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Six wealth managers on the economists they rely on

George Bernard Shaw’s old adage that ‘If economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion’ may be true, but that does not stop our readers from turning to them for some guidance and advice every now and again.

Which economists do you rely on? While the predictive powers of the dismal science took a knock through the credit crunch and its aftermath, few investors discount the importance of the discipline.

Five of our reader explain which economic thinkers they rely on to do their jobs

 

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Which economists do you rely on? While the predictive powers of the dismal science took a knock through the credit crunch and its aftermath, few investors discount the importance of the discipline.

Five of our reader explain which economic thinkers they rely on to do their jobs

 

Leave a comment!

Please sign in or register to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

Richard Philbin

Chief investment officer, Wellian Investment Solutions, London

I like to bucket economists and strategists together when it comes to answering the question, but unfortunately I don’t have a single person in mind.

Some are macro economists, others micro, some left-leaning, others with a different political bent and at different times of the economic cycle I too take different influences.

From the offerings of UK fund management companies, I really rate James Ashley from Goldman Sachs and James Dowey from Neptune. Both have a great deal to say, present their views articulately and don’t always look at the obvious answer.

I listen to Steven Dubner, author of Freakonomics, almost religiously via his podcast and having read a great deal of the works of Daniel Kahneman he has to be right up there too. Arguably though, the best of the lot has to be Warren Buffett.

True – not your classical 'economist', but his success record proves his worth (in more ways than one!).

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Mark Parello

Chartered wealth manager and branch principal, Raymond James, Manchester

While he may not be a traditional economist, I believe Ray Dalio to be the greatest real world economist out there. Where many economists are led by their textbooks, Dalio backs his economic views with a fund of $160 billion (£118 billion).

Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. He has collated vast amounts of economic and market data, which he has studied to find real world cause and effect economic and market relationships.

He has used this information alongside artificial intelligence, with a human overlay, to help him and his team deliver market-leading returns over a number of decades.

Since stepping down as chief executive of Bridgewater, Dalio now spends his time working with and advising world leaders and policy-makers helping them to understand how their decisions will play out in the real world.

I rest my case.

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Kevin Doran

Chief investment officer, AJ Bell, Manchester

Undoubtedly, in my opinion, Tim Congdon takes the mantle of the best economist there is out there. As one of Mrs Thatcher’s ‘wise men’, Tim consistently takes an independent view of how the economy works and challenges commonly perceived wisdoms.  

While his academic prowess is legendary, it is his ability to transition from academia to practical economic analysis that makes him special.

Responsible for founding the well regarded Lombard Street Research, Tim has been proven right when others poo-pooed his monetary based analysis on numerous occasions, most notably thanks to his understanding of how the inflationary process works.  

If you’ve not read Congdon, you don’t fully understand the economy.

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Justin Urquhart Stewart

Co-founder and head of corporate development, 7IM, London

Gerard Lyons. What a breath of fresh air – an economist who makes practical comments and views - and then he makes them so clear that I can disagree with him!

The sign of a good economist is the clarity of thought on key subjects and not necessarily whether they are right or wrong. I have found that Gerard enables you to formulate your own views even if they are in contrast to his own.

After all, he could easily be right and I quite likely to be wrong!

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Tom Dawson

Redmayne Bentley, investment manager, Leeds

There are many admirable economists who provide excellent insight into the world in which we live and invest. Capital Economics, led by Roger Bootle, always seem to offer an independent and coherent commentary on UK and world economic affairs.

Paul Krugman provides easily accessible observations and explanations of US economics in the New York Times, and has a number of books to his name. Niall Ferguson, who is described as a historian, also has an excellent grasp of politics and economics, and is well worth consulting.

All modern economics is influenced in some way or other by John Maynard Keynes who, whether you agree with him or not, is important to read to understand many actions taken by governments in the 20th century.

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Will Hobbs

Head of investment strategy, at Barclays Wealth, London

John Maynard Keynes famously mused that a good economist must possess a wide array of expertise, being a mathematician, historian, statesman and philosopher in some degree. While such polymaths are hard to come by, the messiness of real-life economics requires its practitioners to hold themselves to these very standards. 

Economics is concerned with the study of people: how people make decisions, how people trade with one another and how people distribute and utilise resources. While economists believe that people broadly act according to certain laws – rationality, for example – we also recognise that people can, and very often do, deviate from these laws as well.

In light of this tension, a good economist must be humble in their ability to predict an economy’s trajectory, while being open-minded enough to utilise knowledge from outside disciplines that may help further their understanding of the economy.

For me, Richard Thaler, winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics, comes closest to ticking these boxes. His pioneering work in behavioural economics – which traverses the diverse fields of economics, psychology and neuroscience – is a demonstration of how much further economics can go if economists are willing to venture beyond the narrow confines of their field.'

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