Now is when, after assessing the past year, I need to look forward to the next year and make some key decisions on asset allocations and fund selection.

With the continuing issues in China and some other emerging economies how should I view emerging markets and how much needs to be allocated there? With some key fund manager changes what fund(s) should I be selecting in this sector?

Despite reaching and passing the criteria set out in ‘forward guidance’ the Bank of England still has not increased UK interest rates. When will it actually happen? What will be the implications for bond funds? Do my current selections still meet client needs?

What about the USA? Where will the DOW go next? Where is value? Should I go passive in the USA or not and if not what kind of fund characteristics should I be looking out for?
Then, of course, we have Europe. Will they ever address the real structural weaknesses of the Eurozone?

As the USA tightens monetary policy we could see another round of QE in Europe. What will be the implications of that?

What next for Japan and ‘Abenomics’?

Will the FTSE100 climb back above 7,000 this year?  Or will global headwinds get in the way?

How far away is the next recession which is expected to arise from the developing world?

Are Absolute Return Funds becoming over sold as a result of interest rate concerns? Should I allocate more to them, or less?

I do not have a crystal ball and I cannot pretend to know all the answers to these and other important questions but, hopefully, at my annual investment conference in January a picture can emerge from the gloom that can help inform my asset allocations and fund selections against a very mixed background.


Barry Williams

December 2015