Bill Jamieson: Investment landscape brought into sharp focus

A major conference on 20 March will see industry experts gaze into their crystal ball. Picture: Contributed
A major conference on 20 March will see industry experts gaze into their crystal ball. Picture: Contributed
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Last month I bought a crystal ball from Amazon. Mounted on a small wooden plinth and beautifully clear, it gazes out from my desk – the perfect solution, I thought, to years of off-beam expert investment forecasting and dodgy boffin predictions that never came to pass.

Unfortunately, my crystal ball is not without flaws. First, it greatly magnifies everything closest to it – a common error of forecasting that tends to magnify the latest available trend and statistic. Second, it has no peripheral vision. Only objects directly in front are caught by its glass eye. It has no long range perspective. It cannot spot an approaching danger or opportunity – another common forecasting error. And third, for most of the time it remains blank – no interactive Q and A – and stays inscrutably clear, prompting those who gaze on it long enough to project their own prognostications. But is that not something that even the most rigorous analyst is apt to do?

My imperfect crystal ball does work to provoke thought. Yet what I need is something omni-focused and multi-visual, enabling me to see many perspectives in context and helping me to make sense of the restless kaleidoscope of markets and sectors.

The Scotsman does not run to such a wondrous globe. But it has put together some outstanding investment conferences over the years – and a cracker of a conference is coming up in just over two weeks.

Chaired by David Lee, it brings together an array of expertise and perspectives from a range of leading investment managers, helping us to see the further horizons and lifting our vision from the relentless daily preoccupation with Brexit and the latest tweets of Donald Trump.

READ MORE: Markets 2018: Home or Overseas – Where to from here?

What are the wider threats and opportunities for investors posed on the global landscape? Where are the upsides in Asian and developing country markets? What of opportunities closer to home? And how can we build and protect our nest-eggs for the longer term?

The conference is being held on Tuesday 20 March between 8.30am and 11 am at the Hilton Grosvenor (5-21 Grosvenor Street, close to Haymarket station), Edinburgh. Key speakers are Casper Rock, chief investment officer Cazenove Capital on the global outlook; Andrew Graham Head of Asia at Martin Currie on opportunities in the Far East; Margaret Lawson, UK investment director at SVM Asset Management on short and long-term prospects for UK markets; and Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell on Bouncing Along or Bubbling Dangerously? – Ten Metrics to Master Markets.

There will be a question and answer session with the panel. Tickets are £42.00 including VAT and refreshments. Full details are available on The Scotsman Conferences website, by email via, or by phone on 0131 311 7233. Given the widespread interest in this event, early booking is advised.