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Markets keeping you up? Try this different goals-based investing approach

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One of our biggest complaints about the Canadian investment industry is that it is still heavily influenced by inherent behavioural flaws such as encouraging benchmark chasing based on the performance of the hottest segment of the market.

However, there is a rapidly growing portfolio management approach among registered investment advisers in the United States that eliminates this kind of benchmarking altogether through something called planning-led, goals-based investing.

The first step in this philosophy is to determine what specific investment return is required to meet a client’s financial goals and objectives, which are derived from what we call an advanced wealth plan.

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A portfolio is then custom designed with diversification among asset classes, regions and sectors according to ability and the willingness for risk. Near-term volatility is managed and minimized via strategy diversification, which accounts for important considerations such as risk drag and return patterns.

For this to work, the client must be satisfied with not fully participating in the market upswings in order to minimize participation during market corrections. The goal is to set a target mean return for the portfolio while tightening the distribution curve of the portfolio’s variability of returns as much as possible.

Obviously, the higher the target return, the larger the width of this distribution curve — after all, there is no such thing as a free lunch — but it should be less variable than owning the broader market for equity investors or a traditional 60/40 portfolio for balanced investors.

The point is one must be completely agnostic about investing styles, such as value versus growth, new world (technology) versus old world (energy and commodities), and bonds versus stocks. Instead, the focus is on achieving these target returns while minimizing portfolio risk as much as possible.

We made the switch to this approach approximately four years ago and haven’t looked back. We get a much more consistent investment return profile, which aligns with our client base that understands the philosophy and process.

For example, our overweight in 20-year Treasuries really helped offer material downside protection during the March 2020 meltdown, and our replacement of this 10-to-15-per-cent weighting with energy positions did the same this year.

We have also taken down our fixed-income exposure to the lowest allowable levels and replaced it with structured notes instead of going into more volatile equities or, worse, illiquid privates.

For example, last week we underwrote a five-year note with the Bank of Montreal on Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Enbridge Inc., Keyera Corp., Pembina Pipeline Corp. and TC Pipelines LP that if in 12 months these stocks collectively have risen above zero per cent, it will be bought back and closed out, but with a 17.5-per-cent coupon. If not, it will roll over to year two where it will pay a 35-per-cent coupon and close out if these stocks collectively have risen above zero per cent.

 

The totality of our goals-based strategies has resulted in our internal balanced fund protecting against all the downside in this year’s correction, while most of our peers were down more than 10 per cent. Over the past five years, our fund has been able to achieve its annualized goals-based target of five to seven per cent while our peers struggled to post an annualized 3.5 per cent.

We think this planning-led, goals-based approach will start to gain a lot more momentum with others, especially if both equity and bond markets continue to fluctuate based on various interpretations of the interest rate outlook.

Instead, it might be better to step away from all this bother and get a good sleep at night, knowing your goals are not dependent on near-term market moves or, worse, what everyone else is doing.

Martin Pelletier, CFA, is a senior portfolio manager at Wellington-Altus Private Counsel Inc, operating as TriVest Wealth Counsel, a private client and institutional investment firm specializing in discretionary risk-managed portfolios, investment audit/oversight and advanced tax, estate and wealth planning.

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Abu Dhabi Hosts Annual Investment Meeting May 2023

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Abu Dhabi will host the 12th edition of the Annual Investment Meeting from 8 to 10 May 2023, which will take place under the theme of “The Investment Paradigm Shift: Future Investment Opportunities to Foster Sustainable Economic Growth, Diversity, and Prosperity”.

At a press conference held today in Abu Dhabi, the announcement of the launch of AIM Global 2023 which is supported by the Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technologies, with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) as a lead partner was made in the presence of H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Vice Chairman of the UAE Industry Development Council and H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of ADDED.

AIM Global 2023 pillars will discuss the global capital market transformation, ways to improve the flexibility of global supply chains to benefit from growth opportunities, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution & AI technologies in the years to come.

AIM will also address new trends in the current global digital transformation that’s being experienced by developing & developed economies. AIM Global 2023 will feature many sessions & workshops that discuss vital topics, including Future Cities, how to use innovative technologies to address the increasing demands, the business sector’s ability to keep abreast of the fast changes, and the future role of Startups & SMEs.

