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    Financial letter

    July 22nd, 2021

    Volume 12 Number 3

    Time flies. The pandemic began more than 18 months ago and so much has changed. It’s hard for us to believe that the stock market is now hitting new highs week after week. In fact, central bank intervention has been such that all assets are now in a bull market. Lumber, canola oil, used cars, maritime transport, food: all are strongly on the rise. However, if we dig deeper, particularly in the stock market, we see that everything is not so rosy. We’ll discuss the result of this review in the first part of this financial letter.

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    April 23rd, 2021

    Volume 12 Number 2

    Portfolio management consists of three distinct activities: making investment decisions, ensuring compliance and governance, and building relationships with clients, not necessarily in that order. As you know, we’ve implemented an array of new technologies to support these activities and maintain the connection between the firm and its clients. However, after nearly 12 years, our investors have also become our friends, people we talk to about our children’s graduation, our business achievements, or simply about the weather. And I can assure you that we look forward to seeing you again in the flesh and shaking your hand after this horrible pandemic. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard this in a conversation: “Let’s go for a beer or coffee when this is over.” We’re definitely ready to greatly increase our intake of caffeine (or other liquid, where appropriate) to make up for lost time.

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    February 1st, 2021

    Volume 12 Number 1

    First off, I want to take this opportunity to thank all the front-line workers who dedicate themselves, day after day, night after night, to caring for the most vulnerable in our society. I would also like to send a message of support to all those who have seen their dreams, passions and life plans demolished as a result of this unprecedented crisis. Entrepreneurs are the pillars of our communities and the current situation is simply unsustainable for many of them. I tip my hat to all who are showing extraordinary resilience.

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    October 30th, 2020

    Volume 11 Number 4

    North American stock markets continued climbing in the third quarter of 2020 before pulling back in early September. Since then, the usual leaders—U.S. large-cap tech stocks—regained momentum, reaching for new heights.

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    July 31st, 2020

    Volume 11 Number 3

    Stock markets have a habit–good for some, annoying for others–of often doing the opposite of what the average investor expects. At the end of March, prophets of doom loudly proclaimed that the global financial system was on the brink of collapse because of the current crisis. They were proven wrong. Once again – history has been repeating itself for over 200 years – the North American stock market recovered in spectacular fashion. Of course, the current pandemic will have a longer-term impact on markets, and we must be prepared to turn defensive at the first signs of a downturn. However, as the ousted CEO of Citigroup aptly put it: “As long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance!”

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    April 20th, 2020

    Volume 11 Number 2

    I have expressed this point of view repeatedly in this newsletter, but it is once again relevant: the most difficult bear markets are the ones that let us truly judge the quality of an asset manager. In our opinion, most investors feel that capital protection in a time of crisis is just as important as capital growth when everything is going well. And this time around, no one can claim to have been caught off guard. North American markets were the last to react to the situation caused by the coronavirus, and the irresponsible Donald Trump quickly demonstrated his inability to act sensibly to protect his citizens and the U.S. economy in the longer term.

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    February 1st, 2020

    Volume 11 Number 1

    Sailing enthusiasts are well aware that it is always easier to sail with the wind at your back. That is exactly what happened this year. A strong tailwind pushed most stock market assets to record highs. For obvious diversification reasons, but also to protect against a bear market, our client’s portfolios are not invested entirely in equities. It would be easy to increase risk in this near-euphoric period, especially since we do not forecast any dark clouds in the short or medium term. But we must stick to the plan we have drawn up with each of our clients. There will be more difficult years ahead, and we must be prepared for these less sunny times.

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    November 1st, 2019

    Volume 10 Number 4

    In spite of fiery media coverage of the U.S.-China trade war and U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment proceedings, markets were relatively calm during the past quarter with positive returns of about 3%. It’s unsettling how much investors are affected by economic uncertainty at a time when economic data have never been so compelling. Corporate profits are at an all-time high and unemployment is very low, yet inflation remains completely unaffected, shy of central bank targets.

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