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Diversification: A Timeless Strategy

Turn on the business news or read a Wall Street research report and you’ll notice something: many people in the investment world will tell you where to put your money for maximum gain. Buy gold before it soars. Sell bonds before they crash. Or maybe speculate on this stock because it’s destined to go up….

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Cost Matters

It’s natural for investors to be focused on costs. Higher costs eat into your returns, leaving you with less money at the end of the day. On the flip side, if you can efficiently lower your costs, your net returns will rise. That’s the simple story. Problem is, many people just focus on one particular…

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A Loss vs. A Decline (There’s a Big Difference)

Imagine it’s November 2008 and two people are looking at their portfolios. They both see that the stock market has fallen roughly 40% in just over a year, taking the value of their equity investments down with it. Investor A decides they can’t take it any more and sells. Investor B does nothing. On a…

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Only Take Risks Worth Taking

It’s a truism of investing: there’s a trade-off between the risk you take and the reward you might receive. The safer the investment, the lower the probable return, and vice versa. Some investors, understandably wanting to make the most money, take a lot of risks. Maybe a small percentage of them end up with outsized…

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What to Expect When You’re Investing

Depending on your level of investment knowledge, you may be wondering just what you can expect from your portfolio. There’s good news and bad news on this front. The bad news is that we, nor anyone else, have the foggiest idea what will happen tomorrow or next week. We’ll leave that kind of guessing to…

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The Financial Media Can Be Harmful to Your Wealth

Nowadays, it’s pretty much impossible to avoid talk of the markets. There are 24/7 cable channels devoted to investing and business. Here in Toronto, the radio station AM680 does not one, but two dedicated market updates every hour (24 updates a day!) And we haven’t even mentioned all the newspaper and internet coverage. The wall-to-wall…

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Avoid These Common Investment Errors

What do investing and tennis have in common? We could probably come up with a few similarities, but avoiding unforced errors has to be top of the list. In other words, while you can’t control what the market (or your opponent) does, you can do your best to ensure you don’t make avoidable mistakes with…

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There’s More to Investing Than Canada

Canada is a wonderful country for a whole host of reasons. It’s amazingly inclusive compared to most places in the world, the land itself is beautiful and, let’s face it, we’re tops at hockey. Things are far from perfect, but as countries go, Canada is a pretty good one to live in. With all this…

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Behavioural Biases and Investing

People, by their nature, are biased. Another way of saying this is that everyone tends to preference some things over others, sometimes unfairly. Perhaps you’re biased towards one sports team. Or maybe you’d rather listen to jazz than the blues. Not all biases have serious repercussions. In the field of investing, however, there’s an increasing…

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Time is Your Friend

We live in a world filled with constant updates. And nowhere is this more evident than in the world of investing. Turn on a news radio station and chances are you’ll hear how the markets are doing that day. On television, you can see the fluctuating markets with your own eyes as some networks have…

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Being Mindful: Understanding How Our Brains Affect Our Investing

Human beings are inherently psychological creatures. We get worked up watching our favourite sports teams and cry during sad movies. And we often fear flying more than driving, even though the latter is far more dangerous statistically. Much of how our brains are wired isn’t necessarily harmful, but rather what makes us human. Yet when…

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Big Names Don’t Mean Big Gains

In the world of finance, the media tends to cover the “big names” with awe. They dutifully record the pronouncements of billionaire investors, and scour regulatory filings to see where large funds are placing bets.  At one level, this is totally understandable. For an individual to have amassed so much money, they often made prescient…

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The Virtues of Keeping it Simple

If you think about many areas of your life, chances are they’ve become more complex over the years. Your basic flip-style cell phone, used to make and receive phone calls (imagine that!), turned into a mini-computer known as a smartphone. Even the shows we watch on television have become far more complicated, with multiple plot…

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How To Create Good Inheritors

For many families, the subject of wealth is rarely discussed. It can be a taboo, an elephant in the room, or perhaps even a secret, known by the parents but not their offspring. This may be especially true of families in which the older generation has accumulated sufficient wealth that the kids will inherit significant…

