Our Investment Philosophy
One of the core principles of our Investment Philosophy is that true success is goal-focused and planning-driven. This removes the burden of correctly guessing future interest rates, inflation, sector returns, and the many other variables that thousands of analysts spend their days obsessing over. In practicing this philosophy, we seek to promote a culture that sees investors acting on a financial plan, rather than reacting to investment markets. This approach is built on an evidence-based foundation of three inner principles and three investment practices.
The Inner Principles of Successful Investing
Faith in the Future
While it’s easier and more trendy to be pessimistic, we believe that optimism is the only realism. Based on history, we confidently believe in the ability of a capitalistic society to prosper on the back of our collective ingenuity.
Contrary to the financial illiterate, the mature investor refuses to react inappropriately to disappointing events. Rather, he/she continually acts on plan.
Similar to the principle of patience, discipline sees the investors continuing to do the right things, even if the fruit of these decisions can’t be seen in the short term.
The Three Investment Practices of Successful Investors
The one decision that has the biggest impact on the investor’s lifetime return is the mix of asset classes they invest in. While equities have outperformed for as long as we have accurate records, at a minimum the investor requires an asset mix likely to provide his/her required investment return in the long run. Understanding the asset allocation then also means that the expected volatility of the portfolio can be understood.
Once the mix of asset classes has been decided, the investor requires a sufficient mix of holdings within each asset class in order to reduce the negative impact of any one of holding providing poor returns. Think diversification as a group of 30 colouring pencils, grouped together they’re almost impossible to snap, hold one on it’s own and a small amount of pressure snaps it clean in half.
Over any short periods, certain assets will outperform others. In order to keep the asset mix at its optimal level, a planned rebalancing of assets brings the portfolio closer to its aimed asset allocation. This will ensure that higher-priced and over-valued assets are sold to purchase lower priced and under-valued assets. Effectively buying low and selling high, the opposite of what most people do ( which is buying high and selling low ).
Investing Is All About Understanding Risk
Risk is plentiful. There is the risk of not achieving your goals, the risk of growth not being smooth and predictable, the risk of your not sticking to your plan, the risk of black-swan events upending your plan, the risk of not maintaining your plan, the risk of life throwing you a curve-ball, so many kinds of risks. Some of the risks can be managed and others can only be dealt with after-the-fact. Where we are able, we manage the risks associated with investing.
We Understand That Returns Do Not Come In A Straight Line
In this context of risk there are three possibilities: losing your capital; not keeping pace with inflation; or volatility (which means that the returns do not come in a straight line – rather they come within a range and that range may be quite large). While many people believe that “Cash is King”, they fail to accept that, in the long run, cash will take you nowhere – in fact you will probably go backwards after inflation and taxes. That is the risk of inflation. Losing capital should be an unacceptable risk – one that is totally avoidable if you do not fall prey to the latest and greatest trends in investing. Volatility may be uncomfortable in the short-term but, in investing (which by nature is long-term), the variance of returns is usually averaged out at a rate higher than inflation, with no risk to your capital. As such, volatility is the only acceptable risk for investors.
We Believe In The Long-Term Potential Of The Markets
At its most basic level, the two key objectives in investing are to maximise returns and minimise risk.
Unfortunately, when it comes to asset classes, these two objectives conflict with one other. Less risky asset classes, like cash or bonds, tend to have lower expected returns than riskier asset classes, like global equities. If you want higher returns then you’ll generally have to accept higher risk.
We Understand That Being In The Market Can Be Scary
Money is more akin to an emotion than to a mathematical concept. That means that we are seldom logical and objective about our money. A major risk in investing is doing the opposite of what we know to be smart – that is to get cold feet and upend your plan by succumbing to either the greed or the fear. We don’t let this happen. We buy on sale and sell at a profit because that is what smart money does. And we automate it so that we are trained into making the smart choices when those choices seem hard.
We Do What We Know Works
We work with you to understand the return that you need and we seek to fully appreciate the volatility that will be present. From there we determine the spread between asset classes that will achieve that risk and return. And then we maintain those balances. Doing so supports the philosphy that we buy on sale and sell at a profit. Moreover, it supports an appreciate of the level of volatility involved so that you know what to expect.