As companies in the U.S. and around the world move production closer to home, implications for the global economy are huge, says Marci McGregor, senior investment strategist with the Chief Investment Office, Merrill and Bank of America Private Bank. Yet when it comes to your own financial future, world trends get personal in a hurry. Here, McGregor shares some thoughts to help you to prepare for a coming age of deglobalization.
Don’t overreact to volatility
“Deglobalization isn’t a story for 2020, it’s a story for the 2020s,” McGregor says. “Though we may experience periodic corrections or even recessions along the way, this trend and the innovations it represents strengthen the view of a long-term bull market.” Preparing for deglobalization doesn’t call for sudden, sweeping changes in your portfolio, she notes. Rather, it’s about recognizing investment opportunities and being prepared to stay invested through periods of volatility as the economy adjusts. “Anytime there is a major transition like this—even if it’s a slow-moving one—you can expect a period of initial disruption. That’s one reason why we always advocate for our clients to take a long-term view towards investing.”
Look to stocks for growth
“We believe we’re in an extended bull market for stocks,” McGregor says. “Innovation will be a hallmark of this global-to-local trend. Supply chains will be smarter and more efficient when they move.” Thus, investors may find strong opportunities in sectors such as technology, particularly companies involved in automation and robotics. Industrial stocks hold promise as well, as do banks, which will be needed to help finance the new supply chains as companies deglobalize. “That said, there’s certainly a place for bonds to help you manage risk,” McGregor says.
Continue Investing Globally
Even as companies and supply chains become more local, investors should continue to diversify portfolios overseas, McGregor notes. “Deglobalization is just one of several important themes at work in the world today,” she says. Another is rising wealth, especially in developing markets. “By the end of this decade, 80% of the world’s middle class will be living outside the United States and the E.U.3 These markets are not to be ignored," McGregor says. In particular, as supply chains shift away from China, investors may find opportunities in North America, India and Southeast Asia worth considering.
Keep it personal
As you think about broad changes in the economy, keep in mind that any investing decisions start with a thorough understanding of your personal goals. “One of the biggest decisions is how much risk you’re willing to tolerate in your portfolio,” McGregor says. “That’s going to be your roadmap as to which investments you select to take advantage of deglobalization and other emerging trends. Then, working with your advisor, you can begin to consider which industries, countries and regions might provide the best opportunities.”