Spectrum Economic Forum Davos 2014
Having spent four days on a wonderful Spectrum IFA Group Annual Conference I have now had time to read again the scripts of the presentations and reflect on their impact on investment strategies. Apart from the fact it was by consensus of the other Partners one of the best conferences to date, helped by the friendliness of the staff at the Sheraton Hotel, and the stunning location, the presentations by the investment managers we use were of great interest.
When you consider the diversity of styles and approaches from the likes of Jupiter, BlackRock, Henderson / Gartmore, JP Morgan and Kames, it became very apparent that they all held similar views with regard to the markets and the potential area’s for growth for 2014 and beyond. This was enforced by a question and answer forum near to the end of meetings with all of them present to answer a variety of questions. The major message was that any investment holding substantial cash was no longer an option both now and for the foreseeable future. Whatever a client’s attitude to risk was, and their requirement for either real income, capital growth or both, a solution was available. But rather than a single asset class, spread of assets on a global basis was vital, and that was the key message that came out.
It was also of interest talking to the CEO of Prudential International, Michael Leahy , not so much about investment, but his view of the future for Prudential as a company and why. In some ways it matched the views of the fund managers, still focusing on the developed world e.g. the UK, but expanding, in Europe where opportunities existed, the Far East and other global opportunities.
Finally it was good to have a presentation from “Best Invest”, voted by the readers of Investors Chronicle, the UK Wealth Manager of the year and Best Wealth Manager for Investments in 2013 by the Financial Times. They can provide a solution for those clients of ours that may be returning to the UK or who are not resident in Europe, but work abroad, have holiday homes here and hold ISA’s, PEP’s and need advice on their UK pensions if a QROPS is unsuitable.
After all the hard work, it was great to wander through the snow, take in the bracing fresh air and explore Davos, with its variety of bars and restaurants. It was also interesting to see how the arrival of the World Economic Forum transformed and affected such a small resort. As a non-skier, and I am pleased I am a non skier having seen how steep the slopes were, it was more relaxing for me. Next year we are off to Bordeaux, warmer climes and although Swiss Air was brilliant, a pleasant drive there is already being planned.