Given increasing longevity, it's important that retirees not ignore strategies that can generate long-term capital growth. In short, retirees need to re-examine the role of equities in their portfolio.

I think of two winds of change. The first is a fundamental change in the direction of global monetary policy. The second is technology. For now, though, we really need to think about the first.

Prime Minister English could differentiate his government by focusing on housing affordability to transform the lives of millions of New Zealanders.

Another major licensee has reportedly fallen for the hybrid scare campaigns, insisting bank hybrids securities be treated as equities. The premise is hopelessly flawed.

2016 was a bumper year for history. But actually, it's just history as normal, says historian Niall Ferguson. And neither the Trump election nor Brexit signals the end of globalisation.

Many worry that "the new normal" may be over, that the peak of the bond market has been reached, and so forth. We agree in part with this new view and offer some pointers to help navigate the bond market shoals ahead.

In the years since the Global Financial Crisis, Central Banks have taken a Mae West approach to monetary accommodation. If a little is good, and more is better, then too much is just right. What happens when it ends?

Growing US scepticism on international free-trade and defence agreements is rational in an unstable world, according to US geopolitical forecaster and author, George Friedman.

Following the victory of the Leave campaign in the UK Brexit referendum and of Donald Trump in the US election, focus has shifted to the upcoming referendum in Italy. There is a disquieting real-time poll of investor sentiment.

I wonder whether this post-Trump market rally and associated bullish economic and market narrative will come to be seen as one of the more prominent historical examples of poorly timed and lazy market groupthink.

Trump offered entertainment, Clinton a documentary. Entertainment trumps facts every time. Now we need to re-calibrate portfolios to reflect the new fiscal and economic reality of a Trump Presidency.

According to most commentators, Trump's election signifies the end of the West, the international post-War framework, or the United States. I beg to differ.

Trump must now choose between cooperation and confrontation as the framework for US policy toward China. His choice should be obvious.

Trump is unambiguously the pure American profit maximiser. This could be the most business and financial markets friendly regime in a long time.

A Trump administration means a significant shift in Washington policy for at least the next four years. There are five key areas in which Trump's policy decisions could have an economic impact.

Investors should make no mistake. The key pillars of Trump's campaign are de-globalisation, higher fiscal spending, and protecting entitlements at current levels. What are the investment implications?

Markets are fixated on how high the Fed will raise interest rates in the next 12 months. This is dangerously shortsighted. The real concern should be how far it could cut rates in the next deep recession.

Five years after the Euro crisis, it's not just Europe we’re concerned about from a populist perspective but also the US and UK. Why is this is a real risk for investors?

Over the span of history, there are few years that can genuinely be considered as years on which the history of the world turned. BREXIT may be one for the UK.

The belief that innovative and extremely easy monetary policy on its own would restore a suitable level of economic growth and inflation was wrong, both in theory and in practice.

Until recently, the expectation was that if professional economists achieved a technocratic consensus on a given policy approach, political leaders would listen.

The Australian sharemarket’s high weight to resource stocks is an accident of history and geography. A lower than market cap weight to resource stocks in portfolios seems much more sensible.

The IMF is right to warn that populism poses a serious threat to the global economy. What is really worrying is It is no longer only populists of Donald Trump's ilk who are delivering it. Mainstream politicians increasingly sound populist too.

Broad analysis of generally effective indicators of US recessions leads to the conclusion that recession risks in the US are clearly continuing to rise. A wide range of indicators confirm the message although some doubts remain.

The gravest geopolitical challenge is not terrorism, or the Middle East, or Brexit, but a possible eruption between China and the US, the world's two largest economies and militaries. It is always when the most powerful countries clash that the world is altered fundamentally.

The lack of response at the zero bound of policy interest rates is hardly surprising. In fact, it is strikingly reminiscent of the so-called liquidity trap of the 1930s. What is particularly disconcerting is that central bankers remain largely in denial.

Central banks have been driven to adopt increasingly unconventional monetary policies - yet most economies are far from where they need to be. We should begin activating fiscal policy now.

Economic growth since 2008 has been profoundly disappointing. But if we look at global economic growth over the next 30 to 60 years, the picture looks much brighter.

