It is no understatement to say COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the real asset universe, the effects of which continue to be felt across asset classes and geographies. With the crisis playing out in real time, we tried our best to keep up: all of our views that we published as events unfolded can be found on our real assets content hub, where you can judge what we got right and wrong.
Picking our favourite pieces of content from the past 12 months is hard, but below is a sample of our articles and reports on some of the defining themes of the year.
One area that saw an almost inconceivable level of disruption was the office sector, as working from home – or living at work – became the norm. But does the relative success with which many companies and individuals have adjusted to this new working environment signal the end of the office, as some commentators claim? Not according to our head of UK real estate research, Jonathan Bayfield, as he argued here.
Even before the pandemic took hold, fibre broadband was already a market in demand among infrastructure investors. That trend has been given even more impetus in 2020 as the vital importance of digital connectivity in our professional and personal lives became clear. In this white paper, Tim Perry looked at the investment opportunities and challenges associated with European economies transitioning from copper to faster fibre broadband networks.
At various points during 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made positive noises about the critical role infrastructure will play in the economic recovery from COVID-19. In November, he unveiled a ten-point plan for a green industrial revolution: perhaps he took inspiration from an article written in July by our own Darryl Murphy, who set out his own ten-point plan for how the UK could build back better, greener and faster.
In November, we took the pulse of over a thousand decision makers at pension funds and insurers around the globe in our annual Real Assets Study, to see whether their appetite for real estate, infrastructure and private debt had changed as a result of the pandemic. Despite the short-term challenges, the findings from the study suggest they are continuing to play the long game.
Finally, 2021 will see renewed urgency among governments, corporates and investors in their efforts to achieve net zero emissions targets. Within real assets, this will bring significant challenges but also opportunities, as Laurence Monnier explained in this article.
We hope you enjoy the articles. On behalf of the real assets team, we would like to wish our readers restful holidays and the hope of better times ahead.