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Alternative Market Briefing

The Big Picture: Demographic shifts should shape global macro strategies

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thomas P. Signer
An Opalesque column for macro investors.

Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva:

Thomas P. Signer, financial advisor at VALUEworks AG, an independent multi-family office based in Zurich, believes that demography explains everything, including asset returns. So investors should try to take advantage of current and future demographic shifts and translate them into investment returns.

Signer also teaches and authored a couple of books, namely "The Harder They Fall: Will the US follow Japan in the Abyss?" (2004), and more recently, "The US and Japan: Twins in Denial (It’s demographics, stupid!)" (2011).

Tremendous demographic development

The number of people worldwide from year 1700 to present days went from under 1 billion to 7 billion, he said during Terrapinn’s Hedge Funds World conference in Zurich last month. The number is expected to go up to 8 billion in 2024 and reach 9 billion in 2048.

The dependency ratios are also going up. In 1950, 39% of the population was dependent (34% of the people were under 15-year old and 5% over 65-year old). In 2010, nearly 35% of the population was dependent (27% under 15 and 8% over 65). In 2050, it is expected to be 37%, with much less children and twice as many elderly people as in 2010 (21% under 15 a......................

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