The increasing pace of technological change is obvious. Much sought-after and expensive electronic gadgets are out of date within months of purchase and obsolete a few years later. This shortening of product life-cycle, combined with increasing emphasis on innovation, has made fund managers apprehensive. Gone are the days of medium- to long-term investments that incurred little risk.
Fund managers are not the preserve of wealthy organisations with profits to reallocate. As developed countries lumber towards state pension crises, the need for citizens to have private income in old age is paramount. Such private financial security relies heavily on the effective utilisation of pension funds and associated products.
Pension funds have traditionally been invested in one of two ways, either through specialist funding of fixed assets to maximise returns, or more often, spread across a wide spectrum of bonds and shares that reduce overall risk.
The content of such funds usually contain fixed assets that include bricks-and-mortor investments in domestic and commercial property. However, as location-independent working and the long-since forgotten promise of ‘telecottaging’ has morphed into a practice of working from home or public spaces, the need for large-scale commercial edifices has dwindled outside of London and other major cities.
In addition, a proliferation in online shopping has seen city centres hard hit by high rents and low footfall. These conditions have resulted in less than attractive investment opportunities for those charged with managing our retirement funds.
Investment in tech companies has risen to such an extent that some people are predicting another dotcom bubble due to unrealistic appraisals of social media and app-based start-ups. These elements have combined to provide an uncertain future for traditional investment portfolios as the internet completely redefines human behaviour and spending patterns.
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