Those who subscribe to the conclusions published by World Economic Forum may want to invest substantive sums in Switzerland because for the past five years, the WEF has parked that northern European economy atop of its annual global competitiveness rankings.
But before overweighting Swiss-based Logitech International SA (LOGI), which produces personal computer producers, pause and think about what are the right macroeconomic numbers to keep in mind and talk about with clients.
The key when sharing global data with clients is to provide historical context.
For instance, Robert DiMeo, principal in Chicago-based DiMeo Schneider & Associates, already has scribbled down figures he plans to throw around at his next annual investment conference.
They will show the growth in online shoppers, domestically and internationally.
DiMeo has squirreled away statistics with plans to discuss them at the conference showing that 140 million online shoppers existed in the United States in 2010, the same number as in China that year.
But that was then, not now, DiMeo says.
This year’s figures show online shoppers in the United States have grown to 200 million but their Chinese counterparts, to 500 million. “All that speaks to a much more global world,” DiMeo says.
The right figure or graph can speak volumes to investors, he says. He still remembers that a well-regarded entrepreneurial client, who had built his own corporate empire, kept pinned to his walls graphs that showed the rise and decline of historical empires, including the Mongolian and Roman ones.
What was the takeaway? The descendants of those empires, despite their declines, were not fairing too poorly in the long run, DiMeo says.
Timothy Atwill, who is a portfolio manager and managing director of investment strategy with Parametric Portfolio Associates, which offers emerging markets investment funds and is a division of Boston-based Eaton Vance Investment Managers, prefers less quirky and tried-and-true statistics to illustrate for investors and their advisors how they face peril if they forsake the global market.
His go-to stats: Adjusting calculations for purchasing power parity, the United States’ share of global gross domestic product has shrunk to 50%, from 60% in 2000, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund.
By contrast, emerging economies, as defined by the IMF, and including China, have seen their share of global GDP grow during the same 14 years to more than 50% of the pie.
“Those higher numbers come from growth,” Atwill says. “In the long term, there is a correlation between GDP and stock market capitalizations.”
Miriam Rozen, a Financial Planning contributing writer, is a staff reporter at Texas Lawyer in Dallas.