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Three Ways to Reduce Your Portfolio’s Volatility

In a prior post, we likened market volatility to going to the dentist: unpleasant, but ultimately good for you. Volatility brings with it opportunities (often lower stock prices, for example), and is really just the price investors pay for solid long-term returns. That said, there are some ways to reduce your portfolio’s volatility to let…

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Markets Making You Nervous

Markets Making You Nervous? Here’s How to Cope Many people feel anxious when markets are especially volatile. This is completely understandable. If you have a significant portion of your savings tied to equities, a sharp decline can easily be unnerving.  So, what should you do if you find yourself unmoored by falling markets? Here are…

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The Gift of Giving

Watching your wealth grow can obviously be enjoyable. But for many people, the process of giving away their hard-earned money can be even more gratifying. The ability to fund meaningful, life-changing charitable endeavours is a gift unto itself. But how should you donate to worthy causes? ‘Appreciate’ The Benefits of Giving Shares If you are…

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Commodities

Do Commodity Investments Belong in Your Portfolio? Natural resources (often just called commodities), are in a sense the building blocks of modern economies. Consider most of the cars on the road: they’re made of steel, run on gasoline, and were probably made in a plant that had copper wiring. But however central commodities are to…

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Politics and Investing

Why You Should Leave Politics out of Investing We live in a world where on any given day, one person’s tweets can move the stock market. That person, of course, is the current President of the United States. Whether it’s about trade policy or a specific company, these short missives can send shockwaves through everything…

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A Short History of Market Panics

A Short History of Market Panics (and What they Can Teach Investors) As investors know all too well, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to panic selling in financial markets. Indeed, to call what we’ve seen “heightened volatility” doesn’t do it justice. Equities crashed from record highs as outright fear gripped the marketplace.  Even for individuals…

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Your Covid-19 Financial Questions Answered

The hallmark of any good relationship is communication. With this in mind, we’ve dedicated significant time in recent weeks to client concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it might affect their finances. We’ve also, as you’ve probably noticed, sent out a number of emails with resources that you might find useful. For this month’s…

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Estate Planning During Covid-19

Understandably, the Covid-19 pandemic has led many people to think about estate planning. The trouble, of course, is that the traditional approaches to Wills and Powers of Attorney are not always feasible at the moment. Fortunately, there are viable workarounds, so estate planning does not need to be put on hold. The Problem The problem…

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How and Why to Disengage from the Markets

Investing is usually discussed solely in terms of money. What to buy, what to sell, and what fees you should pay in the process. Of course, the money aspect is important: You’re investing so that you and your loved ones can have a bright future. A portfolio that grows over time is central to that…

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Why We Should Not Speculate

Be Mindful of Excessive Speculation Soaring interest among the public in the stock market. People day-trading to earn quick fortunes. If you didn’t know otherwise, this sounds like a description of the late 1990s, a time characterized by a frenzy for technology stocks as the internet came into its own.  But history has a way…

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Investing for Income in a Low Rate Environment

Bonds Have Become Less Interest-ing. What’s an Income Investor to Do? Two decades ago, a 10-year U.S. Treasury bond paid interest of around 6%. (No, that’s not a typo.) Today? The same bond pays well under 1%. Put another way, a retiree in 2000 looking to invest $1 million in exchange for steady income could…

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Your Personal Financial Checklist

A Back to School Financial Checklist for You Kids have recently returned to school. Being the strange year that is 2020, some are there in person, and some are attending virtually. Whatever the case, chances are many parents made checklists before classes started so their children would be ready. Books, pencils, and, if they’ll be…

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Want to be a Successful Investor? Embrace Optimism

Especially these days, it’s easy to be a pessimist. Bad news tends to dominate at the best of times, but it does seem like there’s currently more of it than usual.  As citizens, we of course can’t be willfully blind to what’s happening in the world. And as investors, we must be attuned to risks…

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Taking inflation into account as an investor

