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. 




Stay connected with the Insights Blog

Popular Blog Posts

Governance And Policy | Insights Blog

What is an OCIO?

Outsourced investment management, once primarily a solution for small institutions with limited resources, is now used by a broad range of long-term investors. When properly implemented, outsourcing...
Governance And Policy | Insights Blog

Should We Issue an Investment Manager RFP? 7 Key Considerations

Best practice for nonprofits is to issue a Request for Proposal (“RFP”) for an investment management partner every market cycle. Typically, that is at least every 7 to 10 years, or as it is...
Governance And Policy | Insights Blog

Observations on Diverse Manager Selection Across Asset Classes

At Commonfund, we believe diverse managers offer clients access to investment talent and valuable investment opportunities and therefore should be explored and invested in. Overlooking the merits of...


Information, opinions, or commentary concerning the financial markets, economic conditions, or other topical subject matter are prepared, written, or created prior to printing and do not reflect current, up-to-date, market or economic conditions. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to update such information, opinions, or commentary. To the extent views presented forecast market activity, they may be based on many factors in addition to those explicitly stated in this material. Forecasts of experts inevitably differ. Views attributed to third parties are presented to demonstrate the existence of points of view, not as a basis for recommendations or as investment advice. Managers who may or may not subscribe to the views expressed in this material make investment decisions for funds maintained by Commonfund or its affiliates. The views presented in this material may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Commonfund fund, or of any Commonfund manager. Market and investment views of third parties presented in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of Commonfund and Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to present its views on the subjects covered in statements by third parties. Statements concerning Commonfund’s views of possible future outcomes in any investment asset class or market, or of possible future economic developments, are not intended, and should not be construed, as forecasts or predictions of the future investment performance of any Commonfund fund. Such statements are also not intended as recommendations by any Commonfund entity or employee to the recipient of the presentation. It is Commonfund’s policy that investment recommendations to its clients must be based on the investment objectives and risk tolerances of each individual client. All market outlook and similar statements are based upon information reasonably available as of the date of this presentation (unless an earlier date is stated with regard to particular information), and reasonably believed to be accurate by Commonfund. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to provide the recipient of this presentation with updated or corrected information. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information please refer to Important Disclosures.