The Forest, the Trees, and the Roots: Changing Perspectives — Marvin Loh

Talking Trends
3 min readMay 22, 2024

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Photo by wirestock on Freepik

We’ve all heard the expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” Translation: we sometimes can’t see conditions as they really are while we’re in the midst of them. Our perspective enlarges when we get past the trees and into the wider forest.

We’re in conversation with Marvin Loh, a global financial expert who has the rare ability in business to see not only the forest — the big picture — but also the trees and even down to the roots.

“Marvin, in your work in global finance, you’re known for spotting global trends — the proverbial “10,000-foot view” — and being able to translate the big picture into opportunities and risks for companies, industries, and markets “down on the ground.” How does that process work for you?”

In the financial markets, the views from “on high” and “down below” are quite different. I’m fortunate to be comfortable in both macro- and micro-thinking modes and to see things from each perspective — offering insight into the challenges and opportunities of running a business (the root and tree level), while also providing oversight into changes in industry (the forest), and how all fit within the global ecosystem (the 10,000-foot view).

Businesses today need perspective on all three of these levels — company, industry, and global marketplace — to fully understand how they can profitably and competitively operate. Much of my work is helping provide that knowledge and guidance.

“You’ve said everyone operates on a global stage, even if they’re not an international company per se. How can companies develop a more global perspective?”

I’m grateful to have grown up in a multicultural environment, in what’s been called the world’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood — Jackson Heights in New York. A living definition of “melting pot,” my neighborhood gave me an abiding appreciation of the benefits of experiencing other cultures, not just reading about them.

Global understanding takes more than a Fodor’s Travel Guide. It takes being infinitely curious and open-minded to embrace, understand, and ultimately thrive in diverse cultures and markets. A conscious effort to bring more diverse members into the boardroom can help in decision making and in producing a product and/or service well-suited to the global stage.

While everything is more complex, the world is a smaller place. Technology has reduced the thousands of miles between us into inches, and knowledge of the world is infinitely more important these days. How products and services fit in the market and how the market fits within the global ecosystem are questions every CEO and every board need to think through.

We appreciate your multifaceted point of view, Marvin.

A financial strategist with a wide-reaching global perspective, Marvin Loh has more than three decades of experience in the financial service industry. With distinct expertise in advising public company board and executive leaders in their business planning, he distills global trends into their strategic, financial, and operational implications. Currently, Marvin serves as a senior global macro strategist at State Street Global Markets. He is a regular commentator on Bloomberg Television and sought-after presenter at investment, corporate, and media events.

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