Contemplating the unknowns, responding to the unknowable
December, the month where festive end-of-year preparations and celebrations shift into top gear, just as commentators become busy reflecting on the past year and making predictions for the next. In the finance sector, our inboxes overflow with analysis of likely economic and market developments in 2023. But even the best forecasting powers are not a crystal ball. What lies ahead this year is not one single challenge, but rather a series of global challenges that are both interconnected and overlapping, defined above all by uncertainty and overshadowed by the unknown and the unknowable.
2022 saw the 40-year period of low inflation and low interest rates come to an abrupt, if not unforeseen end1. Both Covid-19 and the Russia/Ukraine war accelerated long-brewing shifts in macroeconomics and geopolitics, illuminating in parallel the multitude of structural weaknesses in global systems.
The 2022 Amundi-CREATE pension survey explores how pension funds perceive these shifts and their potential repercussions. It also looks at the likely impacts of higher inflation and increased asset class correlation on asset allocation and how current market uncertainty may prove positive for active management as selectivity will prove key.
For pension funds, the key question going forward will come down to how to adapt their portfolios to face structurally higher inflation and volatility, less accommodative monetary policy and increased geopolitical turmoil.
2022 has demonstrated how investors can never be too prepared for the unexpected. We look at how the turbulence in the UK gilts markets in September sent ripples through the pensions markets and put into question the whole notion of safe haven and liquid assets.
Liquidity and correlation are just two of the aspects pension funds should take into account when constructing their portfolio. Our article on asset segmentation analyses some of the arguments for and against segmentation and the possible approaches.
Finally, we take our regular look at how the pension funding ratios have reacted to recent volatility and poor performance for both equities and bonds.
June 2019 – Pascal Blanqué - https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/speech/2022/november/sarah-breeden-speech-at-isda-aima