Goldman Sachs Asset Management recently hired a research firm to poll insurance company chief financial officers (CFOs) and chief investment officers (CIOs).
Of course, the CFOs and CIOs who participate in a poll like that know a lot and are very smart. But the first law of investment outlooks is that, at some point, what all of the smart, well-educated, well-dressed investment experts think will prove to be wrong.
So, what’s wrong with the experts’ current outlook? Most agree that ordinary, investment-grade corporate bonds are overpriced right now, and that the insurers in their peer group are taking roughly the right amount of risk.
They like private equity deals. They would like to use more of their cash, and many are trying to reduce holdings of government and agency debt. They fear both inflation and deflation.
They aren’t too worried about financial services regulation. Oil prices, U.S. financial market regulatory change, and European financial market regulatory change, came in at the bottom on a ranking of the scariness of macroeconomic risk factors.