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Investments Unplugged

Business & Economics Podcasts

An insightful and lively podcast that gives you access to ideas and insight from a range of market experts from Manulife Investment Management.(Intended for Advisor Use Only)


Toronto, ON


An insightful and lively podcast that gives you access to ideas and insight from a range of market experts from Manulife Investment Management.(Intended for Advisor Use Only)






Episode 89: A look ahead to 2024—addressing your unanswered questions (part 2)

Episode 89: A look ahead to 2024—addressing your unanswered questions (part 2) After patiently waiting for many months, signs that our fixed income outlook may be coming to fruition emerged at the end of last year. But what can we expect in 2024? In part 2 of our podcast episode, we focus on answering your frequently asked questions on fixed income. Are inflation risks behind us? Where are yields going? Are central banks done with their rate hikes? For all this and more, tune in to our new podcast episode.


Episode 89: A look ahead to 2024—addressing your unanswered questions

With 2024 in full swing, what’s our take on equities and bonds? Rather than sharing our views in our usual way, we’ve adopted a Q&A format to respond to some of the more pressing questions we’ve been getting on the road. Where’s the economy headed? What are some of the main challenges for markets in the new year? To get your questions answered, tune in to our new podcast episode.


Episode 88: Watching our bond scenario unfold: ready for phase 2?

Consumer exhaustion is kicking in, yields have come down, and the economy is beginning to show signs of slowing. Since outlining our three-themed bonds outlook, we’re finally getting an indication that it’s coming to fruition. As we get ready to transition to phase 2 (“duration is your friend”), investors could embrace longer duration on expectations that yields will fall further and the economy will continue slowing. Will the headwinds that impacted bonds as yields rose become tailwinds when yields fall? For all this and more, tune in to our new podcast episode.


Episode 87: Under the microscope: looking closely at a potential recession

Episode 87: Under the microscope: looking closely at a potential recession Recession—it’s a word that continues to dominate the minds of investors and economic scientists alike. We hear about it so often, it sometimes seems like our expectations and concerns magnify. Yet, there could be important information that some people don’t see. Let’s focus the lens a little and scrutinize some of the financial details. • What’s a soft or hard landing, and can we expect one or the other? • Why has a potential recession been delayed? • Does the economic data tell us whether a recession is inevitable? • How will the anticipation of a potential recession continue to affect the markets? Zoom in for a better view.


Episode 86 - Back to school—studying three investment themes

School has started once again. And while students return to their classrooms and books, investors’ minds turn to their portfolios, the economy, and the markets. But there’s so much to learn when it comes to managing your investments. So, what subjects have currently reached the forefront for the Capital Markets Strategy Team? Three key investment themes are at the top of the class right now: • Prepare for near-term equity volatility amidst uncertainty. • Buying bonds is one thing; buying the right bonds is another. • Position your portfolios for tomorrow, not just today. There’s the bell! Let’s listen in.


Episode 85: In the spotlight—A.I. and interest rates

Many topics waltz across the minds of investors. They twirl through our thoughts and sometimes step on our toes. Two things have been leading us lately: the rise of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and its role in the markets, and the recent surprise Bank of Canada interest rate hike. We won’t dance around the subjects—there are relevant inquiries that we need to address: • Has A.I. played a role in what the S&P 500 Index been experiencing this year? • Are we seeing a replay of the 1990s dot-com bubble? • Why did the recent interest rate increase happen, and will it happen again? • How much of the current economic situation can monetary policy control? • What are the investment implications? Let’s glide gracefully over the investment floor to answer these questions.


Episode 84: Recurring tides—market questions that regularly roll in

Every so often, we find ourselves swimming in a sea of similar-sounding questions about what’s affecting or going to affect the markets. These inquiries come around on a regular basis, but do they hold any water when it comes to our investments? We brave the waves, look at some of these recurring questions, and ask, “As investors, do we care about this?” • U.S. debt ceiling discussions • Sell in May and go away investment strategy • periodic market rallies • seasonal market volumes Let’s dive in and see what’s beneath the surface.


Episode 83: Uncertainty shock—looking at bank failures

Lightning struck some U.S. and European banks recently, and investors may be feeling like the jolt is still coursing through them. Frances Donald, Global Chief Economist and Strategist at Manulife Investment Management, joins the Capital Markets Strategy team to delve into current bank problems’ effects on the investment world and spark discussion on related topics: • What’s been the historical response to banking volatility? • How do we define financial stability? • Are interest rates likely to go up or down in the near or distant future? • Where does macroeconomics come into play in the investment cycle? • Has our outlook for the coming months changed? The markets may be somewhat charged right now, but stay positive.


Episode 82: A.I.—far-reaching or far out?

Star Trek, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Terminator, Blade Runner, The Matrix—artificial intelligence (A.I.) has been a recurring science fiction theme for decades. But in fact, A.I. has come to the forefront of many discussions around scientific advances. Robotics, deep-learning models, smart cars, ChatGPT, and so on—where is this technology headed? We look at some of the applications of A.I.: • caring for the elderly by using sympathetic robots • using facial recognition software as the main way to identify you • improving customer experience with personalized algorithms • benefitting from AI—areas that may be worth watching … and more. What we can do with A.I may be nearly unfathomable. Maybe we’ll even create artificially intelligent chocolate chips someday—they’d make one smart cookie.


Episode 81: All that glisters is not gold—why bonds may be better than GICs

To bond or not to bond? That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to invest in bonds or guaranteed interest certificates (GICs) preoccupies many investors. Where would William Shakespeare put his money and why? Who knows? But we have reasons for believing bonds may be the better option for today’s investors: • Looking back over past performance of Canadian bonds, they usually outperform GICs. • Historically, the outperformance of Canadian bonds is sizably higher than GICs per year. • Reinvestment risk could give lower returns from GICs. There are more things in bonds and GICs than are dreamt of in your philosophy—let’s discuss them.


