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2022年最大的风险和机会在哪

2022年最大的风险和机会在哪

 MATTHEW HEIMER 2021-12-14
五位明星投资人的最佳选股策略。

在疫情最严重的时候,很多人担心的都是一个“少”的问题——如果被疫情冲击得千创百孔的经济让我们的钱变少了怎么办?而在这次《财富》举办的年度投资者圆桌会议上,由于美国经济近来复苏速度喜人,在谈到明年经济形势的时候,很多人已经开始担心“多”的问题了。

人们对消费品的需求太多了,以至于造成了供应链的混乱,加剧了通胀;太多热钱集中在硅谷和华尔街,以至于很多初创公司和股票都有估值过高之嫌。从更高的层面看,大气层里的二氧化碳也太多了,迫使企业的CEO、投资者和消费者都必须在可持续发展问题上做出艰难的选择。面对这种局面,与会的每一位专家也都在寻找那些拥有合适的技术和商业模式的公司,希望它们能在如今这个快速变化的世界中胜出。

参加今年圆桌会议的嘉宾有:Fred Alger Management公司CEO、首席投资官兼投资组合经理宗丹(Dan Chung),风投机构Graham & Walker创始人兼董事总经理莱斯利·费恩扎格(Leslie Feinzaig),T. Rowe Price公司证券与多元资产首席投资官、新书《资本配置:为股东创造长期价值的原则、战略与过程》的作者大卫·吉洛斯(David Giroux),Parnassus Investments公司研究与投资总监洛莉·基思(Lori Keith),以及高盛资产管理公司基本面证券业务负责人凯蒂·科赫(Katie Koch)。以下是他们在圆桌会议上的发言(有删节)。

《财富》:今年是经济强势复苏的一年,但是现在我们又看到了一些新的困难,比如通胀、劳工问题、供应链问题,以及政府刺激计划到期等等。你们是否认为2022年的股市总体会降温?

凯蒂·科赫:宏观上看,我们认为2022年是更强调经济韧性的一年,明年的回报率可能会有所降低。在此背景下,我们在投资上必须具有高度的选择性。说到经济韧性,我们投资的领域主要包括稳定供应链——今年我们所有人都发现了稳定供应链的重要性;此外还有企业数字化领域,最后则是促进全球向可持续发展方向转型。

在疫情早期,数字化的好处似乎主要被大型科技公司享受了。是否也有些业务流向了不太知名的中小企业?

宗丹:从某种程度上来讲,新技术的大规模应用,是很多人不得不进行的一项试验。但我认为,这场试验大体上是相当成功的——包括在一些十分传统的行业。比如疫情期间,餐饮业受到的冲击仅次于航空业,但很多餐饮企业都开启了线上下单和外卖服务,而且成绩相当亮眼。现在即便城市已经开放了,他们的外卖业务也比以前红火很多,甚至要高于疫情前的水平。

插图:Selman Ho?g?r

莱斯利·费恩扎格:正所谓“福兮祸之所倚”,危与机往往是并存的。疫情给我们的工作和生活方式带来了很大干扰,很多人的行为尚未适应“新常态”。在疫情以前,很多风投对教育行业都是非常谨慎的。但是疫情一来,我们才意识到,教育还有这么多种方式,因此这个行业的投资也达到了创纪录的水平。我个人也在教育领域投资了一两家公司,其中之一是早教公司LegUp,另一个是旨在通过社区学院在美国中部地区提供学历和技能提升项目的Stack Education。

在医疗服务领域也有很多创新模式。现在保险也覆盖了很多远程医疗项目,并被更多人接受。现在你只需要简单地预约,就可以轻松享受远程医疗服务。疫情期间,这种个人医疗领域的创新也为风投创造了前所未有的机会。要不是这几年我们的生活遭遇了这么重大的干扰,可能也就根本不会有这么大的创新动力。

科赫:这种颠覆不仅发生在风投界,也影响到了公开市场。据我们估计,明年包括以后,科技界的一些“大赢家”,很有可能将不再是那些在美国上市的主流平台。

想想20年前全球市值最高的十家大公司,活到现在还仍然榜上有名的就只有一个,那就是微软。其他9家公司已经累计损失了2350亿美元市值。这就充分说明了寻找下一代企业的重要性。

我们认为,明年企业界的科技支出可能会增长4%,这将是10年来的最高预期增长率。网络安全是我们关注的领域之一,因为现在越来越多的人将工作放到了云端进行。Palo Alto Networks是一家在这方面走在前沿的公司。HubSpot是软件方面我们比较青睐的一家公司,它主要是在帮助美国的中小企业实现数字化。

在应对气候变化上,包括在如何让企业实现绿色运营上,也有很多技术层面的机会。

洛莉·基思:对。我想重点谈一家叫Roper Technologies的公司,它能帮企业减少用水量。他们是一家多元技术公司,主要为各个小众市场开发软件工程产品。同时他们也提供了一款非常具有创新性的水泵,可以显著减少用水量,同时还能监测水质。

另一家公司Guidewire Software也符合这个主题,只不过可能不那么明显。当然它也顺应了数字化的趋势。气候变化带来的各种物理风险会显著影响财产保险的成本,而Guidewire公司的软件和数据分析技术则可以帮助客户管理这些风险,处理好这些至关重要的气候变化问题。

大卫·吉洛斯:未来20年,没有任何一个行业在减排问题上的重要性可以与电力行业相提并论。目前电力行业的做法基本是在用风能、太阳能取代煤炭和天然气发电。但问题是,煤炭、天然气包括核能的发电载荷都是可预测的,而风能和太阳能的发电载荷却有很多变数。为了让清洁能源经济真的运转起来,我们认为到2040年前,美国至少要在新的输电项目上投资4000亿美元。

其中相当一部分项目会集中在中西部,因为那里风力资源最强,不存在像东西海岸那样的选址问题。因此,未来20年,中西部的电力公司在输电项目上是大有可为的。Ameren、Exelon、AEP和Xcel等公司可能都会是比较大的受益者。而且中西部也更不容易受到极端恶劣天气的影响。

今年,极端天气事件也给供应链造成了问题。哪些行业应对这个问题做得最好?

基思:围绕供应链其实有两个问题:一是实际的供应链问题,二是劳动力短缺的问题。我们发现,有些企业愿意对员工队伍从安全、多元化、健康和福利等方面进行投资,所以他们不光克服了劳动力短缺的问题,还实现了健康增长。比如芝加哥期权交易所是全球最大的证券交易所之一,它的员工自愿离职率只有5%左右,是同类企业中最低的。它提供了很多内部项目,比如领导力发展项目、员工健康项目和一些女性倡议等等,还有一支50多人的多元化团队,这些做法让员工产生了很高的参与度,从而将离职率降到了最低,这使他们能以更快的速度实现增长。

另一家我认为很有优势的公司是Trumbull。 他们主要研究用于建筑业和农业运输的云软件解决方案。在运输行业,卡车司机短缺是运输公司面临的头号问题。Trumbull的做法是通过动态调度,整合实时环境数据和交通数据,提供优化路线,以减少司机在工作中遇到的阻力,提供直至“最后一公里”的服务。

专家选美股

Palo Alto Networks (PANW, $530)

HubSpot (HUBS, $822)

Roper Technologies (ROP, $498)

Guidewire Software (GWRE, $123)

Ameren (AEE, $85)

Exelon (EXC, $54)

American Electric Power Company (AEP, $83)

Xcel Energy (XEL, $65)

Cboe Global Markets (CBOE, $129)

PayPal (PYPL, $194)

Square (SQ, $225)

价值截止至2021年11月19日。股票名称按提及顺序排列。

在劳动力短缺方面,美国已经出现了所谓的“大离职”浪潮,几乎所有劳动者都有一种身心被掏空的感觉。创业界一向是以“鸡血”、“996”和“007”闻名的。我想知道,你们是否发现有公司已经在着手解决这个问题了?

费恩扎格:我们当然希望如此。现在我发现很多公司都在努力解决“留人”的问题,从建立辅导平台、提供健康服务到培训和发展,再到构建企业文化和吸引员工参与。至于他们是否会成功,我还不知道。

大约10到15年前的时候,每个人都想在那种公共区域提供啤酒的初创公司里工作。不过现在,我认为人们都想找一家真正把他们当人看、能够提供360度全方位支持的公司。现在已经有很多公司在开展心理健康日活动了。要想争夺人才,光靠给的工资多是不行的。现在人们关心的是,我的人生只有一次,我应该在哪里度过我宝贵的人生,同时还能保持一些完整的自我?

