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  • Writer's pictureLisa Perry

Fort Lauderdale, Florida CFA Institute Conference 2019

Updated: May 3, 2023

True wealth is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life. It is “funded contentment” BRIAN PORTNOY, PH.D., CFA

A huge thank you to Sanlam Private Wealth for hosting myself and six other South African delegates at this year’s CFA Conference.

It was truly an experience to remember, from the private yachts that were the topic of many discussions amongst our group, to the valuable content presented at the conference, I can confirm I have returned to SA a little jet lagged but mostly wiser.

The conference was opened with the first speaker, Chief Global Strategist, Greg Valliere. With over three decades of experience following Washington for investors, Greg brings a unique perspective to Horizon — analyzing policy and politics and their impact on the markets.

Greg specializes in coverage of the Federal Reserve, economic policy and — of course — politics. He is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and radio, CNN, Fox Business News and CBS radio. He is frequently quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Barrons and The New York Times.

Greg’s no 1 message: THRUMP is the clear favorite for the next elections! Yes you read right, he will 100% be up for reelection and has a 90% approval rating in the Republican party. Although not popular as human, he has in fact tarred the road to “make America great again” with tax reductions, retirement reform, positive unemployment rates and yes even the Trade Policies.

The problems that the Democrats are facing are mainly the fact that they are an aging party, with most of their potential nominees for the next election being well over 70.

Two names to watch out for for the 2024 elections include Nikki Hayley and Kamala Harris.

He has also predicted the US GDP will grow at an est. 2% pa going forward. He does NOT think that the high deficit combined with low tax rates is a problem and this can continue for a couple of years. He also believes that the FRD will NOT change interest rates this year (This being good news for Emerging Markets). Overall a US positive talk and very insightful - this being positive for SA Investors as we have had concerns of a slowdown in the US Market.

Does money buy happiness? Yes and No. Author and Head of Education at Magnetar Capital, Brian Portnoy PH.D and CFA asked this question.

He defined the words Rich = The accumulation of more and Wealthy = funded contentment.

He believes that money will only make you happy until a certain point on the income axis, that being $75 000 pa; in SA the number is R750 000. From that point you create your own happiness. He provided three ways to spend wisely: spend on experiences, other people and time (which we all know can’t be bought with cash; he used the example of if you can fly somewhere directly, spend the money to do so as to get to where you are going faster, hence “buying yourself time”).

He spent a fair time on the Four C’s of what matters to people:

Connection — the need to belong in social relationships and communities

Control — autonomy over the direction and definition of one’s life

Competence — mastery over a valued vocation or craft

Context — the need for a purpose outside of one’s self

We were all gifted a signed copy of his book “The Geometry of Wealth, how to shape a life of money and meaning” which I am excited to get started as this topic is very close to my heart and the core values of PWH Wealth Group.

A further interesting topic was delivered by Karl Zinsmeister on Philanthropy. A topic not discussed much in South Africa, well, in the advice space anyway.

“We are all part of a big army” an interesting talk on some of the great philanthropists in US, including a family who funded Harper Lee for a year to allow her time to write her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “to kill a mocking bird. MIT was born out of a large donation to the then Boston College.

Although the history of philanthropy is vast and overwhelming, Zinmeister noted that the biggest philanthropists in the USA were the average American people as a collective, with 100 million households donating on average $3 000 per year. A very popular recipient of this money is the local parks around America.

This also fitted in well with Portnoy’s how to spend wisely, as noted above.

The last presentation to mention would have to be Momentum Investing and Momentum Ecomonics – A guide to the Markets, by Dr. David Kelly, CFA, Chief Global Strategist J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Summarized presentation:

1. The US economic growth should slow but not stall in 2019.

2. Residential investments are below the average; Business investments are above the average.

3. Unemployment still falling.

4. Headline CPI below 50yr average (4% vs 1.5%).

5. With market volatility, lower inflation and lower asset prices, the FED is not expected to change interest rates in 2019.

6. Rising trade deficit and falling growth and interest rates makes the dollar look over priced.

7. Equity markets: Forward P/E ratio’s are trading on the 25 year average.

8. Although global valuations look cheaper with Europe being the cheapest.

9. Brexit not much of a concern to the US with it only exporting 8% off goods vs South Africa at 48% although the risks from trade tensions have increased with global weakness and Washington instability

I hope you have enjoyed reading this and found some of the topics as interesting as I did. Please let me know if you would like further information on any of the topics above:

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