As we adjust to some semblance of normality, it is increasingly evident that COVID-19 is not yet finished with us. Even those countries least touched by the outbreak continue to struggle with localised outbreaks. So, it is perplexing to see some members of our various communities openly flouting government guidance and acting as if nothing has changed. Summer beckons, and we all look forward to it, but I do hope we can accept collective and individual responsibility to maintain vigilance against this dreadful virus despite the temptation to let our guard down.
The capital markets continue to hold up well, notwithstanding expected volatility, and anticipate a faster recovery in some regions and industries than was commonly predicted. I share Knut Gezelius's faith in the wisdom of the market – see his excellent Seven Lessons for Investors from the COVID-19 Crisis – and I certainly echo his wise advice to look to the longer-term and remain fully invested.
Here in SKAGEN, at this time of the year, our thoughts turn to the future direction of the company. We now look out to the next five years and 2025. How will the world be then? Will the advance of China threaten, as many fear, and will Russia prove a more amenable neighbour with Putin's life-term now assured? Does the recent performance of value signal its return as the winning investment style? How will the needs of clients have changed? As Millennials and Generation Z (the green generation) take up the investment habit, will this support more informal communities-based investment hubs over traditional money managers?
Sustainability and digitalisation will undoubtedly continue to shape the development of the financial industry. Responsible investment strategies now account for 38.8 percent of global investment and rising[i]. And by 2022 it is predicted that 82 percent of all online content will be video[ii]. It is likely too, that society will continue to demand more from its investment industry, and this we welcome.
Such periods of reflection and analysis are vital. Of one thing I am certain, however, and that is we will continue to hold the client interest foremost and look at ways to renew our commitment to securing the financial futures of our investors. This, ultimately, is the purpose of SKAGEN.
Each year, during the summer vacation, alongside the expected pile of non-fiction and modern novels, I have adopted the practice of re-reading the book Kilden (or Markus the Fisherman in English) by the Norwegian author Gabriel Scott. Written in 1918, it is the apparently simple tale of a humble fisherman in Southern Norway, named Markus. He is a man who has found peace with himself and the nature he inhabits. It is a profoundly moving tale that makes a quiet appeal to the inherent goodness, tolerance and forgiveness in us all. This year, perhaps more than ever, it is a book for the times in which we find ourselves.
[i] Global Sustainable Investment Alliance 2019 report
[ii] Influencer Marketing Hub