‘Less is more!’ That is what correlation wants to brag about to enhance diversification. However, following the financial crisis, many believe that correlations are at an all-time high – is this the end of low correlations? We think not.
History is littered with episodes where the rules of economics were declared dead, only for these rules to return with a vengeance. You remember the ‘end of the business cycle’ debate in the late 90s or the ‘great moderation’ paradigm of the early 00s? Despite these precedents and despite overwhelming evidence that large debt build-ups can end in tears, we believe a Chinese financial crisis is not that likely over the next 2-3 years.
A great advantage in managing money is having the ability to wait: avoiding a situation where you have to invest. This means you can pass on an investment idea simply because it doesn’t look interesting enough and wait for truly great opportunities. American baseball fans call this “waiting for the fat pitch”.
In my recent post The future ain’t what it used to be, I talked about the importance of looking ahead for scenarios that could affect our portfolios, and assessing what impact they might have. 2017 is littered with potential event risks; here we look at the 'unlucky 13', with European politics taking centre stage.
The French people go to the polls for two rounds of voting in the spring. Markets have belatedly noticed that there is a significant risk associated with this event. In particular, they fear the French people being caught "entre le marteau et l'enclume" (between the hammer and anvil) in the second round of voting in early May.