Changes on the Horizon for Equity Investing

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Omar_Selim
Rising interest rates will make environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors one of the most important sources of alpha for investment managers, according to Omar Selim.

Selim is CEO of Arabesque, an asset management firm that uses self-learning quant models and big data to assess the performance and sustainability of globally listed equities. At the 2017 CFA Institute European Investment Conference, he explained that the coming era of rising interest rates will change finance drastically. Those changes will put ESG at the forefront of investment management. Read More

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Innovating in Zeroes: Skype Co-Founder finds Lessons in Failure

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Jonas Kjellberg speaks on success through failure at the 2017 European Investment Conference

“No one really thought it was going to work but, actually, it went okay.” That is how Jonas Kjellberg, entrepreneur and investor, described the sentiment around one of his most famous ventures — Skype.

Kjellberg has always been interested in disrupting traditional systems, and he recalled some of his business successes and failures at the 2017 European Investment Conference in Berlin, offering plenty of advice for budding and experienced entrepreneurs alike. Read More

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Doomsday Plans for High Yield Strategies

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Explosion
As a conference organizer, I have put together and witnessed dozens of sessions since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. Nine years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, it is still remarkable how often conference sessions get to a “Doomsday Moment” — the point when a presenter acknowledges that the spectrum of possible outcomes still includes financial Armageddon.

The Doomsday Moment in Jochen Felsenheimer’s presentation at the 2017 CFA Institute European Investment Conference came during the Q&A session, but if you’re new to this game and were in attendance, you’re forgiven for thinking it came earlier. Read More

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Productive Conflicts: Advancing through Mindfulness

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Karolien Notebaert and Ellen Frauenknecht in conversation about unconscious bias at the 2017 European Investment Conference.

Are you feeling overwhelmed, and reacting out of emotion instead of logic? Taking just one minute can get you out of the cycle of unproductive thoughts.

Take hold of something, whether it’s your coffee mug, a pen, or whatever you have nearby.

Close your eyes and focus on what the object feels like.

Move it around, think about how it feels on your skin. If you find your thoughts wandering, just refocus on the item in your hand for a few moments. That’s mindfulness, and it can be a powerful tool. Read More

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George Friedman’s Eyes Are on Germany

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George Friedman
“We have to wait for Germany to make its move,” George Friedman declared at the 2017 CFA Institute European Investment Conference.

“It’s not the first time in history,” he said. “It won’t be the last.”

Friedman, the chair of Geopolitical Futures, has a history of being right when many others are wrong and being predictive when many are reactive. He has spent his career navigating the convergence of geography with history, politics, economics, and societal imperatives. And in his presentation to financial professionals in Berlin, he explained that “there is one last piece” of the global financial crisis that must play out “before we can move on.” Read More

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How Unconscious Bias in Our Brain Counteracts Diversity

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Karolien_Notebaert


By Karolien Notebaert


About a year ago, Sam became a proud parent. Sam was on parental leave for 9 months and is now back to work. Whilst reading those two sentences, what gender did you associate with Sam? Due to the fact that more women take parental leave compared to men, most of us spontaneously thought of Sam as a woman.

Let’s try again. You are the leader of a team and in charge of dividing assignments. Who will receive the analytical assignment? Juliet or Peter? Who will receive the communication assignment? In this situation, too, many of us unconsciously assume that men have better analytical skills and women better communication skills. Is there something wrong with this? Not necessarily. Although many unconscious assumptions can be helpful, they can also easily lead to ineffective decisions and discrimination, making ourselves and others the victim of our unconscious biases. Read More

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George Friedman Guides Investors through Geopolitics

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George Friedman Blog Post ImageHow do rainfall patterns in China contribute to U.S. tensions with North Korea? How do otherwise worthless hunks of rock in the South China Sea simultaneously affect global energy prices, U.S. aircraft carriers, and Saudi Arabia? And what significance do east–west flowing rivers in the United States have on the level of the yuan?

Questions like these are better answered when investors understand the convergence of geography with history, politics, economics, and societal imperatives. Without an able guide through the tangle of geopolitics, spurious analysis is common. George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures, is acknowledged as one of the world’s most able guides of both political science and geopolitics.

Friedman is the author of several acclaimed books, including The Next Decade: Empire and Republic in a Changing World; The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century; and Flashpoints: The Emerging Crisis in Europe. He has a history of being right when many others are wrong and a history of being predictive when many are reactive. Read More

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The Next Stage for Robo-Advisers

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Randy Cass, CFA, founder of Nest Wealth

The CFA Institute European Investment Conference is a focused, interactive conference for Europe’s leading investment professionals. The 2017 CFA Institute European Investment Conference will bring portfolio managers, analysts, chief investment officers, and CEOs together in Berlin on 16–17 November.

If you’re in the business of advising investment clients, Randy Cass, CFA, has some advice: You will become obsolete unless you figure out how to add value beyond client portfolio maintenance.

Cass is the founder of Nest Wealth, an independent digital wealth platform that is now the largest robo-adviser in Canada, and he sees a point in the near future where clients will be hard-pressed to know whether they are dealing with a human or a computer. Read More

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Antti Ilmanen Describes a Harsh Winter for Expected Returns

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antti_ilmanen

The CFA Institute European Investment Conference is a focused, interactive conference for Europe’s leading investment professionals. The 2017 CFA Institute European Investment Conference will bring portfolio managers, analysts, chief investment officers, and CEOs together in Berlin on 16–17 November.

“I have got bad news as a starter,” Antti Ilmanen told the audience at the 2016 CFA Institute European Investment Conference. Ilmanen, who is a principal and researcher at hedge fund AQR, announced that “It is not only a low interest rate world, it is also a low expected return world on any long-only investment.” Low expected returns are going to anchor bad news for all of us for the rest of our working lifetimes, and maybe beyond.

Looking back to the rosier past, Ilmanen acknowledged the healthy 4% historic US equity risk premium, but points out that today that number is sitting at the bottom of its historic range. He suggested that for a balanced portfolio, the real return is heading down toward 1% per annum. And he is scathing about other asset classes, such as private equity and real estate. “Twenty percent — it ain’t realistic,” Ilmanen said. Read More

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Brexit Britain: Heading for a Variant of the Norwegian Model?

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Brexit panel discussion

“We are in unchartered territories, no country has ever left the European Union,” said Liam Halligan, economist and former fund manager, in a wide ranging panel discussion at the 2016 CFA Institute European Investment Conference. Four investment professionals on stage discussed whether Brexit will end up being a Norway model, a Swiss model, a Liechtenstein model, or a Turkey model, with the UK in the customs union, but out of the single market. Read More

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