Ginsler Wealth Third Quarter 2022 Client Letter – Opportunity Knocks

(An audio version of this letter can now be found as Episode 11 of The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth. Use the link provided or find us on your favourite podcast app.)

 

To Ginsler Wealth’s Clients:

The economic and investment climate remained very challenging in Q3, following a very difficult first half of the year. As at September 30, 2022, the U.S. equity markets (as measured by the S&P 500) are just 6% above where they were in February 2020, just prior to the pandemic, after having risen 41% above the February 2020 peak and 107% from the March 2020 lows.

S&P500 Performance Since 2020

The Canadian equity markets (as measured by the S&P/TSX index) are just 3% above February 2020 levels after having risen 23% above the February 2020 peak and 97% from the March 2020 lows.

S&P TSX Performance Since 2020

Canadian bonds (as measured by the S&P Canada Aggregate Bond Index) are down almost 11% this year. Central banks continue to raise interest rates to fight high inflation and Russia continues its war with Ukraine. It is reasonably likely that all the equity market gains made from the time Covid-19 began will be erased. Two and a half years…gone. So, what does this mean?


OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS

While it is easy to focus on the negative, we are focusing on opportunities this environment presents. For GW, this means taking the following actions:

  1. Looking at historic trends, especially equity market returns
  2. Adjusting your portfolio and/or finding new strategies
  3. Putting cash to work (even if just to earn more than bank account interest)
  4. Taking time to plan
  5. Focusing on your health


Looking at Historical Trends

While all client portfolios are tailored to your specific needs, goals, and objectives, in general, your investment portfolios with Ginsler Wealth include more than just traditional stocks and bonds. This diversification has helped insulate your assets from some of the challenges of this year.

However, we still believe that over time, equities should be the highest return contributor to your overall portfolios. What does history say about equity returns following large declines? The table and chart below show that following declines of 25% or more, the S&P 500 (the barometer of the overall U.S. equity market) has historically gone on to post substantial gains.

Chart of S&P Performance Post-25% Declines

Average S&P500 Performance Post -25% Losses

As Ben Carlson says in the article where the above data was reported: “History provides no guarantees for the future, but I do find some level of comfort in knowing that buying stocks when they’re down big like this tends to offer positive outcomes.”


Adjusting the Portfolio and Finding New Strategies

While the data above should provide a level of optimism for equity returns going forward, I do note that the 2022 decline shown in the table above is also the smallest major decline. There certainly could be more pain in the short term. But the current environment has also created opportunities in other areas. These are just a few of the strategies we are either adding to or exploring on your behalf:

  • Actively managed bond portfolios – as interest rates have risen, so too have yields on these portfolios – and we are confident that the managers we utilize are well aware of, and planning for, potential future interest rate increases,
  • Agriculture, infrastructure, and other assets that could perform well in inflationary and/or recessionary environments,
  • Structured Notes that provide dramatic downside protection along with the potential for high interest payments or magnified returns,
  • Cash management opportunities – ways to earn a better return on cash that is sitting in your bank account (see next section).

In finding new strategies, we have spent a significant amount of time reviewing investment opportunities from existing and new managers, exchange-traded-fund providers, and even the banks (see Structured Notes above). We do not make investment decisions lightly. Our due diligence process is detailed, rigorous, and thorough.

For instance, we recently reviewed all the legal documentation (a few hundred pages!) for a U.S.-based fund that could be a good fit for certain client portfolios. In our review, we believed we had found one very important missing word, the missing needle in the haystack. After inquiring, we received the following (redacted) email back from the manager:

“Ginsler Wealth Team – It turns out you were quite correct, and our hilariously expensive NYC attorneys missed a very important word in the XXX clause.” 

You rely on us to be thorough and thoughtful before investing your money. We take this responsibility very seriously.


Putting Cash to Work

We know some investors are concerned about the current economic environment and have been sitting on cash in their bank accounts. This cash earns next to nothing and, net of inflation, its value is being eroded.

Due to demand from existing and new clients, we have compiled a selection of lower-risk, shorter-term “Cash+” strategies that we believe could provide a higher and potentially more tax-efficient return on dormant cash. The chart below provides a comparison of bank high interest savings account rates versus the target return on the Ginsler Wealth cash management mandate.

