George & Bell Consulting hosted more than 150 people at the 19th Annual Future Investment Policy Decisions conference on January 25th at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The event was information-packed and intended to help our clients make informed decisions about their investments.

Brendan George kicked off the meeting with his 2023 Economic Performance Report and introduced guest speakers Eric Lascelles, RBC’s Chief Economist, and CIBC Asset Management’s Fixed income Team, Pablo Martinez with Adam Ditkofsky. In their Economic and Market Outlook presentations, both talked about more economic pain from the lagged effect of aggressive central bank rate hikes, and the expectation of recession and slowing of earnings, growth, and stock returns. This was followed by a brief Investment Strategy update led by Jeremy Bell, with Andrew Janz (from PH&N Institutional) and Greg Heise, as they discussed proposed meaningful action-oriented questions that pension plan boards should consider during their review processes in the next 1-3 years.

Following that, Christine Bergeron, President and CEO of Concert Properties, presented a “Periodic Table” of 10 Megatrends and provided her fresh New Perspectives, highlighting the complexity of the interactions of these Megatrends and how people are responding and behaving, while giving possible solutions (such as new living models for urban housing, construction practice innovation, avoiding stranded assets in transitioning to a more green environment, and the importance of partnerships between government, Indigenous people and private business).

Mads Mihailescu, CTO of Georgian Partners rounded out the day with a talk about the nature and accelerating development of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a major disruptive technology. As we learn more about the technology and expected adoption rate within the next 15 years, we can harness its power while understanding its risks and potentially huge rewards in increased productivity and on how we do our jobs.

We’d like to thank all our speakers for sharing their knowledge and, of course, all who attended and made the event a great success. We look forward to seeing you all next year!