(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”.
“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.
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/