worth of negative yielding debt.
- Special Report
The protracted period of ultra-low interest rates in the developed world could have a nasty knock-on effect on emerging market debt
By his own account Nico Marais is an extraordinarily lucky man. The CEO of Wells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) is keen to use every opportunity to emphasise his good fortune. In Marais’s modest telling of his own story, his success is thanks to the qualities of others, rather than to his own merits. “It’s the story of my life. I’ve just always worked for amazing people,” he says.