A new daily graph chosen by Robeco’s chart guru Jeroen Blokland will run every working day from Monday 18 June.
The feature, to be called Blokland’s daily sketch, will replace the daily ‘Best of the Web’ feature that was produced by Lukas Daalder, who has left Robeco.
Blokland, a senior portfolio manager of multi-asset funds with Robeco Investment Solutions, has long been a chart enthusiast, with his own degree of online fame. He has more than 18,000 followers on his chart-centric Twitter account @jsblokland.
His new daily sketch column is partly named after an historic British newspaper which pioneered photo journalism at the turn of the 20th century. In the question-and-answer session below, he outlines why he likes charts so much.
“I use graphs a lot in my investment research, and I’m always searching for relationships and correlations. You can’t show everything using graphs, but they can help clarify an awful lot. You don’t need 16 lines; two is the perfect number. Many economists take a stance: ‘the relationship between employment and wages has broken down and this is the reason’ and then debate it. I don’t like doing that; I want to use a graph to make a succinct and clear statement.”
“A good graph shows a relationship between elements from which you can draw a conclusion with a reasonable degree of certainty. If you plot a graph of the Ifo Business Climate Index against the German economy, you know it will work and you’ll end up with a nice graph. You know that when the Ifo line moves up, growth will generally move higher too. A good graph is a great tool when it comes to making investment decisions. The image shows the relationship; I can explain it and then predict how a market, currency or asset class will move. There is a fantastic graph of interest rates over the last 5,000 years – it’s brilliant. But it’s no use to an investor. You need a second line, a factor or an indicator that shows which way interest rates are going to move.”
“For me, graphs play a fundamental role. Many investors make the mistake of thinking things will be different this time. They tend to think ‘but now we have QE and we’ve never had that before’. Or IT, or artificial intelligence. There is always something that makes us assume that things are not what they used to be. Graphs can help ensure that you make investment decisions while keeping both feet firmly on the ground. It’s a sort of emotional sanity check. Now that it’s become clear that the relationship between wages and employment has broken down, all sorts of reports have appeared saying that we need to look at some newfangled employment metric that has just been invented. Although the graph looks great – it’s just back-testing. But are things really different? Why should the original measure no longer be effective? If you look more carefully, it’s clear that the relationship hasn’t broken down, it’s just taking a bit longer. Because more people work part time and because there are different types of jobs.”
“For years now the most important graph in our industry has been interest rate movements. I’ve been surprised for a year now about the fact that these are not moving higher, except slightly in the US. Monetary easing is being scaled back and will eventually stop. The German economy is growing at a rate of 2.3% (at June 2018) – something that no economist would have dared predict a couple of years ago. I also used to spend a lot of time looking at the bitcoin graph when it was gaining or losing 20% a day, because it absolutely intrigued me; bitcoin is a lot calmer now. Closer to home, another graph that was fascinating was when the German 10-year yield fell below the 0% threshold for a while – that really was something special.”
The content displayed on this website is exclusively directed at qualified investors, as defined in the swiss collective investment schemes act of 23 june 2006 ("cisa") and its implementing ordinance, or at “independent asset managers” which meet additional requirements as set out below. Qualified investors are in particular regulated financial intermediaries such as banks, securities dealers, fund management companies and asset managers of collective investment schemes and central banks, regulated insurance companies, public entities and retirement benefits institutions with professional treasury or companies with professional treasury.
The contents, however, are not intended for non-qualified investors. By clicking "I agree" below, you confirm and acknowledge that you act in your capacity as qualified investor pursuant to CISA or as an “independent asset manager” who meets the additional requirements set out hereafter. In the event that you are an "independent asset manager" who meets all the requirements set out in Art. 3 para. 2 let. c) CISA in conjunction with Art. 3 CISO, by clicking "I Agree" below you confirm that you will use the content of this website only for those of your clients which are qualified investors pursuant to CISA.
Representative in Switzerland of the foreign funds registered with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority ("FINMA") for distribution in or from Switzerland to non-qualified investors is Robeco Switzerland AG, Josefstrasse 218, 8005 Zürich, and the paying agent is UBS Switzerland AG, Bahnhofstrasse 45, 8001 Zürich. Please consult www.finma.ch for a list of FINMA registered funds.
Neither information nor any opinion expressed on the website constitutes a solicitation, an offer or a recommendation to buy, sell or dispose of any investment, to engage in any other transaction or to provide any investment advice or service. An investment in a Robeco/Robeco Switzerland product should only be made after reading the related legal documents such as management regulations, articles of association, prospectuses, key investor information documents and annual and semi-annual reports, which can be all be obtained free of charge at this website, at the registered seat of the representative in Switzerland, as well as at the Robeco/Robeco Switzerland offices in each country where Robeco has a presence. In respect of the funds distributed in Switzerland, the place of performance and jurisdiction is the registered office of the representative in Switzerland.
This website is not directed to any person in any jurisdiction where, by reason of that person's nationality, residence or otherwise, the publication or availability of this website is prohibited. Persons in respect of whom such prohibitions apply must not access this website.