Snapshot

The most read of 2020: Schroders’ top 20 talking points


The most-read issue of 2020 will come as no surprise. Yes, our top 20 articles on Talking Point this year confirms Covid-19 as the hottest of this year’s hot topics.

But the list also reveals nuanced issues within the pandemic that piqued the curiosity of investors and highlights hot topics you might not have even considered.

The coronavirus was the focus of 14 of the 20 most-read posts we published on Talking Point this year, while some of the other top stories were closely linked.

Brexit – a seismic event in Schroders’ home market of the UK - took a back seat. In fact, it doesn’t even warrant a mention in our top 20 list.

Politics, more broadly, were side-lined among our investment readership.

Our cracking US election analysis failed to make the chart, at least on this measure. It did, however, garner strong interest when we published it in the US.

Good value

The high rankings achieved by some of the more off-beat topics are noteworthy.

Readers, it seems, are interested in how maths can explain the relationship between value and growth styles of investing.

Attentive investors will know that “value” stocks – those judged to be intrinsically undervalued – have had an unusually long bad spell of performance. Investors have preferred companies with apparently rosier futures and have been willing to pay more for the promise of profits tomorrow. Many of these “growth” stocks also turned out to be lockdown-friendly, such as Amazon and Netflix. This extra propulsion tested the resolve of the most hardened value investors.

This story has been well covered but our Head of Research, Duncan Lamont, had a different way of telling it, explaining the maths of low rates and the impact this has on the growth vs value debate. His analysis came third in our most-read list.

Funding the future

Duncan’s research examining secondary public equity offerings also attracted interest, creeping into the top ten of the year. He had been researching this before the topic became centre stage amid the pandemic. Never before has effective stock market fundraising been so important, a point underlined by our chief executive in July. Peter Harrison’s message achieved the best ever response for a Talking Point email.

Johanna’s view

I would also recommend reading the thoughts from our Chief Investment Officer who began writing a new regular column in 2020. Johanna Kyrklund’s views feature twice in the top 20, but are also peppered throughout the top 50.

I must also give credit to the prevalence of content from our economists who have made sense of events during the tensest moments of the year. I’d recommend following the team’s in-depth Economic and Strategy Viewpoint, published quarterly.

My final observation is on the interest in our regular series on stock market valuations. Readers say they find this snapshot incredibly useful; its regular use by journalists and publications corroborates that view. Please watch out for our fresh look at valuations early in the new year.

Investment news and views in 2021

What can we expect for the year ahead? Accurate market forecasts are impossible to make. But I can stab at what might lead the news agenda. I expect interest rates and inflation to make the most market headlines in 2021.

In 20 years of writing about markets I struggle to remember a time when views on inflation vs deflation were more polarised, or entrenched. The closest to this was in 2009 when “inflationistas” warned of imminent hyperinflation, induced by the quantitative easing programmes of central banks. They’re saying the same again. We’ll explore this, but also examine how investors should respond if we are, in fact, locked into a prolonged era of zero or negative rates.

Sustainability will also be centre-stage in 2021. Our in-depth research into how climate change might affect investment returns over the next 30 years drew much interest earlier in the year, making 18th place in our list. Expect lots more on all things ESG.

Our Talking Point posts and our Insights content, published in more than 30 countries, will continue to track the issues that matter most to our clients. To receive the latest, sign up to Talking Point alerts.

And thank you for reading, watching and listening to our views in 2020. Happy new year.

Here are the top 20 articles of the year in full:

  1. Coronavirus: the investment impact in seven charts
  2. Could the coronavirus derail the global recovery?
  3. The maths of why growth companies are beating value
  4. Are Italy’s days in the eurozone numbered?
  5. Coronavirus to spark a “severe” global recession
  6. The strange effect of illiquidity on bond ETFs
  7. Coronavirus: the views from our investors
  8. Coronavirus: the economic impact
  9. The good, the bad and the ugly of secondary public equity offerings
  10. Covid-19: the inescapable truths faced by investors
  11. Johanna Kyrklund: is this the end of the beginning?
  12. Johanna Kyrklund: How we’re positioning for coronavirus
  13. Brazil: Is the 50% drop in the stock market an opportunity?
  14. Economies in free fall as hopes fade for a V-shaped recovery
  15. Eight lessons from previous crises that apply today
  16. How private equity co-investments can accelerate investor returns following a crisis
  17. Keith Wade: Is the world now heading for recession?
  18. How climate change may impact financial markets
  19. A new economic era beckons after this crisis
  20. Which stock markets look "cheap" after the coronavirus shock of early 2020?