Fund managers have some big hitters for geopolitical advice. In January 2016, Axa Investment Managers appointed Laurence Boone – former special adviser to a past French president, François Hollande – as chief economist. In 2015, Pimco announced the creation of a very august global advisory board chaired by former Fed chairman Ben Bernanke; it also included the former UK prime minister Gordon Brown and a previous European Central Bank president.
BlackRock caused a mini-sensation last year when it hired George Osborne, a British ex-chancellor, for a reported £650,000 annual salary – and in banking in the past month, UBS announced it had hired the former European Commissioner for financial services, Jonathan Hill.
Martin Gilbert, meanwhile, has been taking some free counsel from none other than Donald Trump and if there’s one thing the co-chief of Standard Life Aberdeen has learnt about geopolitics (see interview, pages 16-18) it’s that fund managers have been talking to all the wrong people. The proof was in the Trump win and the Brexit vote, which “none of us foresaw”, he says.
Presumably he’d be wrong about Axa IM, Pimco and BlackRock, though. With all that grey matter from the metropolitan elite at their service, surely those firms were talking to the right people...
Nick Fitzpatrick is editorial director at Funds Europe
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