2020: A year of volatility?

CNN political analyst David Gergen joins UBS thought leaders to discuss how investors can keep calm in a changing world

27 Feb 2020

Is volatility on the horizon in 2020 after 11 years of economic growth? With a US election and the spread of the coronavirus permeating newsfeeds, investors expect that it is. At the UBS Year Ahead event on Wednesday, 12 February in Boston, MA, Mike Ryan, CIO Americas, UBS Global Wealth Management, shared that "when we queried [clients] on what they thought 2020 would look like… [there was] a continued sense of anxiety." He pointed out that about 80 percent of those surveyed believe that markets are heading into a period of heightened volatility.

What can investors expect in 2020?

Ryan led a panel discussion with UBS thought leaders Suni Harford, president, UBS Asset Management; Shane Lieberman, federal affairs manager in the US Office of Public Policy for UBS Americas; Solita Marcelli, deputy CIO Americas; and CNN policy analyst David Gergen. The group agreed that 2020 will be a year of unexpected change. Said Gergen, “I think it's going to be a year of even greater unpredictably and a sense of chaos."

How can investors maintain perspective?

Despite anticipating volatility, the panel stressed that investors can keep larger global concerns in perspective. Marcelli shared that, while events like the current coronavirus outbreak will influence the economy significantly in the near term, they are unlikely to have a long-lasting impact.

Sustainability poses its own set of as-yet-unanswered questions for investors. According to Lieberman, "The next step … is for DC to try and incentivize sustainable investing. … It's really something still to be seen, and there will be more opportunity in the coming years."