A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

Inside Money: What money thinks again

When the market tide goes out what is going to float a fund manager's boat? Photo / Thinkstock
When the market tide goes out what is going to float a fund manager's boat? Photo / Thinkstock

In a previous blog I detailed the findings of, to quote myself, "the collective thoughts of US$25.2 trillion".

Well, the money hasn't stopped thinking. A sequel, also produced by the UK-based Create Research in association with Principal Global Investors, continues the theme illuminated first in 'Market volatility: friend or foe?'.

'Innovation in the age of volatility' promises a "deeper look into the importance of innovation" with a particular emphasis on the US market.

The report's findings - by turns depressing or encouraging, depending on your psychological make-up include a couple of well-worn post-GFC observations:

* Market volatility will go on, and on, driven more by politics than economics;

* Opportunism will rule over diversification.

While the Create study attempts to put a gloss of optimism on the results there's an underlying sense of gloom in many of the quotes attributed to anonymous asset managers.

Here's my favourites:

"At today's yield of 0.02 per cent on three-month Treasury bills, one can double the money in 3,500 years."

"Every good investment idea can turn into a bad idea once it attracts more inflows."

"What if the next 10 years are the same as the last 10 years? What if good times aren't around the corner? Currently, cost pressures are intense, clients want more for less and recovery is not in sight. The asset industry is at an inflection point: we have to prepare for a future that is different from the past when market recovery always bailed us out. Now, it would be unwise to count on it."

But if the market tide remains out (or increasingly erratic) what is going to float a fund manager's boat? The report concludes that at least one major trend is a rethinking of diversification to encompass a much broader definition of portfolio risk.

"The term 'market risk' now embraces all the things that can go wrong," the study says.

Protecting yourself against everything is no doubt a difficult task but the report shows that post-crisis money managers are beginning to think about risk in the same way as everybody else.

- NZ Herald

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A personal finance columnist for the NZ Herald

David is a freelance journalist who has covered the financial services business on both sides of the Tasman for over 15 years. He is the editor of industry website Investment News. David has edited magazines and websites for the financial advice, investment and superannuation industries.

Read more by David Chaplin

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