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Category Archives: Fund Management
By Mart | Published: October 5, 2012
I wrote a white paper for Aberdeen Asset Management's investor conference in November 2011, on the big four themes dominating investor's thoughts: An American revival, a Chinese hard-landing, the West's lost decade, and the prospect of a euro-zone break-up. Still makes compelling reading a year on:
By Martin Fluck | Published: October 4, 2012
How a Wall Street elite contrived to turn the physical commodities market into a casino, and trigger damaging “spikes” in everything from oil to foodstuffs was beautifully reported on by Matt Taibi of Rolling Stone Magazine in 2008. But the food riots last year may be spurring politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to take action. Retail investors, the "long only" bettors who have for years forced prices upward, are part of the problem. So the Democrats are proposing rule changes that would force small investors in the US to divest themselves of the $50 billion they have tied up in commodity derivatives - if Obama wins the election.
By Martin Fluck | Published: May 21, 2012
Timing is everything when it comes to investing, which is why “playing the growth of the middle class consumer in Brazil” is likely to prove a major conceptual blunder by fund managers selling the idea of emerging market ‘decoupling’ to unsuspecting retail investors - even as the tide turns on the emerging markets growth story. No county has benefitted more from China’s economic growth, and unparalleled demand for resources than Brazil. But it is also because of its American-style consumer debt bubble that it is likely to prove one of the most leveraged bets on emerging market growth.
By Martin Fluck | Published: April 23, 2012
Campaigning for a break-up of the big banks has gone mainstream. If Obama is to win the election, he will have to stand up for the middle class, which is fed up with the unfairness of the present economic system. This means he will have to tackle the concentration of bank power that continues to threaten economic stability. For while the overarching purpose of the Dodd–Frank reforms was to end Too-Big-Too-Fail, it may actually be increasing banking industry concentration and preventing the economic recovery.
By Martin Fluck | Published: July 10, 2011
The war the EU has declared on the ratings agencies shows why investors should not underestimate its determination to scapegoat “Anglo-Saxon” speculators for the sovereign debt crisis, and reduce “excessive profits” in the financial sector. Even if it means cutting off the EU's nose to spite its face.
By Martin Fluck | Published: May 31, 2011
Prices in commodity markets now seem divorced from the forces of supply and demand; set instead by extreme speculation and financing activities. As awareness of this market failure mounts, the whole sector is setting itself up for a massive fall. For once global regulators react - as they must do eventually – retail 'investors' who have helped to fund the over-investment though products like index trackers are going to discover just how risky being a speculator can be.
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 7, 2010
Increased demand for corporate bonds may paradoxically reflect falling risk appetite for bonds in general, Reuters reports today. Fund managers with mandates that mean they have to be invested in bonds, are looking to park the money in the least risky option. So they’re pulling money out of overbought government bonds and investing in high yield corporate bonds. This way, bond funds will lose relatively less money!
By Martin Fluck | Published: September 5, 2010
Let’s face it, it’s time to get real on bonds. Ultra loose monetary policy always risked creating new asset bubbles, and bonds seem to be in serious bubble territory, now that record flows into bond funds have pushed returns to such low levels that only serious deflation can possibly justify these investments.
By Martin Fluck | Published: August 31, 2010
More bad news for commodity ETFs. The E.U. could follow U.S plans to tame speculative activity, which has been blamed for record food and energy prices in 2008, if France’s call for common action to regulate volatile commodities markets are adopted
By Martin Fluck | Published: August 30, 2010
We may not have long to wait for the collapse in the exchange-traded fund bubble. The ETF industry ran out of control long ago, but regulators can no longer ignore the retail money distorting market prices. Stuffed with exotic derivatives and super-concentrated bets on very risky markets, regulators are closing in. The steps they are taking will lead to a cascade of falling dominoes, as speculative ETFs are unwound.