How Rising Prices Can Lower Your Wealth (And What To Do About It) When AMC, the giant U.S. theatre chain, announced they were re-opening in late August, they decided to lure customers back with a one-day promotion: tickets would only cost 15 cents, the same price as they did back in the 1920s when the…

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An “Alternative” Take on Asset Allocation

As we’ve talked about previously, equities and bonds should be at the core of an individual investor’s portfolio. Equities offer the potential for long-term capital appreciation. Bonds, meanwhile, may provide some capital growth, but their role is more defensive—providing income and helping to offset market volatility.  Equities and bonds are what might be termed “traditional”…

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GameStop and the Madness of Crowds

Chances are, you’ve read in the news about a once-obscure, now famous stock called GameStop. It’s a fascinating saga, and there are timeless lessons for investors. Some background: GameStop is a bricks and mortar retailer of video games and consumer electronics. In a world where seemingly everything is moving online, GameStop does not exactly occupy…

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Understanding Duration

Duration and Your Portfolio All specialties have their own unique terms that probably come across as incomprehensible to those who don’t spend their days immersed in the subject. In the world of investing, ‘Duration’ is one of these sorts of words. So, what exactly is it, and why should you as an investor care? (Don’t…

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Winter Is Coming: The Geopolitical Recession Begins Now

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Seizing opportunities

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Staying Active Has Its Advantages

Active Investing, Passive Investing, or Both? It’s a big debate in the world of finance: Should you be a Passive or Active investor? There are good arguments on both sides, but like many things in life, perhaps the answer is a bit more complicated than just choosing one or the other.  That is to say,…

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How to Prepare for the Next Bear Market

The sun is currently shining on the stock market. And for most investors, it probably feels pretty comfortable. But it’s during the good times that investors need to make sure they’re prepared for an inevitable downturn. While it’s practically impossible to predict when the next bear market will hit, being ready for it can make…

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A New Season – What Opportunities are Driving Renewed Investor Optimism?

March 2021 Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, CAIA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager, CI GAM | Multi-Asset Management Spring has sprung! While this spring may not have the usual fever, the potential for a normal summer or fall is improving as over 300 million vaccine doses have been…

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Bubble, But for How Long?

January 2021 Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, CAIA, Vice-President and Portfolio ManagerCI GAM | Multi-Asset Management Without a doubt, 2020 was a “loss” year. Individually, we lost the ability to live our normal way of life. Globally, currencies lost their purchasing power as central banks added US$9…

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Turning the Corner

November 2020 Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment OfficerMarchello Holditch, CFA, CAIA, Vice-President and Portfolio ManagerCI Multi-Asset Management Christmas is almost upon us, which means we will soon close the book on 2020. It was a tough year for everyone as the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed our lifestyles. Thankfully, humans are creative and…

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Where Do We Go From Here?

September 2020 Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager CI Multi-Asset Management The last few months have been one of the most unusual periods in memory regardless of your age. Many sectors within the global economy shut down and the impact has been even more…

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All That Glitters is Not Gold

August 2020 By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager CI Multi-Asset Management The price of gold has rallied this year from US$1,517 an ounce at the start of the year to US$1,975 as of July 31. What was the driver behind this recent surge?…

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Beware the Ides of March

April 2020 By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager CI Multi-Asset Management Much like the soothsayer in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, governments warned individuals in the middle of March to stay home. Social distancing measures have undoubtably reduced the spread of COVID-19 and saved…

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Signature Commentary: Coronavirus update

By Gorlen Zhou, Director of Research, CI Global Holdings AsiaFebruary 3, 2020 The 2020 Chinese New Year holiday in Hong Kong is quieter than usual. Chinese restaurants are usually fully booked during the holiday season, but most of them are half empty nowadays. Even though there are only 15 identified cases of the coronavirus in…

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Is it time for a revival of the value style?

By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager CI Multi-Asset Management I’ve written in the past about an extreme divergence between the performance of value and growth styles of investing. In brief, value style investing is the selection of securities that are underpriced or undervalued…

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Winter is Coming: The Geopolitical Recession Begins Now

By Drummond Brodeur I expect to see a significant global economic slowdown in the next 12 months, with a high chance of a recession around this time next year. I’m not concerned whether we see back-to-back negative quarters; a recession is defined as a significant slowdown in aggregate demand, which is highly likely in the…

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Trade War: What is it Good For?

