As globalization becomes more deeply ingrained and technology creates changes previously unimaginable, portfolio managers need to reassess ways they invest for their clients.
Many factors have consequences not originally foreseen, said, Marvin Zonis, professor emeritus, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, who spoke Monday at the IMCA Advanced Wealth Management Conference in Chicago about Successful Global Investing.
“Depending on your time horizon, be agile or be patient. You need to be aware of unanticipated consequences in mutually dependent, two-way markets,” he said.
For instance, he said, the slowdown in China’s growth has had ripple effects across the world. As China’s growth slowed, it affected emerging markets which exported not only to China, but also to each other. That caused economies in emerging markets to slow, which caused capital flight out of those countries and into the U.S. dollar, which led the International Monetary Fund to decrease the forecast of future economic growth, which is keeping the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates.
“You need to appreciate the interdependence” of the world, Zonis said.
Macroeconomic events really need to be seen as such, rather than taking a shorter-term view. Technological adoption in emerging markets can sometimes lag, and information and economic data from emerging markets may not have the rigor it does from developed markets, such as some data out of China, so that’s something else to keep in mind when considering how to invest.
Zonis said the slowing of China’s economy means the country is seeking to have a greater military presence in the region, building islands to land large military planes and building bombs that can reach far beyond its shores. His view is these actions by China change the region’s view of the country as a desirable partner and more as a military threat. That may revert some of the region’s interest back to becoming friendly to the U.S. again.
“That makes China less attractive, so huge amounts of money could flow to the U.S., and the U.S. economy will benefit,” he said.
Current events may have ramifications for years to come. The migrant crisis from Syria and other parts of the Middle East to Europe will affect those economies in unanticipated ways, he said. People who are living the Middle East are using mobile phones to find the safest routes, and they’re young. Of the 82 percent of migrants going to Europe in 2015, 62 percent were men under 34 years old, Zonis said.
“They’re in their prime working age years, but are uneducated people,” he said, adding that Europe must figure out how to deal with this population.