Perspectives Blog

The beginnings of a new moderation in Asia

Soo Nam Ng, Head of Asian Equities | June 2, 2014

The Great Moderation was a period of macroeconomic growth and reduced volatility that provided a backdrop to the strong performance of U.S. equities. The lessons hold relevance for equity investors in Asia as big picture conditions for a Great Moderation are starting to fall into place. We believe the “new moderation” mindset will take Asia into its next leg of development, unleashing its potential in a more sustainable and stable manner. Less…

Could tapering be good for stocks?

Fred Copper, Senior Portfolio Manager | December 16, 2013

Despite all the discussion surrounding quantitative easing (QE), there has been little theoretical justification for the link between QE and equity prices. Europe provides a glaring counter-example of the impact of central bank policy on financial markets. Once the psychic umbilical cord of QE is cut (tapered), the market may actually be cheered by the end of what has always been perceived as a temporary and extreme form of life support. Few i…

Inflation — The usual suspects

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | August 11, 2014

Four factors figure empirically into how and why inflation moves: (1) commodity prices, (2) spare capacity, (3) changes in exchange rates, and (4) monetary policy. These same factors argue for a gradual recovery in U.S. inflation in the year ahead, which could be a headwind for high-quality fixed-income returns. In contrast to U.S. markets, in markets with prospects for a trend lower in inflation expectations (e.g. certain pockets of EM), falli…

Ahead of the trends – Washington update on retirement savings initiatives

Columbia Management Learning Center , | July 31, 2014

Various federal government initiatives, including tax reform, will impact the way Americans save for retirement. Trends to watch include enforcement, pension de-risking and participant empowerment measures. Staying current on changes can help you identify critical retirement savings decision points. Retirement security is the financial issue that is most disconcerting to Americans.* Likewise, the current administration has concluded the U.S. i…

Credit alternatives in government-backed debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 23, 2014

One way investors may boost yields without taking on undue credit risk is through U.S. government agency debt. While many investors associate U.S. agency debt with very low yields, other types of agency debt can offer significant spreads to Treasuries with a modest decline in liquidity. We have been increasing our allocation to the agency market in core portfolios as a way to reduce credit risk while maintaining competitive yields. By Carl W….

Duration for diversification

Columbia Management, Investment Team | November 19, 2013

Many investors struggle to determine the appropriate amount of bond duration in an environment of rising interest rates. The right amount of duration has to be considered in a portfolio context, because the main value of duration exposure comes through diversification. Because of the negative correlation between duration and the returns of riskier assets, high-quality fixed income will still be a cornerstone of any disciplined portfolio. By Za…

Labor markets in the new digital age

Columbia Management, Investment Team | April 14, 2014

The downside to technological progress is short-term dislocations and job loss for those displaced by automation. Workers with high skills and advanced education command a wage premium while unskilled and lower-skilled workers are displaced which aggravates income inequality. The winners will be those who have skills complementary to the new emerging technologies and those who discern how best to adapt and gain competitive advantage. By Marie…