iQ Spring 2013

Think Big, Think Megatrends.

Tonight was a tour de force. Dr. Burkhard Varnholt warned us right from the get-go that, as investors, we should always be on the look-out for the gorilla in the room (i.e. don't miss the wood for the trees).  He continued to speak fluently and without notes about his long-term world view.  We ranged through the local economic backdrop (think Eurozone), through USA and Asia  before diving into the megatrends that will affect all major asset classes. 

A summary might be: Demographic changes are causing seismic shifts in commodities — food = water = power; in interest rates — longevity leads to risk averse penion plans that buy long-dated bonds keeping interest rates low; in equities — look great compared to implied PE for bonds; in currencies — the winners could be the Ringgit, Bhat and Won.

What a fascinating evening, what a compelling speaker.

Our stimulating speaker was none other than Burkhard Varnholt the Chief Investment Officer, Head of Asset Management and Executive Committe member at Bank Sarasin.  Burkhard Varnholt has a PhD in Economics and Bachelor of Law from St. Gallen and still lectures at their MBA programme, as well as being founder of the think-tank W.I.R.E.  Yet he is also a keen art lover and collector (inlcuding time on London's Tate Modern Aquisition Comittee). Rounding off this picture, is his charitable work, the highlight of which is "Kids of Africa — The Swiss African Orphanage". In other words, we were lucky to hear from a man of many talents with many fascinating ideas to share!

Donations to the orphanage in Uganda which Dr. Burkhard founded 10 years ago would be most welcome.


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