On 26 January, I eagerly made my way to Barnett Waddingham's ninth annual Investment Conference, along with over 300 attendees. Our much anticipated Keynote speaker, Alastair Campbell, shared his views on the many political themes that were present throughout the day, from Trump to Brexit via Marie Le Pen, all of which our speakers agreed would be the major force on investment markets during 2017.
The morning sessions were focussed on economic outlook, with Blackrock’s Rupert Harrison talking about the Trump put, but worrying that a Le Pen victory would be a 'strong sell signal'. This was followed by a panel Q&A session in which Japanese equities and corporate bonds were suggested as the likely winning asset classes over the medium term.
"Alastair Campbell, shared his views on the many political themes that were present throughout the day, from Trump to Brexit via Marie Le Pen. "
After lunch, delegates were able to choose from a number of specialist break-out sessions. I hosted the Insurance sessions which covered the ever-expanding role of the Insurance CIO, risk premia investing and the case for convertible bonds within an insurance portfolio. The latter in particular caused a lot of further conversation during the break that followed.
The day was then completed by Alastair Campbell’s talk. He confessed to waking regularly through the night and feeling compelled to check Donald Trump’s Twitter account (which he appropriately described as 'Trumpsomnia), feeling less than positive about Brexit and Labour’s chances at the next election and hoping that a Le Pen victory wasn’t the next big shock.
After getting a signed book from Alastair, there was just in time to enjoy a few drinks and nibbles with colleagues and peers, before heading home on a Southern train that was running on time for once. All in all, a great day.