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International Investments (The Addison-Wesley Series in Finance)

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Almost thirty years ago, Bruno Solnik published an article entitled "Why not diver. sify internationally rather than domestically?" in the Financial Analysts Journal Uuly/August 1974). At the time, US. pension funds had never invested outside of the United States. The situation was not very different in most other countries (except Britain) in which international investment by pension funds and other institutional investors was legally prohibited or regarded as exotic. Although European banks and private investors have long been international investors by cultural heritage as well as necessity (given the small size of most countries), institutional investors' guidelines often limited or prohibited international investments. Because institutional investors are large and sophisticated investors, their absence on the international scene was significant. Various forms of capital and currency controls constrained international investing. Few brokers or asset managers offered global services. Most corporations only reported annual accounts in their local language, and publicly available information was scarce and often unreliable. The combination of poor information, low expertise, stringent regulations, and high costs inhibited global investing. Thirty years later, the investment scene has changed dramatically.

Back in 1974, the world stock market capitalization stood below $1 trillion. Since the publication of the first edition of this book in 1988, the world stock market capitalization has passed the $25 trillion mark. Global debt markets have developed and opened up to foreign investors. Derivatives markets on financial instruments were in their infancy in 1974, but now provide major risk management instruments in all countries. It is now common to see US. pension funds with 10 percent or 20 percent of their assets invested internationally; individual investors have followed the trend, and the number of international mutual funds offered to American investors is astonishing. Non-U.S. investors hold extensive international investments. For example, ABP, the pension fund of Dutch civil servants and one of the largest in the world with total assets well over $100 billion, decided in 1989 to move from a purely domestic strategy to invest a growing percentage of its assets abroad. Dutch institutional investors now have more than 30 percent of their assets abroad.
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