最有看点的互联网金融门户

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传统金融的互联网化国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

经济学人:金融科技心理战

传统金融的互联网化国际资讯基于互联网平台的金融业务

经济学人:金融科技心理战

科技改变了金融。消费者使用网上银行,在线购买保险。他们运用科技管理养老金和其他投资组合。可是科技能提高收益吗?那得运用得当才行。

如果交易成本更低,那么所付出的费用在长期投资收益中的占比就会更小。拜科技所赐,基金经理还可以复制股市指数,让投资者能够以零点几个百分点的年费获得广泛多元的股票投资组合。

但是交易的简便、低成本以及广泛的可选方案却形成了可怕的诱惑。全世界有将近7400只ETF(交易所交易基金)和相关产品。这些基金不只被“买入并持有”的投资者使用。按交易价值计算,美国市场前20大交易证券中近一半都是ETF。

但可以交易并不代表就应该交易。不能因为有一只专门投资越南小型公司或一只押注于市场波动的基金,就一定要出手购买。50多岁的男人可以在大晴天光着膀子或者穿人字拖,但并不代表这就是明智之举。

一些专业投资者通过不停的交易获利,他们持有股票的时间以毫秒而不是以年计算。他们能够使用电脑比其他所有人更快地处理数据并且抓住微小的证券价差。这是桩达尔文式的买卖,其中每个人都在不断改进自己的基础设备和算法,以期在竞争中胜人一筹。

但是,无论采取频繁交易还是其他策略,大多数投资者注定无法跑赢大市。普通投资者应该运用科技来矫正他们的固有缺陷,而不是水中捉月。

首先,很多人低估了满足远期需求所需要的储蓄水平。这一定程度上是因为计算困难,它要求人们对寿命、通胀以及未来的投资收益等做出假设。另外,人的天性就是今朝有酒今朝醉,而不是为遥远而不确定的未来储蓄。

不论哪种原因,这种短视都会造成一个问题。以40到55岁的美国人为例。他们私人养老金计划的余额中位数仅为1.45万美元。金融危机促使各国央行为抑制储蓄、帮助重振全球经济而实行低利率政策。但矛盾的是,低利率意味着储户要为退休存下更多的养老金。他们需要增加而不是减少储蓄。

科技能够帮助解决这一问题。一个好的统计模型可以告诉每个人退休时需要的养老金总额,他们应该期待的投资收益水平,以及他们的目标能否按计划实现。如果发现达不到自己的目标,投资者可以增加储蓄或者调整原本计划的退休时间。只要意识到任务的艰巨性,投资者就能改变自己的行为方式。

其次,科技可以帮助投资者选择一种频繁交易之外的策略。投资者很容易落入这两个陷阱中的一个:20来岁时随意选择资产,此后再无改变,或者没完没了地折腾自己的投资组合。太多的人陷入对流行行业或热门共同基金的迷恋。如果一个行业正当红,它的价格已经上涨,因此价格很可能比以往都高。同样,共同基金之所以热门是因为它们过去的表现,但很难证明同样的收益会一直持续。

一个自动交易系统可带来约束。一种可能的方法是设立一个战略资产配置:比如20%的国内股票,40%的海外股票,20%的通胀挂钩债券,以及20%的公司债券。每年,或者其间资产配置与目标偏离太远时,投资组合会自动调整一次。该方法有“低(价格便宜)买高卖”的优点。

简而言之,对投资者来说,科技不是能帮助他们又快又轻松瘦身的“减肥药”,而是一种鼓励他们采取能带来长期成功的投资行为(相当于少吃多锻炼)的工具。将金融科技看作一种计步应用吧,它会温和地推动你追求财务健康。

TECHNOLOGY has transformed finance. Consumers bank and buy their insurance policies online. They use technology to manage their pensions and other investment portfolios. But can tech improve returns? Only if it is used wisely.

If it is cheaper to trade, then costs will take a smaller chunk out of long-term returns. Technology also allows fund managers to replicate stockmarket indices, giving investors access to broadly diversified equity portfolios for a fraction of a percentage point in annual fees.

But the ease and cheapness of trading, along with the vast range of options available, create a terrible temptation. Worldwide there are nearly 7,400 exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and related products. These funds are not used only by “buy and hold” investors. Nearly half of the top 20 traded securities on American markets, by value, are ETFs.

Just because you can trade does not mean you should. And just because there is a fund specialising in smaller Vietnamese companies, or one that bets on trends in volatility, does not mean you have to buy it. Men aged over 50 can go shirtless on sunny days or wear flip-flops. But that does not mean it is wise for them to do so.

Some professional investors make a virtue of incessant trading, with a holding period for shares of milliseconds rather than years. They can use computers to crunch data faster than anyone else and to exploit small differences in securities prices. This is a Darwinian business, in which everyone is incessantly improving their infrastructure and their algorithms to get an edge on the competition.

But by definition a majority of investors cannot beat the market, whether with frequent trading or any other strategy. Instead of chasing this chimera, ordinary investors should use technology to correct for their innate flaws.

First of all, many people underestimate how much they need to save to meet their long-term needs. Some of this is down to the difficulties involved in the calculations, which require people to make assumptions about longevity, inflation and future investment returns. Another problem is the natural human inclination to spend money today rather than to save for a distant, and uncertain, future.

Either way, such short-sightedness creates a problem. Take Americans aged between 40 and 55. The median balance in their private pension plans is just $14,500. Low interest rates were adopted by central banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis in order to discourage people from saving, and to help revive the global economy. The paradox is that low interest rates mean that savers need a bigger pension pot on retirement. They must save more, not less.

Technology can help deal with this issue. A good statistical model can tell individuals what pension pot they will need at retirement; what investment return they can reasonably expect; and whether they are on track for the target. If they find they are falling short of their goal, investors can save more or adjust their planned retirement date. Just being aware of the scale of the task can make investors change their behaviour.

Secondly, technology can help investors choose a strategy that avoids incessant trading. It is easy for investors to fall into one of two traps: making an arbitrary selection of assets in their 20s and never changing it, or relentlessly fiddling with their portfolio. Too many people fall into the trap of enthusing over fashionable sectors or hot mutual funds. If a sector is in vogue, it has already risen in price, so it is quite likely to be expensive relative to its history. By the same token mutual funds become hot because of their past performance, but there is very little evidence of persistence in returns.

An automated system can impose discipline. One possible approach would involve setting up a strategic asset allocation: say 20% to domestic equities, 40% to international shares, 20% to inflation-linked bonds and 20% to corporate debt. The portfolio could be automatically rebalanced once a year, or if the asset allocation strayed a long way from the target in the meantime. Such an approach would have the merit of buying assets when they have fallen in price (and are cheap) and selling them when they are dear.

In short, investors should not treat technology as the equivalent of a “diet pill” that will help them to lose weight effortlessly and instantly. Instead, they should view it as a tool to encourage the behaviour (the investment equivalent of exercising more and eating less) that will lead to long-term success. Think of fintech as one of those step-counting apps, nagging you to financial fitness.


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