Investments  

Stout says pandemic may have upended investing

Stout says pandemic may have upended investing

Bruce Stout, the manager of the Murray International trust, has said the Covid-19 pandemic may have "significantly changed" the investment environment.

He said the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for governments across the world to be more interventionist, directly addressing issues such as climate change, inequality and unemployment.

Stout said: "Consequently monetary and fiscal policy has 'converged' with central banks and Governments now irrevocably entwined, potentially signalling an end to decades of pure market doctrines and an era when prices were generally benign.

"In a world where the baton of growth is passed from 'the market' to 'the mandate', the investment environment may significantly change relative to the prevailing conditions of the past 30 years.

"Whether this ultimately extends to higher inflation and rising interest rates with higher taxes and increased regulation remains to be seen, but the longer term implications, should such a sustainable, paradigm shift in policy intentions prevail, cannot be ignored."

Stout said that due to this shift, sectors such as construction, transportation, commodities, digital infrastructure and other real assets producing tangible benefits had "rarely appeared so relatively attractive".

Stout was speaking as the Murray International trust published its report for the first half of 2021.

The £1.4bn trust reported a net asset value total return of 8.7 per cent during the six month period, compared with a 11.4 per cent return of the trust's reference index, the FTSE All World.

The trust's board also continued its policy of buying back shares at a discount, in order to reduce the volatility of the fund's premium and discount.

During the six-month period the trust's fee fell from 0.68 per cent to 0.6 per cent.

damian.fantato@ft.com