Now the guy who advises me says that the recent financial meltdown and the prolonged period of consumer and government debt that lead to this has turned that argument on its head. Government bonds are now have more risk than equities. He argues that Greece might flounder into economic meltdown and hence their bonds are worthless but people are still going to need to wash their clothes and eat food and hence the equities of long well established companies will continue hold their value. That is an ultra simplistic summary of the argument.
The FT has an argument that says exactly the opposite. Sorry but it is behind a paywall. An extract from the article says:
The theory – based on decades of academic research – is that when wealthy people reach retirement they tend to shift their personal investments away from risky equities and into the more reliable sovereign and corporate bond markets.
“Bond markets tend to benefit from ageing populations relative to equity markets,” says Douglas Renwick, director at Fitch Ratings.
And the population in the industrialised world is ageing dramatically. While those over 65 accounted for 12 per cent of the population in 1982, this has risen to 16 per cent now and is projected to reach 25 per cent by 2042.
I have no idea. Dick Stroud