Remember the EU referendum? The City thought the British public would see the economic benefits of EU membership and not wish to loosen ties with our closest trading partners. Turns out the City was wrong and had misread the mood of the nation. The current discussion around nationalisation has some worrying similarities, so is the City making the same mistake again?
The UK inflation-linked government bond ('linker') market is dominated by vast UK defined benefit pension schemes. Derisking by schemes tends to increase demand for linkers as equity prices rise, pushing up their prices. For multi-asset investors seeking diversification, that could make them less attractive to buy.
Following the EU referendum, financial markets initially expected the worst, with the weakness of the pound the clearest indication of deteriorating sentiment. And yet, many saw the depreciation as an opportunity for the economy to rebalance away from consumer spending and towards more trade. With this in mind, how successful has the UK been?
In November, the Bank of England decided not to go beyond reversing the 'insurance' rate cut it made following the EU referendum. Since then, however, the UK labour market has improved and inflation has remained stubbornly high. This presents the governor with a conundrum. Should he raise rates again soon or remain cautious and wait for the fog of uncertainty regarding the final Brexit deal to lift?
Unlike their US or Eurozone counterparts, UK pension funds will readily pay quite a premium for inflation protection. However, that premium is relatively unattractive for multi-asset investors, who we think can find better ways to manage UK and global inflation risks.
In pricing fixed income securities, a lot hangs on the difference between the mean, median and mode. Markets reflect a probability-weighted average of potential outcomes (i.e. the mean); policymakers typically focus on the single most-likely outcome (i.e. the mode). Thinking carefully about the difference has important implications for how we view interest rate risks.