The Kairos conference, the right time

13 November 2013

An impressive audience of over 500 guests, including pre-eminent figures in the business and professional sectors, an analysis of the present scenario and an assessment of what is to come, to help us understand the world we live in and where we should be heading. In addition, the internationally renowned winner of the Nobel prize for Economics, Joseph Stiglitz. All this and much more at the Scenari e proposte di investimento conference on scenarios and investment ideas that Kairos Julius Baer held the evening of November 11 in Milan. It has now become an essential annual event for investors, clients and many professionals in the sector, who meet each year at the Principe di Savoia Hotel to take a look at market performance and to gather information on new opportunities, ideas and advice.

Paolo Basilico, Chairman and CEO of Kairos Partners, gave the introductory remarks, taking advantage of the occasion to sum up these past few, extremely intense, months in which efforts have focused mainly on finalizing, in the best possible way, the creation of Kairos Julius Baer SIM. The new company is one of its kind on the Italian market, as it boasts local roots but is also connected with an international group, and will focus on one business only – asset management – freeing it from the conflicts of interest that afflict our industry. As for its ownership structure, given that the most significant people are also company owners, total alignment with client interests is ensured.

Basilico then outlined his view of markets, forecasting a more complex 2014, in which we will have no choice but to face volatility and accept it in order to achieve interesting real returns. The same thoughts were shared by Fabio Bariletti, General Manager of Kairos Partners, who provided assessments of the most attractive countries in which to invest, on the basis of data and information that the Kairos Partners global multimanager team has gathered around the world. For instance, with respect to China, Bariletti explained, “We believe that significant opportunities are hiding behind the 12% to 7% slowdown in economic growth and the resulting pessimism among investors. In fact, the Chinese government is striving to change its growth model by focusing on domestic consumption. Accordingly, it is with interest that we are analyzing acquisition opportunities in the sectors that stand to benefit from this change in course, at the expense of those that pushed the rally of the past ten years”.

Guido Brera, Kairos Partners Portfolio Manager, took the floor after Bariletti. In particular, Brera was asked to give an overview of certain Kairos funds that are new additions to its offer: KIS Bond Plus, KIS Key and the more recent KIS Risorgimento and KIS Selection, “which aims to offer interesting returns through equities and was recently given five Morningstar stars”, noted Brera.

Alessandro Fugnoli, Kairos Partners strategist then discussed the cornerstones of a well-balanced portfolio with Paolo Basilico. Dramatic overweighting of equities and America, with European stocks in the safest areas and a bet on Japan are the assets that the Milanese company currently proposes, although it is also carefully monitoring geographical areas like Sub-Saharan Africa as well: “With a very young demographic profile, unexpectedly prudent monetary policies, low inflation and the discovery of new deposits of raw materials , this is a highly promising area,” he specified.

Last but certainly not least, special guest Joseph Stiglitz, the 2001 Nobel prize winner for Economics, stole the show in a friendly discussion with the Chairman of Kairos Partners. The Columbia University professor covered many topics and expressed his clear disapproval of economic policy based purely on austerity. “The austerity measures have a stranglehold on Europe,” he said. “What the Old World needs are reforms that reshape its identity”. This is in a context in which even the United States is finding it difficult to emerge from the crisis, “in which one of the most worrisome aspects remains unemployment, which will most likely be targeted by Janet Yellen, the Fed’s newly appointed Chair”, concluded Stiglitz, who then stayed to exchange opinions and ideas with guests and organizers.