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H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, lauded AIM’s ability to change its activities to keep abreast of the new changes in the global economy and praised AIM Global 2023’s gathering of all investment stakeholders in an effort to overcome the current obstacles to achieve sustainable economic development & prosperity for the world via several paths, including Digitization, Sustainability, Industrialization, and Free Trade.

H.E. Mohamed Ali Al Shorafa said: “We’re pleased to host AIM 2023 in Abu Dhabi, which has established its position as a preferred destination for business & investments due to its proactive, open approach in dealing with changes. AIM is a suitable platform to discuss new trends and ways to deal with changes and developments in the global economic landscape.”

AIM will comprise several features, including the Exhibition, Investment Roundtables, Investment Destinations Presentations, Investment Awards, Startups Awards, Investors Hub and G2G, G2B & B2B Meetings.

*Source: AETOSWire

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AI will continue to attract investment in near future in the healthcare industry

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Artificial intelligence (AI) was seen as one of the top current investment priorities and was thought to continue to attract investment in the healthcare sector in the upcoming two years, according to GlobalData’s latest report ‘Digital Transformation and Emerging Technology in the Healthcare Industry – 2022 Edition’.

In this survey-based report tracker, digital media was prioritised as a top current investment target, with 53% of surveyed respondents confirming that their companies are currently investing in this technology. It was followed by AI, social media and big data (Figure 1). Compared with last year’s data, digital media saw the biggest increase in current investment, up by 22% from last year. AI (+9% from 2021), social media (+8%) and big data (+5%) have also gained since last year, besides trending as very popular technologies for investment priorities for several years. Their combined usage can release synergetic power and potential that could be disruptive to the healthcare sector.

While digital media was selected as the number one current investment target, the percentage of companies investing in this technology is expected to drop by 16% over the next two years. This would likely be due to the current inflation and rising costs, which contribute to a gloomy investment environment. In the next two years, the surveyed healthcare industry professionals believed that their companies will prioritise AI as the main investment target (figure 2).

Having topped the chart as the most attractive investment target since 2018, AI is a rather versatile technology that can be applied in a wide spectrum of processes in the pharmaceutical value chain, making processes faster and more efficient; eventually saving time and labour costs.

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The technology has a multititle of applications; for example, companies like Exscientia are using AI to help their pharmaceutical clients analyse vast data sets to identify potential drug targets in a shorter time. K Health, in its AI-based telehealth app, is using AI and big data to help users access accurate information on their symptoms and connect with physicians; BioSymetrics is using AI and machine learning to provide a platform and models to help pharmaceutical companies to identify targets for drug discovery; while Bayer’s AI-enabled Calantic™ Digital Solutions platform, which combines AI with Cloud computing, is used to provide more structured tasks and more improved workflow, to ease workload and pressure for radiologists.

The new digital era has been driving the uptake of digital technologies. Technologies like AI are expected to bring disruptive power to and revolutionise processes within the healthcare sector. There has been an increasing number of successful AI-use cases in the healthcare industry that support a growing trust in AI. AI’s potential is substantial – not only limited to shortening the time and reducing cost in the drug discovery process, or providing healthcare professionals with faster and more accurate diagnoses.



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Responsible Investment Industry in the Midst of Remarkable Evolution

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TORONTO — The responsible investment industry is in the midst of a remarkable evolution, according to new data from the 2022 Canadian Responsible Investment (RI) Trends Report. Released today by Canada’s Responsible Investment Association (RIA), the report tracks the national trends and outlook for RI, which refers to investments that incorporate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues into the selection and management process.

This year’s report confirms that RI’s recent momentum is giving way to demand for sophistication and more vigilant reporting, signaling a maturing industry. Over the past two years, the rush into RI claims has been met by forces both external and internal to the financial industry, including the reputational and legal risks associated with greenwashing and lack of clarity around ESG industry terminology and disclosure requirements.

With its updated methodology, the report affirms that RI is entrenched in Canada, with reported assets under management at $3 trillion, and 94% of respondents using ESG integration as an RI strategy. This marks the emergence of a reliable baseline for RI market share and demonstrates that ESG Integration is a fundamental tool in Canadian investors’ decision-making.

