Chad LarsonDirector, Wealth Management, Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager, MLD Wealth Management — Canaccord Genuity Corp.
Two investment trends that I find interesting right now are digital disruption and Bitcoin.
Let me warn Bitcoin first. I am in no way making an investment recommendation. But I find it interesting because once again Bitcoin took center stage. All investors watch, wonder, speculate and plan to get started. With companies like Tesla and mega-corporations reporting some level of adoption, it may be here to stay. With the money supply swelling out of control due to endless printing by governments, the concept of digital gold does not escape me academically and philosophically.
The other trend is digital disturbance. It’s hard to call something a forest when you’re in the middle of it – it’s just trees. But when you step back [you can make out significant economic] periods: the transport revolution, the telecommunications revolution, etc. We are in the midst, not the end, of a historic transformation of society through digitalization. There are still countless industries that will face disruption and many new big companies will emerge.
Jackie Porterfinancial planner, Wealth Management card
The inflection point we reached with environmental problems. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing was once something we could tout as our way of doing good. Now the business community is waking up [and realizing] that’s a “must” to do. Serious money is coming in the ESG – [around] environmental issues, but also around racism and gender diversity. We reached an inflection point in all of these areas last year. This is something councils are looking at more closely; if you are a stakeholder, how will this affect the bottom line? Now that we recognize that we are in this inescapable situation, there are interesting investment opportunities.
We also need to rethink our view of Technology opportunity. For a long time we saw this as an opportunity for a single sector, but now we know that technology has disrupted every industry. Technology isn’t going away, so how do we make sure our customers don’t miss it? It’s kind of like the conversation we had 10 or 15 years ago when we were talking about investing outside of Canada. You can invest directly or indirectly outside of Canada — that’s kind of how we can talk about technology today. I think of health care as a technological place, and it’s a cheaper game than technology. Artificial intelligence, like Intuitive Surgical Inc., will allow surgeons to work remotely. We are only at the beginning, especially as society ages. Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon are considering it.
Darryl BrownFounder and Investment Planner, You&Yours Financial
ESG integration: For decades, the integration of ESG factoring into investment decisions was considered marginal. Although there are still great disparities on what ESG is and how to integrate ESG factors into financial analysis and investment decisions, the adoption by companies and managers of investment is accelerating. This is a trend that will evolve over the long term.
Values-Based/Socially Responsible Investing: For investors who don’t believe ESG factoring goes far enough, divesting from certain companies or industries and creating portfolios aligned with values is becoming a more frequent request. As an interesting recent example, some tech companies – especially those with social media platforms – have joined a long list of “sinful” companies that some people have no interest in owning.