Great Roundtable in Singapore

Ashby Monk

I’ve just returned home after having attended Institutional Investor’s Asia & Middle East Government Funds Roundtable in Singapore the past two days. All credit to Stephen Glover and the II team for putting on the valuable event. Once again it was a great turnout with more than 70 government funds in the room, including all the major investors from these regions. As usual, the proceedings of these quarterly events are run with strict rules protecting the anonymity of all speakers, but Mr. Glover assures me that recalling some insights gleaned or lessons learned in no way flouts my ethical obligation to the other attendees. So here goes:

On The Global Economy: The “medicine” that we’re prescribing to make the patient better in the long-term (austerity) will serve to make the patient far sicker (unemployment) in the short to medium term.

On Europe: By trying to do the ‘least required’ to resolve their debt crisis, EU politicians are making their crisis far worse than it might otherwise be with some decisive and clear actions.

On USA: It’s better off than Europe, but political polarization remains a serious concern.

On China: Bubble trouble. Caveat emptor!

On Long-Term Investing #1: Peer risk is preventing investors from breaking the short-term orientation of many investors.

On Long-Term Investing #2: Long-term investors should be taking advantage of their natural endowments and looking to profit from the rise of emerging markets, climate change, and population aging by dynamically allocating their portfolios.

On Long-Term Investing #3: In the current crisis are seeds of remarkable buying opportunities — even in Europe!

On Modern Portfolio Theory: Over 50% of the people in the room have moved on to ‘post-modern portfolio theory’ approaches. Less than 20% saw MPT as a viable way to actually manage an institutional portfolio.

Good Risk Management: Starts with good governance and developing a risk-based culture.

Anon Quote du Conference: “The last time I was here I told you I thought we were standing on the edge of a precipice. I think we’ve moved forward.”

Thank you, Singapore! And thanks to II for a very valuable event.

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This website is a project of Professor Gordon L. Clark and Dr. Ashby Monk of the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. Their research on sovereign wealth funds is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and The Rotman International Centre for Pension Management.

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