Well That Was Fun

That was fun. The past two months have provided a good reminder about risk for all kinds of markets. First, volatility is back in the equity markets after hiding for all of 2017. Regardless whether the catalyst was the breakdown of a VIX exchange traded note (potentially front-run and punished by high frequency trading machines) or the realization global central bank balance sheets may actually start to unwind, the markets were long overdue for a correction having had 15 straight months of positive returns. Foreign equities continue to provide better relative valuation than US counterparts. … Read More

Brexit Revisited and Value, Digital Currency and BlockChain Technology

Brexit Revisited The plot thickens. Now the dirty, gritty work of sorting out what “Brexit” actually means for the UK and the 27 member nations of the EU begins. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, as a result of this vote, Britain doesn’t have to adopt a new currency. Everyone landing at Heathrow will still have to produce a passport, that hasn’t changed. No bargaining chips there. What are becoming political bargaining chips are the EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. What rights will be afforded to these people? The UK has never been a country that easily grants residents … Read More

Brexit 2.0 and Europe’s Battle with Apple

This is an update to our earlier post about Brexit. My hope is that it isn’t as underwhelming as Brexit turned out to be. Here is what we know about Brexit so far: The UK isn’t deporting anyone, the UK is still strong economically and can take pride in their success during the Olympics in Rio. However, the tone and significance of Brexit is changing. It doesn’t get top billing anymore. On the BBC’s main UK website, a glance at their top stories this week and last include favorite villains Sarah Palin and Donald Trump who are now joined by Olympic idiot Ryan Lochte. Hillary Clinton … Read More

Brexit Perspective

51.9% of the voters of the UK wanted out I honestly don’t have a strong opinion about this issue and have enjoyed being on the ground in London during and after the election, discussing the concerns and issues with people in London. The Leave or Remain referendum should have been about sovereignty. It should have been a time for Britain to primarily reflect on and evaluate its relationship with the EU, and secondarily its relationship with the rest of the world. Countries do this from time to time. Think NAFTA and the TPP. Unfortunately, like most campaigns, it devolved into scare … Read More

Special Relationship and Taxes

Stars and Stripes (Obviously USA) Union Jack (United Flag of GB) Cross of St. George (England’s Flag)   The United States of America and England, or more broadly, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, have had a very successful long distance “Special Relationship.” War has been a factor in this relationship as we have fought against each other, and fought alongside each other. For the most part, the relationship has been positive and mutually beneficial. Trading and taxes play a significant role now, and have in the past, pushing the … Read More

“Are the Markets Rigged?”

I’m asked several times a week “are the markets are going to crash” or “are the markets rigged?" To go farther it should be asked, why do people feel the markets are rigged? What has happened to cause investors and non-investors to lose faith in the markets over the last decade? Before we follow Alice down the rabbit hole because that is where the markets now live, it is important to properly contextualize and define “markets” and “rigged.” “Markets” for the point of this article refer to the US stock, options, futures and bond markets and the various exchanges, both light and dark, that … Read More

The New Corporation

On a recent flight I pulled the monthly airline magazine out and flipped it open. I had been searching for inspiration to write and it was serendipity. James Ashton, writer for the London Evening Standard and the Independent published a short piece titled Global Shifts that discussed the changing corporate landscape brought about by increased globalization. Among other corporations, he focused on UK based Unilever and their leadership training center in the city-state of Singapore. As corporations expand their footprint, they need to diversify thinking. Mr. Ashton contrasts the new way of … Read More

Risk On

We don’t hear risk on / risk off from the pundits on TV as much these days but risk is certainly on and the risk is coming from Capitol Hill. Much more is on the table than a budget battle between the GOP and Obama, the debt ceiling and Obamacare, etc. And now volatility in the stock markets have picked up. Two articles struck me when reading the FT this week. One talked about the dire implications of a US default. Yes, the Chinese and Japanese are making noise and as holders of about 1 $trillion in US debt each, they can and should. They’ve loaned us money to pay for our government that we … Read More

Rule of Law and Societal Stability

Rule of Law is a general understanding and respect for a state of order.  Observance of law, generally in conjunction with democracy (or representative republic) has historically worked well for societies to create prosperity so long as the people feel represented and can execute change if needed.   Importantly, this is also a requirement for sustainable growth. Amy Chua, in her book World on Fire, presents a broad analysis of America’s export of raw capitalism and democracy when she states, “The belief in the possibility in the upward mobility has characterized America since inception.  No … Read More

New Global Investing – Part 2

Emerging Market Allocations For a USA based investor the available universe outside North America consists of three primary market categories; developed, emerging and frontier.  Many of these countries stock markets had terrible 2011 returns, especially in Europe with losses of -10% or more and many of the emerging markets off 20% to 30%. It is important to have an understanding of what capital markets are available.  It is equally important to understand that growth will not be uniform or consistent as countries strive to access capital.  Wealth will increasingly be created in parts of … Read More