A few years ago we marked the 30-year anniversary of the 1987 market crash. What became known as “Black Monday” was also the abrupt end of a five-year bull market. The 22.6% single-day correction on the Dow Jones would represent a drop of roughly 6,000 points, from the 27,000-level where the Dow stands today. Can you imagine?! It was in the aftermath of the crash that we changed our approach to investing. This lesson in humility at our young age forced us to re-invent ourselves and invest in our future. We computerized ourselves, created our “model portfolio”, quite innovative at the time, and wrote to our clients about our new investment philosophy and investment opportunities as a function of the existing economic environment. This initiative resulted in the introduction of our very first semi-annual newsletter. Warren Buffett was a huge influence in our philosophy, showing us the path to investing in industry leaders with proven management teams, expanding worldwide without exposing the company to excessive leverage. With a good cross-sector selection and a proper asset mix, you can perform very well over time, and go through peaks and valleys without panic. It took us 2½ years to re-focus and build our new platform. Our Model Portfolio was officially established May 1, 1990. Model Portfolios today have evolved into standardized platforms, where all their participants (i.e. investors) have exactly the same stocks with exactly the same weighting per stock. They will respect your personal asset mix, for instance 60% of your savings in an equity model portfolio and 40% in a fixed income model portfolio, but nothing is personalized with regards to the weighting of individual securities in the client’s portfolio. It is purely a disguised “mutual fund”, also called “pooled fund”, with fees being charged in your account to make them tax deductible. Given that this is not what we do, the time has come to change the name of Model Portfolio to the “ Reference Portfolio”, from which we select the securities that offer the best fit based on your investment objectives, as well as a personalized weighting that meets your specific needs, i.e. that focus on income or growth. Our portfolio management decisions are much more based on our client’s specific needs. Nowadays, this level of personalization in portfolio management represents a unique value-add for clients and is an important aspect in what we could describe as our service offering.
Reference Portfolio historical performance as of March 31, 2021.