BCA 2014 New York Investment Conference, Keynote Speaker: Jean-Claude Trichet

We would like to ensure you are aware that the BCA Research New York Investment Conference will be held September 15-16, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Manhattan. The conference theme is Investment Opportunities In An Aging Bull Market, and this year’s conference will have even greater-than-usual focus on identifying opportunities in today’s tough investment climate.

The preliminary agenda for the event can be accessed at: Investment Opportunities In An Aging Bull Market

Click here to register for the 2014 New York Conference.

We are delighted to announce that our Monday keynote speaker will be Jean-Claude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank and current Chairman of the Group of Thirty. His perspectives on the global outlook and the challenges facing policymakers are sure to be of great interest.

Additional topics to be addressed include:

  • What are the opportunities in alternative investments such as private equity, infrastructure and distressed debt?
  • Should you build exposure in emerging markets? Which frontier markets are attractive?
  • How much upside is left in the equity bull market? What is the optimal asset allocation?
  • How can behavioral finance teach us to make better investment decisions?
  • Will central banks lead us into deflation or inflation?
  • How will rising government debt burdens affect the economic and financial outlook?
  • Are new technologies set to unleash a new wave of creative destruction?
  • What geopolitical risks should investors focus on?

The conference program will allow for plenty of time for discussion and interaction with the audience, and the event will also provide you with the unique opportunity to network with senior investment professionals from around the world and with BCA strategists. BCA has been hosting exclusive investment conferences around the globe for over 50 years, and we invite you to join us in New York for what we expect may be our most topically diverse event yet. Confirmed speakers include George Magnus, Carmen Reinhart, Stephen Roach, and many others, guaranteeing a thought-provoking and value-added meeting.

The BCA New York Investment Conference sells out very quickly, and space is limited – click here to register today.

I hope you will join us in New York for what is sure to be an exciting and worthwhile meeting.

Sincerely,

Martin H. Barnes
Chief Economist

 

BCA 2014 New York Investment Conference

NYconf2014_bannerweb

BCA’s New York Investment Conference will be held on September 15-16, 2014 at the Grand Hyatt Manhattan. The conference theme is Investment Opportunities In An Aging Bull Market, and we are bringing together an outstanding group of experts to discuss the key issues affecting the economic and market outlook.

The macro economic outlook appears to be moving onto more stable foundations but prospects for financial markets have become cloudier. While the major central banks will not back away from their easy money policies any time soon, rising valuations have undermined the appeal of many assets. The bull market in equities has entered its fifth year so it is not surprising that deciding on the appropriate investment strategy is increasingly challenging. Against this background, this year’s conference will focus on highlighting the key investment opportunties and risks in global markets.

Nate Silver BCA Research

 

The topics to be discussed by our invited group of experts will include:

  • What are the opportunities in alternative investments such as private equity, infrastructure and distressed debt?
  • Should you build exposure in emerging markets? Which frontier markets are attractive?
  • How much upside is left in the equity bull market? What is the optimal asset allocation?
  • How can behavioral finance teach us to make better investment decisions?
  • Will central banks lead us into deflation or inflation?
  • How will rising government debt burdens affect the economic and financial outlook?
  • Are new technologies set to unleash a new wave of creative destruction?
  • What geopolitical risks should investors focus on?

The following speakers have been confirmed for the event:

Debt and Deleveraging
Carmen Reinhart, Harvard University

Alternative Investing
Jonathan Coslet, Texas Pacific Group
Bennett Goodman, Blackstone

Emerging and Frontier Markets
Hari Hariharan, NWI Management
Alexander Benard, Shulze Global

Global Investment Strategy
Heather Arnold, Franklin Templeton
Louise Yamada, Yamada Technical Research Advisors

The Economic and Policy Outlook
John Makin, American Enterprise Institute
Additional speaker to be confirmed

Technology, Demographics and Inequality
George Magnus, UBS
Andrew McAfee, MIT Center for Digital Business

Behavioral Investing
John Coates, Cambridge University

Geopolitical Risks
John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago

A full list of speakers and conference agenda will be available shortly – we guarantee a full roster of dynamic and informative experts to shed light on today’s complex investment environment.

The conference program will allow plenty of time for discussion and interaction with the audience, and will also provide you with a unique opportunity to network with senior investment professionals from around the world together with BCA strategists.

We hope you will join us in New York for what is sure to be an interesting and worthwhile meeting.

The BCA New York Investment Conference sells out very quickly and space is limited.

Click here to register today.

BCA Research investment conference

WHERE TO STAY?

Grand-Hyatt (1)We have arranged special room discounts for BCA Conference attendees at The Grand Hyatt Manhattan.

The rate is $377 (not including taxes) per night – for two nights (September 14 and 15). Please note that there are limited rooms reserved at this rate for the two day booking, and that all rooms will be reserved on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Register for BCA 2014 and we’ll send you the Grand Hyatt reservation link in your confirmation email.

House Of Cards

In recognition of last week’s release of all 13 episodes of Season 2, we are reprinting – from our Chief Geopolitical Strategist, Marko Papic – an October 2013 review of the popular Netflix original series, House Of Cards.