By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer and Marchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager, CI Multi-Asset Management At the beginning of the year, an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China was noted as a risk to our outlook, which was that global economic growth is likely to remain positive…

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The Power of Zeros

By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment OfficerMarchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President and Portfolio Manager CI Multi-Asset Management It has been 10 years since stock markets bottomed in 2008-09 following the financial turmoil caused by excessive leverage. Since then, many central banks globally have reduced interest rates to zero and collectively injected over US$10…

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Seizing opportunities

By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment OfficerMarchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President, CI Multi-Asset Management Over the first quarter of 2019, global economies continued to slow, Brexit and U.S.-China trade remained uncertain, but the key theme was the pivot in U.S. Federal Reserve policy. Expectations went from rate hike to rate cut within a…

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The Fed is the new macro

By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment OfficerMarchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President, CI Multi-Asset Management Stock markets have rallied significantly and consistently since 2009 when central banks cut interest rates to zero and increased the money supply through quantitative easing (QE) programs. Ten years later, these measures are largely still in place. Even though…

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This is what it sounds like when doves cry

By Alfred Lam, CFA, Senior Vice-President and Chief Investment Officer andMarchello Holditch, CFA, Vice-President Markets roared back in January from December’s steep sell-off. The S&P/TSX Composite Index was up 8.7% – it’s best month in a decade. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index had its best January performance in over 30 years. International equities…

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How did investors do in 2018?

By Alfred Lam, CFA During any extended stock market rally, a curious thing tends to occur: several close acquaintances – who aren’t professional investors – enjoy offering me their unsolicited advice on how to make money. But when markets fall, the same group often panics, demanding to know what they should do. This mixed bag…

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Is it time to cue the raven? Nevermore?

The time has come for the annual rite of forecasting. What will 2019 bring? If you believe the stock market, the time has come to price inan economic slowdown. Whether or not what evolves is a “slow patch” or a full recession is up to the Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) in the United States.

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The Signature Position: Latest Equity Market Sell-off

By Jean-Philippe Bry, October 12, 2018 To quote the market’s most stable genius in chief, Donald Trump, a stock market correction was overdue. A correction was something we have been anticipating, and highlighted as recently as early October at our conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. The premise is that as rates normalize at higher levels, volatility…

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Are We Witnessing the End of the Unbridled Globalization Era?

By Eric Bushell After living through a year of confrontational statements from President Trump, I can understand why investors have tuned out from the daily Washington beat. It paid well to consider it all a distraction in 2017. That is no longer the case. With the loss of centrists from positions of power in the…

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Market Commentary on The Return of Volatility

The latest sell-off marks the first substantial increase in volatility after a lengthy period of relatively quiet markets. While it may be disconcerting for many, it’s critical to understand the background and context – what’s driving global markets – and what this means for our (we’re invested alongside you) investments going forward. The key advice:…

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volatility has returned

In February 2018, stock markets experienced more volatility in one month than in all of 2017. Last year, the maximum drawdown of the S&P 500 Index was -2.8%, meaning that any investor who bought at the top of the market and sold at the bottom would have lost 2.8%. In February, the maximum drawdown was…

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The Importance of Risk management in a late investment cycle

We had another solid year in 2017. Equity markets were very generous; fixed income – not so much. The U.S. dollar depreciated significantly against the Canadian dollar and cut into U.S. market gains experienced by Canadian investors. Our decision to invest more in foreign markets and hedge a portion of foreign currencies added value. In terms…

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Market Commentary on U.S. Election

Last night’s election results remind me of the1971 Monty Python album “And Now for Something Completely Different.” Donald Trump is president-elect of the United States. The good news is that we have a clear winner with a clear mandate to “Make America Great Again.” Trump is the polar opposite candidate to President Obama. His election…

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