Zero, and especially negative, nominal interest rates are a fool's game. We are entering the late phase of an ageing expansion when asset price bubbles and poor credit decisions sow the seeds of the next crisis.

Conference 2016 delivered 50+ high conviction ideas on how to manage the friction between short-term and long-term investing imperatives. Here are the key takeouts.

Conference 2016 featured a stellar lineup of international and local experts offering their best high conviction idea/thesis around the the friction between short-term and long-term investing imperatives - and the portfolio construction decisions that must be made.

Investors can harness the long-run benefits of active satellites like global small caps to drive better portfolio outcomes despite volatile markets.

While not traditionally known for income, there are thousands of dividend income opportunities among global companies which can provide income similar to Australian shares.

Real assets including real estate have overinflated valuations. Investors need to understand the frame work necessary to manage the trade-off between shorter term returns and longer term risks.

With global yields at record lows, bond market Cassandras proclaim the formation of a supernova, warning of the investment perils. It's time to spurn that talk, and stick with the core, defensive anchor provided by global fixed income.

With most market participants distracted by short-term noise or focused on mean reversion of long-term valuations, the gap in the middle is an under-researched and fertile hunting ground.

Provided investors define infrastructure in a disciplined manner, investment in infrastructure will continue to deliver investors reliable earnings over time.

For all the wisdom of four centuries of investing, not much has changed in financial markets. Boom and bust cycles still exist and speculation is higher than ever. But the Prudent Man Rule from 1830 can serve as a useful anchor for investors.

This panel debated the high conviction thesis that the key geopolitical risk of the times is tension between China, the US and South East Asian countries, as well as the impact of the US election on markets.

Panel | 0.25 CE

Geopolitical tensions between China, the US, and countries of South East Asia are growing. Most investors dismiss the region as a risk. But we are at a precipice of a left-tail risk event.

There has never been a more divisive US election season than the one we are witnessing right now. While the rhetoric and opinion polls are captivating on a weekly basis, the long game is what matters.

Markets are volatile and events are unprecedented – or at least that’s what we’re told and have been conditioned to believe. Times and markets are volatile, but they always have been and they always will be.

Australian banks face a number of headwinds - they are real, but could better be described as zephyrs. The market has overreacted. Buy the banks.

Tim Farrelly | 0.50 CE

It is possible to generate high returns with low risk irrespective of where short-term cash rates or long-term government bond yields may be.

Finding patterns in data to make money in falling or rising markets relies on an empirical, skeptical, scientific mindset to identify signals.

As an investor, allowing yourself to be distracted by quick interpretation of market dynamics will lead to poor allocation decisions. Ultimately, fundamentals will win out for long-term investors.

Demographic trends give a solid basis from which to forecast beyond the usual two-year time horizon. Demographic layering of equity investment decisions can be a powerful structural growth tool as well as a strong risk mitigator.

Finance principles tell investors to buy good companies at attractive prices and they should perform over the long term. But what worked last century won't necessarily stand true this century.

Rapid technological innovation, affordable communication, and demographic shifts are reshaping the world. The traditional country/regional approach to asset allocation is not optimal for capturing these new opportunities.

Australia’s bond market has evolved over time. As it grows and sub-sectors emerge, investor must ask – is my defensive allocation true-to-label?

This panel debated the high conviction thesis that global policy rates will stay low for the rest of the decade and what forces that could change that outlook.

Panel | 0.50 CE

Yellen and the market (EDZ8) agree – there is a New Neutral. The result? Global policy rates will stay low for the rest of the decade. Only a handful of major forces that could change this outlook.

Tony Crescenzi | 0.50 CE

Passive investment has flourished since the GFC but we are entering a new environment where active management will thrive. The opportunity for practitioners to add value has gone up significantly.

Investing is supposed to be about the incremental replacement of human capital with financial capital over the long term. But today's environment and our behavioural biases conspire against such a pure case.

Despite interest rates being at historic lows, there are thousands of dividend income opportunities amongst global companies that can provide income for a desirable retirement lifestyle.

Managing the fundamental friction between short-term and long-term investing imperatives is a key challenge when building portfolios. This Backgrounder explores some of the key concepts and debates.