你可能会说,这种心态的强化也与一些面向消费者的公司的创新有关,它们消除了交易中的阻力。

宗丹:以互联网、云计算和移动计算为代表的这波技术红利已经持续20年了。很多人都在说:“下一个大机会是什么?”有时它恰恰是那些原本在采用新技术上很滞后的行业。金融业和金融服务业绝对就是这种行业之一。比如说,现在的大银行仍然有大量的实体分支机构,这简直令人难以置信。不过在疫情期间,我们终于看到金融领域的各种移动APP被消费者大量采用,比如Cash App、PayPal和Square等等,另外在金融服务业也有很多其他的移动应用。除此之外,企业在财务管理上,比如在票据支付、采购与会计和合同管理等方面,也开始大量应用这些金融APP。

不过奇怪的是,很多这些东西在美国以外更先进。比如在中国,中国企业对微信和支付宝的应用要远远领先于美国企业。

科赫:现在这个时刻,很有意思的是,我们有了很多颠覆性的技术,而且疫情还加快了这一进程。不过这种创新大多发生在零售领域。所以现在我们现在可以在网上一键下单,第二天快递就能送到家门口,简直超级方便,所有人都喜欢这一点。不过这些大的行业也容易受到更多监管,所以它们在很多方面都是更难被颠覆的。

目前,全球互联网公司的市值总额大约是14万亿美元,全球 金融服务公司的市值总额大约是16万亿美元,所以我认为机会是巨大的。 2021年,我们将开始看到一些即将被颠覆的公司已经受到了非常严重的影响。一些传统支付公司的收益极不理想,原因就是受到了一些宗丹刚刚提到的APP的影响,比如Toast、Square和Shopify等等。它们提供的服务与传统支付公司非常类似,但从很多方面看都要更好,而且他们的端对端服务的成本更低。

世界上已经有其他国家在这方面走得比美国更远了。对此我有两点感悟:首先,美国的支付生态会变得更像中国,未来能把电商、社交和支付整合在一起的APP将会胜出。

其次,事实证明,要想在这些市场取得成功,你需要有大量的当地知识。以巴西为例,巴西已经开始建立自己的支付生态系统了。 PagSeguro就是一个为小微商户提供支付服务的公司。有些时候,新兴市场国家之所以能在这些方面走在前列,是因为他们没有传统的基础设施作为历史包袱。不过我们也意识到,美国也会产生很多本土赢家。不过这个领域的全球大赢家未必还会是美国的“五巨头”。

新兴市场是很多美国投资者严重忽视的地方。

科赫:你说的对。大多数美国投资者对新兴市场配置不足。新兴市场约占全球证据市场的10%到15%,但美国投资者对新兴市场的配资往往只有一两个百分点,很多压根没有新兴市场投资。但新兴市场也有一些很好的公司和增长机会。

通胀对你的看法有何改变?

吉洛斯:2021年真是一场“完美风暴”。即便是在正常经济复苏的年份,通胀一般也会高于正常水平。但今年美国出台了巨额的经济刺激计划,而且人们也在积极消费,市场对耐用消费品的需求比趋势线高出了20%以上,我们以前从未在数据中看到这样的情况。不管是电器、运动器材、空调,还是电脑和ipad,它们的需求都远远超出了正常水平。而现有的供应链不足支持需求在一夜之间暴涨20%。

由供应链问题导致的通胀可能要持续到2023年,此外还有一些结构性因素也导致了美国的通胀高于疫情前5年的水平。首先是市场对大学以下学历工人的需求正在上升,所以他们有了比以往更多的选择——比如在亚马逊送快递,或者干一些灵活的零工。从人口上看,这一部分人口并未增加。所以从本质上看,我们需要让工资在一段时间里快速上涨,以刺激那些目前没有就业的人去就业。我们可能不会永远保持4.5%的通胀率,但我认为在未来三到五年,你都会看到美国的通胀率要会比疫情前略高。

这对投资者的策略有何影响?

吉洛斯:我认为有一个资产类别很有吸引力,那就是杠杆贷款。现在它在我的投资组合里占了10%左右,而一两年前它大概只占1%。它们属于浮动利率贷款,所以如果利率上涨,你就赚了。如果利率是稳定的,你也能拿到4%的回报。即便是利率下跌,你的损失也不会太大,况且目前并我不认为有大幅降息的可能。由于国债目前价位很高,所以投资级债券并不很具有吸引力。而杠杆贷款由于其波动性仅有证券市场的三分之一,所以它对那些风险意识很强且不喜欢高风险的投资者是很有意义的。

我认为现在所有人都有一个共识,那就是随着疫情日趋平稳,经济将逐步走向正常化——尤其是从消费者的个人体验来看。你在这方面看到了哪些机会?

宗丹:我认为接下来一两年,小盘股的表现应该会相当不错。因为这些小盘股公司一般都是深耕国内的公司,比如餐饮、酒店、消费品零售和娱乐企业等等。他们一般会有更多的固定成本,并且需要更多的体力劳动者。但随着经济的复苏和增长,一些受疫情影响最严重的行业将会有很积极的发展。

近几十年,比起物质需求,很多消费者更加重视的是“体验”——比如旅行、听音乐会等等。Live Nation就是一家我们非常喜欢的公司,它是全美最大的音乐会和现场演出推广公司。它的业务是数字化无法取代的,就连亚马逊也没法跟它抢生意。如果你想见你最喜欢的音乐人,最好的方法当然是去看他现场演出。而且人们也喜欢看现场演出。另外,“千禧一代”已经成了目前的消费主力,他们是尤其注重体验的一代,他们对工作、房子、车子、孩子并不那么看重,但却很重视旅行、体验、音乐会这些东西。

我比较感兴趣的另一个新兴的、非物质的增长领域是元宇宙。我们发现,这一代年轻人是很相信元宇宙的,就像他们也能最早接受移动化和社交媒体一样。我并不认为元宇宙会完全取代真实世界,但它会给很多年轻的“千禧一代”的生活提供某种补充。

科赫:我想补充两点。首先,全球有85%的千禧一代人生活在新兴市场国家。所以这些生活体验、旅行和户外活动方面的趋势应该是全球化的。其次,现在很多“千禧一代”和“Z世代”的年轻人都会把他们的生活体验拍成照片,然后发布在社交媒体上,这样就实现了体验的物化——我本人是1980年出生的,所以我算“千禧一代”里的老年人,这些都是我的团队告诉我的。也就是说,现在的年轻人不在网上“秀”奢侈品了,但他们可以“秀”生活体验。我想强调的是好的户外公司也有投资价值,特别是小盘股,不管是Yeti公司,还是一些做游泳池、房车或者游艇的公司——现在美国年轻人拥有的游艇比中老年人还多。

专家选美股

Toast (TOST, $45)

Shopify (SHOP, $1,691)

PagSeguro Digital (PAGS, $30)

Live Nation (LYV, $113)

Yeti Holdings (YETI, $103)

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, $155)

Nvidia (NVDA, $330)

Angi (ANGI, $10)

Roblox (RBLX, $135)

Silergy (6415.TW, $5,250)

MKS Instruments (MKSI, $163)

Prices as of 11/19/21

股价截止至2021年11月19日

宗丹:我们发现,很多消费品牌接受元宇宙的速度很快,他们已经开始在元宇宙里举办活动了。他们采用了游戏化的手段,营造了可视化的体验,如果你采用Oculus这样的VR头盔,视觉效果显然会更好。很多企业都押宝在这种3D化的、更有体验感的环境。比如Gucci打造了一款虚拟手袋——它是虚拟的,不是真的手袋,但居然也能卖出好几千美元。再比如非同质化代币(NFT)。汤姆·布拉迪(著名橄榄球星)就推出了自己的NFT平台,它本质上就是一张数字化的橄榄球卡片,跟以前的交易卡差不多。有些人跟我说,能想出这种概念的人肯定是疯了。但我认为,几千年前的某一天,有个人走到市场上,他不是用牛羊来换鸡和玉米,而是拿出来了一种叫钱币的东西。但是其他小贩可能会以看傻子的眼神看着他说:“我不想要这个铁片,把我的鸡还给我。”

当然,在我们这个时代,新事物达到50%普及率的时间已经大大缩短。以前,美国用了66年才让50%的美国人用上电话,而电视却只用了四分之一的时间就达到了50%的普及率。脸书的普及率更是不到4年就达到了50%。新技术的快速应用是我们这个时代的特点之一,也是所有投资者都应该关注的一个现象。在元宇宙领域,我目前还没有特别推荐的投资对象,但我认有一些公司是值得关注的,比如Roblox和Unity。当然,现在已经更名为Meta的脸书也很值得关注。另外我们认为,一些传统公司也很可能从元宇宙中获益。比方说,元宇宙所需的计算力是惊人的,所以就需要像AMD和英伟达这样的半导体公司来驱动它。

基思:关于千禧一代,我再补充一点,从年龄上看,千禧一代马上即将进入收入高峰期,他们最大的一笔开销就是房子——不管是买房、还房贷还是翻修房子。这样的话,像Angi这样的公司就会从中受益。Angi是一家主流的线上房屋服务平台,它瞄准的是一个9000亿美元的目标市场。千禧一代跟我们不一样,他们更喜欢在网上找服务承包商,而我们这一代人则喜欢通过黄页或者其他途径。

费恩扎格:我并没有花太多时间思考过千禧一代的问题,我主要关注的是人口的两个边缘,首先是“婴儿潮”一代的老年人,以及相关的“养老经济”及技术。但更重要的是“Z世代”的年轻人,他们是第一代的“数字原住民”,他们对生活的态度和我们完全不同,敢于质疑一切,而且他们彼此之间的关系也跟我们这一代有很大的不同。我在虚拟币和元宇宙这两种前沿技术上投资的不多,但我的确认为它们是一种趋势。目前,它们看起来有赌博和投机的意味——如果你没有做好赔钱的准备,就不要打算投资这一类的东西。但它还是很值得了解的。

