Dan Hallett is vice-president and principal of Highview Financial Group
I have often criticized the investment industry for pumping out products designed to sell rather than build wealth for investors. I have also worked to raise investor awareness of how gimmicky products destroy wealth. The battle against such products took a step backward recently with an Ontario Securities Commission panel’s decision to allow the launch of a bitcoin investment fund.
The OSC’s Investment Funds Branch was initially opposed to the fund; citing several concerns pertaining to public interests. The panel’s decision document clearly lays out the OSC’s legal limits when it comes to approving products that are considered risky and speculative. Ultimately, the panel concluded that the fund will be able to reliably value the fund’s assets, secure the holdings (from hacks/theft) and complete a full financial audit.
Many look to bitcoin – and other assets such as gold and other commodities – to provide diversification from traditional financial assets. An investment must meet two basic conditions for it to effectively diversify a portfolio. First, it must be weakly correlated with other investments. Second, it must produce a positive return. Bitcoin passes the first test with flying colours. But the second – a positive return – is quite a leap of faith, and violates the warning attached to virtually all investment products.
Regulators have long required every investment fund prospectus to be stamped with a statement reminding investors that past performance is no indication of the future. And yet, it seems that any assumption that bitcoin offers portfolio diversification is implicitly based on bitcoin’s performance during its one decade in existence. This is a drop in the bucket of financial market history. But there are two problems with this assumption.
First, we have no idea – even using history – how bitcoin will behave in a recession, financial crisis or bear market. History can be useful to gauge behavioural patterns and worst-case scenarios. But bitcoin hasn’t existed through any such environment.
Second, by claiming that bitcoin can diversify portfolios, I wonder what basis is used for assuming positive future returns. As I stated for a Globe and Mail article on the panel’s decision:
“We design client portfolios to achieve a specific goal – a specific long-term return target. I can take each component of the portfolio and give you a very good ballpark estimate of how each piece will contribute to achieving that long-term goal. I have no idea how anyone can do this with bitcoin or any cryptocurrency. It can’t be done.”
We have designed an algorithm to forecast long-term asset-class returns. (The method is summarized in a 2012 blog post and has been pretty accurate.) But bitcoin doesn’t fit into this or any other sensible model that facilitates a confident return forecast. I’m certainly not comfortable blindly relying on 10 years of data to form any type of future return expectation; particularly since that decade overlapped a very long economic recovery and bull market.
Bitcoin and other crypto or digital currencies are likely to have a future. And blockchain technology seems destined to change some industries – e.g., the way we handle legal documents. But investment assets require fundamental characteristics upon which to base some value assessment and, in turn, return expectations. In the absence of such characteristics, buying bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies either for attractive returns or portfolio diversification is speculating – not investing.
FedDev Ontario Investment Contribution to TRCA Will Support Enhanced Visitor Experiences at Bruce's Mill Conservation Park – TRCA
August 9, 2022, Toronto, ON – Visitors to Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) Bruce’s Mill Conservation Park in Stouffville, ON will enjoy enhanced experiences thanks to an investment contribution from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) that will help to revitalize the park infrastructure.
The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and Member of Parliament for Markham-Stouffville made the funding announcement today at Bruce’s Mill.
The investment contribution of up to $740,715 will support improvements at Bruce’s Mill intended to positively impact both the local community and visitors to the park, allowing more people to re-engage with their communities and nature.
These improvements include: the installation of two new picnic shelters, the addition of 15 new accessible picnic tables for community use, and the upgrading of three washrooms to improve accessibility and physical distancing components. In addition, the park access roads and parking lots will be paved and repaired.
“Our government is investing in community infrastructure to support the mental and physical health of Canadians by promoting social interaction and physical activity. This Canada Community Revitalization Fund investment for Toronto and Region Conservation Authority will help revitalize the Bruce’s Mill Conservation Park’s public infrastructure. This revitalization will help draw visitors to Bruce’s Mill, where they can come together, enjoy the outdoors and be active.”
— The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“The investment by FedDev Ontario will not only improve visitor experiences at Bruce’s Mill but will accommodate the increased demand for outdoor recreation and provide safe alternative recreational activities as we all recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is investments like these that allow TRCA to keep our parks and trails in a state of good repair while increasing community connection and improving accessibility to our visitors.”
