Since pulling out of the global financial crisis, markets have been on one of the longest bull runs in history. Yet as wages stagnate, productivity slumps and living standards drop, large swathes of people in Western democracies feel left behind. Many of them are losing trust in capitalism itself.
It’s the middle of the 18th century and you are standing in a forest in what we now call Germany. There are elm and beech and alder and spruce and a cornucopia of mosses, lichens, shrubs, flowers and ferns. A mixed choir of birds fills the canopy with tumbling descants, while rabbits, frogs, slowworms and innumerable invertebrates dance below. Two children gather mushrooms from the thick forest floor while their mother collects kindling for the bread oven; their two domestic pigs forage for roots.
Then-UN secretary general Kofi Annan convened a group of the world’s largest institutional investors in early 2005, inviting them to start a process to develop the Principles of Responsible Investment. This panel drafted The Six Principles, which were launched in April 2006 at the New York Stock Exchange.
Stewardship director Matt Crossman explains how the idea of a responsible capitalism — where firms exist for the wider benefit of society — is nothing new.
At his penultimate meeting, outgoing President of the European Central Bank (ECB) Mario Draghi announced a series of measures to ease monetary policy in the listless region. The bank cut deposit rates by 10 basis points to -0.50% and will restart quantitative easing (QE) on 1 November. At just €20 billion (£17.7bn) per month it’s peanuts compared to historic QE – since 2015 the ECB’s bond purchases have totalled €2.65 trillion – but crucially the new programme has no set end date. Until inflation gets back to 2% and stays there, QE and zero rates are here to stay.
Rathbones is delighted to be a partner of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, whose latest strategy, Rewild Our World, represents an ambitious commitment to getting nature back on track in the face of “a planet under pressure”
The UK went backwards in the second quarter as businesses trod water ahead of the Brexit deadline. Our chief investment officer, Julian Chillingworth, ponders what it means for interest rates.
No end in sight.