Bank Savings Rates vs. GW Cash Strategy

We believe a reasonable portion of the target return above should come in the form of capital gains which are taxed at half the rate of interest income. As a result, the net differential return after taxes, relative to the bank savings accounts, should be even higher than illustrated in the chart above.

While high and rising interest rates are bad for borrowers, they are beneficial to savers.


Taking Time to Plan

When investment gains are challenged, it is a reminder that keeping every dollar is even more important. On the planning side, we have been working with several clients to introduce more tax effective trust and corporate structures. This planning can serve to potentially minimize taxes over time and/or at the time of a business sale, while also protecting the owners of the assets from lawsuits and/or creditors. Doing this structuring work today, could lead to perpetual, risk-free returns in the form of ongoing tax savings.

We are also (continuously) seeking opportunities to harvest investment losses to be used in the future to offset capital gains. While no one enjoys crystallizing losses, when other opportunities present themselves (see above), switching out of current losers can lead to tax savings on future winners.

 

Focusing on Your Health

Finally, while finances and investments are what we do and are important, we aim to be helpful in many aspects of your lives. It is often said that “health is wealth” and we totally agree with this sentiment. As such, through a new relationship with Medcan, Ginsler Wealth clients can now enjoy a 15% discount on Medcan’s flagship Comprehensive Health Assessment, along with three other advanced health tests. Please contact us if you want to take advantage of this. We are also exploring partnerships with other health organizations with the goal of bringing more value to you in the future.

During the past quarter, we also recorded an Unlimited Podcast episode about the state of mental healthcare in Canada with Dr. Juveria Zaheer and Sandi Treliving, both involved with Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Mental health is an equally important component of your overall health, and we hope this podcast episode can help provide some insights into what you can do to help others or manage your own mental health.

 

CLOSING THOUGHTS

As we head into the final stretch of 2022, I don’t believe uncertainty or volatility will dissipate. Our role – on your behalf – is to seek out opportunities this challenging environment presents. I hope you can tell…we are on it.

Thank you for your trust, support, and confidence. We are available 24/7 should you need us.

Sincerely,

Brian singnature

Brian Ginsler
President & CEO

Income Equities with Jeannine LiChong on The Unlimited Podcast

In this continuing period of challenging markets, we are pleased to share with you the latest episode of “The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth” – a timely discussion with Jeannine LiChong of Waratah Capital Advisors Ltd.

Ginsler Wealth CEO, Brian Ginsler, speaks with Jeannine, Portfolio Manager of the Waratah Income Fund, about her path to portfolio management, North American income equities, navigating through investment crises, and the importance of being a good listener. They also discuss their shared experience working with Ira Gluskin, and how they still carry his lessons with them today.

This episode can be found here or find us in your favourite podcasting app, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.

If you like what you hear, please don’t hesitate to rate us kindly. And if there are particular topics you’d like covered, please let us know.

 

An additional disclaimer from Waratah: The information relayed by any employee of Waratah Capital Advisors Ltd. (“Waratah”) in this podcast is not to be construed as investment advice or as an endorsement of any entity or security discussed.  Waratah takes no obligation to correct, update or revise any statements made. In addition, participation in this podcast does not constitute an offer, promotion, or solicitation of an offer to buy any interest in any fund, product, or service in any jurisdiction managed by Waratah.

The Key Lesson of Benjamin Graham’s “The Intelligent Investor”

The “intelligent investor” is one who knows what type of investor they are.

With world equity markets swooning once again, I thought it would be an apt time to review my key takeaway from one of the best investment books ever written.

I recently re-read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, who is known as the father of value investing, as well as the teacher and mentor of Warren Buffett. The publishers of all recent editions (there are many) have added the following to the cover of each book: The classic text on value investing. I think a more apt addition to each cover would simply be: “The classic guide on choosing what type of investor you are.” While this may not sound as exciting as reading the formative guide on how to succeed at a particular style of investing, I do think my title better encapsulates Graham’s intention with this book. I am not convinced that Graham was trying to teach investors how to value companies. I think he was trying to teach investors how to value themselves.