我投资的一家公司就在这个领域里做了一些很有趣的事,这家公司叫Makara。 Makara所做的事就是创建一个投资篮子。本质上它们是由虚拟币构成的ETF基金,散户投资者可以买入这些基金进行投资。投资篮子里的资产被它以一种我们这些上了年纪的千禧一代人和X世代人可以理解的方式包装了起来,这样一来,我们就不用担心油价,不用管OpenSea(一个虚拟币交易平台)是干什么的,也不用管为什么我们要买那些奇奇怪怪的动物币。

科赫:在这个行业里,我们经常会谈论多元化的问题——这是一个非常重要的问题。我们的团队有一半的投资是由女性经理管理的,这是一件很值得骄傲的事。我们经常会谈到性别和种族的问题,但除此之外,你自己投资团队也要做到人才的多元化。否则你甚至都不知道为什么有人会在元宇宙里买一些莫名其妙的东西,这时候你就需要年轻人帮你理解这些。

新闻界有一条颠扑不破的真理:你的孩子在讨论什么事,你就应该关注什么事。我认为这一点对投资者也是一样的。

我想让大家回答最后一个问题:你们认为明年最大的风险和机遇在哪里?

吉洛斯:2019年,标普500的每股收益是164美元,今年有望达到205甚至207美元,已经远高于平均趋势。以中值计算,大盘股的估值也已接近25年来的最高点,所以收益增长即将放缓。通常来说,这对市场并不是一个好信号。如果总体增长环境放缓了,那么那些一向稳定增长的公司就会重新受到青睐。

基思:我们认为2022年最大的风险是劳动力短缺,这给企业创新和增长带来了更大的挑战。2020年4月份以来,美国的非农就业人口已经增长了1700万人,但仍然比疫情前低了500万人。因此,企业要想吸引和保留人才,就要提供一个安全、包容的环境。那些拥有强烈的宗旨使命感的企业将在吸引人才上具备很强的竞争优势。

宗丹:我认为最大的机遇还是在创新型、增长型的公司身上。我们还处在一个疫情加剧、加速的时期,而这也加快了一些行业和企业的衰退速度。所以机会就会集中在这些引领趋势的公司身上。

在风险方面,我最担心的就是通胀。在很长一段时间里,美国经济增长的主要受益者是白领工人,而不是蓝领工人。现在我们看到,蓝领工人的待遇有所上升。我认为这对社会是有好处的,蓝领工人的高工资对现实生活是十分必要的,但时间一长就容易转化成更高的通胀。

其次是商品通胀。 现在的油价为83美元。金融危机以来,我们还没有见过83美元的油价,造成这种现象的主要原因是中国的崛起。现在有一个有趣的现象,我本人是一个环保主义者,我欢迎能源行业向风能、太阳能等可再生能源转型。但由于油气行业资本支出的减少,再考虑到可再生能源的未来前景,接下来几年,油气价格可能会一直保持在高位。如果你想让市场倒逼转型,这或许是最好的方法,但中间也会有一段很不愉快的过渡时期。

科赫:我们担心的是供应链的问题会持续到2022年,特别是芯片短缺的问题。现在芯片从订购到交货需要长达22周的时间,这是非常滞后的。芯片短缺是一个非常重要的问题,因为我们今天谈到的很多东西都需要技术上的创新,而芯片是所有这些技术的基础。

这就引出了我的第二点,那就是我们认为2022年的一个重大机遇在于构建供应链的弹性。我们喜欢那些在这方面考虑得比较周全的公司。目前来看,中国和美国都会在本土市场上对芯片设计和制造进行大规模的投资,所以我们很看好半导体设备制造商,比如亚洲的硅力杰、美国的MKS Instruments等。

莱斯利,你对风险和机遇有何看法?

费恩扎格:作为做风投的人,我一般不以一年而非几十年为单位来考虑机遇和风险。不过我认为很多风险同时也是机遇,就像一枚硬币的两面。我想说的一点是,现在越来越多的钱进入了创业领域,因为创业从没有像现在这么容易过。很多投资人发现,风投和初创的成果来得越来越大、越来越快。这当然是一个机遇。

至于挑战,初创公司并不是一个你可以非常高效地投入大量资本的地方。有时候情况甚至恰恰相反,你向初创公司投得钱越多,他们越学不会如何建立实际业务,以及如何在成长过程中有效利用资金,这最终对这些公司是不利的。

更大的机遇在于让更多人去工作,去参与到投资和创造财富的巨大浪潮中来。在疫情以前,世界经济论坛曾指出,女性可能还需要160年的时间才能在经济上与男性平等。而疫情爆发以后,这个时间变成了300年左右。很多女性不再工作了,她们没有参与到经济中来,她们也没有进行投资,这种现象是全球性的。即便在我们这个行业,全世界只有不到1%的资产是由女性管理的。

我将以积极的观点结束发言——另一方面,现在创富、创业的周期大大加快,人们参与经济和创造财富的方式大大增加,这在以前是根本无法做到的。有些新模式为投资经济带来了新人、新思维和新资本,我很乐见这一切所带来的机会。

这是很好的结束语。感谢你们的时间、观点和专业知识。

三个兴奋点和三个担忧点

三个兴奋点

小盘股

平均要比标普500的大公司股便宜得多,随着消费的复苏,很多小盘股公司将获益,其中不乏一些快速增长的技术创新者。

金融科技,永远的神

像Toast、Square和PayPal这样的公司仍处于金融服务改革的早期阶段。

福利更好的公司

初创公司和上市公司更加关注员工的福祉——这样可以降低人才流失率,从而更好地回报股东。

三个担忧点

通胀

供应链问题应该很快就会缓解,但劳动力短缺问题可能不会很快得到解决,这将引起工资通胀。(好的一面是,这有利于解决收入差距的问题。)

芯片短缺

芯片订货时间过长,达到创纪录的水平,可能会减缓很多企业的升级和创新速度。

绿色之痛

化石能源向可再生能源的转型具有极大的经济意义,但会提高企业和消费者的短期成本。(财富中文网)

本文另一版本刊发在2021年12月/ 2022年1月刊的《财富》杂志上,题为《投资者圆桌会议:精明投资走出危机模式》。

译者:朴成奎

在疫情最严重的时候,很多人担心的都是一个“少”的问题——如果被疫情冲击得千创百孔的经济让我们的钱变少了怎么办?而在这次《财富》举办的年度投资者圆桌会议上,由于美国经济近来复苏速度喜人,在谈到明年经济形势的时候,很多人已经开始担心“多”的问题了。

人们对消费品的需求太多了,以至于造成了供应链的混乱,加剧了通胀;太多热钱集中在硅谷和华尔街,以至于很多初创公司和股票都有估值过高之嫌。从更高的层面看,大气层里的二氧化碳也太多了,迫使企业的CEO、投资者和消费者都必须在可持续发展问题上做出艰难的选择。面对这种局面,与会的每一位专家也都在寻找那些拥有合适的技术和商业模式的公司,希望它们能在如今这个快速变化的世界中胜出。

参加今年圆桌会议的嘉宾有:Fred Alger Management公司CEO、首席投资官兼投资组合经理宗丹(Dan Chung),风投机构Graham & Walker创始人兼董事总经理莱斯利·费恩扎格(Leslie Feinzaig),T. Rowe Price公司证券与多元资产首席投资官、新书《资本配置:为股东创造长期价值的原则、战略与过程》的作者大卫·吉洛斯(David Giroux),Parnassus Investments公司研究与投资总监洛莉·基思(Lori Keith),以及高盛资产管理公司基本面证券业务负责人凯蒂·科赫(Katie Koch)。以下是他们在圆桌会议上的发言(有删节)。

《财富》:今年是经济强势复苏的一年,但是现在我们又看到了一些新的困难,比如通胀、劳工问题、供应链问题,以及政府刺激计划到期等等。你们是否认为2022年的股市总体会降温?

凯蒂·科赫:宏观上看,我们认为2022年是更强调经济韧性的一年,明年的回报率可能会有所降低。在此背景下,我们在投资上必须具有高度的选择性。说到经济韧性,我们投资的领域主要包括稳定供应链——今年我们所有人都发现了稳定供应链的重要性;此外还有企业数字化领域,最后则是促进全球向可持续发展方向转型。

在疫情早期,数字化的好处似乎主要被大型科技公司享受了。是否也有些业务流向了不太知名的中小企业?

