«You can survive longer without food and water than you can without sleep»
When I got the opportunity to meet with Peter Fitzgerald, CIO Multi-Asset & Macro at Aviva Investors, I immediately booked an early morning flight to London. The one-hour meeting at Aviva's headquarters on Tuesday, 23.01.2024, was extremely interesting. It really is a privilege to be able to talk to a manager who, together with his team, is responsible for assets worth over 100 bn Euros. Of course, I was also very pleased to hear that Peter often comes to Switzerland to ski. After the conversation, I went for a bite to eat and then straight back to Zurich via London City Airport. Thomas J. Caduff, CEO, Fundplat LLC
• Caduff: Mr. Fitzgerald, as CIO Multi-Asset & Macro, you and your team have a huge responsibility. Can you sleep well with all this turbulence around the world?
Fitzgerald: You can survive longer without food and water than you can without sleep. So, if you do not sleep and rest, you will not be able to make reasoned investment decisions. The world has always been a turbulent place and while there are some large risks today, many are over exaggerated on a shorter time frame in terms of how much they would likely impact investment markets. These include current wars and potential future conflicts as well as the changing nature of the West’s relationship with China. If you do not take the time to think, read and reflect, then you will be stressed, make poor decisions and sleep will not come easily.
• Caduff: How is it possible to organise this enormous flood of information and draw the right conclusions?
Fitzgerald: The challenge today is not getting information; it is about knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore. It is about thinking and planning rather than simply reacting. It is about deliberately setting time aside to read or listen to podcasts. And crucially, it is about having a diverse team of independent thinkers around you and being willing to question the status quo. The key point to recognize is most markets insights from professional organizations are there to get you to trade either through fear of missing out or fear of losing money. And when you read the papers or other sources of information, if you realize you are the product and the objective is more about selling you advertising, you will save a lot of time.
• Caduff: What do you like more at the moment: equities or bonds?
Fitzgerald: The answer to this question is dependent on your time horizon. If you are looking out five or ten years, it is unlikely that bonds will make more money. It is not impossible, just unlikely. That decision becomes more difficult if you are looking at the next twelve months. My bias would be to hold both equities and bonds but be prepared to move from equities to bonds as the market environment deteriorates.
Peter Fitzgerald leads the global Multi-Asset & Macro investment team at Aviva Investors and is responsible for the team’s strategic direction. Additionally, he is a portfolio manager on the «AIMS Target Return Fund». He began his career at Old Mutual in 1995 before joining BNP Wealth Management’s Multi-Asset team. He has extensive international experience having worked in Asia, Latin America and Europe. Peter Fitzgerald holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Trinity College Dublin and a Bachelors Degree in European Studies from the University of Cork. He is also a CFA Charterholder.
Thomas J. Caduff is the CEO of Fundplat LLC. He has worked in the financial industry for over 40 years. His professional experience includes roles at the stock exchange commissariat of the Canton of Zurich, Bank Vontobel, Credit Suisse and UBS. Thomas J. Caduff also served for three decades in one division and multiple brigades of the Swiss Army as a communication/media officer.