The Top Investment Trends for 2021
After a year like 2020, attempting to predict the future is a risky game. To hear about his predictions for the investment trends that could take centre stage in 2021, we hear from Graham Norton-Standen.
As I sit here contemplating the areas of my focus for 2021, I hear Boris Johnson in the background announcing yet another lockdown. My heart sinks as I think not of myself, but of those people on the frontline working and even dying to try and keep us safe. I also think of the countless number of people who are facing financial collapse and emotional upheaval again. It is not a great time for us all, but we are in this together and now is the time we must sit back and think of those around us, possibly helping where we can.
2020 was a year of chasing medical stocks, betting on who would be the first with a vaccine and tracing technologies. Are we looking at the same in 2021, or is that trend best left for others to fish out the last remnants?
I have personally seen some of the technologies that people have ploughed a great deal of money into, started to grow into mature areas of health and find new homes for their technology. We have also pulled a huge amount of data over the last year, which is gold in the eyes of many organisations. So, what do we do with all of this, and where is it going to go?
In the UK, we have had Brexit with a deal (although some may argue otherwise), COVID, but also a big shift caused by COVID, with what I consider will be the reboot of how we do things. The environment seems to have done rather well without us all driving, flying and burning carbon like it is going out of fashion and I think we would all look rather bad if we ignored that factor when the COVID clouds lift. The UK has been voted as one of the most invested countries in the world when it comes to technology and our scientists are proven world leaders.
With that in mind, I consider that the following areas are going to be very worthy of investment from big houses, backed up by a few smaller players, of course.
A word of warning, this is volatile! Over recent months, bigger fish are jumping into the crypto world and recently multiple large hedge funds have announced a rather large investment into some of the coins. This is very likely what has pushed Bitcoin up into the $30K area but, as you will notice with the lower volume trading, it can be affected dramatically during a sell-off. If you can buy and shut your eyes for a while, analysts are suggesting it will hit $100K. This certainly is not for the faint-hearted though!
I consider about 70% of AI to be nothing more than complex algorithms and the acronym is right up there in abuse land as VR (Virtual Reality). However, there are some diamonds out there and I am eyeing companies which are taking advantage of the huge and complex data collected during the COVID outbreak. There is an awful lot we can learn, not just from the actual virus, but from the execution, drugs and even prediction of the next mega virus or, as we learned recently, the mutated strains of COVID-19.
Blockchain / DLT
This is one of my keen areas of interest and not just because I am involved in a DLT project. Stepping away from cryptocurrencies, the concept of decentralisation intrigues me and there are a plethora of use cases of which this technology fits perfectly. Supply Chain, Traceability, Smart Contracts – you name it. However, be wise to watch and learn before jumping into a stock in this sector. Companies are throwing spaghetti at the wall to see which one sticks and producing the “next big” failure on a daily basis. This sector reminds me of the dotcom era in many, many ways. Loads of money to be lost on weak or impossible solutions, but somewhere there is that one or two “Googles”, which will emerge and change the world as we know it. One thing is for sure, we simply have to embrace the change and the increasing speed of the overlap between our physical world and the digital twin of our world which is coming very soon. Pick wise and there will be digital gold waiting for you at the end of the blockchain rainbow.
Yat Siu of Animoca and Outblaze seems to be the current Midas touch man which we should be watching very closely. His games are rocketing and he is a real blockchain evangelist. With (and I cannot believe I am saying this) digital real estate becoming a very distinct reality, it looks like we are going to be playing “Ready Player One” sooner rather than later and Yat seems to be a forerunner in this arena. With Animoca’s recent acquisition of Lympha and a digital deal struck with Manchester City, I can see exactly where he is heading and if executed correctly, he certainly is on a winner.
Away from pharmaceuticals, the COVID pandemic has created a rather large surge in technologies around medical devices. Just look at the uptake in thermometers and wearable devices. The smart players have made the long-term bet and developed/developing their technologies for a post-COVID world. For instance, hospitals need to get us out of their beds and back home to free up space on their wards. I am watching a wearable solution right now which does exactly this and provides a vast amount of data for doctors to monitor remotely. It feels kind of like the future will be computer systems monitoring us and diagnosing or predicting what’s wrong with us. But again, we will likely have no choice other than to embrace it and I would certainly prefer to recover at home!
And this brings me to my final trend prediction, which I think is the biggest no brainer here.
Did you see the pictures taken during the lockdown? If you did, then I imagine, just like I did, you had a little ‘wow’ moment. Seeing the pollution lift all around the world certainly opened my eyes up as to the damage we really are doing, choking our planet because we just seem to not be able to see through the fog. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, are making big waves on the subject again and the incentive is out there for a big clean up. I believe that technology is going to play a huge role in the clean-up of our planet over the next decade or two and I am currently eyeing quite a few companies with very strong and clear-cut missions, along with the technology to do just this. Corporations ESG requirements are driving them to find and fund the technologies, so watch out for the ones which the big banks are eyeing too!
Well, that is my predictions for the forthcoming year and I hope that when you hear from me next, we are all in a better place and out of the lockdown again. We have a long road ahead before we are clear of this virus, but thanks to the fast-paced advances in medical technology, we should outrun COVID-19 in 2021.
*NO INVESTMENT ADVICE
The content is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial advice. Nothing contained in this article constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Graham Norton-Standen, HIG, Finance Monthly or any third-party service provider to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments.