Harmony is a total return, multi-asset class investment advisor and therefore is never restricted to pre-determined asset classes, specific market sectors or weightings within a class. For each client’s portfolio we seek to achieve superior, risk-adjusted returns that outperform the markets while employing below-average market risks. Consequently we invest across a combination of high quality asset classes including equities, fixed-income, commodities, real estate, and alternative investments.
Our approach is risk-averse and driven by business and economic themes. We adhere to rigorous due diligence and investment processes, focusing on the underlying economics and financial strength of each business in which we invest. We diversify by industry and asset class to offset increased volatility; this approach creates a portfolio with a lower correlation to the overall markets, and typically generates more consistent returns over longer periods of time. Our portfolios are focused around a small number of carefully selected positions, and we do not employ any leverage.
Our investment team adheres to four, unbending principles.
First, our investment decisions are based on risk-adjusted return potential. We create an investment strategy and build a portfolio for clients by focusing on the specific risk parameters and goals of that individual client. While we utilize a variety of asset types, not all asset classes are suitable within every portfolio. Good investing must balance potential risks with the potential rewards, and these determine the investment choices we make for our clients.
Second, we apply fundamental analysis and adhere to a strict buy/sell discipline. Rather than depending on models or formulas created by others, we utilize proprietary research combining a “top-down” analysis (starting with broad economic expectations, then working down to specific industries that thrive under these economic scenario, and then companies likely to perform well within these industries) with “bottom-up” analysis (starting with companies that have positive fundamentals) to build our clients’ portfolios.
Third, we maintain a long-term investment orientation. Investing as opposed to trading requires time: businesses grow over the years, not days, and good business managers run their businesses to succeed over the course of multiple years, not simply the latest quarter.
Fourth, we focus on themes. Utilizing all of our principals, we identify investment themes being driven by economic, political, and social realities evolving within our time horizon – and seek opportunities that will benefit from these changes.
Most investment advisors focus their investment strategies on either equities or fixed income securities; but equities and fixed income securities only represent two of the multiple asset classes available to investors. Commodities, ETFs, Real Estate and Alternative Assets can offer similar potential appreciation, often with low or negative correlations to each other and with equities and fixed income investments. In other words, combining investments in these asset classes with equities and fixed income securities can lead to additional returns – or alpha as it is known in the industry – while mitigating investment risks due to market volatility.
Examples of assets we might utilize in addition to equities and fixed income include debt investments; CCRC (continuing care retirement facility) and MOB (medical office building) facility financing, life insurance policies/loans on life insurance policies, and medical office buildings.
Exchange Trade Funds
One of the most exciting areas of the equity markets, Exchange Traded Funds (“ETFs”) offer investors a unique investment tool. A hybrid investment between a mutual fund and a publicly traded stock, ETFs offer a way to diversify broadly by country, industry or even sub-industry, while providing the control and low costs associated with equities. However, we use ETF indexes rather than actively managed funds, to ensure transparency and control of investment decisions.
Harmony has developed proprietary research to apply fundamental analysis to ETFs—a first in the industry—enabling us meld ETFs with individual investments in a strategy known as “Core-Satellite”. This strategy gives us the advantage of combining the strengths of an ETF with the additional upside potential that individual stocks can provide. In addition, ETFs can provide exposure to the physical commodities markets and currencies without the risk usually associated with these areas of investment. Exposure to gold and certain other commodities is a very good way to diversify a portfolio while simultaneously providing an extremely good hedge against inflation—but with potentially lower risks.