Schroders identifies eight themes that could transform the world, but how are these being affected by the coronavirus?
At the core of thematic investing at Schroders is the belief that the most powerful and persistent investment themes are those where human ingenuity ignites innovation to address imbalances in the world. These imbalances may be between populations and resources, or between supply and demand in individual industries.
As we all know, necessity is the mother of invention. As coronavirus throws the whole world into turmoil, humanity’s ingenuity and powers of innovation are being mobilised to fight the disease, care for our populations and adapt our work and home lives to a new set of economic, political and social realities.
Covid-19 is exacerbating existing tensions between populations and finite resources and dislocating supply and demand relationships in countless industries. Bearing this is mind, we examine the impact of this crisis on the eight investment themes that we think have the potential to transform the world we live in:
“Crisis highlights importance of healthcare innovation”
This pandemic underscores the critical societal importance of healthcare innovation as countries seek to prevent and cure disease while wrestling with ongoing demographic and budgetary challenges. Central to our investment thinking in this area is the belief that science and technology will be crucial as companies harness data, computing power and medical knowledge to meet these goals.
We believe this will drive further breakthroughs in advanced therapies, medical technology, and healthcare services as well as in digital healthcare where technology in the form of ‘telehealth’ has shown its worth during this crisis as a means of making healthcare provision more responsive and efficient. As governments realise their vulnerability to pandemics, the drive to spend more on healthcare in the future can only intensify.
“Smart manufacturing essential as demand fluctuates”
Amid the acute demand and supply shock experienced by the global economy, manufacturers are also having to innovate. We expect to see companies developing local supply lines alongside their existing global networks while investment in data analytics will be imperative as a means of understanding and managing volatile demand and disrupted procurement in the future.
Investment will also take place in other smart manufacturing themes, including advanced manufacturing such as 3D printing, automation in the shape of robotics, sensors and controls, and advanced materials like lightweight composites as companies harness exciting innovations in hardware, software and materials to deliver greater agility.
While manufacturers face undoubted short-term headwinds, the disruption caused by Covid-19 demonstrates the importance of manufacturing innovation to ensure responsiveness and productivity in both good times and bad
“E-commerce and well- being are growing lifestyle trends”