Change is pervasive, whether at macro, sector or stock level. This argues for an approach that does not favour any particular investment style.

A satellite allocation to global small caps can increase portfolio efficiency over the long term.

The listed infrastructure market provides investors with a broad, deep and liquid range of infrastructure investment opportunities.

A range of cognitive biases leads investors to generally overestimate their skill. A long-term investment strategy simply compounds this problem. A long-short investment structure can improve outcomes.

The infrastructure asset class, when defined in a disciplined manner, generates reliable earnings - and for the foreseeable future, earnings of infrastructure assets should continue to be reliable.

As the Australian bond market grows and sub-sectors emerge, investor must ask – is my defensive allocation true-to-label?

A new breed of companies – creative, nimble and networked – offer a powerful investment opportunity. Investors need to consider diversifying domestic exposures to access this set of long-term opportunities.

Bond market Cassandras proclaim the formation of a supernova, warning of the investment perils. It's time to spurn this talk, and stick with the core, defensive anchor provided by global fixed income.

Since the birth of the modern stock market in 1602, investment culture has moved from a return focus to a risk focus, and back. What can investors in the 21st century learn from four centuries of investment history?

Public distrust of global integration is on the rise. But no country can deliver long-term prosperity to its people on its own. Closer international cooperation and economic integration is the only way forward.

Globalisation's early opponents in emerging and developing countries have been joined by tens of millions in advanced countries. The rules of the game need to be changed – and this must include measures to tame globalisation.

Considering structural and cyclical drivers can help reveal investment opportunities, if an appropriate timeframe is defined. A two- to three-year period is an under researched view.

The EU's post-Brexit show of unity calmed fears that the EU or the eurozone would fall apart in short order. But the risk of European and global volatility may have been only briefly postponed.

There are five geopolitically important issues for portfolios for the upcoming year. If these concerns become critical, they will likely weigh on equities and higher credit risk debt.

How long is it since Australia had a recession? Most would say 26 years. A world record. By looking at the data a little differently, we may not be so sure that Australia has gone 26 years without a hiccup.

How do we survive when liquid, safe asset classes don’t offer income to cover the cost of living? Do we speculate today? Or wait for it to normalise at an unknowable future date?

What are the investment implications of a potential Trump presidency? In the short term, we think it could be positive for equities and negative for bonds, but negative for US equities in the medium term.

While seemingly elegant in theory, globalisation suffers in practice. That is the lesson of Brexit and of the rise of Donald Trump. Those who worship at the altar of free trade – including me – must come to grips with this glaring disconnect.

Populism in developed countries is real, but there are meaningful differences between the UK and US stories that are important to keep in mind in the run-up to US Presidential election.

With Remainers now accepting the argument that Britain should keep Europeans out, the UK is headed for a "hard" Brexit - not just from the Union, but from Europe's single market. It will cost the country dearly.

The reality is that Brexit will hurt everyone involved more than was admitted during the campaign. Investors should expect heightened volatility, not only of stocks, but even of government bonds.

QE has caused massive investment distortions. Ditto the ZIRP and NIRP policies of many central banks. Beware - the chickens are coming home to roost! It seems plausible, but...

As the battle for the White House heats up, candidates are drawing attention to the challenges facing the nation. But whatever the outcome of the upcoming US Presidential election, we believe the impact on markets will be about the same.

I previously worked with the London think tank closely linked to David Cameron and his Tory modernisers. It was fascinating for me to watch Brexit from afar. Here's my take on what we've just witnessed.

The lesson from Brexit is clear - put questions to a popular vote only when there can be no misunderstanding about how much (or how little) is at stake. The Brexit referendum failed that test.

The Brexit referendum is a major break in the 70 years of European integration. What's next for the UK? Who is next to exit? What does this mean for broader global stability? And - most importantly - what are investment implications?

Since winning independence from South Africa in 1990, this country of 2.4 million people has achieved enormous gains, especially in the last couple of years.

Everybody is an Australian equities expert, understandably so for those who live in Australia. But the X factor in Australian equities portfolios is concentration risk.

