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Asset Allocation drives most of the Returns and Risks

Studies have shown that 80% – 90% of a portfolio’s returns are driven by the asset class decisions and not the security selections.

Diversification is critical

Once wealth has been created the only sure way to preserve it is to diversify. Firstly by geography, which implies by currency, and then by asset class. Traditional asset liability (and future expense) matching makes sense in theory but practically, with personal wealth, nobody knows in which country or currency future generations will spend.

Alpha is hard to find

Alpha is very hard to find, and if you find it, it often doesn’t persist. We believe it’s found in niche markets and often in smaller firms with lower AUM. Large bulge bracket asset allocators most often cannot recommend smaller, more nimble, niche or more esoteric investment propositions as the flow of funds into these would not be possible given the scale of their businesses.

Currency Hedging is Debatable

Firstly, many companies generate earnings in many currencies around the world. The earnings from these companies are reported in the local currency of the companies’ listings but, in fact, as a shareholder you benefit or suffer from the diversified earnings streams of these companies and the market price of those stocks will reflect that.

Secondly, the treasury functions of major global corporations often have their own hedging policies to mitigate currency fluctuations which may impact their input costs or selling prices.

Hedging a currency exposure for equities is guaranteed to cause increased costs but not guaranteed to benefit in the long term. Over the long-term currencies also tend to mean revert. If you have a concentrated exposure to a volatile and risky Emerging Market currency it is prudent to hedge but we don’t have concentrated single country Emerging Market exposure.

Fees Matter

The compound effects of saving fees over extended periods are dramatic and impact future portfolio values meaningfully. Read more here.

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