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Global Matters - Weekly


Lessons from Japan

Richard Stutley, CFA - 06 July 2020

The summer solstice, or ‘longest day of the year’, took place in the northern hemisphere just over two weeks ago, putting those of us that live here on a path of gradually shortening days towards winter. It’s not all bad news: July and August are typically the warmest months in the UK, but after that temperatures will also steadily decline. It remains to be seen whether, like other airborne viruses, COVID-19 is more infectious in winter, leading to a fresh spike in cases, but in any event we think the world is significantly better prepared for new waves and hence the impact should be smaller. Therefore, while acknowledging this risk to markets, it has not persuaded us to de-risk the portfolios further.

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Andrew Hardy, CFA - 29 June 2020

Not that there aren’t enough acronyms flying around the investment world already, but today I will reference a lesser known one – only to debunk it.  TANSTAAFL: “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”.  The etymology is uncertain, but the principle is intuitive; there aren’t many things in life that come for free without some form of cost, be it direct or indirect, explicit or implicit.  However, there is one (and only one) in finance – diversification. 

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The Great Disconnect?

Stephen Nguyen, CFA - 22 June 2020

There are few certainties in markets and economies these days and with most countries globally facing what could be the worst economic collapse in the post-war era, it is surprising to see markets and most risk assets continue their remarkable rebound. The shape of the recovery in risky assets certainly looks V-shaped today, as most markets have posted gains of around 30% since bottoming near the end of March. 

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Looking Forward

Jackson Franks - 15 June 2020

The Midsommar Swedish celebrations coincide with the middle of the year and I find it a great time to reflect on the prior six months and what the second 6 might bring. With COVID-19 impacting the way we have worked in the first half of the year let’s look forward at what the second half of the year may entail for the office sector.

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Playing the odds

Robert White, CFA - 08 June 2020

While markets continue their remarkable rebound, the most important event for many people this month will be the return of the Premier League, something that cannot come soon enough for loyal fans (particularly Liverpool supporters).  The resumption of top flight football provides a welcome distraction during these trying times as the German Bundesliga has already shown, even if the atmosphere is somewhat diminished by empty stadiums. The great thing about professional sport is that so much is captured by data, the quality and depth of which is extremely rich. 

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The SpaceX Factor

Alex Harvey, CFA - 01 June 2020

On Saturday night at 22:11 hours I was fortunate enough to see the International Space Station (ISS) blazing across the darkening London skyline at 17,000mph.  For budding astronomers the Star Walk app points out where and when to look, and with it orbiting over 15 times per day you’ve plenty of opportunity to view it (the stunningly clear UK skies obviously help, as does the night sky to spot it reflecting the sun from above the horizon). 

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Steering Clear of Losses

Lorenzo La Posta - 18 May 2020

Financial losses come in many shapes and forms and investors rightly spend a considerable amount of time worrying about them but managing loss aversion poorly can make the long-term outcome even worse. It is important to pick the right battles, to trade off cost of protection with loss severity and to not lose sight of the ultimate investment goals.

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Size Matters

James Klempster, CFA - 11 May 2020

There’s no two ways about it: size matters.  We live in a society that admires big - The Angel of the North, the Great Wall - yet we also revere the precision of small - the microprocessor, automatic watches.  When it comes to disadvantages, both large and small also can be found wanting.  Needless to say, in the world of fund management things are equally nuanced.

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Risks & opportunities in fixed income

Andrew Hardy, CFA - 04 May 2020

Bonds, issued by both governments and corporates, will always have a significant role to play in multi-asset portfolios due to their inherent stability and reliable cash flows, which provide much needed balance for other riskier positions.  However, recent developments spurred on by the COVID-19 crisis should prompt investors to consider deemphasising the focus on government bonds from this point and increasing allocations to corporate credit.

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