Brookfield Asset Management Inc. chief executive officer Bruce Flatt says his company is moving away from private assets and buying publicly traded debt and stocks – including its own – in the recent market carnage.
“We have switched our focus for investments to the listed stock markets. … There are some stocks and debt starting to trade at a large discount to intrinsic value and we are focused on these,” Mr. Flatt said in a shareholder letter released Monday.
It’s a massive shift for a company that manages more than US$500-billion in assets, largely by buying multibillion-dollar companies, real estate properties or infrastructure assets. Until the current crisis, Mr. Flatt had been sounding the clarion call that these “alternative assets” were in such demand for their long-term outperformance, they would eventually trump the public stock markets as the top option for pension funds and other huge money managers.
In the past month of rapidly falling asset prices, however, the market for big private deals has frozen. Private-equity investors such as Brookfield borrow money to make long-term investments. Rock-bottom interest rates are great news for them – unless the companies they buy crumble in an economic crisis and can’t generate the profits needed to pay the debt.
That concern may explain why shares in Brookfield and its publicly traded affiliates have been hit harder than the average stock in the S&P/TSX 60 index of large companies. Since the Canadian markets peaked on Feb. 20, Brookfield and its Brookfield Infrastructure Partners LP, a fund focused on bridges, roads, and technology assets, are down about 40 per cent. Brookfield Property Partners LP, focused on commercial real estate, is down about 55 per cent.
“Our shares have sold off along with everything else. We have been acquiring, and will continue to acquire our own shares for value when it makes sense – and in time, we are certain they will recover,” he wrote. (He did not quantify the extent of Brookfield’s current share buybacks.)
Mr. Flatt’s letter seems an attempt to assuage his shareholders’ concerns and paint Brookfield as at least a survivor, and perhaps a victor, of the economic crisis. He said “We are also starting to receive calls from companies in need of capital, and we look forward to being helpful to companies in need, where we can.” Brookfield’s latest funds, totaling over US$50-billion, are only 40 per cent invested, “so we have a lot of capital to put to work in this environment.”
In a disclosure last week, Brookfield said it spent $6.7-million to buy an additional 1.172 million shares in Calgary-based power generator TransAlta Corp., taking its ownership of the company to 10.1 per cent.
Mr. Flatt also argued for the strength of the company’s balance sheet. He said Brookfield and its four publicly traded partnerships – which also include Brookfield Business Partners LP and Brookfield Renewable Partners LP – have about US$12-billion of lines of credit with banks, “virtually undrawn.” The Brookfield entities have US$5-billion “of financial and non-core assets that can be liquidated with relative ease (even in today’s markets) should we so choose.” Corporate debt totaled US$7-billion, versus a market cap of under US$40-billion in Monday’s trading.
“For us, compared to the direct hit we took on 9/11, this uncertainty and volatility feels manageable,” he wrote. “In 2008, with the banking system failing, real asset owners didn’t know if many lenders were going to exist in the future. Today, the banking system is in far better shape. It never feels very good to have this degree of chaos, but this will pass.”
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Nicholas Kyriacopoulos: How to invest properly in 2021 and beyond – mtltimes.ca
Entrepreneurs like Nicholas Kyriacopoulos know the importance of how to invest during uncertain times, and it would be fair to say that the last year or so has had a few surprises for everyone following investment markets. While this change and volatility can be very profitable for those who make the right decisions, it also makes those right decisions harder to discern.
The fundamentals of good investment have not changed, however, and will continue to help investors in the future:
Keep it simple
Keeping it simple is a good rule for many areas in life, and investment is definitely one of them.
How much time do you really want to spend managing your investment portfolio, and what kind of returns would make that commitment worth it to you?
If your investment portfolio takes careful attention and management to work, you need to be prepared to give it the time it needs. Keeping a simpler portfolio that doesn’t need as much attention paid to it can be a better option for people who have limited time to spend on their investment decisions.
That doesn’t mean you should necessarily take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to investment, but absolutely consider the additional time commitment and stress of each potential investment and whether it is worth your time.
Diversification improves reliability and reduces the risk of just about every investment portfolio. Your investments should always be varied enough that even when a few of your investments are in a slump, you will still have enough winners to make a minimum return.
Many entrepreneurs like Nicholas Kyriacopoulos from Toronto recommend holding a variety of asset types as well as stocks. For example, consider bonds and real estate as part of your overall portfolio; make sure you have stocks associated with several different industries.
According to Nicholas Kyriacopoulos, be open to the concept of rebalancing. As market conditions changes, look to shift your portfolio away from investments that with less promising prospects and up your investments in markets that look ready to rise.
Nicholas Kyriacopoulos gives a simple example of rebalancing from the latter half of 2020. While oil prices were not looking great for most of the year, there were signs of incoming change. As a result, some investors sold oil assets over the summer and later purchase oil stocks. They then saw great returns when the stocks surged in November.
