My team and I are constantly looking forward, and trying to get into the mind of consumers to identify potential investment opportunities. 2020 was the year where portfolio concentration, expensive growth stocks and active trading was a winning trio. 2021 thus far has been the mirror opposite with value significantly outperforming growth and re-opening stocks and cyclicals offering strong portfolio value.
A wise man once told me that liquidity is a coward, it’s never around when you really need it. It has stood me in good stead over the years. As an investor traversing the decades one tends to occasionally find oneself in a period of alluring illiquidity premiums or times were accessing “the new new thing” is so new that the related market is inherently illiquid or “the smartest guys in the room” have created a new ‘guaranteed moneymaker’ that can only be accessed (via special invitation and high fees) by a select ‘lucky’ few.
As we explained in “The Next Stage of Disruptors: Part 1,” we discussed the start of “the Age of the New Disruptor,” innovative disruptive industries' historical economic dominance, and the microeconomics of innovation. We also highlighted tier 1 disruptors, innovations or technological advancements that have started to gain mainstream adoption, creating some of the most coveted growth investment opportunities to date.
Many yearn for a degree of pre-COVID norms. Nevertheless, as we gradually adapt to the stubborn social standards spawned by the pandemic's reaction, we cannot forget the opportunities it has created and behavioral expectations that will likely remain.
As thematic investors who assess global consumer spending trends, we have so many exciting secular trends to explore. One of the largest and most prominent consumption trends is the dramatic rise in Fintech innovation and the slow but steady death of cash as the primary method of transactions. Cash used as a percent of total global purchase transactions is estimated to be roughly 70% so it’s still very large.
We are now, approximately one year from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset in the United States. In short, we remain in the midst of a stock market rotation away from “momentum” stocks fueled by COVID-related shutdowns and societal adaptations towards “value” stocks that remain historically cheap and consist of cyclical laggards.
Looking at the long arch of history it is clear that human knowledge in fields like mathematics and science are cumulative, but the emotional arts struggles to pass effectively between generations. It would appear that the most important things can’t be taught, they must be learned.