Long-Term Trends for Long-Term Investors

March 27, 2017 |
1 minute read

Nonprofit institutions have the distinct advantage of having the longest time horizon of any investors – often perpetuity.  This affords an opportunity to consider investments based on secular trends that may take years to play out but can also prove to be very profitable. 

At Commonfund Forum 2017, a panel convened to discuss their expert insights into some of the most compelling long-term trends they see developing in the global capital markets, both public and private.

Below is a recap of the top trends to watch.


  • The graying of China – fewer than half of the Chinese population will be of working age by 2030 – putting a strain on economic growth.
  • In Africa there is expected to be a population explosion; e.g. Nigeria is expected to have one billion people in a country the size of Texas by the end of this century.


  • Robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning will have a huge impact on the workforce globally – potentially replacing human labor with technology.
  • The speed of change is disruptive today – technology is taking away more jobs than globalization – manufacturing in the U.S. is up over the past 10 years but manufacturing jobs are down over the same period.

Political Shifts

  • The rise of nationalism and populism are a direct result of too many people being left behind by globalization.
  • Protectionism could shrink the whole global economic pie over the next 10 years.

Ecological Shifts

  • Climate change will be an important investment consideration going forward and will have implications for many industries, as well as countries that depend on fossil fuels as their primary export.
  • Power storage (batteries) has been a constraint on alternative energy development to date. That is changing quickly and will make alternatives more viable in the years ahead.

Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor, the Economist, moderated the panel with Anja Manuel, EM Expert, author, former diplomat, principal at RiceHadleyGates LLC; Dr. Vikram Mansharamani, investor, author and Yale Lecturer; Dr. Miriam Schmitter, Managing Director, Commonfund Capital. 




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