Current Perspectives

Latest research

Get the latest current perspectives from UBS Asset Management covering our insights on the current market environment.

QE: time for the genie to go back in the bottle?

June 2015

Quantitative easing (QE) was a dramatically unorthodox solution to the entrenched economic problems created by the financial crisis. It has worked. So should QE now be considered a permanent part of central bankers' toolkits?

A warning to bond bears

July 2014

Are we at the start of a long-term bond bear market? Many commentators have made up their minds – it started two years ago. But I’m not so sure. In this paper, I present three factors that I expect to keep bond yields lower for longer, and five important implications for investors.

What's new?

October 2013

The asset management industry is awash with buzzwords that are claimed to be innovative investment concepts. While the buzzwords may be newish, the concepts that they describe are not. Curt looks in detail at four buzzwords: risk parity, alternative investments, factor-based investing and solutions.

Evolution of the asset manager

October 2012

In this paper Curt Custard, head of Global Investment Solutions (GIS), and Matthew Richards, a GIS strategist, argue that the asset management industry is being reshaped by evolutionary pressures. They analyse the effects of demographic, economic and industry-specific changes, and set out ways in which asset managers are adapting to a tougher environment.

Sugar high

30 March 2012

Curt Custard, head of Global Investment Solutions, remarks that the markets seem to be racing around like a toddler that has had its way with a bowl full of candy. The ‘candy’ consists of vast quantities of liquidity from central banks. Curt notes that, although candy tastes good, it is full of ‘empty’ calories, giving the child a ‘high’ for a few hours but unable to sustain the body for a longer period. He argues that central banks run a huge risk with inflation expectations on the rise.

Back to the future

19 March 2012

Curt Custard, head of Global Investment Solutions, looks at long-term developments in the investment world, which he says may end up resembling the 1970s more than the environment we experienced over the past decade. He highlights six of the big-picture trends that continue to evolve.

Endgame

13 January 2012

Curt Custard, head of Global Investment Solutions, discusses the crises affecting politics and markets worldwide, and argues that they must be resolved with bitter austerity sweetened by freshly printed money and fizzing with contentious transfers of wealth – a cocktail he calls ‘Endgame’.

Whose inflation is it anyway?

18 July 2011

Curt Custard discusses the conundrums for policymakers facing diverging trends in core inflation, headline inflation and asset price inflation. He also explains the problems inherent in two suboptimal currency areas that make up two-thirds of the world economy, namely the eurozone and the US dollar bloc.

To infinity and beyond

19 April 2011

China recently became the world's second-largest economy. Many commentators are predicting that continued rapid growth will see China surpass the United States as the world's biggest economy in about 20 years. Comparing China today with Japan in the 1980s, Curt Custard argues against extrapolating China's recent growth too far into the future.

Learning to love risk

18 October 2010

Volatility is likely to be here to stay for as long as slow growth and uncertainty over the direction and effectiveness of macro policy reign. The current market is a target-rich environment but it requires a greater than usual ability to be nimble, a focus on the facts and fundamentals through the noise and bluster and a solid understanding of the risks driving portfolios.

Europe's Summer of Discontent

14 May 2010

Cold, wet winds have recently blown across European capitals and markets alike. Is this the beginning of the end for the Eurozone as it is currently structured or will recent events finally force greater integration? In this changeable climate, investors have to be nimble or have strong stomachs.

Tail Risk

19 February 2010

While stuck in a snowdrift at Beijing airport, Curt Custard reflects on his situation as a metaphor for the world economy and markets. With the plane's tail still on the runway, he and his fellow travellers are perilously positioned - waiting for Chinese workers to bail them out while worrying about something that could take off their tail.

The ABCs of Us, Vs and Ws

7 October 2009

While the next six months or so should offer relatively safe sailing, the outlook beyond that is quite uncertain. Curt Custard discusses three possible scenarios: a U-shaped recovery, a V-shaped recovery or a W-shaped ('double-dip') and gives a view on the most likely outcome.

'Property is Theft' - Identifying the key long-term secular trends

3 June 2009

In the second paper in this series, Curt Custard turns his attention to the long-term trends that he believes will develop as we emerge from the current crisis and concludes that the next 10 to 15 years won't look like the recent past.

'The Obama Bump'

29 January 2009

Curt Custard reflects on 2008 and the outlook for 2009 as President Obama's stimulus package makes its way through the US Congress. Can the appetite for 'hope' and 'change' be met?

The views expressed on this site are a general guide to the views of UBS Asset Management. Materials published here do not replace portfolio and fund-specific materials. Commentary is at a macro or strategy level and is not with reference to any registered or other mutual fund.
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