246. “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”

Mike Tyson spoke from experience when he said “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”. 2022 was a punch in the mouth to investors everywhere and resulted in emotional volatility in markets according to Steven Andrew, manager of M&G Episode Income. Steven talks us about investor optimism — and pessimism — across a range of assets, notably UK equities and emerging market bonds. We also consider how human behaviour influences pricing behaviour and market data, ultimately causing continued emotional uncertainty as we head further into 2023.
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The M&G Episode Income fund invests directly in individual stocks and bonds, while property exposure is gained by investing in property funds. The name “Episode” refers to those periods of time when investors’ emotions cause them to act irrationally. The manager uses behavioural finance to find pockets of value and invest against the herd, rather than following it.

What’s covered in this episode: 

  • Why investor optimism was high at the start of 2023
  • Have investors moved to a period of complacency?
  • Is doom and gloom a rational reaction to the UK market?
  • Less structural appetite for UK equities on the global market
  • Why Europe is currently “flavour of the month” for investors
  • Investor behaviour and the banking sector — and how it compares to 15 years ago
  • The manager’s views on Japanese equities
  • Two reasons why the M&G Episode Income doesn’t currently hold any property
  • Why take the risk in emerging market and high yield bonds today?
  • Being prepared to act amid volatility
  • Why market — and human — shock has caused errors in market pricing data
  • Emotional uncertainty driving markets forward
  • Why price behaviour is all about understanding the nature of the world
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