宗丹:从某种程度上来讲,新技术的大规模应用,是很多人不得不进行的一项试验。但我认为,这场试验大体上是相当成功的——包括在一些十分传统的行业。比如疫情期间,餐饮业受到的冲击仅次于航空业,但很多餐饮企业都开启了线上下单和外卖服务,而且成绩相当亮眼。现在即便城市已经开放了,他们的外卖业务也比以前红火很多,甚至要高于疫情前的水平。

莱斯利·费恩扎格:正所谓“福兮祸之所倚”,危与机往往是并存的。疫情给我们的工作和生活方式带来了很大干扰,很多人的行为尚未适应“新常态”。在疫情以前,很多风投对教育行业都是非常谨慎的。但是疫情一来,我们才意识到,教育还有这么多种方式,因此这个行业的投资也达到了创纪录的水平。我个人也在教育领域投资了一两家公司,其中之一是早教公司LegUp,另一个是旨在通过社区学院在美国中部地区提供学历和技能提升项目的Stack Education。

在医疗服务领域也有很多创新模式。现在保险也覆盖了很多远程医疗项目,并被更多人接受。现在你只需要简单地预约,就可以轻松享受远程医疗服务。疫情期间,这种个人医疗领域的创新也为风投创造了前所未有的机会。要不是这几年我们的生活遭遇了这么重大的干扰,可能也就根本不会有这么大的创新动力。

科赫:这种颠覆不仅发生在风投界,也影响到了公开市场。据我们估计,明年包括以后,科技界的一些“大赢家”,很有可能将不再是那些在美国上市的主流平台。

想想20年前全球市值最高的十家大公司,活到现在还仍然榜上有名的就只有一个,那就是微软。其他9家公司已经累计损失了2350亿美元市值。这就充分说明了寻找下一代企业的重要性。

我们认为,明年企业界的科技支出可能会增长4%,这将是10年来的最高预期增长率。网络安全是我们关注的领域之一,因为现在越来越多的人将工作放到了云端进行。Palo Alto Networks是一家在这方面走在前沿的公司。HubSpot是软件方面我们比较青睐的一家公司,它主要是在帮助美国的中小企业实现数字化。

在应对气候变化上,包括在如何让企业实现绿色运营上,也有很多技术层面的机会。

洛莉·基思:对。我想重点谈一家叫Roper Technologies的公司,它能帮企业减少用水量。他们是一家多元技术公司,主要为各个小众市场开发软件工程产品。同时他们也提供了一款非常具有创新性的水泵,可以显著减少用水量,同时还能监测水质。

另一家公司Guidewire Software也符合这个主题,只不过可能不那么明显。当然它也顺应了数字化的趋势。气候变化带来的各种物理风险会显著影响财产保险的成本,而Guidewire公司的软件和数据分析技术则可以帮助客户管理这些风险,处理好这些至关重要的气候变化问题。

大卫·吉洛斯:未来20年,没有任何一个行业在减排问题上的重要性可以与电力行业相提并论。目前电力行业的做法基本是在用风能、太阳能取代煤炭和天然气发电。但问题是,煤炭、天然气包括核能的发电载荷都是可预测的,而风能和太阳能的发电载荷却有很多变数。为了让清洁能源经济真的运转起来,我们认为到2040年前,美国至少要在新的输电项目上投资4000亿美元。

其中相当一部分项目会集中在中西部,因为那里风力资源最强,不存在像东西海岸那样的选址问题。因此,未来20年,中西部的电力公司在输电项目上是大有可为的。Ameren、Exelon、AEP和Xcel等公司可能都会是比较大的受益者。而且中西部也更不容易受到极端恶劣天气的影响。

今年,极端天气事件也给供应链造成了问题。哪些行业应对这个问题做得最好?

基思:围绕供应链其实有两个问题:一是实际的供应链问题,二是劳动力短缺的问题。我们发现,有些企业愿意对员工队伍从安全、多元化、健康和福利等方面进行投资,所以他们不光克服了劳动力短缺的问题,还实现了健康增长。比如芝加哥期权交易所是全球最大的证券交易所之一,它的员工自愿离职率只有5%左右,是同类企业中最低的。它提供了很多内部项目,比如领导力发展项目、员工健康项目和一些女性倡议等等,还有一支50多人的多元化团队,这些做法让员工产生了很高的参与度,从而将离职率降到了最低,这使他们能以更快的速度实现增长。

另一家我认为很有优势的公司是Trumbull。 他们主要研究用于建筑业和农业运输的云软件解决方案。在运输行业,卡车司机短缺是运输公司面临的头号问题。Trumbull的做法是通过动态调度,整合实时环境数据和交通数据,提供优化路线,以减少司机在工作中遇到的阻力,提供直至“最后一公里”的服务。

专家选美股

Toast (TOST, $45)

Shopify (SHOP, $1,691)

PagSeguro Digital (PAGS, $30)

Live Nation (LYV, $113)

Yeti Holdings (YETI, $103)

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, $155)

Nvidia (NVDA, $330)

Angi (ANGI, $10)

Roblox (RBLX, $135)

Silergy (6415.TW, $5,250)

MKS Instruments (MKSI, $163)

Prices as of 11/19/21

价值截止至2021年11月19日。股票名称按提及顺序排列。

在劳动力短缺方面,美国已经出现了所谓的“大离职”浪潮,几乎所有劳动者都有一种身心被掏空的感觉。创业界一向是以“鸡血”、“996”和“007”闻名的。我想知道,你们是否发现有公司已经在着手解决这个问题了?

费恩扎格:我们当然希望如此。现在我发现很多公司都在努力解决“留人”的问题,从建立辅导平台、提供健康服务到培训和发展,再到构建企业文化和吸引员工参与。至于他们是否会成功,我还不知道。

大约10到15年前的时候,每个人都想在那种公共区域提供啤酒的初创公司里工作。不过现在,我认为人们都想找一家真正把他们当人看、能够提供360度全方位支持的公司。现在已经有很多公司在开展心理健康日活动了。要想争夺人才,光靠给的工资多是不行的。现在人们关心的是,我的人生只有一次,我应该在哪里度过我宝贵的人生,同时还能保持一些完整的自我?

你可能会说,这种心态的强化也与一些面向消费者的公司的创新有关,它们消除了交易中的阻力。

宗丹:以互联网、云计算和移动计算为代表的这波技术红利已经持续20年了。很多人都在说:“下一个大机会是什么?”有时它恰恰是那些原本在采用新技术上很滞后的行业。金融业和金融服务业绝对就是这种行业之一。比如说,现在的大银行仍然有大量的实体分支机构,这简直令人难以置信。不过在疫情期间,我们终于看到金融领域的各种移动APP被消费者大量采用,比如Cash App、PayPal和Square等等,另外在金融服务业也有很多其他的移动应用。除此之外,企业在财务管理上,比如在票据支付、采购与会计和合同管理等方面,也开始大量应用这些金融APP。

不过奇怪的是,很多这些东西在美国以外更先进。比如在中国,中国企业对微信和支付宝的应用要远远领先于美国企业。

科赫:现在这个时刻,很有意思的是,我们有了很多颠覆性的技术,而且疫情还加快了这一进程。不过这种创新大多发生在零售领域。所以现在我们现在可以在网上一键下单,第二天快递就能送到家门口,简直超级方便,所有人都喜欢这一点。不过这些大的行业也容易受到更多监管,所以它们在很多方面都是更难被颠覆的。

目前,全球互联网公司的市值总额大约是14万亿美元,全球 金融服务公司的市值总额大约是16万亿美元,所以我认为机会是巨大的。 2021年,我们将开始看到一些即将被颠覆的公司已经受到了非常严重的影响。一些传统支付公司的收益极不理想,原因就是受到了一些宗丹刚刚提到的APP的影响,比如Toast、Square和Shopify等等。它们提供的服务与传统支付公司非常类似,但从很多方面看都要更好,而且他们的端对端服务的成本更低。

世界上已经有其他国家在这方面走得比美国更远了。对此我有两点感悟:首先,美国的支付生态会变得更像中国,未来能把电商、社交和支付整合在一起的APP将会胜出。

其次,事实证明,要想在这些市场取得成功,你需要有大量的当地知识。以巴西为例,巴西已经开始建立自己的支付生态系统了。 PagSeguro就是一个为小微商户提供支付服务的公司。有些时候,新兴市场国家之所以能在这些方面走在前列,是因为他们没有传统的基础设施作为历史包袱。不过我们也意识到,美国也会产生很多本土赢家。不过这个领域的全球大赢家未必还会是美国的“五巨头”。

新兴市场是很多美国投资者严重忽视的地方。

科赫:你说的对。大多数美国投资者对新兴市场配置不足。新兴市场约占全球证据市场的10%到15%,但美国投资者对新兴市场的配资往往只有一两个百分点,很多压根没有新兴市场投资。但新兴市场也有一些很好的公司和增长机会。

通胀对你的看法有何改变?

吉洛斯:2021年真是一场“完美风暴”。即便是在正常经济复苏的年份,通胀一般也会高于正常水平。但今年美国出台了巨额的经济刺激计划,而且人们也在积极消费,市场对耐用消费品的需求比趋势线高出了20%以上,我们以前从未在数据中看到这样的情况。不管是电器、运动器材、空调,还是电脑和ipad,它们的需求都远远超出了正常水平。而现有的供应链不足支持需求在一夜之间暴涨20%。

由供应链问题导致的通胀可能要持续到2023年,此外还有一些结构性因素也导致了美国的通胀高于疫情前5年的水平。首先是市场对大学以下学历工人的需求正在上升,所以他们有了比以往更多的选择——比如在亚马逊送快递,或者干一些灵活的零工。从人口上看,这一部分人口并未增加。所以从本质上看,我们需要让工资在一段时间里快速上涨,以刺激那些目前没有就业的人去就业。我们可能不会永远保持4.5%的通胀率,但我认为在未来三到五年,你都会看到美国的通胀率要会比疫情前略高。

这对投资者的策略有何影响?

