Perspectives Blog

Does a perfect policy portfolio exist?

Jeffrey Knight, CFA, Global Head of Investment Solutions and Asset Allocation | May 5, 2014

Risk Parity represents a significant advance in asset allocation, but we don’t believe that there is a single perfect policy portfolio. While Risk Parity works well in neutral markets, we don’t think it is the best policy under bearish, bullish or highly bullish market conditions. We believe that a policy function that rotates among four distinct policy portfolios is closer to perfect than any single policy portfolio. The idea of a policy port…

ECB asset purchases — Bazooka or damp squib?

Martin Harvey, Fund Manager, Threadneedle International Ltd | September 22, 2014

With inflation expectations declining to the levels that preceded the recent shift in policy, should the ECB and the financial markets be worried? In our view, the ECB probably won’t be wholly impressed by the reaction of inflation expectations to recently announced measures, and will be keeping a close eye on favored measures. We believe that we would need to see a further significant deterioration in growth and inflation expectations to kick…

U.S. rates – Headwinds

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | March 17, 2014

…ttee will lean heavily on the idea of “headwinds” to justify these views. The concept of “headwinds” sounds vague, but we think Fed officials actually have a specific issue in mind: the right way to determine whether monetary policy is easy or tight. The diagram below illustrates the basic point. Monetary policy responds to the output gap (the reaction function) and also affects the size of the output gap (the normal transmission mechanism). Howe…

U.S. rates — Data dependence

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | June 23, 2014

Evidence of data dependency at the June FOMC meeting suggests policy will respond to unemployment and inflation surprises. We are more confident the Fed’s reaction function is (nearly) done moving. We therefore remain cautious about exposure to U.S. interest rate risk, especially at the middle of the yield curve. The June FOMC meeting contained a little bit for everyone and interest rates reacted only marginally after the announcements. But lo…

Labor market takes center stage

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | October 15, 2013

Labor market issues have long taken a central role in Janet Yellen’s career. Remarks indicate Yellen views current labor market challenges as potentially very costly for the economy, and she sees a role for monetary policy in promoting recovery. Yellen’s nomination likely raises the bar for Fed tightening, as long as inflation remains low. When it comes to the current priorities for monetary policy, investors already know where Janet Yellen st…

What investors should know about Fed forward guidance

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | March 24, 2014

The Fed’s communication for 2014 looks like the strongest type of forward guidance, one that clarifies the existing policy approach and backs up its statements. Current statements for 2015 and beyond are closer to the weakest type of forward guidance, which means they should be considered less credible. Look for the market’s heavy reliance on Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) forecasts to fade over time. Last week, at Janet Yellen’s first…

A question for Jackson Hole

Zach Pandl, Portfolio Manager and Strategist | August 20, 2014

Fed officials have highlighted underemployment but offered little guidance about how this issue affects the policy outlook. Traditional tools like the Taylor Rule need to be recalibrated if the central bank focuses on a different measure of slack, so they offer little guidance to investors at the moment. We hope to learn more at this week’s Jackson Hole conference. A consensus among Fed officials holds that the standard U3 unemployment rate—no…