House Of Cards

Anyone who has watched the TV series House Of Cards could quickly imagine how Francis J. “Frank” Underwood would resolve the ongoing government shutdown in Washington. Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is the Democratic House Majority Whip from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district. Congressman Underwood would likely combine several tactics to cajole and bludgeon his way to compromise:

  • Use ‘earmarks,’ i.e., spending on specific projects, to buy off reticent party members opposed to compromise.
  • Trade committee chairmanships like playing cards, rewarding compliant colleagues with juicy appointments.
  • Work with the opposing party behind closed doors to ensure that hold-outs within his own are irrelevant in the final vote count.
  • Threaten to make his party’s campaign war chest unavailable to House members who do not tow the party line.

Underwood is a figment of some very good imagination (and a healthy dose of inspiration from the original BBC series protagonist Francis Urquhart), but the fiction does not stop with the show’s characters. The entire series portrays a Washington political arena that no longer exists.

While House Of Cards has been praised for its realistic portrayal of D.C. lingo and social interactions, it actually gets the politics wrong:

  • Democrats are in control of both the presidency and the House of Representatives in the series, but that is difficult to imagine today. Republicans held on to the House even after losing the national tally for the House by over a million votes in 2012. This is a result of both redistricting and a natural advantage Republicans hold in rural districts, which are overrepresented in the House.
  • Republicans decided to do away with earmarks in 2011, thus taking away from the House leadership one of the most effective tools it has to keep its members in line.
  • Republicans aligned with the Tea Party can rely on funding from various conservative Super PACs, and therefore the Republican National Committee campaign war chest is far less relevant to them.
  • Tea Party members do not care about committee chairmanships.
  • The current House Majority Whip, Republican Kevin McCarthy, is largely irrelevant. Ted Cruz, the freshman Senator from Texas and a Tea Party darling, has more capability to whip the vote in the House than McCarthy.
  • And finally, the greatest fantasy of all, on par with hobbits and orcs in the Lord Of The Rings, is the concept of a white Democrat from South Carolina. The actual district that Frank Underwood supposedly represents as a Democrat, the South Carolina 5th, is staunchly conservative.

We still recommend House Of Cards because it does a good job portraying lobbyists and interest groups in Washington. It also illustrates the legislative process, the sausage making, realistically. In the series, “the American government” does not exist as an entity in and of itself, but rather as a setting where other characters pursue their interests. So while we recommend to our clients that they unwind with House Of Cards episodes after a long day at work, we also caution that they should not try to find Frank Underwood in the real U.S. Congress.

What Are The Major Macro Stories That Will Dominate In 2014?

BCA’s Chief Global Strategist, Chen Zhao, speaks at the 2014 Skagen Funds Conference in Copenhagen.

We are pleased to provide the video replay of Chen Zhao’s presentation earlier this month at Skagen 2014. In this 30 minute video, Chen addresses the major macro stories that will dominate in 2014, how these stories relate to financial markets, and concludes with some money-making ideas for the year ahead.

Icon_ppt Click here to download the charts referenced in this video.


Remembering Nelson Mandela

If the world had more leaders like Nelson Mandela, I would probably be out of a job.

Remembering Nelson Mandela

At BCA Geopolitical Strategy, our methodological credo is constraints over preferences. We focus on constraints to policymaker actions, not on their preferences. This methodology helps us dehumanize geopolitical analysis and focus instead on structural factors that constrain human agency. Such constraints can be quite macro – geography, demographics, military capability, access to natural resources, and technology – or relatively cyclical – domestic politics, economic outlook, shifts in trade patterns, etc.

Every decade or so, however, a policymaker faces a situation in which constraints appear weak, allowing preferences to take over. These can be dangerous moments, especially if ideology or dogma influences decision-making. More often than not, policymakers in these situations overestimate their power and overreach. Nelson Mandela faced such an opportunity and yet chose to constrain himself and his allies with humanity, respect for his adversary, and pragmatism. This was a surprising choice.

South Africa in the late 1980s and early 1990s appeared to be on the edge of a civil war. Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC), today the ruling party of South Africa, was then a national liberation movement for which armed struggle was a central component of its identity. Mandela was also an important leader in the ANC’s military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. With the end of the Cold War, the apartheid regime realized that the writing was on the wall. In other words, it would no longer be able to parlay its role in the superpower conflict into support from the West for its regime. It had to negotiate.

The negotiations between the ANC and the National Party (ruling party of the apartheid government) took place in an environment of violence and serious tensions. Negotiations broke down several times due to massacres that the ANC blamed on the government. Nonetheless, Mandela refused to use the various incidents as a reason to ratchet-up tensions, and instead appealed for calm, using crises as opportunities to galvanize support for a political, and thus peaceful, transition.

Forecasts of South Africa’s future were almost uniformly bleak in the 1980s. Unlike the National Party, the ANC was not really constrained. It could have sought retribution for the decades of systematic racial discrimination and it could have demanded massive property redistribution. I admit that, had I been in the position to make my own forecast, our constraint based methodology would have probably led to the same pessimistic conclusion for the country. Mandela, however, was eminently unpredictable and the ultimate path he followed averted a war that most would have chosen in his place. This is what makes him such a profound historical figure.