Global portfolios: Investing by looking backwards

Alex Pollak

GICS classifications (energy, auto, retail) are the way most fund managers construct portfolios. This isn't good. Companies that disrupt individual sectors rarely come from within the sector itself. Google and Facebook are not in a media index, but they are clearly media companies.

On a five to 10-year view we are clearly moving towards an electric car. So what is your global portfolio going to look like if between 4 and 10 per cent of it is held in oil, cars and in the car component chain? Self-driving adds a further layer of complexity to this, and few are positioned for it. Likely, most of the companies that are coming to eat cars are currently not even in auto sector.

Industrials, financial, materials and utilities amount to around 40% in a typical global portfolio. Consumer discretionary is a further 9%, and consumer staples together add another 19%.

The problem with investing via this global sector allocation is that you are investing by looking backwards. You wouldn't drive this way, so why would you provide for your future like this?

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