First, a little history… the book was written in 1949 at a time when, according to Graham, common stock ownership was not actually common in portfolios of institutions nor individuals. In fact, it was written at a time when security analysis was just becoming something of a profession. Graham writes “the various societies of analysts […] have well over fifteen hundred members.” Today, 25,000+ firms employ more than 160,000 CFA charterholders. Graham had experienced The Crash of 1929 as an investor, managed through it arduously, and then effectively dedicated his life to managing his investment partnership and educating future security analysts through his perch at Columbia University.

The book is 250 pages long and it is important to note that before there is serious discussion of security analysis, there are 108 pages laying the groundwork for readers to make the following key decision: Are you going to manage your investments yourself and strive for high returns (Graham called this person “The Aggressive Investor”)? Or are you going to either let an advisor manage for you or strive for generally good results (Graham called this person “The Defensive Investor”)?

“The investor’s choice as between the defensive or the aggressive status is of major consequence to him, and he should not allow himself to be confused or compromised in this basic decision. The aggressive investor must have a considerable knowledge of security values—enough, in fact, to warrant viewing his security operations as equivalent to a business enterprise. The majority of security owners should elect the defensive classification. They do not have the time, or the determination, or the mental equipment to embark upon investing as a quasi business.”

I found it interesting that the phrase “margin of safety” – the rallying cry of value investors for decades –  is only mentioned for the first time on page 241 of 250:

“Confronted with a like challenge to distill the secret of sound investment into three words, we venture the motto, margin of safety.”

I also found it amazing that most of Graham’s comments on investing, markets, forecasters, and risk could have been written yesterday rather than over 70 years ago. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same:

“Through all its vicissitudes and casualties, as earth-shaking as they were unforeseen, it remained true that sound investment principles produced generally sound results. We must act on the assumption that they will continue to do so.

In the old legend the wise men finally boiled down the history of mortal affairs into the single phrase, ‘This too will pass.’”

The final sentence of the book reads:

“To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks.”

I worry that this phrase may be misunderstood by some readers. Satisfactory seems to take on a derogatory meaning when in reality, for almost all investors, Graham was encouraging satisfactory investment results. He believed the pursuit of satisfactory investment results is the prudent, conservative way to grow one’s assets. For those to whom satisfactory returns are actually not the goal, Graham’s guide warns that one will have to put significant “study, effort, and businesslike resources to bear to achieve – with no guarantees – superior results.”

Ultimately, Graham’s “intelligent investor” is one who understands what she is striving for, and what she is equipped to achieve herself, or not.

That conclusion should not be surprising. It’s the title of the book.

 

Postscript:

Graham details very clearly in his book the role of the advisor:

“[To…] use his superior training and experience to protect his clients against mistakes and to make sure that they obtain the results to which their money is entitled.

The leading investment counsel firms make no claim to being brilliant; they do pride themselves on being careful, conservative, and competent.”

Sounds like an apt summary of my firm, Ginsler Wealth. For the “intelligent investor” who appreciates that they need help managing their wealth, we are here.

 

Note: this article should not be considered investment advice.

Finding Unique Investment Opportunities with Daniel Zwirn from Arena Investors on The Unlimited Podcast

On Episode 8 of The Unlimited Podcast, Brian Ginsler speaks with Daniel Zwirn, Chief Executive Officer & Chief Investment Officer of Arena Investors LP. Daniel co-founded Arena Investors in 2015 to bring creative solutions to those seeking capital in special situations. With a mandate unconstrained by industry, product or geography, Arena has become a ~$3.4 billion global investment firm focusing on special situations asset and credit investments in corporates, real estate, structured finance, and corporate securities. Daniel and his team have become well known for their ability to develop pragmatic, very precisely-structured investment opportunities in complex situations where others can’t or won’t.

In this episode, we discuss with Daniel the Arena approach to seeking the “highest return per unit of risk”, some diversification myths, and how to find special investment situations. Brian also gets Daniel’s thoughts on the importance of transparency in completing due diligence, with specific examples around Bridging Finance and Bernie Madoff.

This episode can be found here or find us in your favourite podcasting app, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.

If you like what you hear, please don’t hesitate to rate us kindly. And if there are particular topics you’d like covered, please let us know.

