Each January, here in Davos, it is fascinating to observe the interaction between the official agenda – this year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting is headlined ‘Reshaping the world: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business’ – and the mood and priorities of the delegate group.
For example, just a few sessions into day one and we can already point to widespread recognition that the world needs to substantially increase its efforts to build better infrastructure, not only in emerging countries but also in mature economies. That’s reshaping the world in a tangibly physical sense.
Many more representatives of the investment community – pension funds, private equity firms and hedge funds – have been attracted to Davos this year, which should help in directing more private capital into infrastructure and is also a clear indicator of the wall of money seeking investment opportunities.
On which theme, there is a clear sense that real estate is more in focus as an established ‘alternative’ asset class, attractive for its strong returns compared to bonds and offering a safer haven than equity markets which are starting to become a cause of concern for some delegates.
Another early observation is the general sense amongst business leaders here that consolidation is no longer being driven primarily by costs but also increasingly by a new war for talent.
In fact, all I have heard so far today makes me feel that ‘Reshaping the world’ is an inspired theme for this year’s Davos gathering – and makes me feel pretty good about the prospects for JLL going forward.