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  • Peter Churchill-Smith

    Peter Churchill-Smith

    As a managing director of Newport Private Wealth, Peter Churchill-Smith provides individuals and families with investment and wealth management services. He has spent his entire 35 year career working with and advising successful entrepreneurs: 10 years of lending and providing capital and 25 years managing the private wealth of entrepreneurs and their families.

    Peter is passionate about the experience of entrepreneurs who have sold a business - an area of specialization for Newport Private Wealth. He has written several articles on the subject and most recently helped launch Newport Private Wealth's nation wide survey of business sellers that further strengthens the firm’s capability in advising the next generation of business-sellers.

    Prior to joining Newport Private Wealth in 2001, Peter was a vice president with Connor Clark Private Trust (now RBC Private Counsel) and vice president of Mutual Securities Inc. and Mutual Trust Company. He also spent 10 years in the commercial lending business at both Morguard Bank of Canada and Mercantile Bank of Canada. Peter holds an MBA (1976) from the Ivey School of Business (University of Western Ontario) and a B.Comm (1974) from Carleton University.

    Peter is also a chartered financial analyst, a member of the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts, as well as The Association of Investment Management and Research in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    Peter can be reached by email at pchurchillsmith@newportprivatewealth.ca.

    Is the U.S. market due for a correction?

    Is the U.S. stock market poised for a correction? Is January’s decline of 4% the start of a bigger correction?

    These are perfectly understandable questions. In fact, we hear them repeatedly when meeting with our clients here at Newport Private Wealth. And they are being heavily debated within our Investment Committee and by investment experts whose opinions we value. After all, the S&P 500 has increased by almost 50% in the last two years including 30% in 2013.

    The pessimists are arguing that:

    • the S&P 500 has increased for five consecutive years and a six-year streak has only happened once before (1982-89); and
    • market returns after two consecutive years of double digit returns have typically been modest; and
    • the stock market is expensive at 16x earnings.

    (Source: BMO Nesbitt)

    [read more >>]

    Meet the asset class specialists

    We hosted our semi-annual Meet the Pros event last week in Toronto where clients had an opportunity to meet some of the independent asset class specialists we retain for specific components of the portfolios we manage. This year’s panel of pundits included Maureen Farrow of Economap (our independent economist), Tye Bousada of Edgepoint Investment Group and John Foresi of Venterra Realty –specialists in global equities and U.S. real estate respectively.

    The key takeaways in my view were:

    • the recovery from the of 2007/08 financial crisis is on a good path and has slow but steady momentum;
    • after a strong run-up in both equity and real estate prices; be very careful not to overpay

    [read more >>]

    Convexity and Bonds

    Yesterday’s Globe and Mail included an interesting article by Boyd Erman on the impact of “convexity” on bond prices. That is, the measure of the sensitivity of the price of a bond to changes in interest rates.

    As advisors, we try to avoid jargon like volatility, duration, correlation and tracking error. One investor friend of mine defines volatility this way: “it means the investment will drop in value as soon as I own it!” The term “convexity” is totally out of bounds and reserved only for bond specialists!

    But Mr. Erman makes a valuable point in the article. Ignore all the discussion about the shape of the yield curve.  This is the key point – when bonds are only yielding 2%, a 1% increase in yields will result in a bigger drop in value when compared to a bond yielding 8%. So today’s investor has to be more acutely aware of the impact of rising interest rates on bonds in their portfolios. [read more >>]

    Is it time for bondholders to rethink their strategy?

    At this time last year, two key issues were front and centre for us.  We were concerned about more fallout from the economic uncertainty in Europe and the U.S.  There did not seem to be any clear plan in place to resolve the debt and deficit issues. We were also concerned that interest rates would finally hit bottom and start to climb.  Both issues caused us to be cautious with our clients’ capital in 2012.

    The threat of rising rates has been hanging over the heads of all investors for some time now.  Quite surprisingly, rates did not rise in 2012. In fact, they fell – about 0.60% in Canada. Why? Because more stimulus like the Federal Reserve’s bond buying programs was needed to re-ignite the economy.

    In anticipation of rising rates last year, we accelerated our plan to diversify our sources of yield for our clients.  We added more income-producing real estate, residential and commercial mortgages, corporate bonds and dividend-paying stocks.  With rates falling, these investments performed well in 2012. [read more >>]

    Finding investment opportunities when the economy isn’t handing them out

    Last week, we organized a lunchtime panel with four outstanding financial minds that are part of the pool of talent we have to draw on for the management of client investment portfolios:

    • Maureen Farrow, (economist), President, Economap
    • Tye Bousada, (global equities), President & Co-CEO, Edgepoint Investment Group Inc.
    • Rick Grafton, (energy), CEO, Grafton Asset Management
    • Corrado Russo, (real estate), Managing Director, Global Securities and Investments, Timbercreek Asset Management Inc.

    It was a lengthy and meaty conversation about the state of the global economy, how Canada is faring and what it all means for clients of Newport Private Wealth. This summary won’t fully do justice to the depth and scope of the presentations, but we will try to boil a 90 minute discussion down to a readable blog post for you.
    [read more >>]

    Looking for investment success? Don’t look back!

    i-3588459a60b0e702fe0c83abf3dce41a-rear_view_Feb2012.jpgIn pursuit of investment success, it is human nature to look backward for guidance. Unfortunately, it’s also a misguided strategy that can be very costly:

    A recent article by Andrew Hallam in Canadian Business magazine suggests we are “hard wired to rely on established patterns” when it comes to investing (read Your Own Worst Investing Enemy). Hallam cited the example that “the average U.S. mutual fund from 1980 to 2005 gained 10% per year. But the average investor in those funds made only 7.3% — giving up more than one third of their potential earnings each year.” That’s because investors were doing the wrong thing at the wrong time (i.e. selling funds that weren’t performing and buying those that had been doing well and prices were higher).

    Now more than ever investors need to be thinking about portfolio changes that will position them for the future not the immediate past.

    [read more >>]

    What you can learn from financial history

    i-465c064247774bc82455c712459bdcf9-iStock_000002481097Medium-no grey.jpgComing off of a couple of weeks of topsy turvey markets, it’s understandable if investors are feeling a little rattled these days.

    Some comfort may be taken in the perspective of someone who has managed through more than a few bear markets:  Dennis Starritt, one of Canada’s investment luminaries and a key manager of the Newport Canadian Equity Fund.

    Dennis joined us for a chat at one of our recent Inside the Tent events (where we bring together thought leaders from our network to discuss topics of interest). Judging from the engagement of the audience – there were more questions than we could accommodate in an hour and a half – he certainly captivated everyone’s attention with his views.  We offer a short recap that may be useful for these times.

    [read more >>]