吉洛斯:我认为有一个资产类别很有吸引力,那就是杠杆贷款。现在它在我的投资组合里占了10%左右,而一两年前它大概只占1%。它们属于浮动利率贷款,所以如果利率上涨,你就赚了。如果利率是稳定的,你也能拿到4%的回报。即便是利率下跌,你的损失也不会太大,况且目前并我不认为有大幅降息的可能。由于国债目前价位很高,所以投资级债券并不很具有吸引力。而杠杆贷款由于其波动性仅有证券市场的三分之一,所以它对那些风险意识很强且不喜欢高风险的投资者是很有意义的。

我认为现在所有人都有一个共识,那就是随着疫情日趋平稳,经济将逐步走向正常化——尤其是从消费者的个人体验来看。你在这方面看到了哪些机会?

宗丹:我认为接下来一两年,小盘股的表现应该会相当不错。因为这些小盘股公司一般都是深耕国内的公司,比如餐饮、酒店、消费品零售和娱乐企业等等。他们一般会有更多的固定成本,并且需要更多的体力劳动者。但随着经济的复苏和增长,一些受疫情影响最严重的行业将会有很积极的发展。

近几十年,比起物质需求,很多消费者更加重视的是“体验”——比如旅行、听音乐会等等。Live Nation就是一家我们非常喜欢的公司,它是全美最大的音乐会和现场演出推广公司。它的业务是数字化无法取代的,就连亚马逊也没法跟它抢生意。如果你想见你最喜欢的音乐人,最好的方法当然是去看他现场演出。而且人们也喜欢看现场演出。另外,“千禧一代”已经成了目前的消费主力,他们是尤其注重体验的一代,他们对工作、房子、车子、孩子并不那么看重,但却很重视旅行、体验、音乐会这些东西。

我比较感兴趣的另一个新兴的、非物质的增长领域是元宇宙。我们发现,这一代年轻人是很相信元宇宙的,就像他们也能最早接受移动化和社交媒体一样。我并不认为元宇宙会完全取代真实世界,但它会给很多年轻的“千禧一代”的生活提供某种补充。

科赫:我想补充两点。首先,全球有85%的千禧一代人生活在新兴市场国家。所以这些生活体验、旅行和户外活动方面的趋势应该是全球化的。其次,现在很多“千禧一代”和“Z世代”的年轻人都会把他们的生活体验拍成照片,然后发布在社交媒体上,这样就实现了体验的物化——我本人是1980年出生的,所以我算“千禧一代”里的老年人,这些都是我的团队告诉我的。也就是说,现在的年轻人不在网上“秀”奢侈品了,但他们可以“秀”生活体验。我想强调的是好的户外公司也有投资价值,特别是小盘股,不管是Yeti公司,还是一些做游泳池、房车或者游艇的公司——现在美国年轻人拥有的游艇比中老年人还多。

专家选美股

Toast (TOST, $45)

Shopify (SHOP, $1,691)

PagSeguro Digital (PAGS, $30)

Live Nation (LYV, $113)

Yeti Holdings (YETI, $103)

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, $155)

Nvidia (NVDA, $330)

Angi (ANGI, $10)

Roblox (RBLX, $135)

Silergy (6415.TW, $5,250)

MKS Instruments (MKSI, $163)

Prices as of 11/19/21

股价截止至2021年11月19日

宗丹:我们发现,很多消费品牌接受元宇宙的速度很快,他们已经开始在元宇宙里举办活动了。他们采用了游戏化的手段,营造了可视化的体验,如果你采用Oculus这样的VR头盔,视觉效果显然会更好。很多企业都押宝在这种3D化的、更有体验感的环境。比如Gucci打造了一款虚拟手袋——它是虚拟的,不是真的手袋,但居然也能卖出好几千美元。再比如非同质化代币(NFT)。汤姆·布拉迪(著名橄榄球星)就推出了自己的NFT平台,它本质上就是一张数字化的橄榄球卡片,跟以前的交易卡差不多。有些人跟我说,能想出这种概念的人肯定是疯了。但我认为,几千年前的某一天,有个人走到市场上,他不是用牛羊来换鸡和玉米,而是拿出来了一种叫钱币的东西。但是其他小贩可能会以看傻子的眼神看着他说:“我不想要这个铁片,把我的鸡还给我。”

当然,在我们这个时代,新事物达到50%普及率的时间已经大大缩短。以前,美国用了66年才让50%的美国人用上电话,而电视却只用了四分之一的时间就达到了50%的普及率。脸书的普及率更是不到4年就达到了50%。新技术的快速应用是我们这个时代的特点之一,也是所有投资者都应该关注的一个现象。在元宇宙领域,我目前还没有特别推荐的投资对象,但我认有一些公司是值得关注的,比如Roblox和Unity。当然,现在已经更名为Meta的脸书也很值得关注。另外我们认为,一些传统公司也很可能从元宇宙中获益。比方说,元宇宙所需的计算力是惊人的,所以就需要像AMD和英伟达这样的半导体公司来驱动它。

基思:关于千禧一代,我再补充一点,从年龄上看,千禧一代马上即将进入收入高峰期,他们最大的一笔开销就是房子——不管是买房、还房贷还是翻修房子。这样的话,像Angi这样的公司就会从中受益。Angi是一家主流的线上房屋服务平台,它瞄准的是一个9000亿美元的目标市场。千禧一代跟我们不一样,他们更喜欢在网上找服务承包商,而我们这一代人则喜欢通过黄页或者其他途径。

费恩扎格:我并没有花太多时间思考过千禧一代的问题,我主要关注的是人口的两个边缘,首先是“婴儿潮”一代的老年人,以及相关的“养老经济”及技术。但更重要的是“Z世代”的年轻人,他们是第一代的“数字原住民”,他们对生活的态度和我们完全不同,敢于质疑一切,而且他们彼此之间的关系也跟我们这一代有很大的不同。我在虚拟币和元宇宙这两种前沿技术上投资的不多,但我的确认为它们是一种趋势。目前,它们看起来有赌博和投机的意味——如果你没有做好赔钱的准备,就不要打算投资这一类的东西。但它还是很值得了解的。

我投资的一家公司就在这个领域里做了一些很有趣的事,这家公司叫Makara。 Makara所做的事就是创建一个投资篮子。本质上它们是由虚拟币构成的ETF基金,散户投资者可以买入这些基金进行投资。投资篮子里的资产被它以一种我们这些上了年纪的千禧一代人和X世代人可以理解的方式包装了起来,这样一来,我们就不用担心油价,不用管OpenSea(一个虚拟币交易平台)是干什么的,也不用管为什么我们要买那些奇奇怪怪的动物币。

科赫:在这个行业里,我们经常会谈论多元化的问题——这是一个非常重要的问题。我们的团队有一半的投资是由女性经理管理的,这是一件很值得骄傲的事。我们经常会谈到性别和种族的问题,但除此之外,你自己投资团队也要做到人才的多元化。否则你甚至都不知道为什么有人会在元宇宙里买一些莫名其妙的东西,这时候你就需要年轻人帮你理解这些。

新闻界有一条颠扑不破的真理:你的孩子在讨论什么事,你就应该关注什么事。我认为这一点对投资者也是一样的。

我想让大家回答最后一个问题:你们认为明年最大的风险和机遇在哪里?

吉洛斯:2019年,标普500的每股收益是164美元,今年有望达到205甚至207美元,已经远高于平均趋势。以中值计算,大盘股的估值也已接近25年来的最高点,所以收益增长即将放缓。通常来说,这对市场并不是一个好信号。如果总体增长环境放缓了,那么那些一向稳定增长的公司就会重新受到青睐。

基思:我们认为2022年最大的风险是劳动力短缺,这给企业创新和增长带来了更大的挑战。2020年4月份以来,美国的非农就业人口已经增长了1700万人,但仍然比疫情前低了500万人。因此,企业要想吸引和保留人才,就要提供一个安全、包容的环境。那些拥有强烈的宗旨使命感的企业将在吸引人才上具备很强的竞争优势。

宗丹:我认为最大的机遇还是在创新型、增长型的公司身上。我们还处在一个疫情加剧、加速的时期,而这也加快了一些行业和企业的衰退速度。所以机会就会集中在这些引领趋势的公司身上。

在风险方面,我最担心的就是通胀。在很长一段时间里,美国经济增长的主要受益者是白领工人,而不是蓝领工人。现在我们看到,蓝领工人的待遇有所上升。我认为这对社会是有好处的,蓝领工人的高工资对现实生活是十分必要的,但时间一长就容易转化成更高的通胀。

其次是商品通胀。 现在的油价为83美元。金融危机以来,我们还没有见过83美元的油价,造成这种现象的主要原因是中国的崛起。现在有一个有趣的现象,我本人是一个环保主义者,我欢迎能源行业向风能、太阳能等可再生能源转型。但由于油气行业资本支出的减少,再考虑到可再生能源的未来前景,接下来几年,油气价格可能会一直保持在高位。如果你想让市场倒逼转型,这或许是最好的方法,但中间也会有一段很不愉快的过渡时期。

科赫:我们担心的是供应链的问题会持续到2022年,特别是芯片短缺的问题。现在芯片从订购到交货需要长达22周的时间,这是非常滞后的。芯片短缺是一个非常重要的问题,因为我们今天谈到的很多东西都需要技术上的创新,而芯片是所有这些技术的基础。

这就引出了我的第二点,那就是我们认为2022年的一个重大机遇在于构建供应链的弹性。我们喜欢那些在这方面考虑得比较周全的公司。目前来看,中国和美国都会在本土市场上对芯片设计和制造进行大规模的投资,所以我们很看好半导体设备制造商,比如亚洲的硅力杰、美国的MKS Instruments等。

莱斯利,你对风险和机遇有何看法?