The current investment environment is arguably one of the toughest ever in which to build portfolios that deliver return and are robust into the future. There are a range of approaches that can be taken.

The view prevailing in Silicon Valley and other global technology hubs is that we are entering a new golden era of innovation which will radically increase productivity growth. Why haven't those gains appeared?

"Africa rising" has been a catchphrase since the beginning of this century. It is the idea that Africa, and especially Sub-Saharan Africa, could be to the 21st century what South-East Asia was to the second half of the 20th century.

By definition, Black Swans are unknowable - they should surprise us. But here are 10 "gray swans" complicating the outlook for markets and portfolio construction.

Many have spoken of the significant risks funds carry with Australian equities exposures. So I thought I'd check the evidence on the influence of equities on multi-asset portfolios.

Michael Furey | 1 comment | 0.25 CE

Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. Central bankers seem intent on repeating their mistakes - especially when it comes to negative interest rates.

Investors are not accounting for the structural shifts taking place in East Asia that raise the probability of market-negative events. Asia- or EM-dedicated investors should hedge their risks by exposure to DM assets.

Economists and investors risk being blindsided by a global upswing that is already underway, financial historian Professor Niall Ferguson explained at PortfolioConstruction Forum Symposium 2016.

Symposium facilitates featured a stellar line up of 20 international and local experts - including special guest keynote, Professor Niall Ferguson, PhD, internationally renowned economic and financial historian - offering their expert, high conviction ideas to help build better quality investor portfolios.

Presented in a format that incorporates a game, this workshop explored the risk factors that drive retirement portfolio outcomes.

India’s demographic dividend creates a significant market opportunity for corporates operating within the ecosystem. But size really does matter, leading to the potential for unparalleled revenue growth.

Central bankers successfully tamed inflation in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Persistently low inflation is the new problem. With markets complacent about the inflation outlook, signs of inflation could create a scare.

Investors are slowly awakening to the threat that negative interest rates globally pose to their goals. Diversified funds need a higher mix of growth assets, and TAA should be applied.

The currency exposure embedded in foreign equity portfolios exposes portfolios to a great deal of noise. Used productively, the opportunity it represents can be captured as the ultimate "alternative asset".

Each panelist outlined the high conviction idea they agreed with most from the prior day, and the portfolio construction implications. Then delegates worked in tables to determine the same.

0.50 CE

Our Symposium 2016 Faculty debated two high conviction ideas from the first day's program - firstly, the idea that delegates agreed with most and then, the idea delegates disagreed with most.

While record low interest rates worldwide (negative in many countries) mean low returns on government bonds, it doesn't necessarily mean low returns across the board. This is not a time to be fearful.

Tim Farrelly | 0.50 CE

The EU has been in crisis for many years. But if you thought it could not get worse for Europe, you ain't seen nothing yet! 2016 might well signify the end of Europe's process of integration.

China's growth has become reliant on credit stimulus and a related property bubble. This is coming unstuck. The risks to the global economy and markets are significant.

The tepid recovery from 2008's GFC has surprised almost everyone. Investing in this low growth world requires a very selective stock picking approach, and suggests focusing on value and quality.

Quality is a critical factor in constructing portfolios. The use of a modified Piotroski indicator as an indicator or screen for equities can significantly add to investment performance in NZ and Australia.

If you see one cockroach, you haven't seen them all. That's a very important concept today for managing diversified portfolios. We see one cockroach – low interest rates, but what we don't see is the hidden consequences throughout portfolios.

With a growing number of central banks resorting to negative interest rates and the IMF acknowledging the risk of secular stagnation, investors could be forgiven for feeling nervous. Yet there is some evidence that the global economy may be at an inflection point.

With a growing number of central banks resorting to negative interest rates and the IMF acknowledging the risk of secular stagnation, investors could be forgiven for feeling nervous. Yet there is some evidence that the global economy may be at an inflection point.

Niall Ferguson | 1.25 CE

Nearly every investor is confronting the challenge of how to invest in a low growth, low return environment. Investors must rethink portfolio construction.

The extreme thirst for yield has pushed the US high yield debt cycle into unchartered territory. It is approaching shakeout - with long/short opportunities amongst the beneficiaries of the current cycle.