Ginsler Wealth Second Quarter 2022 Client Letter – Wimbledon Edition

(An audio version of this letter can now be found as Episode 7 of The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth. Use the link provided or find us on your favourite podcast app.)

 

To Ginsler Wealth’s Clients:

In my first ever quarterly letter, I said that I would not be providing constant updates on the prices of world equity and bond indices as that information is readily available, well, everywhere. But we have just witnessed a historically bad start to a calendar year. The S&P 500 (the barometer of the U.S. stock market) had its worst first half (“H1”) in over 50 years, being down over 20%, and bonds[i] may have had their worst H1 in history, down around 11-12%. The typical “60/40 portfolio” of stocks and bonds was not a great performer so far this year.

So with the summer here and Wimbledon in full force, rather than focus on stocks and bonds, I thought I’d focus this letter on my favourite pastime, tennis.

 

GAME

“Tennis matches are not won with great shots. They are won with many, many pretty good shots.”

—Allen Fox, Think to Win

In early April, I had COVID and kept away from the tennis courts for a few weeks to refrain from exerting myself. As such, I defaulted on all my club’s tennis ladder matches for that month and was demoted to a lower box on the ladder. Not a horrible situation given that I hadn’t played in weeks, but I figured it would be easy enough to win my way back to my higher box.

My first match back was against a very athletic woman who got off to a tough start, down 0-3 to me. But after those first three games, something changed, and I lost the next five in a row. I was attacking and hitting what should have been winners, but she was running everything down and just “pushing” the ball back. The shots coming back weren’t difficult nor winners, but they were high lobs, consistent, exhausting and stayed “in”. This bought her time to recover between my shots. Her defensive play became a game of “Who Would Miss First”, and with a final score of 8-5 in her favour, it was clear that the pusher/defensive player in this match was the winner.

 

SET

Here’s a test: Consider the situation in which your opponent hits a crosscourt forehand that lands deep in your forehand corner, as shown in Diagram A below[ii]. What should you do? Should you hit the ball back crosscourt, right to where your opponent is? Or down-the-line into the wide-open side of the court? (See Diagram B below).

Diagram A

Diagram B

In almost all cases, the best response is to hit the ball back crosscourt directly to your opponent. This is because tennis is a game of probabilities and percentages. The net is lower in the centre (less chance of hitting the net), the court is longer when you hit diagonally (less likely to hit the ball out), and you are in a better geometric position to defend against your opponent’s next shot (less chance of losing to a “winning shot”).

Unlike most other sports, in tennis if you make a mistake, your opponent gains a point. This does not happen when a hockey player misses a goal attempt, when a basketball player misses a shot, when a baseball player strikes out, or when a football kicker misses the uprights. Unless you are in the lead, a lost point in tennis always means a deficit that needs to get recovered and then exceeded in order to win.

 

MATCH

“The player without a strategy on the tennis court is like a ship without a rudder.”

—Allen Fox, Think to Win

The story and test above are meant to draw parallels to investing and how we approach investing your assets. Both speak to the importance of being defensive, carefully attempting winning shots, and focusing on not losing (money).

Being Defensive

Any investing involves a level of risk, but a defensive investor will ensure their portfolio is comprised of a variety of asset classes and strategies with the goal of having those strategies act differently from each other, especially in challenging times like the ones we are experiencing now. While currently stocks and bonds are struggling, our client holdings of Canadian mortgages, venture debt, music royalties, long/short market neutral funds and SPAC arbitrage strategies have held in, and many have generated positive returns in 2022 so far[iii]. (Of course, all clients don’t hold all of these strategies as each client portfolio is unique and tailored to your specific risk tolerances and goals & objectives).

With the summer here, I can think of no better time to review your portfolios, with Ginsler Wealth and with other advisors, and determine if you are comfortable with how your portfolio is constructed. If you are not already, getting a bit more defensive via the addition of alternative strategies may be a good idea.

