Decade of Disruption
by Charles Cheng, CFA
As 2020 and the decade are winding down, some of the uncertainties that investors were waiting on are being resolved. Markets rallied in November following the US election, first after the Biden victory and then on the news of very promising results on COVID-19 vaccine trials. Going forward, a run-off election in the state of Georgia will determine whether Democratic Party will take control of the US Senate, and thus be able to pass any of their agenda without the opposition blocking it. Meanwhile, with the COVID outbreak worsening across Europe and the US, the question is how well it can be mitigated before the vaccine is able to be distributed, as well as how effective the distribution effort is.
隨著2020年和過去這十年即將結束，投資者盼望堅決的一些不確定性正在得到解決。 美國大選後的11月，市場在拜登獲勝及新冠疫苗試驗取得令人鼓舞的結果後大幅反彈。 展望未來，喬治亞州的一場決勝性選舉將決定民主黨是否會控制美國參議院，從而能夠防止反對黨阻止其提出的議程。 同時，隨著整個歐洲和美國的新冠疫情惡化，現在的問題在於：疫苗大規模派發前疫情的狀況可否得到有效緩解，以及疫苗的派發效率如何。
However, while all of these events are certainly significant enough to move markets, consider how short term they are in comparison to the factors that really impact the overall strategy and positioning of the companies that you are invested in. Another way to think about it is this – neither a once in a century global pandemic nor a political environment that swung to extremes were the most significant drivers of global equity markets over the decade that is ending this year.
In the past decade, the information technology and consumer discretionary (which includes large technology companies like Amazon and Alibaba) sectors have almost doubled their weightings in world equity markets, rising from 19% of the MSCI All Country World Index in 2010 to close to 34% in 2020. In the meantime, the financial, materials, and energy sectors have shrunk dramatically, with energy taking the biggest hit, going from roughly 11% to 3% of the index. While a decade ago, just three of the top ten largest companies by market cap in the index were tech companies, currently there are eight. Along the way, quantitative investment strategies that focused on mean reversion for small cap and value stocks and were based on decades of data were basically upended as large tech companies managed to justify lofty valuations by continuing to dominate in a wide variety of areas.
在過去的十年中，資訊技術和非必需消費品（包括亞馬遜和阿裡巴巴等大型科技公司）行業在全球股票市場中的比重幾乎翻了一番。 該行業在MSCI全球指數佔比從2010年的19％上升至2020年的近34%。 與此同時，金融、材料及能源行業大幅縮水。 其中能源類別受衝擊最大，從上述指數的約11％跌至3％。 十年前，在市值排名前十的公司中，只有三家是科技公司，而目前有八家。 一路走來，基於均值回歸及數十年的數據來關注於小型股和價值股的量化投資策略基本上被顛覆了，這是因為大型科技公司通過繼續在各個領域占主導地位而使其的高估值合理化。
This was due to rise of the mobile and cloud computing contributing to the ubiquity of internet connected devices and enabling a wide range of services that have proven essential to the daily lives of consumers and workers. The ability of software developers to create improvements in distribution, user experience, and convenience resulted in incumbents in every industry, from payments to retail to media entertainment, vulnerable to being challenged and competed with.
Going forward, we see this trend continuing at an even faster pace. While COVID-19 is accelerating the changes in many industries, a bigger driver is in the easy availability of extremely powerful tools over the cloud. Any company or entrepreneur can begin solving real world problems with AI and machine learning, data science, automation, real time video, IoT and other technologies that use distributed computer processing made available from the big tech players like Amazon and Google. Even quantum computing power is now available as a service. It has never been easier or less risky to experiment with new technologies and business models as these platforms are priced based on usage with even lower ongoing costs than before and negligible upfront costs. The capital required for new transformative companies to scale up is easily available with loose monetary policy for the foreseeable future. While this age of experimentation is being enabled by large tech companies providing the infrastructure, many of the other current top companies in stock indices today are likely to be displaced by completely new entrants, maybe even those that benefitted from the disruption of the previous decade.
展望未來，我們看到這一趨勢將以更快的速度持續下去。 儘管新冠疫情加速了許多行業的變革，而更大的推動力則是通過雲端輕鬆地獲得極其強大的工具。 任何公司或企業家都可以通過AI、機器學習、數據科學、自動化、實時視頻、物聯網（IoT: Internet of Things）以及其他技術來解決現實世界中的問題。 這些技術由大型技術公司（如Amazon和Google）通過分佈式計算機處理技術來提供給大眾。 如今就算量子計算都可以作為一種服務被大眾使用。 要嘗試新技術和商業模型從未像現在如此簡單或風險如此低。 這是因為雲應用程式是根據使用量收費的，而其前期成本甚至可以忽略不計。 在可預見的未來，寬鬆的貨幣政策可輕鬆地為新轉型公司擴大規模提供所需的資本。 儘管大型科技公司可以為本時代的革新提供基礎設施，但如今許多其他在股票指數中排名靠前的公司甚至是在過去十年通過破壞創新而受益的公司卻都有可能被全新的參與者所取代。
The attention and energy that we all spend on reacting to and anticipating global news and developments is probably too much compared to their actual impact on eventual company valuations. As an investor, to assess the long-term potential of your companies you must consider whether they are adaptable enough to maintain their competitive position. For those without the time to make these judgments, investing passively in major market indices can be a way to keep up with these trends as company weightings within the indices will shift with the eventual winners and losers.
與上述因素對公司最終估值的影響相比，我們在回應及推測全球事件和發展方面花費的精力可能太多了。 作為投資者，要評估您投資的公司的長期潛力，您必須考慮它們是否有足夠適應行並能始終保持其競爭地位。 對於那些沒有時間做出這些判斷的人，被動投資主要市場指數可能是跟上這些趨勢的一種方法，因為各個公司在指數中的權重將隨著最終的贏家和輸家的變化而變化。
Mr. Cheng is a managing partner at a Hong Kong based independent private investment office. This article reflects his personal views and not his firm’s and should not be viewed as an investment recommendation.
鄭先生為可承資本，一家總部設於香港的獨立投資辦公室之董事合夥人。 這篇文章反映了他的個人而非公司觀點。 該文章不應被視為投資建議。