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finns curb their enthusiasm

Finnish fund selectors are feeling much more optimistic about life, and yet that doesn’t seem to be affecting their investment strategy, it emerged at last week’s Expert Investor Finland in Helsinki


Dylan Emery

There was a distinct feeling that the Finnish government had not particularly helped in the matter of broad economic health, with three-quarters of the room thinking they were not the right people to manage the economy.

Despite this anti-government view, there were twice the number of optimists as last year when it came to the macro outlook – and no-one is pessimistic any more, down from almost 40% who were doom-mongers last year.

EU stocks in, EM bonds out

Yet there was precious little change in anyone’s desire to buy or sell: in broad terms, everyone wanted more EM, Asian and European equities; no one wanted US or Japan.

The enthusiasm for European equities was so great that Threadneedle’s European fund manager actually warned people not to fall too much in love with EU equities, just because they happened to have done well recently.

On the fixed income side, the only big shift was away from EM government bonds – it seemed that a lot of people had maximised their holdings in this asset class.

Also notable was the interest in long/short strategies. Between 10% and 24% of investors preferred a long/short or otherwise hedged approach to both equities and fixed income.

Single currency sceptics

Six speakers talked on subjects as diverse as EM equity, convertibles and risk-based portfolio construction.

Yet despite this variety, there was a broad consensus among the speakers about one point in particular. Only 31% of fund selectors wanted to keep the euro (see chart). But this was countered by many of the speakers, who thought it would be a terrible idea to leave the single currency now.

Another division was in the attitude to deflation. Most Finnish investors were worried about deflation; most of the panel was worried about inflation.

The inevitability of inflation was however tempered by the panellists, who believed that the US and European central banks would continue to do whatever was necessary to stave off a further recession – and that was agreed on by all.

Click here to see a slideshow of photos taken at Expert Investor Finland.

Platinum members can additionally view a full breakdown of the event voting data here, as well as long-term comparison graphs on the main asset classes here.