Episode 80: 2023 market outlook—what the signals are telling us

A new year has arrived. Many investors are breathing a collective sigh of relief that 2022 is done and are looking for indicators of better investment opportunities and returns in 2023. Financial needles point toward shifting economic conditions, but what types of changes will we see? • What are we looking at to help determine what the coming year may bring? • Will a recession happen? How bad could it be? • Where is inflation going? And what will central banks do in response? • Does it look like market volatility is settling down? • Are equities or fixed income looking more attractive? Gauging the markets isn’t an exact science. But the more we learn, the more likely we’ll recognize the signs.


Episode 79: Out of the hospital—three opportunities for fixed-income investors

Cold and flu season struck and early and hard in 2022. It has also been a somewhat sick time in the markets this past year. Could 2023 give investors a chance to start easing the sniffles, coughs, aches, and pains of the volatility we’ve experienced? Let’s use our stethoscopes and thermometers to examine three phases of potential opportunity in bonds moving forward: • the sweet spot—bond yields • duration is your friend—longer-duration and higher-quality fixed-income instruments • take on risk—when markets have fully priced in a recession Hot tea with lemon, a warm blanket, and a good investment strategy—just a few things that can make you feel better about your road to recovery.


Episode 78: Lessons learned—a conversation with Dan Janis

This special episode features a discussion with our soon-retiring colleague and friend, Dan Janis, Co-Head of Global Multi-Sector Fixed Income at Manulife Investment Management. We get insights into Danny’s life, career, and team, and what he’s discovered about being a good advisor and sound money manager. • What has Dan learned about managing investments during his professional career? • Is there something Dan wishes he could tell his 10-year-old self, given the opportunity? • Which key skills should an advisor develop? • What’s the best thing advisors can do for their clients? Retirement isn’t the end of the road, it’s the beginning of the open highway.


Episode 77: Eyeing the bond markets

Episode 77: Eyeing the bond markets Unusually painful performance in fixed-income investments this past year seems to be blurring investors’ vision. We see potential opportunity in current and future economic conditions. Is fixed income worth a second look? Let’s turn our sight to some financial factors related to bonds: • how a recession can affect the fixed-income market • where we are in the current bear market cycle • U.S. Federal Reserve’s interest-rate cycle to combat inflation • historical relationship between bonds and equities • yields vs returns … and more. And why are some people eyeballing used cars lately?


Episode 76: Back to (still in) investment school

For children, school has begun again. For investors, school is never really out. What subjects should you pay attention to? Will the bell ring to end to the unexpected market volatility of 2022? Our resident Capital Markets Strategy instructors have written some relevant topics on their chalkboard. They cover: • rising inflation and interest rates • economic slowdown • earnings being priced into the markets • possibility of a recession • investing over the coming months And in this episode, we introduce a new segment on what’s making recent media headlines. Class is in session.


Episode 75: On the road again, and answering some top-of-mind questions

With in-person interactions once again becoming the norm, this summer, the Capital Markets Strategy team has been criss-crossing the country, meeting with advisors and clients, and speaking at events. We’re truly enjoying the face-to-face interaction and responding to inquiries from people we meet. Wherever we go, some common questions are popping up—questions like: • Has weak market performance already been priced in? • How does the second half of 2022 look when compared to historical downturns? • Will we see a recession, and when? • How do bear markets play out over time? Let’s delve into these and other questions we’ve been getting.


Episode 74: Bears come in two sizes: big bears and baby bears

Bear markets aren’t new—15 have happened since 1950—and some have been worse than others. What’s happening with the current economy and market volatility, and when will it change? Previous selloffs and downturns may hold a clue to what we can expect for the rest of 2022. We take a look at: • what we can learn from past bear markets • the chance of a recession • effects of inflation and central bank actions • bond yields and opportunities • options investors may have to rebalance their portfolios. Bears of all sizes appear … but how long do they hang around?


Episode 73: The bumpy bond road

Fixed-income markets have been going down a rocky road so far in 2022. Are we in for a continued rough ride? Or will the dirt path become a smoother highway for bonds in the near future? Roshan Thiru, Head of Canadian Fixed Income at Manulife Investment Management, joins the Capital Markets Strategy team to discuss: • bond activity and yields • what to look for with fixed-income investments • record-high inflation and its effects • maintaining a balanced portfolio … and more. Buckle up.


Episode 72: When bears attack—rules of survival

When camping in the woods, the last thing you want to run into is a bear—but if you do, there are things you can do that can help you live through such an encounter. Similarly, when investors face a bear market or the potential for one, there are ways to help protect yourself from being ravaged by a downturn: • Try to overcome your natural panic and fear; don’t run. • Be familiar with the environment. • Take advantage of opportunities. • Don’t be afraid of what goes bump in the night—if something is meant to harm you, it’ll stalk you silently. We go through these rules in detail—and maybe we’ll enjoy some s’mores back at the campsite later on.


Episode 71: Mid caps—the misunderstood middle child

Despite the lack of evidence, people tend to believe a middle child has certain personality traits and can be difficult to deal with. Investors may think of mid caps in similar ways. Jeff Mo, Portfolio Manager, U.S. Mid Cap Equity at Mawer Investment Management, joins the Capital Markets Strategy team to talk about the benefits that mid caps may provide for your investment portfolio. They cover topics like: • short-term vs long-term market trends • how market volatility can create opportunities • effect of inflation on companies’ ability to generate returns • challenges of predicting the markets • importance of downside protection. Are you judging mid caps fairly?