This journal avoids giving airplay to funds managers talking their own books. Of course it would be a pretty thin magazine if we stamped it out altogether, plus we’d miss out on the likes of Jerome Booth. The head of research for Ashmore Investment Management, an emerging markets specialist across every major asset class, Booth thinks institutions should dump everything they own that’s domiciled in the US or Europe. Now even if you use GDP weighting, the emerging markets still make up only 50 per cent of the world, so Booth’s recommendation is extreme enough for it to be more than merely self-interested.
He says the typical sub-10 per cent exposure to emerging markets in many institutional portfolios is the result of “intellectual failure” on the part of economists, who have long portrayed these developing markets as “uncertain”, and thus unworthy of allocation from a supposedly rational investor. “In fact, every market has measurable risk, it’s just that the emerging markets have it priced in,” Booth says, speaking as a guy who once bought 40 per cent of a debt issue that bailed out Uruguay. Booth wouldn’t even want an MSCI World stock with a big economic exposure to the developing world. When the S&P 500 and FTSE crack under the weight of their host countries’ respective debts, no stock will be spared, Booth declares. Armed with the knowledge that the US now has lower non-gold reserves than Libya, I’m inclined to agree.
New editor for Investment Magazine From next month, there’ll be a new face staring at you from this spot – that of Simon Mumme, who’ll be familiar to many of you after starting with us as a journalist in 2006. Holder of a Masters in Journalism from University of Queensland, Simon has become one of the most respected reporters on Australia’s funds management industry, and he thoroughly deserves this promotion. Not that you’re rid of me. I’ll continue to write for the magazine but will be devoting more time to editing I&T News, our online product which consists of the Tuesday morning e-newsletter, with more to come.