Future-proofing your multi-asset portfolio

This article is part of
Guide to managing a multi-asset portfolio in a crisis

He says: “Even if inflation rises a little, it is probably the case that central banks will allow that rather than intervene, because if they intervene, there is a risk that it would harm the economic recovery.

Globalisation vs localisation

"In that scenario, the inflation would be persistent. And it is likely that one of the outcomes of the pandemic is that firms want to reverse the globalisation trend by bringing supply chains and manufacturing closer to home. That is inflationary over the long-term.” 

While many investors have been reassured by the way that government bonds performed during the crisis, others think that could prove something of a last hurrah.

Bertie Dannatt, investment director at Ruffer says: “Over the past forty years we have had low inflation entrenched in the economies and markets, and many people expect that to continue.

"But I think what they are missing is the huge increase in government spending, coming alongside the monetary stimulus, could lead to a very significant increase in inflation.

"If we have seen the peak of globalisation and are about to see an increase in localism, that would be very inflationary. To prepare for this, we have invested in gold, and inflation-linked bonds. We do not see a role for conventional government bonds in portfolios for a long time to come.” 

ESG growth

Inevitably, ESG considerations have also continued to rise up the agenda. This is largely in response to changing behaviours, and ESG shares' relatively resilient performance during the current crisis has not gone unnoticed.

Dean Cheeseman, multi-asset investor at Janus Henderson, says: “Investors will also have to increasingly pay attention to some of the megatrends that are reshaping our industry, such as ESG considerations that will likely be at the forefront of the investment process going forward.

"Incorporating ESG criteria will mean that portfolios will favour investing in businesses that have better governance, make a positive societal impact and provide innovative solutions to address environmental challenges, or are at least on the transition path to do so.

"A focus on ESG considerations gives the portfolio manager a perception of a broader range of risks that could impact that company or industry, when compared with just reviewing traditional financial metrics.”

Segmentation is also becoming more important. Mark Jackson, investment specialist on the multi-asset team at JPMorgan Asset Management, says the products on which he works now divide the market into 14 asset classes, from the previous five, as they search for greater diversification.