A handful of events in the embryonic days of 2020 highlighted just how unpredictable the world can be. Just days into the new year and the United States (US) and Iran looked on the verge of war. Wildfires ravaged parts of Australia. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in China began, spreading rapidly and hurting global markets. Brexit finally happened.
We touch on many of these issues, and more, in your first Global Perspectives of 2020 and my first at the helm of Ashburton Investments.
Over and above the issues currently in play in the global economy, we also explore seminal events with the potential to impact investing over the remainder of the year, notably the US presidential election which culminates with the big vote on 3 November. Arno Lawrenz takes us through the likely scenarios in the race for the White House and how these might swing markets following the vote. Similarly, Nick Skimming offers insights into the United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the European Union (EU) and the uphill battle awaiting both Britain and the EU to iron out a trade deal, as well as the opportunities to watch in this key market.
We focus closely on the South African situation as well as sharing our views on the value of fixed income portfolios at this uncertain time and, for the first time, we put some of the companies and sectors which feature in our Ashburton Global Leaders Equity Fund under the spotlight; outlining our thinking into key industries and opportunities. Kathy Davey starts the ball rolling with the Kerry Group, the global food ingredients company.
Nico Els underlines in his assessment of the South African economy in 2020 and beyond, how diversification remains our focus.
As Heather Jackson points out in her contribution on impact investing, the world is moving towards an emphasis on environment, social and governance (ESG) issues. At Ashburton Investments our investment approach is intrinsically linked to quality and ensuring that your money is invested into high-quality companies that are socially conscious, are governed appropriately and which take cognisance of environmental factors. Why? Because we think businesses of this ilk will be sustainable into the future.
A lot of work goes into quality screening in our investment process. A process that unearths a universe of local and global companies which fit our strict criteria for quality. While we are constantly fine-tuning our valuation models we also rely on the expertise across the FirstRand group to ensure that we are at all times macro-cognisant.
In summary, our approach is about quality, at a reasonable value, it’s about being macro-cognisant and maintaining a long-term view.
The collection are articles in this edition of Global Perspectives highlights these tenets of our investment philosophy, offering you a peek behind the curtain into our thinking, our processes and our views about what is waiting around the corner for investors, for markets and for countries in 2020.
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