费恩扎格:作为做风投的人,我一般不以一年而非几十年为单位来考虑机遇和风险。不过我认为很多风险同时也是机遇,就像一枚硬币的两面。我想说的一点是,现在越来越多的钱进入了创业领域,因为创业从没有像现在这么容易过。很多投资人发现,风投和初创的成果来得越来越大、越来越快。这当然是一个机遇。

至于挑战,初创公司并不是一个你可以非常高效地投入大量资本的地方。有时候情况甚至恰恰相反,你向初创公司投得钱越多,他们越学不会如何建立实际业务,以及如何在成长过程中有效利用资金,这最终对这些公司是不利的。

更大的机遇在于让更多人去工作,去参与到投资和创造财富的巨大浪潮中来。在疫情以前,世界经济论坛曾指出,女性可能还需要160年的时间才能在经济上与男性平等。而疫情爆发以后,这个时间变成了300年左右。很多女性不再工作了,她们没有参与到经济中来,她们也没有进行投资,这种现象是全球性的。即便在我们这个行业,全世界只有不到1%的资产是由女性管理的。

我将以积极的观点结束发言——另一方面,现在创富、创业的周期大大加快,人们参与经济和创造财富的方式大大增加,这在以前是根本无法做到的。有些新模式为投资经济带来了新人、新思维和新资本,我很乐见这一切所带来的机会。

这是很好的结束语。感谢你们的时间、观点和专业知识。

三个兴奋点和三个担忧点

三个兴奋点

小盘股

平均要比标普500的大公司股便宜得多,随着消费的复苏,很多小盘股公司将获益,其中不乏一些快速增长的技术创新者。

金融科技,永远的神

像Toast、Square和PayPal这样的公司仍处于金融服务改革的早期阶段。

福利更好的公司

初创公司和上市公司更加关注员工的福祉——这样可以降低人才流失率,从而更好地回报股东。

三个担忧点

通胀

供应链问题应该很快就会缓解,但劳动力短缺问题可能不会很快得到解决,这将引起工资通胀。(好的一面是,这有利于解决收入差距的问题。)

芯片短缺

芯片订货时间过长,达到创纪录的水平,可能会减缓很多企业的升级和创新速度。

绿色之痛

化石能源向可再生能源的转型具有极大的经济意义,但会提高企业和消费者的短期成本。(财富中文网)

本文另一版本刊发在2021年12月/ 2022年1月刊的《财富》杂志上,题为《投资者圆桌会议:精明投资走出危机模式》。

译者:朴成奎

During the depths of the pandemic, many of us worried about scarcity: What if a battered, disrupted economy left us with too little? In contrast, when the panelists on our annual investor roundtable gathered to talk about 2022, in the context of a roaring U.S. recovery, many were grappling with the challenges of too much. Too much demand for consumer goods, tangling supply chains and stoking inflation; too much money sloshing around in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street, making startups and stocks look overvalued; and on a far more sober note, too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, posing difficult choices about sustainability for CEOs, investors, and consumers alike. No surprise, then, that each of our experts is on the hunt for companies that have the business models and the technology to adapt to a fast-changing world.

Joining us on this year’s panel were Dan Chung, the CEO, chief investment officer, and portfolio manager at Fred Alger Management; Leslie Feinzaig, the founder and managing director at venture capital firm Graham & Walker; David Giroux, chief investment officer for equity and multi-asset at T. Rowe Price and author of the new book Capital Allocation: Principles, Strategies, and Processes for Creating Long-Term Shareholder Value; Lori Keith, director of research and portfolio manager at Parnassus Investments; and Katie Koch, cohead of fundamental equity at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. What follows are edited excerpts from our conversation; read more at Fortune.com.

Fortune: We’ve been through this incredible rebound year, but now we’re starting to see new headwinds, whether it’s inflation, labor and supply-chain problems, or the end of government stimulus. Is 2022 a year when you see equities in general cooling off?

Katie Koch: Big picture, we think of 2022 as a year of transitioning from recovery to more resilience, where returns will be more muted. And we’re going to have to be highly selective against that backdrop. So in terms of resilience, areas where we’re looking to invest would include the reshoring of supply chains, which we all have discovered this year need to be more resilient; digitalization of businesses; and finally, investing in the transition to a more sustainable planet.

Early in the pandemic, the benefits of digitalization seemed to flow mostly to Big Tech. Are we seeing some of that business flow to lesser-known names or smaller companies?

Dan Chung: The massive acceleration in the adoption of technology, in some ways, was a forced experiment for a lot of stakeholders. But the experience, I think, by and large has been very positive—including in some much older industries. So for example, among restaurants, the most hard-hit industry other than airlines, many pivoted to delivery and online ordering. And the results are really quite amazing. For many of them, they’re seeing that even as we reopen, their delivery efforts are actually holding up quite a bit better; they’re above the levels where they were before COVID.

Leslie Feinzaig: Building on that point, I think that in times of great disruption comes great opportunity. And we’ve had a major disruption in how we live and work and plan to do everything, and behavior hasn’t settled into what the new normal will be. A lot of VCs were very cautious about the education industry before the pandemic. And now as we realize that there are so many different ways of delivering education, we’re starting to see record investing. Personally, I’m invested in a couple of companies in the space. One is LegUp, which helps parents connect with early childhood education suppliers, and the other is Stack Education, which is delivering upskilling and rescaling programs through community colleges in the middle of America.

I’m also seeing a lot of innovation around models for delivering health care differently. Now that insurance covers a lot more telehealth, it’s a lot more widely acceptable. Now you can just book an appointment and get on with your day. All of the extra thoughtfulness that people have had, for better or worse, around personal health through the pandemic is creating all of these opportunities for spaces that venture capital has never touched before. I don’t think we’d be seeing this much traction if it weren’t for the great disruption of our lives over the past couple of years.

Koch: That disruption in venture extends into the public markets too. And we expect some of the big winners in tech next year and beyond actually to be outside of those dominant platforms that are listed in the U.S.

If you think about the largest companies in the world by market cap 20 years ago and compare that to today, there’s only one company that’s still on that list, which is Microsoft. Those other nine companies since then have lost a cumulative $235 billion of market cap. And so this speaks to the importance of finding the next generation of companies.

We think that enterprise spending on tech could be up 4% next year, which would be the highest projected growth rate in 10 years. And some areas that we’re looking at include cybersecurity, as people move workloads from the edge of the network to the cloud. Palo Alto Networks would be a company that’s going to be at the leading edge of that. In software, HubSpot, one that we like, is helping to basically digitalize aspects of small and midsize businesses in the U.S.

There’s a big technological side as well to climate-change–related thinking and making companies’ operations greener.

Lori Keith: Absolutely. One company I’d highlight that is helping companies reduce their water use is Roper Technologies. They’re a diversified technology company that develops software-engineered products for a variety of niche markets. But they’ve been providing very innovative water pumps that allow their customers to use significantly less water and to monitor that water quality.

Another, maybe less obvious, candidate with this theme is Guidewire Software. Certainly, it also plays into the digitalization trend that Katie and Dan have spoken on. The physical risk of climate change is driving really dramatic costs in property insurance. Guidewire’s software and data analytics are helping its customers to manage these risks, handling these mission-critical climate-change issues.

David Giroux: If you think about utilities, probably over the next 20 years, there’s going to be no sector that’s going to play a bigger part in essentially reducing greenhouse gases. What you’re seeing the utilities do today is basically replace coal and less-efficient natural-gas plants with wind and solar. But the issue is what happens when you go from baseload generation that’s very predictable, like coal, like nuclear, like natural gas, to generation with wind and solar, which is more variable. To make this clean-energy economy work, we estimate you may need as much as $400 billion spent on new transmission projects in this country by 2040.

A good chunk of that going to be in the Midwest. That’s where the wind resources are the strongest, where you don’t have the same siting issues as you have on the East and West coasts. So the Midwest utilities that have a lot of exposure to transmission are really well positioned to benefit for the next 20 years. Companies like Ameren, Exelon, AEP, and Xcel would all be big beneficiaries. And the Midwest tends to have far less of the severe weather that impacts these utilities’ physical plants.