Carefully Selected Winning Shots

Part of the game of tennis and portfolio management should entail taking a few carefully selected winning shots, ideally where the upside potential is asymmetrically higher than the downside risk (think certain tech stocks or some digital assets). This is where outsized return opportunities generally lie. We do this selectively for clients where appropriate, but as my tennis instructor tells me: “go for winners when you are comfortably in the lead”. Investors need to be very careful here as you don’t want to be investing where the probabilities are not in your favour…

What’s an example of a low probability shot? Back in June 2020, I wrote a LinkedIn article called: What’s an investor to do now? In it, I used the example of Netflix:

 

…assume the average high-quality S&P 500 company ultimately trades at a multiple of 15x earnings. Netflix currently trades at ~9x revenues and ~85x earnings. What would it take to grow into its valuation?

At its current market capitalization, if Netflix traded at a P/E of 15x, its net income would have to be ~$12 billion. For net income to be ~$12 billion, at its current operating margin, revenue would need to exceed $85 billion (a 4-fold increase from here, or >30% revenue growth per year over the next 5 years). Recall that Netflix grew revenues to $21 billion with little competition for much of its existence. And you know what they say…“the first $21 billion is always the easiest.”

Netflix’s current valuation combines comedy, drama, suspense, thriller and horror.

 

In other words, the probability of Netflix’ share price continuing to rise, of Netflix being a winner from that point forward, was low. Netflix stock has fallen by 59% since the day of my article and ~75% from its subsequent high reached in November 2021. This example is not to say that Netflix couldn’t have been a winner or can’t be a winner in the future. The point is to highlight that investors need to be careful to not load up their portfolios with too many lower probability investments.

Don’t Lose Money

“As a tennis player, you have to get used to losing every week. Unless you win the tournament, you always go home as a loser.”

—Stanislas Wawrinka

As mentioned above, in tennis if you lose a point, your opponent’s score increases. This often puts you in a hole you must climb out of. Similarly, in investing, most of the time your investments will not be hitting all-time highs. And, especially in times like these, many may be losing money. The key is to avoid or minimize those losses because to return to “breakeven”, you always have to earn a higher percentage return than your percentage loss as shown in the chart below.

Returns Required to Recover from Losses

The only way to completely avoid losses, is to completely avoid striving for returns. In the absence of doing that, focusing on minimizing losses is key. This is what we are focused on for you every day.

 

“I never look back, I look forward.”

―Steffi Graf

With the first half of 2022 behind us, we will continue our extensive review of all investment strategies we allocate to, and as always, we are also reviewing a number of new strategies that may benefit in both a rising inflation and interest rate environment.

 

We hope you all have an enjoyable summer, where you can enjoy the sunshine, and focus on yourselves and your families. As Rafa says about tennis, and perhaps applicable to investing in 2022 so far…

“Is only a tennis match. At the end, that’s life. There is much more important things.”

―Rafael Nadal

In case you are wondering, I took my lessons learned in that first match and won all the rest of the matches in May…and moved back to the higher box. Phew…now you can enjoy your summer without worrying about me and my tennis game.

Thank you for your trust, support, and confidence. We are available 24/7 should you need us.

Sincerely,

Brian singnature

Brian Ginsler
President & CEO

 

“Tennis begins with love.”

―Anonymous

 

 

 

The Unlimited Podcast, featuring David Rosenberg

In case you missed it, in June we released an episode of The Unlimited Podcast, featuring David Rosenberg, President and Chief Economist & Strategist of Rosenberg Research. We discussed the history of “Breakfast with Dave”, traits of successful people and the secret to Dave’s success, Economics 101, inflation today and what’s causing it, and Dave makes one of his boldest predictions to date regarding the Canadian housing market. You can find details here or by searching for “Ginsler Wealth” on your favourite podcast app.

Stay tuned for more episodes coming this summer.

 

 

 

[i] As measured in the U.S. by the iShares Core U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, which was down about 11% in H12022, and in Canada by the iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index, which was down about 12% in H12022.

[ii] Situation adapted from Think to Win, The Strategic Dimension of Tennis by Allen Fox. HarperCollins. 1993. Pages 22-23. Diagrams from same text.

[iii] Of course, past performance is not indicative of future performance.

David Rosenberg on The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth: Full Episode

On Episode 6 of The Unlimited Podcast, Brian Ginsler speaks with David Rosenberg, President and Chief Economist & Strategist of Rosenberg Research. David Rosenberg founded Rosenberg Research in January 2020 after an illustrious, three-decade career on Wall Street and Bay Street as an economist and market strategist.

