There is growing consensus that sustainable investing will be a mainstream discipline and key trend in the 2020’s. Regulators across the world have already set their expectations for the industry’s players with requirements of greater transparency, investment process integration and reporting. But sustainable investing is about more than ESG.
Years of fiscal consolidation - cutting expenditure and raising revenue mainly through tax increases, have failed to deliver the desired outcome. The risk is that bond market participants decide the government is not in a position to run a surplus and that the upward debt trajectory is heading into runaway territory. If so, they would dump government bonds, signaling the onset of a debt trap. Fortunately, we are not at this point at present and the government has options.
Derivatives are often associated with complexity, risk and leverage but in reality they allow fund managers to put in place insurance that protects investments against downside risk. Used for hedging, they are particularly useful in times of great volatility and uncertainty, like now.
The investment efficient frontiers show that, at some funding ratios, it is impossible to recover from lost opportunities, no matter how much risk is taken. This means that a retiree who started investing too late or did not take enough risk, might never reach their intended outcome. In such cases investors could consider moving towards an income providing vehicle that is guaranteed instead of a living annuity, or a combination of a life annuity and a living annuity.
South Africa’s government finances are cause for grave concern. The only plausible way forward is to tackle the problem now, before it becomes insurmountable and government finds itself in a debt trap.
Baba Shiv, marketing professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business, was speaking last month about neural networks and how they shape emotions, motivation and ultimately your client’s financial plan at the annual i3 Summit, hosted jointly by Sanlam Investments and Glacier by Sanlam.
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