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ECB action has some on edge, others unfazed

The European Central Bank (ECB) has hinted heavily it will provide more support to markets on Thursday, though how the support will look has yet to be determined. What its impact will be on investment funds is also unclear.

Two very different conversations I had last week demonstrated how closely the move will be watched by some, while other investors are unlikely to care much.

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Mario Draghi
Martin Divisek | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mario Draghi

Ron Mock, the CEO of Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a $145 billion fund which manages pension savings for over 300,000 current and retired teachers in Ontario, Canada, warned that for every 1 percent movement in interest rates, the group's liabilities move around $30 billion.

We may be in a pretty benign environment for markets at the moment, but what happens when central banks start their normalization process, and rates start heading up?

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"It depends why rates are heading higher. If rates are heading higher out of growth, you can weather that for quite some time. We have liabilities though. And our liabilities go in the opposite direction of interest rates," Mock said.

"If interest rates are going up, it might slow the portfolio growth down, but it actually helps the liability side of our balance sheet."

In other words, for the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, a rising interest rate scenario is not the worst thing that can happen provided they have a solid portfolio.

Mock and the fund favor long term infrastructure projects, as reflected in their ownership of High Speed 1 (officially known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link), Bristol Airport, Birmingham Airport, and Copenhagen Airport. If a High Speed 2 comes along in the U.K., "clearly, we would like to look into that as an opportunity," Mock said.

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Meanwhile, with Apple's $3 billion purchase of headset maker Beats Electronics, I had the pleasure of having Will.I.am, multi-award winning artist and one of the three original co-founders and equity partners in the studio with me, soon after the deal was announced. While he remained mum on how big a stake he has in Beats ("I want to be able to live a normal life, and go places without security"), he was happy to talk about how technology and culture are merging now more than ever.

"Beats changed airports—suddenly, when going through airports, it is not uncommon to see lots of people wearing the large, multi-colored 'pop' headsets…and a new culture has been born," he said.

"Without culture, tech just sits at home on a shelf. When tech and culture merge, a powerful force comes alive."

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Some might argue that Beats "sold out" to Apple, and that it is ironic that Apple, is the buyer. After all, Apple originally created a culture in which everyone suddenly wore tiny white headphones because anything bigger would be too big.

I put this to Will.i.am, but he said the fit was natural. It was, after all, Will.i.am's pop music group The Black Eyed Peas which launched both iTunes and the iPod with an ad that used their song 'Hey Mama'.

Louisa Bojesen is the presenter of CNBC's European Closing Bell. Follow Louisa on Twitter @louisabojesen