UBS charity investment symposium review

Date: 11 Nov 2009


UBS held their annual charity investment symposium event at the No 1 Finsbury Avenue office in the City, this week. More than a hundred charities and finance directors gathered to hear the UBS views on charity investing and to hear about the economic outlook.

Hosted once again by Paul Palmer, a Professor and renowned charity speaker from Cass Business School, the UBS line up included Tim Bell on Hedge Funds, Cliff Hawkins on Global Real Estate, Brian O’Reilly from their UK research team and Andrew Pitt moderating the Q&A.

Whilst many private banks hold seminars and talks, the UBS afternoon differs in that it manages to provide easy to handle but economicly complex information without technical banking language. It has provided, in my three years of visiting, some of the most useful information in investment management.

At the event, Tim Bell who is in global hedge fund advisory, said that 2009 will be a vintage year for hedge funds, “the outlook for the next twelve months is good.” Cliff Hawkins, Chairman of Global Real Estate, UK at UBS warned of a double property dip if banks move to repossess and interest rate rises. He recommended investing in REITS or funds.

Brian O’Reilly, their research guru, said all figures indicate we are coming out of recession “we are at the bottom”. O’Reilly also said that despite plenty of money being available to reignite lending, a more likely scenario is that lending won’t resume to previous levels and consumers will spend the next four years “repairing their balance sheets.” In essence repaying debts and not having spare cash to spend until debt is reduced or manageable.

O’Reilly said of the argument for inflation or deflation, that we will end up somewhere in the middle. He also said when investors look back at this quarter, they will realise they should have returned to the market and will kick themselves for not doing so. Currently $3.6trillion is sitting in cash earning close to zero in interest.

A guest speaker, David Emerson, CEO of the Association of Charitable Foundations issued a stark warning “the welfare state is unwinding,” he says “charities will come under increasing pressure to distribute their money.”

Andrew Pitt, Head of Charities
Tel: +44 20 7568 7835

back to news