The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be — The Great Predictive Failures of 2016

360_perdiction_blog_image_v2This article is featured in the winter edition of our 360 Insights Quarterly Client Newsletter.
The New York Post headline the day after the 2016 U.S. elections put it best: “Pundits, Polls, Politicians, the Press: EVERYONE WAS WRONG.”
From the U.S. elections to Brexit to economic doomsaying, 2016 saw a series of spectacularly erroneous predictions. Again and again, experts were proven wrong and had to scramble to explain why they had missed the mark so badly. Continue reading

Would you go to Pfizer for a Physical?

Soon I will have my dreaded annual appointment with my doctor. There is a high chance she will make me go through at least one uncomfortable test, tell me to take it easier on my knees by doing fewer trails runs, perhaps even give me a shot.
In general, I follow her advice (except the less running part) because I believe my doctor has my best interests at heart when she makes recommendations. But what if my doctor worked directly for Pfizer, or any company whose main business is selling a specific product? What if I developed a heart condition and she prescribed a Pfizer drug, would I be confident that a prescription for a Pfizer drug was the best solution to my specific issue, or was it simply the one her company was selling? How would I know? Continue reading

No One Knows What Will Happen with Brexit… But Long-Term Investors Probably Shouldn’t Worry Too Much

This blog is from the July issue of Portfolio Perspectives.
Unlike fans of horror movies, markets hate scary surprises.
On June 22, many markets, even betting parlors, were predicting that British voters would opt to stay in the European Union (the odds went as high as 80% for staying). On June 23, gamblers and markets were proven wrong and stocks fell precipitously around the world, plunging more than 5% in the U.S. in just two days.
Some of the doomsayers from January, when the S&P 500 Index sank more than 10% and then rebounded to positive territory again by the end of Q1, came out of the woodwork to predict new Brexit-related disasters. Even European Council President Donald Tusk said, “I fear that Brexit could be the beginning of the destruction of not only the EU but also of western political civilization in its entirety.” Continue reading

Special Investment Committee Report — FAQ on Brexit & the Markets

What was “Brexit” and why did it happen?
Brexit (short for “British Exit”) was the nickname given to the movement to persuade the British government to pull Britain out of the European Union (EU). A nationwide referendum — only the third in modern history in Britain — took place on June 23, 2016, and by a close vote of 52% to 48% British voters asked their government to negotiate a deal to leave the EU.
The idea of creating a single, common market across Europe began in the aftermath of World War II. A slow effort, but by 1993, a single market was created covering 28 countries. Borders were opened and visas for travel and work permits abolished. An important milestone was the development of the European Monetary Union in 1999 which, by 2002, had converted 19 of the 28 countries (defined as the “eurozone”) over to a single currency, the euro. Britain was a party to the EU, but it did not choose to participate in the eurozone, and thus preserved its use of its home currency, the pound.
While Britain, like most of the other EU countries, benefited economically from a common market, Britain has never been as comfortable with some of the political aspects of the EU. Long-term immigration trends and their recent acceleration under the EU have stoked strong nationalist feelings in Britain, leading to the political movement to exit the EU.
Click here to read the full report