Investors need to be wary that without much needed reform, structural weaknesses in many advanced and developing economies will be the ultimate determinant of longer-term returns.

The world seems an increasingly dangerous place, driven by uncertainty and conflict. Yet on many measures, the world is becoming safer. More than ever, investors need to filter out the noise and consider emerging geo-political developments shaping the world.

China's credit-fuelled investment growth phase is reaching its end game and new sources of growth are needed to drive the economy.

Most economists continue to view the economic future as more rosy (if their forecasts of economic acceleration are any guide) while the Fed is implicitly saying the same by raising rates and forecasting further rate rises. But there are three main reasons caution.

More than ever, investors need to filter out the noise and consider the geo-political developments which are shaping the world.

Markets are focused on the economic cycle as an indicator of central bank actions. But inflation should be the most important macro indicator on the radar of investors.

Australia is increasingly resorting to "debt bubble economics" - exactly what caused bubbles and major busts in the US and other economies in recent decades.

George Soros may be wrong about global deflation for four reasons. But if Trump wins the Republican nomination and then the presidency, all bets will be off.

Since mid-February, our confidence has strengthened that the US economic recovery is moving into a new phase as the middle class becomes a bigger driver of growth.

The lesson of history is that British isolationism is a trigger for continental disintegration. A vote for Brexit will mean Britain will have to "Breturn" sooner or later, to sort out the ensuing mess.

Notwithstanding an extended period of stability this year, the Chinese Yuan remains fairly high on investors' lists of global risk factors. Perceptions of vulnerability remain and are worth addressing.

We expect the US election to start mattering to markets at the end of August, once the two candidates are chosen. Policy uncertainty will rise and the US equity risk premium with it.

Retirees and their pensions are being sacrificed for what now passes as "the greater good." ZIRP has created a massive problem for retirement savers and pension fund managers. NIRP will make their problem worse.

I awoke to read three pieces in the papers. These items contained news that would have surprised nobody, had global economic and market commentators been doing their job of properly interpreting the news.

farrelly's Investment Strategy provides subscription and consulting tools and services to enable a dynamic, forward-looking approach to asset allocation, a key driver of quality portfolio construction and quality results for investors...

You may have concluded by now that the euro crisis is over. If you are a realist, however, you would be looking at two figures and know that we are still right in the middle of the euro crisis. And it has become permanent.

Unconventional monetary policies have themselves become conventional. Monetary policymakers will have to continue their fight with a new set of "unconventional unconventional" policies.

The economic theories of the pre-crisis period – rational expectations, efficient markets, and the neutrality of money – must be revised. Politicians must encourage a revolution in economic thinking.

One might argue that Australia's high dividend yield, currently lower PE Ratio and generally smaller companies means the Australian equity market behaves like a global small cap with a value style tilt. Is that true?

Michael Furey | 1 comment | 0.25 CE

No one expected the FOMC to change its policy rate from 0.25% to 0.50% this month - but this month's meeting still provided plenty of unusual twists that warrant serious thought.

We're often told that the answer to managing sequencing risk lies in locking into low volatility, low return strategies. It’s nuts and you can clearly see it’s nuts!

The Brexit referendum is about where the British see the best chances for their future. The 'Out' camp has the better arguments. The EU needs Britain more than Britain needs the EU.

The 1672 debt default by the British Exchequer is a 360-year-old tale of government finance that offers practical lessons to indebted consumers in the 21st century.

The policy response to a hugely levered global economy has turned to a discussion of money creation to fund fiscal stimulus. The cure is not going ever more unconventional.

I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that the vast majority of annual investment outlook pieces are frequently useless to the average investor or adviser.

Among the many challenges facing the EU - refugees, populist politics, German-inspired austerity, government bankruptcy in Greece and perhaps Portugal - one crisis is well on its way to resolution. Britain will not vote to leave the EU.

Very few believe that past prices can tell you something about the future but there is a somewhat remarkable consistency to the trend of the Australian equity market returns over the last 45 years.

It was another great Markets Summit from PortfolioConstruction Forum last week. My key takeout is that correctly assessing China's future is one of the top three, if not the top, of our global priorities at this juncture.

