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The next big investment themes

--  |  14 Feb 2011Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

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Tom Stevenson is Fidelity's investment commentator.


The world has changed immeasurably in the past 30 years. The next 30 seem likely to yield even more dramatic changes as a number of significant themes exert their influence on what is now a more highly connected world.

Where once information was power, now it is everywhere, boosting the already frantic pace of entrepreneurialism in developing economies. Globalisation has brought enormous benefits, yet also introduced new vulnerabilities. The BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are playing catch-up with the West and drawing other emerging market economies into their impressive wake.

Change is upon us. Investors must either embrace it or risk missing out on some of the biggest investment themes in a generation. The 10 themes we have identified seem sure to have a significant impact over the next few decades. But what are some of the consequences and investment implications? In this conclusion, we attach some weights to our themes and discuss how investors can position themselves to benefit.

Predicting the future is fraught with danger. It is a matter of a trend projection and virtual guesswork on the part of analysts to say what level the Dow Jones will be in five years time. However, when it comes to the big, secular themes that are exerting a growing pull on economies and financial markets, there is more scope to be forthright and more reason for investors to take action. Most of the themes we have outlined are already highly visible and investible; the others will be too, in relatively short order.