It is fitting that we are releasing Brian’s recent interview with David Rosenberg on a day (and week, month and year) when the markets and economy have been particularly difficult. For our clients, we remind you that – while each client situation is different – most Ginsler Wealth portfolios are highly diversified by asset class and strategy and everything is not moving in the same direction. For those who are not GW clients, we remind you that to successfully navigate the perpetually uncertain investment landscape, your portfolios should contain more than just two asset classes (i.e., stocks and bonds). We are pleased to provide any thoughts and guidance on any non-GW portfolios where you may have concerns.

Unfortunately, this podcast episode will not help you sleep better at night. But it will provide a back-to-basics explanation of Economics 101 and what is causing some of the challenges we are experiencing today. David also makes one of his boldest predictions to-date regarding the Canadian housing market. Add to that a discussion about Rosie’s path to success and advice for entrepreneurs and it makes for some good listening.

This episode can be found here or find us in your favourite podcasting app, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.

You can also see the full video version of this podcast here.

If you like what you hear, please don’t hesitate to rate us kindly. And if there are particular topics you’d like covered, please let us know.

Investing and Roof Repair: Both Aren’t Easy

House roof with missing soffit

Toronto had a flash severe thunderstorm yesterday. Trees were down all over our neighbourhood, and I thought our house and property were spared until my wife pointed out a small piece of our roof’s soffit that had blown away. [FYI…soffit is a large aluminum plate with small perforated holes installed under the outside edge of the roof, under the gutter. It has several functions: it protects, it is aesthetic, and it allows ventilating the attic.]

The missing piece was on the ground intact and, while I have no formal education or experience in installing soffit, I considered getting up on a ladder and figuring out how to put the piece back myself.

My wife – who is much smarter than me – immediately advised against it, but I considered it nonetheless. Why would I pay someone hundreds of dollars for what looked like 10 minutes of work (especially as prices for everything seem to be going up these days), when I’m fairly sure I can figure this out myself?

I got a few quotes, ranging from $225-$450 (!) to do the work. I then took a second look at what it would take for me to do it myself. I would have to get our ladder on a steep angle to reach the spot and if something were to go wrong – and I estimated a small-ish 5% probability that something could…there is no doubt I would be risking my life. Fixing this clearly wasn’t as easy as I thought. So, I immediately accepted the $225 quote and am waiting for the work to be completed.

What does this story have to do with wealth management or investing?

I’ve been noticing a trend in recent years and even, surprisingly, in very recent days (even amongst some of the most challenging market and investing environments any of us have seen in our lifetimes), of highly reputable financial journalists from highly reputable publications making comments along the lines of: “investing is easy.”, “why pay x% for advice when you can just do it yourself”, “just buy ETFs, it’s cheap and easy”.

The above ignores the fact that while people are smart, they may not be knowledgeable about finance and investing, nor the emotions involved in finance and investing; they may not have lived through (or paid attention to) severe past market volatility; they may not know what the acronym “ETF” means and even if they do, they may not know which of the literally thousands of ETFs they should choose from. And finally, almost no articles I read make any mention of any other investable assets other than standard stocks and traditional bonds.

There is a world of finance and investing knowledge that comes from living and breathing it 24/7, for – in my case – almost twenty-five years. And our clients rely on us to help them navigate these markets, select ETFs (hint: exchange-traded funds), find other asset classes that act differently than stocks and bonds, and grow and protect their hard-earned assets.

If you are confident and comfortable, there is no problem going-it alone. But if you are unsure of how to manage your investments, please don’t be convinced that paying an advisor (a tax-deductible fee) to do so, is a poor decision. Investing isn’t easy. And I suspect many people who – for the past few years thought it was – may now be rethinking that decision. Like my decision with my broken soffit, don’t risk your life (savings) trying to do it yourself.

———————————–

Stay tuned for another article on this theme when I review Benjamin Graham’s book, the Intelligent Investor. Warren Buffett calls it “By far the best book on investing ever written”. You may be surprised by what I think the Father of Value Investing was actually trying to teach us.