Quite a few investors think that the current decline in equity markets is analogous to 2011, which we remember as the depths of the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. Do you think the current environment is like 2011? I don't.

Markets Summit 2016 featured a stellar lineup of international and local experts offering their best high conviction idea/thesis around the Markets Summit theme - is it deja vu (all over again)? - and the resulting portfolio construction decision(s) that must be made.

Like 2014 and 2015, Australian resources stocks in 2016 may look cheap but it is not an attractive trade. More reliable returns will be delivered by high quality companies well beyond the familiar territory of the 20 Leaders.

Olivia Engel | 0.50 CE

The three motions put by our independent economists for Markets Summit 2016 were 1. Capitalism and globalisation will not survive the next GFC; 2. The markets are overreacting in particular to the outlook for China’s economy and currency, and the prospects for financials; 3. You should protect your positions this year by buying risk overlays.

This is not deja-vu all over again. This recovery is still middle aged and has years to go. Equity markets continue to be attractive on their own merits and especially relative to fixed income.

For six years, the Fed operated a 'cheap money' policy. As a result, we had a 'cheap money' recovery. With the Fed now two years into tightening, the chickens are coming home to roost. The equity bear market is underway.

Chris Watling | 0.50 CE

It's true that the past few years have been challenging for emerging markets as a whole. But not all emerging economies are equal, and uneven prospects are driving compelling return differences. Investors should have them back on their radars.

The EU has been in crisis for many years. You ain't seen nothing yet! 2016 will change the nature of the EU – and it might well signify deja-vu, the end of Europe's process of political and economic integration.

Today, there are no clearly diversifying mainstream assets. All assets are expensive and what seems safe may hold the greatest risk. We need to set realistic expectations and invest only of the basis of genuine insight.

In a cyclical sector like commodity, deja-vu abounds for those with a long memory. As the outlook improves, equities usually rally before commodity prices, responding to improved demand forecasts.

Australian equity investors should look beyond the largest blue chip stocks in the financial, resources and telecommunications sectors – to industrial companies that are better positioned for growth.

Investment in "peripheral" Europe is a high-risk proposition. Much has changed, but nothing has changed! Yes, the eurozone is an economic calamity.

The market continues to misprice the risk of large scale defaults and debt restructures. Now is the time to sell high yield and EM bonds exposure, while you still can.

Vimal Gor | 0.50 CE

Growing wealth and managing risk is a considerably more complex challenge than it was a decade ago. Excellence in asset allocation and implementation are more important than ever before.

The Australian equity market will continue to underwhelm going forward. Investors need an equally-weighted approach to returns that places far less emphasis on commodities and banking.

We are at an inflection point where the global dependency ratio is becoming adverse. This will lead to profound changes to the composition of the population around the world, polarising investment opportunities.

The extreme thirst for yield has pushed the US high yield cycle into unchartered territory. In a clear case of déjà vu (replace "subprime" for "high yield"), the cycle has reached the shakeout phase.

Jacob Mitchell | 0.50 CE

It's possible to have your cake and eat it too. Global investment grade credit has not been this attractive in spread terms for the past six years.

Often in markets, you do get the feeling that somehow we've been here before. But things are never quite the same. Looking at some examples from the past, particularly Japan, we can see what can we learn and apply to our investment decisions going forward.

As China's economy slows and policymakers struggle, economic friction is mounting. Without drastic reforms, China will find it difficult to avoid the middle income trap.

Alex Wolf | 4 comments | 0.50 CE

China's Black Monday renewed investor concerns about a hard landing. It is critical to assess the macroeconomic and market scenarios of a China hard landing and the impact on investors' portfolios.

Oleg Ruban, MSCI | 0.50 CE

Debt levels are too high (deja-vu!). Until now, QE has softened the impact. With consensus perceiving the Fed to return to normal (?), markets are entering unchartered waters - 2016 is set to be a volatile year.

For all its ups and down, 2015 ended up being a year to forget for Australian investors, with little variation in the performance of major asset classes. The coming year will be a rerun of this theme. Dynamic allocation within portfolios and additional levels of diversification will be critical for 2016 to avoid the feeling of deja-vu.