— – Michael Tolensky, Chief Financial and Operating Officer, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
TRCA’s Bruce’s Mill Conservation Park
Conveniently located off Highway 404, Bruce’s Mill Conservation Park is a popular destination for the five million residents within our jurisdiction and from many tourists from around the world. In addition to picnic areas and trails, recreational facilities at the park include a professionally designed golf driving range and a BMX cycling track. To learn more visit trca.ca/bruces-mill.
About Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
With more than 60 years of experience, TRCA is one of 36 Conservation Authorities in Ontario, created to safeguard and enhance the health and well-being of <span data-trca-tooltip="
The entire area of land whose runoff water, sediments and dissolved materials (nutrients and contaminants) drain into a lake, river, creek, or estuary. Its boundary can be located on the ground by connecting all the highest points of the area around the river, stream or creek, where water starts to flow when there is rain. It is not man-made and it does not respect political boundaries.” class=”glossary-term”>watershed communities through the protection and <span data-trca-tooltip="
To repair or re-establish functioning ecosystems; the process of altering a site to establish a defined, native, historic ecosystem; the goal is to emulate the structure, function, diversity and dynamics of a specified ecosystem.” class=”glossary-term”>restoration of the natural environment and the <span data-trca-tooltip="
Ecological services are defined as the overall benefits to humans arising from a functioning healthy ecosystem, which includes improved water quality and quantity, air quality, soil stabilization, flood mitigation, balanced hydrologic regimes, biological processes and biodiversity. Ultimately, the streams in TRCA’s watersheds run into Lake Ontario and have a direct influence on the water quality and habitat along the waterfront.” class=”glossary-term”>ecological services the environment provides. More than five million people live within TRCA-managed watersheds, and many others work in and visit destinations across the jurisdiction. These nine watersheds, plus their collective Lake Ontario waterfront shorelines, span six upper-tier and 15 lower-tier municipalities. Some of Canada’s largest and fastest growing municipalities, including Toronto, Markham and Vaughan, are located entirely within TRCA’s jurisdiction.
To learn more about TRCA, visit trca.ca.
Senior Manager, Communications, Marketing and Events
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA)
Short Term vs Long Term Investments: Gauging the saving spectrum – Economic Times
Quick wealth creation is what financial markets consider; however, investing as a practice is a long-term process. While an investor’s capital can be invested in the short-term and long-term, both forms of investment have their merits and demerits.
Typically, short-term investments involve less risk than long-term investments. Long-term investments give the investor’s money a substantial period to grow and recover from major dips in the market.
Having clear and crisp financial goals can help the investor decide whether to choose short or long-term investments and which vehicles within those categories aim towards personalized investment gains.
Before choosing any investment strategy, the investor ideally needs to do proper research on which asset types suits their need.
What is suitable for one investor might not be in sync with another’s financial objectives, so one must consider their overall goals along with the risks one is willing to take.
Short-term investments have a validity period typically up to three years – high liquidity instruments, generally involving lesser market risks.
Also, these temporary investments are mostly used for parking excess funds for a short period. Short-term investments are highly liquid and hence are used by investors to meet expected near-future expenses.
Less risky in nature, these short-term investment products have a short tenure and give predictable returns as compared to long-term investments be it –
● Treasury bills which can be redeemed within 91 days and is a high liquidity instrument.
● Gilt Funds which invest only in government securities and owing to zero credit risk, are safe investment funds.
● Ultra-short-term debt funds wherein the maturity period ranges between three to six months and provides comparatively higher returns.
● Low duration debt funds whose maturity period ranges between six and 12 months, these funds invest in debt and money market instruments.
● Money market funds that invest in money market instruments and have a redemption period of up to one year.
● Bank fixed deposits that can be renewed on maturity and their tenure can range from 14 days to 10 years. Also, liquidity can be a concern here as some banks don’t allow premature withdrawals.
● Company fixed deposits can have a tenure of more than one year
● Post office time deposits have tenures ranging from one to five years and similarly Recurring deposits can open an RD for a duration as low as six months. Sweep-in-Fixed Deposits as against low returns on savings accounts, these offer comparatively higher returns, with a minimum tenure of around 12 months.
On the other hand, long-term investments are investments that can offer high returns after several years, typically five years or more – involving more market risks.
Be it via stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, etc. Investments in stocks earn quite high returns if patience is kept high (Of course, this cannot be guaranteed but you should assess your risk-taking capacity before thinking of investing in stocks).
Having a deeper understanding of the market movements so that the investor makes wiser financial decisions and when to sell the stocks, investing in stocks and securities requires a trusted financial partner, who can provide hassle-free features to open an online Demat and Trading Account.
