Central bankers catch a lot of flak these days. To be sure, much of it is deserved in my opinion. However, there are two dominant trends in the market place – increasing allocations towards passive and private market investment strategies – where this ire might be misplaced. What if these developments, however undesirable they may or may not be, were merely part of the “natural” evolution of investment markets?
2018 was a veritable roller-coaster ride for the Indian real estate. Despite signs of recovery across segments, the liquidity crunch – further exacerbated by the NBFC crisis – put all industry stakeholders on tenterhooks. Consolidation via mergers and acquisitions was rife in all sectors, completely redefining the concept of ‘financial health’ among players and drawing clear lines on who will survive the heat. This process will continue throughout 2019, as well.
Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
Despite the opulent or debauched images one might have about the investment industry (depending on one’s perspective), the fact is that investing is a highly intellectual pursuit. I don’t mean this in the colloquial sense where one ruminates on meaningless abstract ideas purely for contemplation’s sake. Rather, it is an immensely cognitive and productive activity. Successful investing doesn’t require exceptional physical conditioning, brawn, salesmanship, “people skills”, mathematical aptitude, or a high IQ. It entails (I think) developing some kind of mental model for how the world works. Not only must this model display some degree of accuracy (i.e. be a good one), but one must maintain conviction in his/her model and have the integrity to stick to it through thick and thin. Said differently, one needs a well-defined investment philosophy.
It’s no secret that emerging markets (EM) are in a bit of a rough patch. While the unfortunate events in Turkey garnered most of the attention initially, nearly anything related to EM has slid in value. What exactly is going on here? Is this just another acute crisis making its way through the lesser developed regions of the world again? Or have other signals emerged to suggest there to be a larger issue at play? Given the is-ought approach we take on this site, it’s worth digging into some more. After all, a better grasp of what this market driver is—if anything—should better inform us for how we ought to position our portfolios.
Co-working and car-pooling have become viable options for the millennial workforce, and an exciting new trend - co-living - is also beginning to make its mark with the burgeoning student and working populations across Indian cities.
Let’s face it; we investors are all after the same thing: return. While individual risk tolerances and expectations might vary, the purpose of investing is universal: to preserve and/or increase wealth using that which we already have. It’s a distinctly human activity. While there may seem like an infinite number of ways to invest—and in fact there are—at the end of the day, I believe you can boil each down to either a discretionary or systematic approach. Why just these two methods? Investing draws heavily upon one’s cognitive ability. Human reasoning operates in just two ways, through induction and deduction. I find that the discretionary and systematic categories align quite well with these.