Exploring Venture Debt on The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth

On Episode 5 of The Unlimited Podcast, Brian Ginsler speaks with Alkarim Jivraj, CEO of Espresso Capital, a venture debt manager based in Toronto.

While most have heard of, and are familiar with, venture capital, in this podcast we dive into the venture debt asset class.

In this episode, we learn how Espresso got its name; “Venture Debt 101”; how venture companies service their venture debt; the benefits of venture debt for lenders; the risks of venture debt; loss metrics; and how Espresso sources deals.

This episode can be found here or find us in your favourite podcasting app, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.

If you like what you hear, please don’t hesitate to rate us kindly. And if there are particular topics you’d like covered, please let us know.

Ginsler Wealth First Quarter 2022 Client Letter

(An audio version of this letter can now be found as Episode 4 of The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth. Use the link provided or find us on your favourite podcast app.)

 

To Ginsler Wealth’s Clients:

Well…I was right.

In my last quarterly letter, I said “uncertainty is the only thing I know with certainty”.

In the three months since I released that letter, in the words of Chamath Palihapitiya from the All-In Podcast on Friday, April 1st

“We’ve had massive exposition of inflation; we’ve had massive disruptions to the supply chain; we’ve had the beginning of a war whose end is somewhat indeterminate today, that’s causing a bunch of spikes in a bunch of really critical commodities the entire world needs; we’ve had a Federal Reserve that went from hiking 50 or 75 basis points to hiking 200-250 basis points by the estimated average; and so all of these things have happened yet the market is basically at an all time high plus or minus 5%. That really doesn’t hang together at some really basic logical level.”[i]

And Balaji Srinivasan, speaking on The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish on April 5th, reminded listeners of past events:

“Every single thing over the last twenty-something years, …, 9/11 was a surprise; WMDs in Iraq, that was a surprise; the collapse of Bear Stearns and then Lehman Brothers, that was a surprise; the Snowdon revelations were a surprise; …, Trump was a surprise; Covid was a surprise; …, everything’s a surprise…”[ii]

And of course, in February 2022, Russia’s terrible invasion of Ukraine was a surprise.

All the above is simply to reinforce that trying to predict and forecast the future is very hard, or in my opinion, impossible. I therefore remind you that at Ginsler Wealth, we organize your financial affairs and investment portfolios with the goal of being prudent and resilient, while striving for reasonable returns. I will note that Chamath’s comment above also reinforces a comment from a message we sent out on February 24, the morning after Russia invaded Ukraine…equity markets are resilient, even in the face of challenges, and as it relates to your investments, we encourage you to keep calm and carry on…with your long-term investment plan.


RUSSIAN OIL AND ESG INVESTING

If there is one thing the war in Ukraine has brought to the forefront, it is the world’s (and in particular, Europe’s) heavy reliance on Russian oil. As an oil-rich country and producer, Canada’s energy-heavy stock market has actually performed very well relative to its global peers. That being said, in addition to sourcing oil supplies from countries other than Russia, we believe this crisis will be yet another catalyst for countries to seek alternative clean and renewable sources of energy.

Coincidentally, over the past quarter, we welcomed a new client family that pushed us (actually…mandated us) to build an ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) focused portfolio for them. Many of the core strategies and managers we utilize were already signatories to the UNPRI (United Nations Principles of Responsible Investing) and employ ESG factors in their investment process. However, we now have a more robust and comprehensive portfolio of strategies we can employ for clients that meet rigorous ESG criteria. If you would like to learn more about ESG investing with Ginsler Wealth, please let us know.


NEW MORTGAGE STRATEGY

In addition to a select few new strategies employed through our ESG project detailed above, after five months of due diligence, we were pleased to begin allocating client assets (where appropriate) to a new Canadian private mortgages investment. Through a related entity, this manager originates over $1 billion of mortgage loans each year and through its investment vehicle, will lend directly to a small subset of those borrowers. The mortgage portfolio is diversified by asset class and geography within Canada and pays a target 8% annualized distribution (paid monthly), with the opportunity for a “top up” at the end of the year (in 2021 the strategy returned 9.3% in the lower fee class Ginsler Wealth clients get access to). The manager provides Ginsler Wealth with complete transparency into every single loan in the portfolio and access at all times to a full electronic data-room.

