Invesco Panel Tackles Globalization, Diversifying Portfolios

ATLANTA — Financial advisors and invited guests heard from a number of investing experts during a Tuesday morning panel discussion at Invesco’s global headquarters in Atlanta.

“The fundamental idea for what we’re all trying to do is broaden the diversification in order to lower risk and increase returns,” said Marty Flanagan, president and CEO of Invesco.

Participating in the panel moderated by Flanagan were David Millar, head of Multi Asset Investment for Invesco Perpetual; R. Scott Dennis, managing director and CEO of Invesco Real Estate; and famed investor Wilbur Ross, head of Invesco’s distressed investing affiliate, WL Ross & Co.

The emergence of developing markets and increased consumption by consumers in these markets benefits shipping companies and makes investing in shipping companies one way to play the commodities market, Ross suggested.

Concurrently, the emergence of these new markets and the globalization of supply chains is good news for cities such as Atlanta, which stands to bolster its position as a transportation and logistics hub with the deepening of the Port of Savannah to accommodate larger shipping vessels.

“We believe the most powerful economic force in the world is globalization,” Ross said. “And, whatever else it may mean, it certainly is going to mean rising standards of living in developing countries, which is where most of the population lives. When you’re talking per capita incomes of $1,000 a year, rising standard of living maybe mean one thing: Increased consumption of commodities.”

Ross, named one of the 50 most influential people in Global Finance by Bloomberg Businessweek, is the founder and chairman of WL Ross & Co., a highly regarded private equity firm that serves as Invesco’s private equity business. WL Ross & Co. manages approximately $9 billion in funds in a number of sectors, including financial services, energy and shipping.

“How will they get the commodities? By ship. How will they pay for the commodities? By re-exporting something else by ship,” Ross added. “We think shipping is a way to play the commodities market … and is a commodity itself.”

After years of delay, the Savannah port deepening project is back on track following recent Congressional action.

“That’s going to be one of the biggest engines of growth for the State of Georgia and Atlanta,” Flanagan said. “Hats off to the governor and the mayor.”

In addition to shipping, the conversation during Tuesday morning’s event focused on diverse investments — whether it’s investing in sectors or countries. The economies of Greece and Spain, for example, look to be on the mend after years of slow growth, providing investors with new opportunities.

But, Millar suggested investors take a long-term view of investments and not to be discouraged by short-term changes.

“We don’t want to react to what’s going on right now. We want to be looking through the cycle,” Millar said. “Don’t overreact to short-term events.”

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