Tree Flat icon set
© Azaze11o / Thinkstock

This article appears in the May 2021 issue of Advisor’s Edge magazine. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.

Chad Larson

Chad Larson, director, wealth management, senior vice-president, portfolio manager, MLD Wealth Management — Canaccord Genuity Corp.

Two investment trends I find interesting now are digital disruption and Bitcoin.

Let me caveat Bitcoin first. In no way am I making an investment recommendation. But I find it interesting, as once again Bitcoin has taken center stage. All investors are looking, wondering, speculating and contemplating jumping in. With the likes of Tesla and mega-corporations signaling some level of adoption, perhaps it is here to stay. With money supply swelling out of control due to the endless printing by governments, the concept of digital gold isn’t lost on me academically and philosophically.

The other trend is digital disruption. It is hard to call something a forest when you are in the middle of it — it’s just trees. But when you step back [you can make out significant economic] periods: the transportation revolution, the telecommunications revolution, et cetera. We are in the middle, not end, of a historic transformation of society through digitization. There are still endless industries that will face disruption and many new huge companies will be born.

Jackie Porter

Jackie Porter, financial planner, Carte Wealth Management

The inflection point we’ve reached with environmental issues. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing used to be something we could tout as our way of doing good. Now, the business community is waking up [and realizing] that it’s a “have to” do. Serious money is coming into ESG — [around] environmental issues, but also around racism and gender diversity. We reached an inflection point in all of those areas last year. It’s something that boards are looking at more closely; if you’re a stakeholder, how is this going to affect the bottom line? Now that we recognize we’re in this “have to” place, there are exciting investment opportunities.

We also have to rethink the way we look at the technology opportunity. For a long time, we’ve seen it as a one-sector opportunity, but we know now that technology has disrupted every single industry. Technology isn’t going away, so how do we make sure our clients don’t miss out? It’s kind of like the conversation we had 10 to 15 years ago when we were talking about investments outside of Canada. You can invest directly or indirectly outside of Canada — that is kind of how we can talk about technology today. I think of health care as a technology place, and it’s a cheaper play than tech. Artificial intelligence, like Intuitive Surgical Inc., will allow surgeons to perform remotely. We’re at the beginning of this, especially as society ages. Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon are thinking about this.

Darryl Brown

Darryl Brown, founder and investment planner, You&Yours Financial

ESG integration: For decades, the incorporation of ESG factoring into investment decisions has been regarded as a fringe area. While there’s still much disparity on what ESG is and how to integrate ESG factors into financial analysis and investment decisions, adoption by companies and investment managers is accelerating. This is a trend that will evolve over the long term.

Values-based/socially responsible investing: For investors who don’t believe ESG factoring goes far enough, divestment from certain companies or industries and creating portfolios that are values-aligned is becoming a more frequent request. As an interesting recent example, some tech companies — in particular those with social media platforms — have joined a long list of “sin” companies that some people have no interest in holding.