Gary Corcoran, Last Word (GC): How confident are you and your clients given the ‘uncertain’ investment outlook right now?
Gemma Watson, Credit Suisse (GW): Our clients were all quite driven come January and many had cash on the sidelines at the end of last year as well. Right now, they are nervous they have missed out because although last year felt horrendous, the numbers were not bad.
Mark Piper, Canaccord Genuity (MP): We saw a pick-up in interest and activity after the first quarter of 2016, partly as people holding on to cash wanted to do something with it. You would think the political uncertainty would force people to sit back and do nothing but, perversely, it seemed to create an incentive.
Bob Tannahill, Ravenscroft (BT): In terms of our positioning, we vary our net risk position, how aggressively we are positioned and, for us, that is driven by valuations. Wherever we seem to look, valuations are not great.
We were towards the upper end of our equity ranges across all of our strategies around 18 months ago. We have moved to a more neutral stance since, as valuations still seem slightly elevated in some areas.
Shaun McDade, MitonOptimal (SM): Six-to-nine months ago, there was a lot of talk about a China-driven global recession, possibly even a global financial crisis 2.0, and that has largely gone away. The general economic view is more glass half full, than glass half empty. But, given there are no bargains out there, you would say equities are the wrong side of fair value but are not at a market cycle peak.
‘Everything is about alright’ does not create headlines or sell newspapers, but it feels to me that is where we are.
MP: A year ago, we were very worried about deflation and its consequences to the global economy. Commodity prices were tumbling aggressively and we wondered what was going on with China and a potential economic collapse. One year on, we are thinking about a breakaway inflation problem in the US. That is a big change.