Women Investment Professionals

Economic Forum

Thursday, February 11, 2020

Dr. Dambisa Moyo’s Observations:

Multi-Faceted Job Focus:

  1. Public Policy: engage with developed and emerging market leaders on issues such as the pandemic, longer term challenges around growth, digitization
  2. Board Service: Chevron and 3M among other large organizations; focus on capital allocation and how companies should be ear-making capital in volatile times
  3. Investment Committee for Oxford University’s Endowment: focus on long term investment opportunities

Economic Growth:

The importance of growth cannot be under-stated: leads to the ability to expand the pie so that more people have access to public goods such as education and healthcare – essence of “The Edge of Chaos.”

Even before Covid-19, the global growth outlook was precarious; in the aftermath of the GFC, the economic growth picture/public policy focused on a rebound/improvement on the back of stimulus. We still have a long way to go in terms of a reversion to trend or above trend numbers.

Structural issues continue to force the trajectory of growth downward:

  • Technology and risk of a jobless under-class
  • Demographic shifts; 8 billion people on the planet – unique period today; took 125 years to go from 1 billion to 2 billion people, and 50 years to go from 3 billion (in 1960) to today. Our population is expected to grow to 11 billion by 2100. India is adding 1m people/month
  • Income inequality widened; we don’t know how to address it
  • Climate change and natural resource scarcity
  • World Bank report: because of the pandemic, 1st time in 20 years to see an increase in extreme poverty
  • Debt worsening; 20% of corporations are zombies. Global debt/GDP = 320%
  • “This Time is Different” book: when debt/GDP > 60%, the growth rate goes below 2%. US and UK already at 100% – implications?
  • Growth – magic number of 3% needed to double per capita incomes per generation
  • Productivity also a drag on growth; puzzle for economists and policymakers. Tech doesn’t show up in the data? Productivity is one of 3 contributors to growth in addition to K and L; explains 60% – majority of why one country grows and another doesn’t

Capital Allocation Ideas:

  1. Focused on China
  2. Transformative technology: public goods like healthcare and education
  3. ESG: think about risk mitigation but also ear-making capital for this space

Q&A:

Infrastructure seminal pieces: The American Civil Engineers Study & Marco Rubio report

De-centralization of finance/cryptocurrencies. Everything is up for disruption but won’t be a linear transition

Sector ideas: focusing on R&D and science subjects

Fireside Chat Discussion:

WIP Poll/Future of Women in Financial Services:

Short pipeline of women in certain roles. Need to address the gender balance early on; encourage girls to study subjects they’ll be working in 10-20 years’ time.

Few role models for young women in terms of representation in Board positions and C-suite – major concern. How are they juggling the balance of work and family life? Are we sending a message that you can’t have it all? Women with a high power career: make it work; ask for help. “Don’t be a super-woman and do what you can.”

Covid-19:

U.K. variant remains a concern; if we’re quick enough in terms of the roll-out, we can probably contain it. Virus in the driver’s seat now – single most important factor in terms of what happens in the economy in 2021. Most likely scenario is pretty optimistic.

Resistance to vaccine is a risk, but decreasing as adverse reactions aren’t occurring, and more people receive it.

The pandemic boosted inequality even further. Big gap in healthcare coverage. In addition, populism and political ramifications will be with us for some time.

Inflation:

Supply bottlenecks kept it muted. Services may see inflation.

Savings: many gains have occurred to the wealthier class. May see an initial bounce up to 2% due to the pickup in energy prices and the fallout of 2020 coming out from the data. 12mo from now, believe we’ll be close to 2% but not above it in a meaningful way. Look within categories, albeit uncertainty remains.

Interest Rates:

Driven by 2 major factors: inflation and short-term rates; the latter will stay low for some time. A high savings rate implies the ability of households to consume even if rates increase.

Globally, central bankers will be cautious about raising rates. Fiscal stimulus would be significant and result in upward pressure on yields. In Europe, will probably start to see some normalization – albeit difficult given lower trend growth and negative interest rates.

Economic Growth:

Europe < US. Less fiscal ability. 5-6% U.S. estimate for 2021 – robust and policy induced.

What would you do in policy terms?

HM: Concerns about lack of growth in Europe and multi year sub target inflation – structural. Fiscal stimulus lacking for many years; even with the Recovery fund, a case of taking advantage of record low yields to invest in the future with a long term vision. LT infrastructure projects, tech, Need a long term vision for Europe.

LM: U.S.: aid for local and state governments; give money to those who spend it. Aid children.

Currencies/USD:

Fiscal stimulus and extra growth has USD implications. Positive on Sterling – managed to avoid a no deal Brexit. Moving one step away from negative rates as well. Overall, neutral view on the USD.

Portfolio Construction:

China is an important economy and should be considered.

Alternatives can be used for yield.

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