Jeremy Grantham, the founder and chief investment strategist of asset manager Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo, is dissing the traditional diversified 65% stock/35% bond portfolio and championing “very large” investments in emerging markets.
In the latest GMO quarterly Lletter, the asset manager, writes that returns in the traditional balanced portfolio are likely to be dismal, about 1% to 3% annually over the next 10 years, while emerging market stocks — “the only cheap asset” — are poised for an estimated 5.5% annual return, especially if they’re tilted toward value.
“Be brave,” writes Grantham. “It is only at extreme times like this that asset allocation can earn its keep with nontraditional behavior. I believe a conventional diversified approach is nearly certain to fail.”
Grantham, a value manager, argues that valuations for emerging market stocks are historically low — 65% below their highs in 2007, using Gerard Minack’s cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio—far more undervalued that U.S. or developed market stocks excluding the U.S.
Grantham admits that in a major downturn emerging market equities could decline more than U.S. equities, but he believes that’s “improbable” given that the recent outperformance of EM stocks is far less than outperformance periods in the past 50 years.