Allianz Global Investors CIO on a year of ‘unimaginable events’
Commenting on trading over the last year, Utermann said the most extreme events had been almost entirely unpredicted, suggesting investors could face a similar scenario next year.
He said: “After the crash, unimaginable events have continued to happen, so the euro falling to $1 is not impossible. Do not forget, at launch the euro went from $1.16 to $0.82 and then rose to $1.45, so it is not unreasonable for it to fall to $1.”
Utermann, who oversees the management of 345bn euros (£274bn) globally, added “financial dynamics are going to be in the same place in 2015 as they have been for the last couple of years.
“In a financially suppressed world, there is not much you can do.”
Despite these concerns, Utermann said he was “mildly positive” on global equities and recent events were likely to have a positive effect on markets overall.
“Although the lower oil price is not an entirely good thing, as the oil price is often indicative of inflation, it is positive for other dynamics, particularly the US consumer story,” he said.
Although he described his market view as generally positive, Utermann has recently introduced new tools for his managers to use in difficult conditions, including raising their portfolios’ cash levels.
He said: “We now hold significantly more cash than we have done in the past, so we don’t have to sell. In the past, our funds were mostly fully invested, with up to 1 – 2 per cent in cash. They are now able to hold 3 – 5 per cent.”