Another long-term investment avenue for receiving higher returns is Equity Mutual Funds where the investor gets to pick from small, mid-cap, and large-cap equity mutual funds for the long term to achieve greater financial goals.
Ultimately, the short-term investment gives levy to the investor to achieve their financial goals within a short span and with lower risk (depending on which asset you pick), if the investor has a greater risk appetite, and wants higher returns, they can select a long-term investment avenue.
To further simplify, if the investor wants to preserve their capital and is happy with moderate returns then they may choose short-term investments but, with the expectation of a higher return, the investor may invest in long-term investment avenues.
(The author is Senior Vice President, at mastertrust)
(Disclaimer: Recommendations, suggestions, views and opinions given by the experts are their own. These do not represent the views of Economic Times)
Hong Kong Investment Bank’s 2,325% Surge Baffles Local Investors – BNN
(Bloomberg) — Another little-known Hong Kong-based financial services firm is mystifying investors with a dramatic price surge following its US listing.
Magic Empire Global Ltd., which provides underwriting and advisory services and has helped just one company go public since 2020, surged 2,325% in its debut session Friday in New York to a market capitalization larger than football club Manchester United Plc. Magic Empire is the seventh firm this year from Hong Kong or China to experience similarly surprising moves.
“This price level has clearly shown it is not sustainable,” said Ken Shih, head of wealth management in Greater China at Saxo Capital Markets HK Ltd., adding that without knowing who is doing the buying, it is hard to be definitive. “At this point, downside risk for investors clearly outweighs upside.”
Last week, Hong Kong financial services provider AMTD Digital Inc. briefly became bigger than Goldman Sachs Group Inc. after a 14,000% gain in less than a month. The moves are particularly notable at a time of otherwise muted IPO activity and with Chinese companies Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. threatened with delisting if they fail to comply with American auditing standards.
Magic Empire reported revenue of $2.2 million in 2021, a 17% drop from a year earlier. The company’s operating entity, Giraffe Capital Ltd., completed just one IPO in 2020 and none last year “due to COVID-19 and volatile outlook of the Hong Kong capital market,” according to the prospectus. Friday’s price surge brought Magic Empire’s market capitalization to $1.9 billion.
“The wild swings are likely due to the concentrated ownership, which certainly raises red flags,” said Kakei Lam, fund investment officer at Metaverse Securities Ltd. “I don’t see a resemblance to the meme-stock mania, given the thin trading volume.”
Magic Empire’s chairman Gilbert Chan Wai-ho and chief executive officer Johnson Chen Sze-hon co-lead Giraffe Capital, which obtained a license to provide corporate finance services in 2017. The firm mostly works on IPOs on GEM, the small-cap exchange, and often engages other small local brokerages as underwriters, including KOALA Securities Ltd., HKMonkey.com and Yellow River Securities Ltd. Chan and Chen own most of Magic Empire, with a combined stake of about 63%. The firm had just nine employees as of December 2021, according to its prospectus.
Hong Kong’s Scandal-Plagued Small-Cap Exchange Left for Dead
About half of the companies Giraffe Capital has taken public jumped on the first day, some by as much as 125%. Seven are now trading 30% to 92% lower than IPO price and another has been delisted.
Magic Empire didn’t respond to an email request for comment and calls to the phone number listed on its website weren’t answered.
In the first half of this year, fundraising in the Hong Kong IPO market dropped 92%. With the tiny companies that make up their customer base under close regulatory watch, small- and mid-sized financial advisory firms like Giraffe Capital have had a particularly tough time.
In 2017 and 2021, the Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong stock exchange issued two rounds of warnings about so-called ramp-and-dump schemes tied to small-cap IPOs. These schemes manipulate very thin trading volume to inflate prices, luring unwary investors before shares collapse.
The SFC declined to comment for this article, but has previously identified four typical features of problematic IPOs:
- Market capitalization barely meets the minimum threshold
- Price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio is very high given the firm’s fundamentals and the valuations of its peers
- Underwriting commissions or other listing expenses are unusually high
- Shareholding is highly concentrated in a limited number of shareholders
Magic Empire’s relatively modest revenue means it qualifies as an “emerging growth company” under American legislation, according to its prospectus. These firms enjoy reduced reporting requirements compared to larger US-listed public companies, with only two years of audited financial statements required and disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation pared back.
(Updates with Kakei Lam’s comments.)
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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