Extreme weather events have also been disrupting supply chains this year. Which industries are coping with that best?

Keith: There’s two issues around the supply chain: the actual supply chain and labor shortages. We’re seeing that companies that are investing in their workforce, building up strong, inclusive workplaces around safety, diversity, health, and wellness, have been much better equipped to not only manage, but thrive. Cboe, which is one of the largest global exchange holding companies, has a level of about 5% voluntary turnover, which is among the lowest of its peers. The programs it’s offering in-house—leadership development programs, employee wellness programs, women’s initiatives, a group of 50-plus diverse associates—are generating a very high level of engagement and minimizing that turnover, which allows them to continue to grow, faster.

Another company that I think is really well positioned is Trumbull. They’re primarily focused on cloud-based software solutions for construction and agricultural transportation. Within the transportation sector, for instance, truck driver shortages are the No. 1 issue for carriers right now. What Trumbull does is remove that friction from drivers’ jobs with dynamic scheduling, optimized routing that incorporates real-time, environmental data, traffic data, to provide a more efficient route, all the way down to that very last mile.

Picks from the experts

Palo Alto Networks (PANW, $530)

HubSpot (HUBS, $822)

Roper Technologies (ROP, $498)

Guidewire Software (GWRE, $123)

Ameren (AEE, $85)

Exelon (EXC, $54)

American Electric Power Company (AEP, $83)

Xcel Energy (XEL, $65)

Cboe Global Markets (CBOE, $129)

PayPal (PYPL, $194)

Square (SQ, $225)

Prices as of 11/19/21. Stocks appear in the order mentioned

On the labor shortage front, we’re in the middle of what people have been calling the Great Resignation, with workers feeling burned out. Leslie, the startup space is a notoriously hard-charging, work-all-hours universe. I’m wondering, are you seeing companies that are addressing this?

Feinzaig: I mean, you certainly hope so after the couple years that we’ve had. I’m seeing a huge number of companies trying to solve the future of work for bigger corporations, everything from mentoring platforms, health services, coaching, development, and trying to sell into the enterprise and create engagement across employees. Are they gonna succeed? I don’t know.

Ten, 15 years ago, everybody wanted to work at a startup that served beer in the lobby. I think these days, people are looking for a company that can think about them as a human being and provide that 360-degree support. We’re seeing a ton of companies doing companywide mental health days. To compete for talent, it’s no longer just about who pays the most money. It’s about, Where can I spend my one, precious life and have some wholeness?

You could argue that mindset is also reinforced by some of the innovations in consumer-facing companies, taking the friction out of transactions.

Chung: After 20 years of internet and technology and cloud and mobile computing, a lot of people say, “Well, what is the next big opportunity?” Sometimes it’s in industries that have been slow to adapt and change to meet consumers. Finance and financial services is definitely one of these. I mean, it’s still stunning how many physical branches there are for some of our major banks. But we finally did see during COVID massive adoption of all kinds of mobile apps for consumers in the financial sector. Cash App, PayPal, Square, and many others in financial services. And also for businesses, management of their financial processes—bill payment, purchasing and accounting, contract management.

Oddly enough, many of these things are more advanced in terms of digitalization outside the U.S., for example in China, where WeChat Pay and Ant Financial among Chinese companies are far ahead in their adoption compared to the U.S.

Koch: What’s really interesting about this moment, and what COVID has helped accelerate, is that we’ve had a lot of disruption of technology. But most of it happened in the retail space. And so we got these, you know, cardboard boxes that come overnight to our house. And it’s superconvenient. And everybody loves that. Now we’re at the precipice of technology being pointed at these very large sectors that tend to be more regulated. So they were in a lot of ways harder to disrupt.

There is currently $14 trillion of market cap globally in internet companies. And there’s $16 trillion of market cap in financial services companies. So the opportunity, I think, is enormous. In 2021, we’re starting to see some of those companies that were ripe for disruption get very, very hurt. Those old-line payments companies reported very muted earnings, because they’re getting disrupted by some of the companies that Dan was speaking to, whether it’s Toast or Square or Shopify, which are providing very similar service, and in a lot of ways a better service, at a lower cost with end-to-end solutions.

There are other parts of the world that are farther along on this journey. There’s two takeaways for me from that. The first is that you’re going to see the U.S. payment space look more like China. So it’s probably going to coalesce around e-commerce, social media and payments, and apps that can wrap those three things together are positioned to win.

Second, it turns out that you do need to have a lot of local knowledge to be successful in these markets. Take Brazil as an example. They’re starting to build out their very own payment ecosystem. So I would put forward PagSeguro as an example of a company that’s providing payments to micro-merchants. In some ways emerging markets are ahead because they didn’t have the legacy infrastructure. But we’re also realizing that we’re going to have a lot of local winners. It is not necessarily going to be those five Big Tech platforms that own the whole world in this space.

And emerging markets are an arena where a lot of American investors are notoriously underinvested.

Koch: You’re very right. Most U.S. investors are under-allocated to the rest of the world into emerging markets, specifically, which is somewhere between 10% to 15% of global equity market cap, but usually only a couple percent of people’s equity portfolio in the U.S., if they have it at all. And there are some fantastic companies, great growth opportunities.

How is inflation changing your thinking right now?

Giroux: We need to keep in mind that 2021 is really the perfect storm. Just through normal recovery, we were always gonna see above normal inflation this year. But we also had massive stimulus, and people are spending that. Demand for consumer durables is up in many cases more than 20% above the trend line. We really have never seen anything like it in the data before. You know, appliances, exercise equipment, air conditioning, computers, iPads—way above normalized demand. And the supply chain was just not built to support a 20% spike in demand overnight.

This supply-chain, cyclically driven inflation will probably go away going to 2023. But there are some structural things that will probably result in inflation being higher than it was in the five years prior to COVID. The issue comes down to the worker who doesn’t have a college education. Demand for those workers is going up. And they have more options than ever, whether it be Amazon or whether it be gig jobs that offer tremendous flexibility. Demographically that population is really not growing. So essentially, we need to have wages rise fast enough over time to drive people who are not working and incentivize them to work. We’re probably not going to have 4.5% inflation forever, but I think for next three to five years, you could see inflation be moderately higher than we saw pre-pandemic.

How is that shaping investor strategy?

Giroux: One of the asset classes that I think about being really attractive is leveraged loans. It is around 10% of my portfolio today. It was 1% of the portfolio a couple years ago. These are floating-rate loans, so if rates rise, you benefit from that. If rates are stable, you get a 4% return. And if rates drop, which I don’t think they’re going drop dramatically from right here, you’re probably not going to be hurt that much at all. Treasuries are very expensive right now. Investment-grade bonds don’t look that attractive. And so leveraged loans, earning 4% with one-third the volatility of the equity market—for most risk-averse, risk-aware investors, that makes a lot of sense.

I think one assumption all of us share is a confidence that more of the economy is headed toward normal, after COVID—especially consumer experiences happening in person. What kind of opportunities are you seeing in that world?

Chung: I think small-cap equities, in particular, are going to perform quite nicely in the next year to two years, because typically, small-cap companies are more domestic: a lot of restaurants, hotels, consumer retail, and entertainment. Their business often has more fixed costs and more physical labor. But as the economy unwinds and improves, some of what was the most negatively impacted by COVID will become a positive story.

A lot of consumers for decades have been replacing demand for material things and valuing more “experiences”—things like travel or concerts. Live Nation is a company that we like a lot, the largest concert and live events promoter. This is an Amazon-proof, brick-and-mortar business not subject to digitalization. If you want to go see your favorite musician, nothing replaces seeing them live. And people do like being part of an audience, a crowd. But you also have the rise of the millennials. This is the most experiential-based, youthful demographic group we’ve ever had. They are not as focused on, you know, job, home, car, having kids; they’re much more focused on travel, experiences, concerts.

Another emerging, nonmaterial growth trend I’m interested in is the metaverse. We are finding that this generation is really adopting that, just like they adopted mobile first, and then social media first. I don’t think it’s going to replace real-world experiences, but it’s a complement to the lives of many, many of the younger millennials.

Koch: Two things I would add to that: First, 85% of the world’s millennials live in emerging markets. So these trends around live experiences, travel, the great outdoors, we try to own globally. The other point I would make is that social media has enabled millennial and Gen Z consumers—and I was born in 1980, so I’m a geriatric millennial, I’m told by my team—to take pictures of experiences that they’re having and post them to social media and that in a way, it transforms an experience into a thing. So instead of showing off luxury goods, they can take experiences and do the same thing. I also want to emphasize this idea of being in the great outdoors. There’s a lot of ways to access that in small-cap, whether it’s Yeti, whether it’s pool companies, whether it’s owning the RV companies, or boats—because boat ownership is now higher among millennials and younger generations.

