20 July 2022
In this episode, Dan and Mary wrap up season 3 for the summer break with a quickfire roundup of some of the key moments and themes of the last 40+ episodes!
We start with the post Covid-19 “back to school” buzz of September 2021, recap the early days of three of the key themes of the moment: energy, inflation, and interest rates in late 2021, touch on 2022 forecasts, four mega-themes that emerged during season 3: impact, inclusion, communication and storytelling, run through our own top 3 episodes and favourite answers to the question: what’s the most underappreciated thing about investing?
- September 2022: Back to school buzz – the post Covid-19 full return to the office seems like a long time ago. There is lots of discussion in that episode on hybrid working practices, where are we on that now?
- September 2021: Inside GB's power market with Rajiv Gogna – this was rather, Uhm, prescient in many ways… (we then spoke to Gurpal in March 2022).
- The topic of communicating and engaging individuals on investment came up a lot, for example in The Great British Investment Chat with Rebecca O’Connor.
- October 2021: Bubbles, Quants and Value with Rob Arnott. Did this episode time the bottom for value investing! Investment market trends have done a 180 since this point
- November 2021: Dawn of a new interest rate cycle with Karen Ward and December 2021: A new inflation era with Jon Camfield (it wasn’t transitory) grapple with the early days of what are (still) the biggest themes of the moment.
This quote from December 2021 is helpful to remind us how wrong we can be!
With interest rates still very low and no brakes on the economy, we are expecting CPI above 5% next year, and RPI even higher – perhaps 7% or 8%
Three people that defined the year:
- Cathie Wood - CEO of Ark Invest - represents two distinct tiers of tech, which is the way to think about it now.
- Albert Bourla - CEO of Pfizer - $33bn in vaccine revenues, anti-viral pill. mRNA for the future of health.
- Vlad Tenev - CEO of Robinhood - IPOs and memestocks trends and the power of retail investors.
- Greta Thunberg - For her reaction to COP26
- Elon Musk - whether you love or hate him, he was miles ahead on the electric car trend
- Boris Johnson - ditto above on love or hate, but hard to get away from the fact that he’s defined our year from a personal perspective in the UK
What are some of the common themes we’re seeing in 2022 forecasts?
- Inflation, China, Fed hikes, geo-political risks, employment labour dynamics: “the year of the worker”
What are some of the non-consensus surprises that could be lurking?
- Politics, geopolitics, new digital ecosystems (including crypto, web3, and digital currencies - which maybe are starting to deserve a place in standard forecasts)
Mega themes that crop up multiple times during season:
- Communication & the media
- Stories and narratives, their positives and negatives
Top three episodes:
The most underappreciated thing about investing, a selection of answers:
- How difficult & complex it is (even the best investors only get a very slight majority of calls right). but also …
- 2. How easy it is anyone can be an investor today with £100 in an index fund. I quite like the weird dichotomy between these two perspectives which of course are both correct in their own way.
- 3. How much impact you can have as an investor Investors aren’t simply bystanders or passengers, decisions taken in the financial sector influence capital allocation in the real world. As an investor, the things you ask your managers for – in agreements, guidelines, and reports, all influence behaviour and capital allocation.
- 4. The market doesn’t reward comfortable decisions If a decision is comfortable it probably won’t lead to outperformance.
- 5. The role of luck in investment outcomes Best not to put “successful” investors on too much of a pedestal. Their success could well be mainly down to luck, and if not luck then it could be exploiting an anomaly that isn’t repeatable.
- 6. That the investment industry has let itself down over recent decades, but can and should be a force for good.
- 7. That it’s actually all about the people (not numbers, spreadsheets, and performance).
- 8. Holding nerve on underperformance …. people lose faith quickly, read across from underperformance to other smaller monitoring points, and jump to a conclusion at the wrong time which locks in a loss. A sell decision is often justified on other points but often really driven by underperformance.
- 9. Doing nothing is incredibly powerful not lazy or negligent. Far too much value is placed on activity and the industry perpetuates that.
- 10. There are only perfect answers with the benefit of hindsight Getting things spot on is more often due to good luck than judgement. If you get the framework right you maximise the chance of getting something right, but you can never be sure today (only in hindsight). So go easy on yourself – but do what you can to at least make the best decision you can.
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