We all know the old adage - the four most dangerous words in investing are: It’s Different This Time. Today we argue that the five most dangerous words are: It Isn’t Different This Time.
First a personal story. I recall using the dreaded Its different phrase way back near the beginning of my career. It was my first big Wall St job, working at Morgan Stanley Asset Mgmt. where I was assigned to develop, market and manage a Brazil Fund – the Firm’s 1st such vehicle in Lat Am. This was in 1990 -91 (yes, dating myself) and Brazil was a hyperinflationary basket case. So naturally our marketing material argued that it was in fact different this time.
Well, we couldn’t raise any money (time to market & time to invest are often two different times) until we were funded by Julian Robertson of Tiger fame (RIP) rescuing the fund (and my career). Well, lo and behold that 1990-91 period was different; in fact, it was pretty close to the absolute USD low for Brazil’s Bovespa. So, the point is – I have form in this regard!
Seriously though, how can one argue that its NOT different this time? We are exiting a once in 100 yr. global pandemic, Europe is engaged in its first land war in over 70 years, the Fed has engineered its most aggressive rate hiking cycle in 40 years & China has just freed over a billion people from lockdown … of course its different.
The trick lies in determining how this difference plays out in global cross asset markets. That should be where one’s mind is. We argued in our 2023 outlook that the year will be one of gradual stability as 2022’s headwinds: inflation, rates, Central Banks, become 2023’s tailwinds and financial market volatility declines.