Picks from the experts

Toast (TOST, $45)

Shopify (SHOP, $1,691)

PagSeguro Digital (PAGS, $30)

Live Nation (LYV, $113)

Yeti Holdings (YETI, $103)

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD, $155)

Nvidia (NVDA, $330)

Angi (ANGI, $10)

Roblox (RBLX, $135)

Silergy (6415.TW, $5,250)

MKS Instruments (MKSI, $163)

Prices as of 11/19/21

Chung: We’re seeing a rapid adoption by consumer brands hosting events in the metaverse. They are gamifying, creating environments that can be visually experienced, obviously better visually experienced if you use something like an Oculus, a VR headset. A lot of the leaders are going to transfer what they’ve been doing on social media into this more three-dimensional, more experiential environment. Gucci created a one-of-a-kind digital bag—digital, not a real bag. And they managed to sell it for thousands of dollars. Or look at non-fungible tokens, NFTs. Tom Brady, for example, has got an NFT; it’s basically a digital football card, like a trading card of old. Some people have told me that these ideas are crazy. And I say, Well, just remember one day thousands of years ago, somebody showed up at the marketplace. And instead of bringing sheep and pigs to trade for chickens and corn, they brought something called a coin. And probably the other vendors looked at them and said, “I don’t want that piece of metal. Where’s my chicken?”

Certainly, the experience of the adoption of new things in our age is that the time to 50% penetration has rapidly accelerated, consistently over many, many decades. It took 66 years to get 50% of America with a telephone. It took a quarter of that time to get TVs to 50%, and Facebook got adopted by 50% in probably like less than four years. We’re just seeing rapid, rapid adoption, and that is a phenomenon of our times that I think all investors need to be focused on. So when we think of the metaverse, I don’t have any particular investments to recommend, but I can think of some companies to watch like Roblox and Unity. And of course, Facebook itself, now called Meta, is one to watch. But we do think one interesting outcome is going to be the benefit to some traditional companies. So for example, to power the metaverse the amount of computing power needed is going to be amazing. So there are companies like AMD and Nvidia: Their semiconductors, they’re going to be needed to power this stuff.

Keith: One further point on the millennials: They’re approaching their peak earning years. And among their biggest purchases are going to be homes—financing homes, but also investing in their homes, repairing their homes. One beneficiary would be a company like Angi. Angi is the dominant platform provider of online home services and contracting services. It’s a $900 billion market that they operate across. And millennials are really going to be much more inclined to identify contractors online versus historically what we all did, pulling something out of the Yellow Pages or some other route.

Feinzaig: It’s funny: I haven’t spent much time thinking about millennials. I think a lot about the two edges of the population. One is baby boomers, and the caring economy and how to create technologies that can be for that population. But more important is Gen Z. These are, you know, the first digital natives—a completely different attitude to life, question everything you know—and they take a very different approach to, really, everything about how they relate to one another. So I’m not a huge investor in crypto and metaverse, those edge technologies and edge behaviors, but I do think that they are coming. And right now it looks a lot like play money, it looks very speculative—you certainly should not be investing anything that you’re not prepared to lose—but it is worth learning.

I have an investment in a company that is doing something really interesting in that space, called Makara. And what Makara does is create investment baskets: Essentially, they’re ETFs made up of cryptocurrencies that the retail investor can then go in as investments. It’s packaging all of this up in a way that we geriatric millennials and Gen Xers can understand and get behind, and not have to be quite so worried about gas fees, or what’s OpenSea, and why should I buy a GIF of an animal that looks really weird.

Koch: We talk about diversity a lot in this industry—it’s very, very important. We’re proud on our team that half the assets are run by portfolio managers that happen to be women. We talk a lot around gender and race, and we should, but the other thing that is also important is having demographic diversity on your own investing team. When you’re trying to figure out why someone wants to buy a burrito from Chipotle through Roblox in the metaverse, you need young people on the team to help you understand that.

There’s a truism in journalism that if your kids are talking about it, it’s a story you should pay more attention to. I think that’s true for investors as well.

I want to give everyone a chance to answer one last question: Where do you see the greatest risks and the greatest opportunities in the year ahead?

Giroux: The S&P 500 did $164 per share in earnings in 2019; we’re going to do $205, $207 this year. We’re well above trend earnings growth. Valuations are near 25-year highs in large-cap equities on a median basis, and earnings growth is going to slow. Usually that’s not a great combination for the market. If you’re going from an environment where growth is plentiful to a place where growth is more muted, companies that are more consistent growers will probably go back in favor.

Keith: What we see as the “Look out!” biggest risk for earnings in 2022 is the shortage of labor, which makes it much more challenging for companies to innovate and ultimately grow. Nonfarm payrolls have risen by 17 million since the trough of April 2020, but they’re still down 5 million from the pre-pandemic level. So providing a safe, inclusive, great workplace, I think that’s table stakes today for companies to be able to attract and motivate and retain their talent base. And companies that have a really strong corporate purpose, a mission, are going to be a very significant competitive advantage in attracting and engaging their employees.

Chung: The greatest opportunities I continue to see are in innovative growth companies. I think we’re in a period that COVID accentuated and accelerated, and for some companies and industries accelerated their decline. So the opportunities are around focusing on the companies leading those trends.

On the risk side, my greatest concern for the markets is inflation. For a long time, growth in the U.S. has benefited white-collar labor, but not blue-collar laborers. Now we’re seeing blue-collar [workers] gain some of that back. And I think that’s good for our society, but higher wages at the blue-collar jobs that are so necessary for actual real life do tend to translate into higher inflation over time.

And then there’s commodity inflation. Oil is at $83. We haven’t seen $83 since before the Great Financial Crisis, and that was driven by the rise of China. Today we have an interesting phenomenon. And it’s difficult for me because I am an environmentalist. I welcome the transition to renewables and sustainable wind and solar and others. But we could have a difficult period where because of disciplined, reduced capital spending in the oil and gas industries, and the future outlook for renewables, we could see sustained very high oil and natural-gas prices for years. If you want the markets to force the transition to renewables, that could be the best way for it to happen. But there could be a very unpleasant middle period there.

Koch: We are worried about supply-chain constraints lasting well into 2022. And an area that we have a particular focus on would be the chip famine that we’re all facing. Right now, we have a record high 22-week lead time between when a chip is ordered and when it is delivered. That is a very bad, bad lag. And it’s very relevant because a lot of what we’ve talked about today is the need for more technological disruption, innovation. Chips are foundational to all of that technology.

That leads me to my second point, which is, we continue to think a major opportunity in 2022 and beyond lies in building supply-chain resiliency. We like the companies that have already been thoughtful about that. For the moment, we are expecting both China and the U.S. to make massive investments in being able to design but also fab their chips in those home markets. And so we love semiconductor equipment manufacturers. Silergy would be an example of one in Asia, and MKS Instruments would be an example in the U.S.

Leslie, any last thoughts on risks and opportunities?

Feinzaig: As a VC, it’s hard for me to think about opportunities and risks in one-year chunks, rather than in decades. But most of the risks I see are the same as the opportunities; it’s two sides of the same coin. One thing I would say is, more and more money is coming into the startup space, because it has never been easier to start a company; it has never been easier to scale a company. A lot of investors are starting to see that the outcomes in venture and the outcomes in early stage are getting bigger, and they’re happening faster, and there’s more of them to be had. So that’s certainly an opportunity.

Now the challenge is that early stage is not a place where you can very efficiently invest large amounts of capital. In fact, if the opposite happens, like the more money thrown at early-stage companies, the less they learn how to build substantial businesses and be efficient with their capital as they grow, and that ends up being bad for the company.

We would also be remiss to not talk about the giant need and opportunity to bring more people to work, and to bring more people into the tide of investing and wealth creation. Before the pandemic, the World Economic Forum had said that it was going to take something like 160 years for women to reach economic gender parity [with men]. And after the pandemic, it’s almost 300 years. So many women are no longer working; they’re not participating; they’re not investing globally. Even in our profession, less than 1% of all assets worldwide are managed by women.

But the flip side of that is—I’m going to end on a positive note—that same increasingly fast cycle of wealth generation, of company creation, of growth creates huge opportunities for people to participate and build wealth in ways that were really kind of inaccessible to masses before. There are really interesting models out there that are bringing more new people, more new thinking, more new capital into the investing economy, and I’m super excited to see what that brings.

That’s a great note to end on. Thank you all so much for your time, your insight, and your expertise.?

3 things to get excited about, and 3 to worry about

Get excited about:

Small-cap stocks

They’re far cheaper, on average, than the S&P 500’s giants; many are poised to benefit from a consumer recovery; and their ranks include fast-growing tech innovators.

Fintech forever

Companies like Toast, Square, and PayPal are still in the early innings of their battle to shake up financial services.

Kinder companies

Startups and public companies are paying more attention to their employees’ well-being—which can pay off for shareholders by reducing turnover.

Worry about:

Inflation

Supply-chain bottlenecks should ease soon, but labor shortages probably won’t, and that will stoke wage inflation. (On the bright side, it could ease income inequality.)

Chip shortages

Record-high wait times for semiconductors could slow down many companies’ efforts to upgrade and innovate.

Green pain

The transition from fossil fuels to renewables is an economic imperative, but its short-term costs could bite companies and consumers alike.

A version of this article appears in the December 2021/January 2022 issue of Fortune with the headline, "Investor Roundtable: The smart money moves beyond crisis mode."

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