For investors holding this investment within a corporate structure, the interest income may be treated as active business income (talk to your own accountants about this!) and therefore subject to the lower active business corporate tax rates versus passive income tax rates.

Perhaps most unique, the manager’s main principals have currently invested ~$22 million in a class of units in first loss position (and contractually must have at least $15 million in first loss position). Notwithstanding the fact that there have been no/$0 losses to date, this means that the mortgage pool would have to suffer $22 million of losses before its investors would face any loss of principal. This is a rare find.

We have found this strategy to be a good addition for clients seeking high income from their portfolio. As always, we are happy to discuss this strategy with you should you wish.

 

THE UNLIMITED PODCAST BY GINSLER WEALTH

One of my early roles in my wealth management career was overseeing the “manager of managers” program at one of Canada’s leading multi-family offices. In order to share manager updates with clients, we would record a phone call with each manager, burn them all onto CDs, and put the CDs in the mail to clients who could listen to the manager interviews at their leisure.

As an alternative to sending you all physical CDs (😊), we decided instead to launch a podcast. The Unlimited Podcast, as the name implies, will not be limited only to interviews with investment managers. While investing and financial concepts will certainly be a big component of the podcast, the goal is to bring you insight and expertise on a variety of topics from experts that you, and other listeners, may find interesting.

One of our clients told me that my last quarterly letter was too long! So, for those who prefer to listen to my (long-winded) letters as opposed to reading them, the podcast will also include audio versions of these letters.

The first live interview podcast was released last week and contains my interview with David Vankka, President and Partner of ICM Asset Management, and Portfolio Manager of the ICM Crescendo Music Royalties Fund. We review the music royalties asset class, dive into a Taylor Swift case study, and discuss why music royalties could be a good addition to traditional stock and bond portfolios.

More details of the podcast can be found here or find us in your favourite podcasting app, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.

 

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”
                                                                                                     – Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson once famously said the quote above prior to a fight with Evander Holyfield (Tyson lost by the way). In organizing your financial and investment affairs, we do so knowing that we will be “punched in the mouth”, we just don’t know when or by who. Or in other words, we know surprises are coming. And we believe we are ready for them.

Thank you for your trust, support, and confidence. We are available 24/7 should you need us.

Sincerely,

Brian singnature

Brian Ginsler
President & CEO

 

 

 

GW Welcomes Safal Bhattarai to the Team

GW was pleased to welcome Safal Bhattarai, CPA, CGA, FCCA (UK), CFA, to our team this past quarter. As you can see, Safal has earned a variety of professional accounting, investment, and finance designations. Our regular business cards may not be big enough for all his accreditations! Safal joins us from another wealth management firm and will work closely with Brian on financial and portfolio matters, along with playing a major role in our manager research, due diligence, selection, and monitoring process. We look forward to having you meet Safal in due course.

 

 

[i] All-In Podcast. April 1, 2022. Available here: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbGxpbmNoYW1hdGhqYXNvbi5saWJzeW4uY29tL3Jzcw/episode/ZTczOTUyMGQtN2U2Yi00ZjgxLTk2NGYtYTU4ZWNiYjFkNjA3?hl=en-CA&ved=2ahUKEwjBldTMv__2AhUMVc0KHVrxAh0QjrkEegQIAxAF&ep=6

[ii] The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish. April 5, 2022. Available here: https://fs.blog/knowledge-project-podcast/balaji-srinivasan-2/

Introducing The Unlimited Podcast by Ginsler Wealth

Ginsler Wealth is pleased to announce the launch of The Unlimited Podcast, a new podcast featuring interviews with investment managers we may work with, but also a variety of investing, financial and other experts our listeners may find interesting.

In addition to interviews, the podcast will also feature audio versions of our quarterly letters and other key publications.

The first live interview – just released – features David Vankka, President and Partner of ICM Asset Management, and Portfolio Manager of the ICM Crescendo Music Royalties Fund. We discuss the music royalties asset class, and why it could be a good addition to traditional stock and bond portfolios.

More details of the podcast can be found here or find us in your favourite podcasting app, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music.

If you like what you hear, please don’t hesitate to rate us kindly. And if there are particular topics you’d like covered, please let us know.