As an experienced investor in Toronto, Nicholas Kyriacopoulos advises careful consideration of your current situation and future financial goals. For the most part, this is about the amount of risk you can take on and your ability to recover if an investment doesn’t go your way.
If you still have decades left to work and rebuild, you can afford to take more risks than if you are approaching retirement and are looking for holdings you can rely on for a long time.
Consider your long-term goals
Nicholas Kyriacopoulos observes that besides your current situation, you also need to think about long-term goals. Where do you want to be in five, ten, or twenty years, and what can you do along the way to ensure your investment takes you in the right direction? Setting goals and having plans is just as important in 2021 as it has always been.
Don’t ignore your instincts
As Nicholas Kyriacopoulos, investing does involve risk and it sometimes means going with what you feel deep in your gut. While your decisions should always be backed by data and analysis of the market, following your instincts make it easier to have confidence in your decisions.
Your instincts can come about as a result of noticing minor details others are not noticing. If the feeling is strong enough, take the risk.
Investor Education Month Encouraging Investment Opportunities – 91.9 The Bend
October is Investor Education Month, and the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB) is using the time to encourage New Brunswickers to think about investment opportunities.
Investor Education Month is a national initiative aimed to provide Canadians with more investor information.
“(As well), to understand their investment decisions, implications of them, and their responsibilities in the decision-making process, and particularly now with new online ways to investing,” said Marissa Sollows, director of education and communications for FCNB.
Sollows mentioned, FCNB has noticed over the years New Brunswickers are becoming more comfortable with investing.
“And as it becomes more accessible to people, we are seeing more New Brunswickers starting to put money away for their future, so that’s positive.”
The majority of New Brunswickers are investing in mutual funds, which is the most common product that investors hold.
Meantime, FCNB has also discovered investing is gaining popularity in young people.
“It could be due to increased media, or an increased use of social media coverage that they’re being exposed to investing topics, and wanting to get in and try a little bit earlier … and there are new trends that are becoming more popular with younger investors like DIY investing and using different online tools and apps,” said Sollows.
Sollows encourages new investors to meet with a registered investment professional and added the future looks quite exciting but will also present some challenges.
Throughout the month, FCNB will provide investor guides, videos, and social media posts on how to be an informed investor.
At any time of year, New Brunswickers can turn to the commission’s website for unbiased investor and consumer tools and information.
Bitcoin tops $60,000, nears record high, on growing U.S. ETF hopes
Bitcoin hit $60,000 for the first time in six months on Friday, nearing its all-time high, as hopes grew that U.S. regulators would allow a futures-based exchange-traded fund (ETF), a move likely to open the path to wider investment in digital assets.
Cryptocurrency investors have been waiting for approval of the first U.S. ETF for Bitcoin , with bets on such a move fuelling its recent rally.
The world’s biggest cryptocurrency rose 4.5% to its highest level since Apr. 17, and was last at $59,290. It has risen by more than half since Sept. 20 and closing in on its record high of $64,895 hit in April.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to allow the first U.S. bitcoin futures ETF to begin trading next week, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.
Such a move would open a new path for investors to gain exposure to the emerging asset, traders and analysts said.
“ETFs open up a raft of avenues for people to gain exposure, and there will be a swift move to these structures,” said Charles Hayter, CEO of data firm CryptoCompare, which tracks ETF products.
“It reduces the frictions for investors to gain exposure and gives traditional funds room to use the asset for diversification purposes.”
Bitcoin’s moves on Friday were spurred by a tweet from the SEC’s investor education office urging investors to weigh risks and benefits of investing in funds that holds bitcoin futures contracts, said Ben Caselin of Asia-based crypto exchange AAX.
Graphic: Bitcoin on the rise https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/movanjqkapa/bitcoin.PNG
Several fund managers, including the VanEck Bitcoin Trust, ProShares, Invesco, Valkyrie and Galaxy Digital Funds have applied to launch bitcoin ETFs in the United States.
Crypto ETFs have launched this year in Canada and Europe, growing in popularity amid surging interest in digital assets.
SEC Chair Gary Gensler has previously said the crypto market involves many tokens which may be unregistered securities and leaves prices open to manipulation and millions of investors vulnerable to risks.
Citing people familiar with the matter, the Bloomberg report said proposals by ProShares and Invesco, based on futures contracts, were filed under mutual fund rules that Gensler has said provide “significant investor protections”.
The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
“It’s one of the final frontiers for mandate access,” said Joseph Edwards, head of research at crypto broker Enigma Securities.
“Plenty of Americans in particular have strings attached to how they deploy a lot of their wealth. It allows bitcoin to get in on the sorts of windfall that keep U.S. equities as consistently strong as they are.”
(Reporting by Tom Wilson in London and Alun John in Hong Kong, and Mrinmay Dey and Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; editing by Alexander Smith and Jason Neely)
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