“Greater vigilance is redefining the ‘floor’ of RI assets under management. Increased clarity and alignment are necessary to shape the slope and raise the ceiling,” said Patricia Fletcher, CEO of the RIA. “RI is here to stay, but we have work to do with everyone in the investment ecosystem to get the next steps right in order to propel further growth.”

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Growth expectations overall remain strong with 90% of respondents anticipating moderate to high levels of growth over the next two years. The demand for sophistication and vigilance is further reflected in investors’ future outlook, with respondents citing the top three potential deterrents to RI growth as: (1) mistrust or concerns about greenwashing, (2) a lack of standardized ESG disclosure frameworks/standards, and (3) lack of reliable data.

The report found an increase in the prevalence of all other RI strategies in addition to ESG integration, including corporate engagement, positive and negative screening, and thematic and impact investing, further pointing to the growing RI sophistication of Canadian investors. Respondents cited risk management as their top motivation for considering ESG factors.

Additional Highlights

  • Survey respondents reported the top three reasons for considering ESG factors are: (1) to minimize risk over time, (2) to improve returns over time, and (3) to fulfill fiduciary duty.
  • The three most prominent RI strategies by AUM are: (1) ESG Integration, (2) Corporate engagement & shareholder action, and (3) Negative/exclusionary screening.
  • Climate change is an overwhelming concern for responsible investors–-who also believe it is the greatest driver for growth over the next two years.

View the report here.

Quotes from 2022 Canadian RI Trends Report Partners:

“The evolution of responsible investing is a natural and expected process that is beneficial both to investors and the industry,” said Roger Beauchemin, President and CEO of Addenda Capital. “Several trends are helping to strengthen practices: investors’ growing appetite for data on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, pressure on companies to improve transparency, and industry efforts to define and meet standards in sustainable investing.”

“As the definition of responsible investing matures and the collective knowledge of our industry continues to increase, we are encouraged to see significantly more respondents turning to thematic approaches and to hear that a desire to address key issues like climate change will continue to drive growth over the next few years,” said Karrie Van Belle, Chief Marketing & Innovation Officer, AGF Investments Inc.

“We are incredibly proud of the progress that Canadian investors are making to deliver more transparency, a diversity of responsible investment solutions, and better client outcomes,” said Fate Saghir, SVP, Head of Sustainability, Mackenzie Investments. “This report reinforces Canada’s ambition to lead in the future low-carbon, equitable, and prosperous economy, and we at Mackenzie, are humbled to participate in this journey on behalf of our clients.”

“We are inspired by the level of attention investors are paying to climate factors. What’s more, the relatively low use of impact investing revealed by the report suggests there is untapped opportunity to leverage investment portfolios to reduce global carbon emissions,” said Adelaide Chiu, VP, Head of Responsible Investing & ESG Services. “We look forward to helping Canadians seize the opportunity to make an impact as they pursue their financial goals.”

“RBC Global Asset Management is proud to collaborate with the RIA Canada and support its efforts to build greater awareness of ESG trends and issues facing the investment community,” said Melanie Adams, Vice President and Head, Corporate Governance and Responsible Investment, RBC Global Asset Management. “Primary research, such as the 2022 Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report, plays an important role in helping educate Canadian investors and advisors about responsible investment trends and sentiment.”

About the Canadian RI Trends Report
The RIA publishes the Canadian Responsible Investment Trends Report to understand and assess the characteristics of responsible investment in Canada. This study was completed by Environics Research on behalf of the RIA. The results are based on input from organizations invited to participate in an online survey between August 2nd and September 29th, 2022 as well as desk research completed by the RIA. All figures are stated in Canadian dollars as at December 31st, 2021. The 2022 report was generously sponsored by Addenda Capital, AGF Management Limited, Mackenzie Investments, NEI investments, and RBC Global Asset Management.

About the Responsible Investment Association (RIA)
The RIA is Canada’s industry association for responsible investment. The RIA’s membership includes asset managers, asset owners, advisors, and service providers who support its mandate of promoting responsible investment in Canada’s retail and institutional markets. RIA institutional members collectively manage more than $42 trillion in assets. Learn more at www.riacanada.ca.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20221123005078/en/

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Contacts

Nick Buccheri
Director, Operations
Responsible Investment Association
nick@riacanada.ca
+1(416) 461-6042 x5

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