Category Archives: Safe havens

20/7/17: U.S. Institutions: the Less Liberal, the More Trusted

In my recent working paper (see I presented some evidence of a glacial demographically-aligned shift in the Western (and U.S.) public views of liberal democratic values. Now, another small brick of evidence to add to the roster:
The latest public opinion poll in the U.S. suggests that out of four 'net positively-viewed' institutions of the society, American's prefer coercive and non-democratic (in terms of internal governance - hierarchical and command-based) institutions most: the U.S. Military and the FBI. as well as the U.S. Federal Reserve. Note: the four are U.S. military, the FBI and the Supreme Court and the Fed are all institutions that are not open to influence from external debates and are driven by command-enforcement systems of decision making and/or implementation. Whilst they serve democratic system of the U.S. institutions, they are  subject to severely restricted extent of liberal checks and balances.

Beyond this, considering net-disfavoured institutions, executive powers (less liberty-based) of the White House are less intensively disliked compared to more liberty-based Congress.

27/6/17: Millennials’ Support for Liberal Democracy is Failing

New paper is now available at SSRN: "Millennials’ Support for Liberal Democracy is Failing. An Investor Perspective" (June 27, 2017):

Recent evidence shows a worrying trend of declining popular support for the traditional liberal democracy across a range of Western societies. This decline is more pronounced for the younger cohorts of voters. The prevalent theories in political science link this phenomena to a rise in volatility of political and electoral outcomes either induced by the challenges from outside (e.g. Russia and China) or as the result of the aftermath of the recent crises. These views miss a major point: the key drivers for the younger generations’ skepticism toward the liberal democratic values are domestic intergenerational political and socio-economic imbalances that engender the environment of deep (Knightian-like) uncertainty. This distinction – between volatility/risk framework and the deep uncertainty is non-trivial for two reasons: (1) policy and institutional responses to volatility/risk are inconsistent with those necessary to address rising deep uncertainty and may even exacerbate the negative fallout from the ongoing pressures on liberal democratic institutions; and (2) investors cannot rely on traditional risk management approaches to mitigate the effects of deep uncertainty. The risk/volatility framework view of the current political trends can result in amplification of the potential systemic shocks to the markets and to investors through both of these factors simultaneously. Despite touching on a much broader set of issues, this note concludes with a focus on investment strategy that can mitigate the rise of deep political uncertainty for investors.

16/10/15: Gold and Bitcoin: Adjacency and Hedging Properties

This week, I spoke at a joint Markets Technicians Association and CAIA seminar hosted by Bloomberg, covering two recent research projects I was involved with on the role of Gold and Bitcoin as safe havens and hedges for other assets.

Here are my slides (omitting section division slides):
The first section was based on the following paper:

A caveat to the above, we are seeing increasing evidence that Gold's hedging properties may be changing over time, especially due to increased financialisation of the asset. In this context, it is worth referencing a recent working paper by Brian M. Lucey et al linked here that I also cited at the seminar.

The Bitcoin section is based on a work-in-progress paper with Cormac Ennis: "Is Bitcoin like Gold? Hedging and Safe Haven Properties of the Virtual Currency". The results of presented below should be treated with serious caution as they are extremely preliminary.

Note: we are extending data set to cover longer period, although even with this extension data coverage for Bitcoin is still suboptimal in both duration and quality. Many thanks to the seminar participant for pointing out two key caveats to the overall data coverage:

  1. The 'lumpy' nature of demand around Cypriot banking crisis; and
  2. Potential effects on data quality reported for Bitcoin from a small number of high profile pricing events, such as technical glitches and supply/demand shifts linked to large exchanges-linked events (e.g. MtGox).

 Summarising the two papers findings: