November 2009 Global Consumer Interim Report

Considerable time has been spent by the media discussing the overstretched U.S. consumers and their inability to lead the world out of the current slowdown with higher spending. We agree the U.S. consumer has overspent during the past decade in the midst of ever rising home prices and general excessiveness. To achieve better balance in the world economy governments in the developing world realize they will need to encourage the development of their own consumer economies. We believe exposure to this budding middle class will be an important investment theme over the next decade. We also feel the safest and best way to exploit the opportunities within these developing countries is through large, multinational companies with strong global brands. An added benefit of this exposure is the creation of a natural currency hedge within portfolios that will protect against a weakening dollar.

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