Last week, Shannon and I had the pleasure of attending Fidelity International for their Women in Investment conference held in their newly refurbished London offices. The day was incredibly educational and informative – not only were we given real insight into some of Fidelity’s house views, we were also given the opportunity to network with many female investment professionals, who are role models for me as I begin my journey in the world of Financial Services.
The day was introduced by CEO Anne Richards who took us back into history to discuss the Easter Island monuments and how their movement stands as a prime example of how a society can destroy itself by overexploiting its own resources. This provided great food for thought and encouraged greater awareness of sustainability when making decisions.
We were then given exceptional insight into what we can expect going into 2020, presented by lead cross-asset strategist Wen-Wen Lindroth. It was very interesting to see what Fidelity expects to see from investment markets and the crucial themes they believe will define the forthcoming year. We discussed the potential responses from central banks and whether they would ‘hand over the baton’ to governments and fiscal stimulus, the upcoming UK election and how the outcome of this will drive markets, the high burdens being forced on big technology firms (namely the FAANGs) and also the trade war and how this will impact both business confidence and investment. It was fascinating to compare Fidelity’s views to our own views here at FPWM in order to highlight any similarities or differences on how we perceived the upcoming year.
We were also given great insight into two very fascinating niche funds. The Fidelity China Consumer fund is focused on investments that relate to the buying patterns of China consumers. Here at FPWM the current trade war tensions have meant that we view China with some uncertainty and believe this has led to a weakening in their consumer spending. It was therefore very interesting to see the flip side of this and receive a detailed examination into how Fidelity believes China could pose great opportunities at this current time. The second fund discussed was Fidelity Sustainable Water and Waste Fund which focuses on investing in companies involved in, or connected with, water and waste management. We now live in a world that has a growing awareness of our impact on the planet and therefore a purely ESG focused fund could hold great prospects going forward.
The day concluded with an inspirational talk from Anna Sofat who is the founder of ADDIDI and a strong voice in women’s wealth management. Anna spoke about how her firm is set up with the vision to ‘help women grow their wealth, build their businesses, nurture their families and lead richer lives.’ Changing the course of the wealth industry to a more gender equal environment is something we champion here at FPWM, so it was great to see other individuals encouraging this change to happen. It was amazing to speak to a number of successful women who have overcome some of the difficulties that women face within the Financial Services industry. FPWM are already helping Anna’s energising movement by following her 5 pledges and the question with which she challenges the industry – ‘Are You In?’. Yes, we are.
I look forward to attending a Future of Advice event with Fidelity in February, where yet again they have shown their commitment to the future of our industry through their forward thinking and support.