Monthly Commentaries

Monthly Commentaries / July 31, 2020

What’s it worth?

True, there are those who don’t really try to answer that question. For example, some momentum strategies have a valuation overlay, though most do not. And there are times when the relative performance derby causes fundamentally-oriented investors to toss their valuation discipline out the window. “As long as the music is playing,” as one infamous […]

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Monthly Commentaries / May 31, 2020

All things must pass

As many of you know, our key message to clients and allocators is that investing begins, and ends, with people – whether our team, our clients, or the management we engage with on a regular basis that run the companies we invest in. As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic, each of these key groups […]

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Monthly Commentaries / April 30, 2020

The Pandemic Lockdown

The devastating blow of the pandemic lockdown continues to unfold on the global economy, causing a near-stop to travel, migration, and gatherings. For those of us who continue to work while our physical workplaces are closed, to say we’re “working from home” is not quite accurate: we are confined to our homes due to a […]

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Monthly Commentaries / February 29, 2020

Goodhart’s Law

Our February comment was released following a difficult final ten days of the month – not that it relates to the current events. The events are, as it’s said, what they are. The market already understands that virtually everything in China is shut down. Autos sales have plummeted, 99% of nightclubs closed, 70% of restaurants […]

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Monthly Commentaries / January 31, 2020

Appealing to Interests

This month our CIO, Linda Lebrun, outlines why we believe management ownership of corporate stock best aligns them with shareholders. Simply put – we human beings are self-centered and respond well to incentives that appeal to our self-interest. One is simply more inclined to be more attentive if the incentive structure appeals. Linda’s note speaks […]

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Monthly Commentaries / November 30, 2019

The Narrative

This month we speak to the narratives that pervade the investment ecosystem. Skimming through Damodaran’s “tribes” (storytellers and number crunchers) humorously reminds one of Twain’s “lies, damned lies, and statistics”. Yet the narrative plays an important part in a manager’s communication with clients and potential clients; after all, written commentary with supporting statistics can be […]

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Monthly Commentaries / October 31, 2019

Oils Not Well

In a stunning announcement November 1st, Pengrowth Energy Corp. announced its sale to Cona Resources Ltd. for five cents a share and assumption of company debt. Once a $7.2 billion oil and gas exploration company, Pengrowth Energy has lost almost 99.6% of their equity value in the past six years. Over the past twelve months […]

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Monthly Commentaries / August 31, 2019

Time to Slow Down

The four most dangerous words in investing are “this time it’s different” according to John Templeton. At stock market tops, investors invariably use this rationale to justify their emotion-driven decisions. Howard Marks recent memo This Time Its Different is another must-read for the current environment. Particularly his reference on “perpetual prosperity from quantitative easing”.  While […]

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Monthly Commentaries / July 31, 2019

Dear Prudence

The CFA standard notes “Members and Candidates have a duty of loyalty to their clients and must act with reasonable care and exercise prudent judgment.” How does that fit with investing client monies in cannabis stocks or bitcoin. Or some of the high flyer tech names like Shopify or Lightspeed which, at this writing, have […]

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Monthly Commentaries / May 31, 2019

Understanding Embedded Risk

Over the past few years the Canadian investment industry has hollowed out, with far too many independent investment firms being acquired. These firms have either concentrated too heavily on a declining global asset class (Canada), or failed to build a successful succession/exit strategy for the original builders of the business. Or perhaps its simply the […]

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Monthly Commentaries / April 30, 2019

Unpredictable Risk

In an interview last week, the great Charlie Munger said “more damage to the world comes from the cognitive glitches than does from malevolence.” Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes noted “If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” And of course, Ockham’s Razor suggests that, all other things being equal, […]

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Monthly Commentaries / February 28, 2019

The Small Cap Bias

Accepting that investing is really hard, true investing – which we define as the allocation of capital to either entrepreneurs or company management requiring funds to exploit an opportunity to generate profits – in Canada is a monumental task. “No matter how great the talent or effort, some things just take time: You can’t produce […]

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