Practical analysis for investment professionals
04 August 2015

Is the Era of Central Banks Over? Highlights from the Financial Analysts Seminar

Storm clouds over the Federal Reserve building.

The possibility of upcoming action — or continued inaction — from the US Federal Reserve weighed heavily on the discussions at this year’s Financial Analysts Seminar. PIMCO’s Marc Seidner, CFA, stated that the Fed’s days of controlling market volatility may be over, while James Bianco of Bianco Research said he did not expect the Fed to raise rates until they had been priced into the market. The underlying challenge for Fed watchers is the fact that the members of the Federal Open Market Committee can’t agree on what will happen with interest rates over the long term.

This was the 60th anniversary of the Financial Analysts Seminar, and portfolio managers, analysts, and investment officers gathered in Chicago this July to learn from a roster of professionals and academics known for their financial markets expertise.

During his session, Ashvin Chhabra suggested that focusing too closely on market movements can be counterproductive. Instead of trying to “beat the market,” Chhabra urged advisers to help clients focus on achieving their goals. Market investments are crucial, he acknowledged, but a comprehensive goals-based approach will create a more complete investment process.

Peter Zeihan, geopolitical analyst and author of The Accidental Superpower, outlined the demographic trends that will shape global market movements in the years ahead. Of equal importance is the drop in energy prices and what it means for the United States.

Energy will also be an important investment theme for Africa in the years ahead. Melissa Cook, CFA, discussed how the power sector offers opportunity for equipment, fuel, and service suppliers. Nigeria, for example, currently has only 4.5 gigawatts of power generation capacity and is expected to need 180. Cook urged investors to do the research and formulate a deliberate strategy, as she expects the continent to drive global growth for decades to come.

For more Financial Analysts Seminar insights, you have three options:

After all, the best way to learn from this gathering of experts is by attending the event in person.

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All posts are the opinion of the author. As such, they should not be construed as investment advice, nor do the opinions expressed necessarily reflect the views of CFA Institute or the author’s employer.

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About the Author(s)
Peter M.J. Gross

Peter M.J. Gross was an online content specialist for CFA Institute, where he managed blogs for the CFA Institute Annual Conference, European Investment Conference, and Middle East Investment Conference. Previously, he worked at Hampton Roads Publishing Company and at MFS Investment Management. Mr. Gross' articles have been published by Enterprising Investor, City A.M., Seeking Alpha, and The Hook, and his work has been highlighted by Real Clear Markets. He holds a BA degree from Connecticut College.

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