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On 17 January, FCLTGlobal hosted its annual CEO Roundtable in Davos alongside the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The topic of the day was the challenge both companies and investors face to balance long-term performance and near-term decision-making amid a time of historic disruptions. This discussion came at a time when we are faced with a war in Europe, global inflation, and a looming recession, among other economic, social, and geopolitical trends that present real risks to our businesses and stakeholders.

Today’s executives are trying to determine which of these trends will be fleeting, which represent a larger shift with implications 5 or 10 years down the road, and how to manage through them to create the most long-term value.


The following summary reflects the opinions and insights of our members’ CEOs and guests about the trends their organizations are grappling with, strategies being deployed to navigate them, and issues that need further consideration.

Near-term trends are creating uncertainty


The reopening of China following the removal of its Covid restrictions had the attention of many in the room. Chinese households save at some of the highest rates in the world, and the savings rate increased even further during the period of lockdowns, giving Chinese households immense levels of dry powder. Participants noted:

Energy Prices

Investment in energy has been a dominant subject over the past year with security issues coming to the fore, and this focus on security will continue. Energy prices will remain elevated and volatile, and the demand for secure fossil fuels will persist even as the shift towards renewable energy accelerates. Participants noted:

“Economic policy, industrial policy for the past couple decades has been driven by profit maximization. Now, there’s a national security lens influencing how capital is being deployed to strategically sensitive investments.”

Long-term trends require a strategic rethink

Companies and investors tend to manage short-term deviations from long-term trends well. It is much harder to determine how to adjust strategy in the face of true shifts in one’s operating environment. Participants identified the following trends that they expect to play out over a longer period of time and, accordingly, require a larger strategic rethink.

“It’s not like going through turbulence on your way to your destination; it’s like landing at the wrong airport.”


It is evident that decarbonization is a generational shift that is just now beginning to unfold, and companies and investors are reconsidering their strategies to be prepared for a lower-carbon future. Those companies that aspire to be greener, and execute strategies over time to reach those aspirations, will be best positioned for long-term performance. Participants noted:

Deglobalization or global fragmentation

For most of the past 50 years, globalization has been the wind in the sails of companies and investors with a multinational footprint. However, those tailwinds have shifted particularly in tech, supply chains, and portfolio construction philosophies. Participants noted:

“Portfolios have been structured on a single path view of global, tech-driven growth, and we need a reset.”


Changing demographics globally and a widening sense of inequity will have profound implications moving forward. Participants noted:


The impact of artificial intelligence is yet to be fully understood but is a generational shift affecting individuals, workforces, companies, and global security. And it represents an enormous disruption to business models and will generate as yet unclear investment opportunities. Historically, digitization has been about cost-cutting and mitigating risk. The other side is thinking about what is possible with AI, robotics, and quantum computing and recognizing that the long-term winners will be those that optimize the use of these technologies.

The way forward raises important questions

In light of these trends, both near- and long-term, how can businesses navigate a way forward that generates strong and sustainable performance? The group agreed that having a clear vision for long-term value creation is a critical starting point and would allow enterprises to lead with integrity.

As we consider how the interaction between investors and companies creates long-term value – or drives short-term behavior – a key issue from the conversation that deserves further consideration is the role of investors and a need to ask several fundamental questions:

Over time, acting with conviction while remaining both flexible to the pressures of the day and resilient is necessary to win over the long term.

Moving forward, FCLTGlobal’s work will aim to solve how both companies and investors can meet the challenge of performing over the long term while also making good decisions amid a time of historic disruption. To learn more about our upcoming research, contact us at [email protected].

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