Macro Investing

Brian Singer, head of William Blair’s Dynamic Allocation Strategies Team and portfolio manager of the William Blair Macro Allocation Fund, provides in-depth analysis on how global macro events impact the markets and present investment opportunities and risks. Gain more insights on macro investing below.

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In The News

  • Brian Singer TV Interviews

    Brian Singer, head of William Blair’s Dynamic Allocation Strategies Team and portfolio manager of the William Blair Macro Allocation Fund, provides insights on the macro environment during several TV interviews.

    CNBC Interviews Brian Singer -- 7/23/14: Singer says stocks are fundamentally expensive and fundamentally expensive and discusses where he is currently finding opportunities
    Reuters TV Interviews Brian Singer -- 7/21/14: Singer discusses how the Fund’s largest currency exposures provide a great opportunity to take advantage of large mis-pricings and provide strong diversification within the portfolio
    CNBC Europe Interviews Brian Singer -- 6/3/14: Singer discusses how the use of game theory within broader fundamental analysis helps address geopolitical events that influence markets on CNBC Europe’s “Worldwide Exchange” program

More Fund News

    Fund Information

    The William Blair Macro Allocation Fund actively manages macro risks and seeks to take advantage of global opportunities and risks.

    Learn More
    Fund Profile
    Fact Sheet (PDF)
    Fund Overview (PDF)
    Fund 101 (PDF)
    How We Manage Currencies (PDF)

    Our Investment Process

    Fundamental Analysis Identifies Price/Value Discrepancies

    Macro inefficiencies exist across markets and currencies. Prices vary above and below fundamental values but are historically mean-reverting. Our first step is to use fundamental analysis to identify these price to value discrepancies. In turn, these value/price discrepancies reveal investment opportunities.

    Investment Process for Global Equities

    Source: William Blair

    Standard Deviation: A measure of the portfolio's risk. A higher standard deviation represents a greater dispersion of returns, and thus a greater amount of risk.


    Game Theory Helps Explain Why Prices Deviate From Values

    The second step in our process is to understand the macro themes driving price/value discrepancies. We include game theory in this assessment.

    What is Game Theory?

    Events, geopolitics, and policy changes affect market prices in ways that can seem uncertain or random. William Blair's Dynamic Allocation Strategies team uses game theory in its analysis to provide clarity on investment opportunities. Game theory considers the interests and incentives of the “players”—in this case, governmental and economic leaders. Today’s leaders are engaged in a multilateral bargaining game where players devise a strategy and demonstrate various powers as they interact with other players to achieve a desired outcome. In order for us to assess investment opportunities and risks, we examine four strategic powers.

    Endowment Power — an initial resource base
    Threat Power — the ability to threaten opponent players to such a degree that they must extract themselves from the situation
    Risk Tolerance — the willingness to take collateral risk of large magnitute or to have negotiations break down without resolution
    Coalition Power — the ability to form and alter coalitions to augment negotiating strategy effectiveness

    Game Theory Powers and Behaviors


    See how we apply game theory:

    Dynamic Risk Capital Allocations Seek to Capture Best Opportunities and Risks

    The William Blair Macro Allocation Fund seeks to capitalize on global opportunities through active management across asset classes, geographies, currencies, and risk themes.

    Portfolio Construction Guidelines1

    Fund Strategy

    • Total return focus seeks to provide exposure to attractive risks and opportunities


    • Long-term comparative index: 30% MSCI World Index (net) + 40% Barclays Capital Agg Bond Index + 30% BofA/Merrill 3 month U.S. T-Bill Index
    • Calibrated portfolio risk (forward-looking standard deviation):
      • 10% expected volatility over time; maximum risk budget of 20% expected volatility
      • Long-term portfolio beta target of 0.3 with respect to MSCI ACWI

    1Holding allocations are not expected to fall below lower expectation band more frequently than 10% of the trading days based on daily value of Fund; similarly, holding allocations are not expected to exceed upper expectation band more frequently than 10% of trading days based on daily value of Fund.

    Beta: A quantitative measure of the volatility of the portfolio relative to the overall market, represented by a comparable benchmark. A beta above 1 is more volatile than the overall market, while a beta below 1 is less volatile, and could be expected to rise and fall more slowly than the market.

    The Fund involves a high level of risk and may not be appropriate for everyone. You could lose money by investing in the Fund. There can be no assurance that the Fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The Fund is not a complete investment program and you should only consider the Fund for the alternative portion of your portfolio. Separate accounts managed by the Advisor may invest in the Fund and, therefore, the Advisor at times may have discretionary authority over a significant portion of the assets invested in the Fund. In such instances, the Advisor’s decision to make changes to or rebalance its clients’ allocations in the separate accounts may substantially impact the Fund’s performance. The Fund is designed for long-term investors.

    The Fund may use investment techniques and financial instruments that may be considered aggressive—including but not limited to the use of futures contracts, options on futures contracts, securities and indices, forward contracts, swap agreements and similar instruments. Such techniques may also include short sales or other techniques that are intended to provide inverse exposure to a particular market or other asset class, as well as leverage. These techniques may expose the Fund to potentially dramatic changes (losses) in the value of certain of its portfolio holdings.

    Investments are subject to a number of other different types of risk, including market risk, asset allocation risk credit risk, commodity risk, counterparty and contractual default risk, currency risk, and derivatives risk. For a more detailed explanation and discussion of these risks, please read the Fund’s Prospectus.