Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Up with bonds, down with equities, out with with-profits

After the stockmarket ructions, pension funds are getting more cagey and thinking about weighting more towards bonds (htp: Pension Pulse). (A seminar I went to maybe 10 years ago predicted this trend.) Bill Gross of Pimco is also thinking that way; at the same moment when others reckon the recession's over, or nearly so.

My concern is that the market is now so volatile that only active traders will be interested. The smoothing approach of British with-profits funds has been undermined by downswings so sharp that more than once recently, they have had to apply penalties to investors seeking to exit early; which in turn will make those investors less inclined to reinvest in with-profits, and indeed quite possibly put them off investment generally.

That, plus the need to take more income as the population ages, plus a poorer next generation that will work longer, be taxed more and have less in State and other pension provision, plus the burgeoning of the world population, the gradual equalization of world average income (and it's a very low average), plus increasing ecological limits to fast-buck-type growth, all tend to make me more a bear than a bull for as far as I can see, whatever may happen in the short term as a result of desperate overstimulation with fiat cash.

Yes, there'll be opportunities for the agile financial player; but for the mom-and-pop saver?


Paddington said...

Check out this month's National Geographic - a piece on solar energy. It gives some hope that we can make things right, if we invest in the right stuff, and get population growth under control.

Sackerson said...

Good, some hope at last. But I do think the factors I mentioned will reduce the volume of equity-based savings.