The Fed has begun its interest rate tightening, and deja-vu - there continues to be a great disagreement about the quantum of the rises. Rates will go higher than most expect and QT will impact on financial asset volatility.

A 50-year era of inflation is ending and we are left no inflation, little growth and too much debt. China's slowdown and the current oil glut are early signs that this debt bubble may end badly.

Robert Gay | 4 comments | 0.50 CE

Does it feel like we've been here before? The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same! Does that mean that, going forward, markets and asset classes will behave as in the past? Is it deja-vu (all over again)?

Many people have written to me in recent months and asked whether I believe this is yet another 2008. In my view, there are many significant differences. But I'm afraid we're set for some extreme volatility in the months, if not the years, ahead.

For a number of years, many fund managers have maintained that country and regional analysis are no basis for making asset allocation decisions. It's nuts and you can clearly see it's nuts.

The extreme thirst for yield has pushed the US high yield cycle into unchartered territory. In a clear case of déjà vu (replace "subprime" for "high yield"), the cycle has reached the shakeout phase. It's time to sell/short the beneficiaries.

Jacob Mitchell | 1.00 CE

Numerous explanations have been offered for the latest bout of volatility in financial markets. The one unmistakable message from this market volatility is that it is all about credit.

The resources sector is unloved, under-owned, heavily shorted and facing a slow grind to re-establish equilibrium between supply and demand. This is incorporated in the prices for equities, with discounts that reflect the negative sentiment. A contrarian with a longer term approach should be getting quite excited at this point.

How much longer can markets not only ignore the real economy, but also discount political risk? Welcome to the New Abnormal for growth, inflation, monetary policies, and asset prices.

Only half a year ago, I explained how boring German politics had become. Angela Merkel's position seemed virtually unassailable and the 2017 election result a foregone conclusion. Not anymore.

When central banks are taking to extreme policies, and Donald Trump has a decent chance of being US President, we need to be prepared for anything. Gold may not be the perfect hedge, but what is?

It seems that the markets are indicating that we have entered a period in which jewels (gold) will outperform tools (stocks). Try as we may (we are no gold-bugs), we struggle to find reasons to discard the market's message.

For all its ups and down, 2015 ended up being a year to forget for Australian investors, with little variation in the performance of major asset classes. Dynamic allocation within portfolios and additional levels of diversification will be critical for 2016 to avoid the feeling of deja-vu.

Yellen has wanted to nip a brewing asset price bubble before it was too late. January's market selloff has accomplished her intent. Now she take her foot off the brake.

There's a high likelihood that global equities are already in a Bear Market. If so, assessing the likely end of the Bear Market becomes critical. Most importantly is the need to forecast the end of the recession.

The consensus view that falling oil prices and a China slowdown are the main drivers of slowing world growth is only half the true story of why global growth is 3% rather than 6% as it was - and could and should be again.

Core assets - Australian equities, global equities, and fixed income - are going to generate pretty lacklustre returns this year. Having as efficient a portfolio as possible is going to be really key to your return success.

As global economic uncertainty persists in the markets, a coherent and structured approach to assess macroeconomic and market scenarios and their impact on investors’ portfolios becomes critical.

Three demographic megatrends support a number of structural growth themes that allow identifiable companies to benefit from strong and compounding cash returns over investible timescales.

Never let a good crisis go to waste. Historically, the EU used to thrive under adversity. The current European crisis is different. It will either be the end of the EU, or at least the end of the EU as we know it.

The FSC has called for a cut in the company tax rate to 22%, funded by an increase in the GST. It's hard to see why FSC made this call, particularly given that its stated number one priority is "working to improve the well-being of all Australians".

For the last few months, I've been concerned that a bear market was likely to unfold. We are now on such a trajectory. History suggests that such episodes come in two distinct extremes.

2016 has started poorly for the global economy - and horribly for markets. A number of negative themes are ascendant, whereas the positive ones are either pausing or petering out.

All that is left of the euro is a currency that bears the same name but that has none of its original features. It is a zombie currency, an undead monetary system pretending to survive.

Nearly half of the world's economies are at a "high" or "very high" risk of political and social unrest. It is a disaster waiting to happen.