The conference, which highlights important investment trends driving the economy and markets, featured a panel of eight experts in the areas of Thematic Equity Investing, Cryptocurrencies, Japan and Growth Stocks.
Raskin’s presentation focused on “the modern version” of thematic investment approach which has gained visibility in recent years. While thematic investing is just 15-20 years old, Raskin pointed out that it is a throwback to investing in a simpler time—before there were 115 different mutual fund categories. She defines thematic investing as “an investment style that seeks investable ideas that stem from economic or technological changes that are powerful enough to influence corporate performance across multiple industries.”
Distinguishing themes from trends, Raskin emphasized that of the many profound changes occurring around the world, most are trends, not themes, since they are not likely to add to the bottom lines of investable companies. She offered two examples of current themes at Chevy Chase Trust including molecular medicine – the revolution in medical treatment created by detecting small variations in the human genome that can cause disease, and the U.S. wealth migration toward urban areas –the movement of wealthy people in the U.S. to cities, partially reversing the suburbanization trend of the previous 100 years.
In the end, Raskin said her thematic investing approach tends to result in a broadly diversified global portfolio that doesn’t expose clients to big swings in the business cycle and skews to the US, because, for structural reasons, that’s where a disproportionate share of the most innovative and disruptive technologies is created.