UBS Charity Investment Symposium, outlook 2008

Date: 16 Nov 2007


Martyn Lewis introduced a UBS charity symposium in London recently which featured such heavy weights as Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the HM Government. Sir David, as well as highlighting the pressing need for all of us to change our environmental ways, mentioned organisations such as The Energy Technologies Institute which will invest in finding cheaper technology to reduce carbon emissions.

He highlights statistics in his presentation that include huge temperature changes and flooding by 2080 if emissions are not reduced enormously. As well as this he underlines the opportunites available for those wanting to invest and grow businesses in the clean and greentech sectors.

Scale of opportunities mentioned were:

‚ô¶ Market opportunities in the order of at least $500 billion globally by 2050, if the world responds to climate change on the scale required
‚ô¶ Global market for environmental goods and services projected to grow from $548bn in 2004 to $800bn by 2015
♦ EU Emissions Trading Scheme: from a standing start in 2005 London is today the leading centre for carbon trading, with a market worth over £9bn

Sir David King was appointed as the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Office of Science and Technology in October 2000 (now the Government Office for Science – GO-Science *). Born in South Africa in 1939, and after an early career at the University of Witwatersrand, Imperial College and the University of East Anglia, he became the Brunner Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Liverpool in 1974. In 1988, he was appointed 1920 Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge and subsequently became Master of Downing College (1995-2000), and Head of the University Chemistry Department (1993-2000). He retains his position as Director of Research in the Department of Chemistry at Cambridge University.

* The Government Office for Science, headed by the Government Chief Scientific Adviser (GCSA) Sir David King was created in July 2007 within the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), reporting to the Prime Minister and Cabinet

John Harrison – Chief Investment Officer at UBS GAM took the stage to say risk is rising for investors and quotes the OECD who say “downside risks have become more ominous.” He says what can we expect to happen next and says:

Tighter credit conditions
Higher energy/commodity prices
More volatile financial markets

As well as

Higher interest rates
Rising bond yields
Fall in property prices
Widening of credit spreads

He summarises his talk by saying

♦ The skies have started to cloud over … but we are not expecting a storm
‚ô¶ Many equity markets are close to fair value and should be able to weather more changeable conditions
‚ô¶ We are wary of assets where expectations are high

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