The outlook for industries, investing behaviors, and currencies over the next 100 years was at the center of debate during a special Barron’s Roundtable event on Monday.
The panel discussion, part of coverage marking the 100th anniversary of Barron’s first issue, comes at a pivotal time as investors seek to make sense of the ways the pandemic has transformed the world. The event featured Karen Karniol-Tambour, co-chief investment officer for sustainability at Bridgewater Associates; Tom Slater, head of U.S. equities and portfolio manager of the U.S. equity and long term global growth funds at Baillie Gifford; and Jerry Yang, founding partner of AME Cloud Ventures and co-founder of Yahoo.
The three panelists were optimistic about the ways technological advancements will transform industries such as healthcare. “What I see now in the companies I invest in is real excitement at the intersection of information technology and healthcare,” Baillie Gifford’s Slater told attendees. “You have the ability to use tools—like artificial intelligence, like big data—to really lead to dramatic improvements in outcomes for patients.”
The pandemic, too, has likely changed some industries for good. “Things that we used to think that required physical contact or physical meetings now can take place virtually,” said AME’s Yang, mentioning doctor’s appointments and schools. “I think that’s here to stay in many respects.”
Investing could also see a greater shift toward sustainable and socially responsible strategies, said Bridgewater’s Karniol-Tambour. “You’re really getting a lot of investor enthusiasm and willingness to allocate capital for the purpose of accelerating technologies in ways that make a difference on environmental or social issues,” she said.
The world of money, having been shaken by the launch of alternative currencies like Bitcoin, could continue to experience a shift over the next century, the panelists said. Yang highlighted the use of cryptocurrencies in keeping transactions private and nonfungible tokens used for authentication of digital assets. “There is value associated with those coins,” he said, adding that he personally has invested in a basket of all cryptocurrencies “just in case.”
An edited version of the conversation, which also touched on China, space exploration, and autonomous vehicles, as well as stock picks and companies to watch, will be published at the end of this week.
Write to Shaina Mishkin at [email protected]