How we built a portfolio to serve the needs of everyday investors
You may remember back in 1998 when a company called Long Term Capital Management went bust. This was an investment company run by a gang of Nobel prize winning traders that lost everything and had to be rescued by the Federal Reserve. Well they weren’t the first smart people to blow it.
In 1720 Isaac Newton, famous physicist and at that time also Master of the Royal Mint, was tempted to speculate in shares of the South Sea Company, the FAANG stock of its day. Initially he got in and out at a profit, but after it had risen to Tesla-like heights, he got back in again and was wiped out.
Somewhat later in 1850 Charles Dickens’s character Mr. Micawber famously advised David Copperfield: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery.”
Today we are faced with a double difficulty. Interest rates being zero makes the habit of saving that Micawber advised more difficult than usual and markets looking rather like what Newton faced in 1720 isn’t helping.
But what successful investors like Warren Buffet and Jim Rogers have demonstrated is that in bad times and good, it is possible to earn a fair return in the market through a disciplined approach to the process.
One aspect of that discipline is to be patient and wait for opportunities to come to you. The market is inherently dynamic and prices rise and fall, and sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all, until the prices of the assets you like reach what you deem to be a fair value. Today Warren Buffet’s cash pile is near an all time high of about $150bn, representing about 50% of the value of his company, Berkshire Hathaway. His metric for overall valuation is a simple one: compare the size of the stock market to the size of the economy. Today that ratio is at nosebleed levels. It will not stay there, it never does for long.
But patience doesn’t mean not investing at all. There are always sectors of the market that represent good value but are, for the time being, under-appreciated. Currently sectors like energy, base metals, and agricultural commodities are as cheap, relative to the overall market, as they have ever been. They have only been nearly as cheap three times in the last century, in 1929, 1969, and 1999, and following each period, they performed extremely well.
There are other areas of the market that are currently languishing while the tech stocks like Zoom zoom higher. Value stock generally, smaller stocks too. The fact is that every sector has its turn in the sun. US stocks have had a good run recently, but they are not the best performer this century, gold has done much better. Bonds have had an awesome run too, but with interest rates at zero, that arena is looking like an asymmetrically poor bet from here. What were the best developed stock markets last quarter? Sweden at 17% and Denmark at 15%. Emerging markets and real estate have been at the top of the league tables multiple times this century.
And that is where the Pynk Thesis Portfolio comes in, and its strategy is simple and disciplined. The Pynk Thesis Portfolio aims to identify areas for investment which are presently out of favor, where there are clear reasons to expect a much brighter future, and where there are identifiable near term catalysts to change the fortunes of that sector.
While the Thesis Portfolio aims to be a go-anywhere portfolio, meaning stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities and natural resources, precious metals and currencies, collectibles, streaming and royalty investments, and other sources of return, initially the portfolio will achieve these exposures only via the ownership of shares in listed entities, including stock companies, ETF’s, closed-ended funds, and other listed vehicles.
At times, like Warren Buffet, we will hold plenty of cash while we wait for the stocks we are stalking to come to us. At other times we will be fully invested. But we will never put all of our eggs in one basket.
The nature of these emerging bull market opportunities is that they often take three to five years or more to play out and you can often double your money or better along the way. You may think Amazon and Google are the only way to make a killing, but gold has risen 20-fold in prior bull markets and gold stocks have done much better than that in many cases. We think gold may once again take the place of investment of the decade in the ‘20s.
In looking for these undervalued opportunities, we have a secret weapon of course: you, the Pynk Community. Each of us has a unique perspective based on where we live, what we do, and what makes us tick. And by using AI to find the Wisdom in the Crowd™ - we have a powerful idea generation machine, more effective than any dedicated research desk.
Our current portfolio positioning for launch, targeted for next month has three main plays: The first is an allocation to energy, commodities, and precious metals. The second is an allocation to large companies in defensive sectors such as telecoms, healthcare, utilities, consumer staples, and renewable energy. And the third is cash. We think cash may be the top performer over the next year or so, as it was as recently as 2018. And cash offers optionality. In expensive markets all the real money is made buying the dips, but for that you need cash on hand.
One reason for this positioning is the inflation factor. Normally at a time when the economy is weak and debt loads are high, you would expect cascading defaults going into 2021, and this is deflationary and supports both cash and the defensive plays, which sport high dividends. But inflation recently has been much higher than what is being reported by governments and given their recent massive increases in direct financial support for the economy and their clear incentive to create inflation to wash away their own debt, we see inflation as a real risk this decade and one that is not discounted in the price of inflation sensitive plays, hence the allocation to commodities, precious metals, and energy.
We also think supply and demand are tilted in favor of the latter sectors. When the economy begins to recover, demand for energy will too, but we think supply destruction, especially in the American shales from the recent turmoil will hinder supply. In the EV and battery market, we see demand for metals skyrocketing, and bringing on a new mine can take a decade or more.
The Pynk Thesis Portfolio has a bias towards protecting capital and protecting gains. We believe if you look after the losses, the profit opportunities will always be there, and we see plenty right now, even in this expensive and volatile market.
Disclaimer: Please bear in mind that this information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by Pynk One Ltd. and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or refraining from making) any investment decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. When investing, your capital is at risk and you may recover less than the initial investment.