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To give our users the most helpful and insightful window into the market, our Board Advisor Max Osbon created 12 Investment Themes — intriguing, future-looking categories within which he has identified companies worth looking at.
The Themes are:
Osbon told us why he chose the Themes that he did and how it will allow Unifimoney users to see the market in a different way, and have the opportunity to make valuable and ethical choices with their money.
I'll start by referencing a few of them and by giving you some examples. That will explain why I think thematic investing is a smart idea for investors today in 2021 and going forward. With themes like Semiconductors & AI, or Information Technology, it's clear that technology is a major contributor to returns and to economic progress over the last 10 years. If you want to look at your investing in terms of hot growth sectors, consider what will provide the next level of innovation and productivity breakthroughs. Consider sectors that have natural tailwinds. For Semiconductors & AI, semiconductors are the building blocks of all modern computing and AI happens to be intimately linked to semiconductor companies. AI, of course, is something that everyone is very excited about as a way to unlock future productivity and possibility.
When you look at LGBTQ+ as a theme, this was a really interesting theme to explore. What I ended up finding is that all of the major tech companies today are considered LGBTQ supportive, which is fantastic and not all that surprising. These are forward-thinking companies with talented people who tend to be socially liberal. Openness and inclusion has done wonders for society, technology and progress. Talented engineers tend to like to work within companies that share their same value system. If you look at the opposite of LGTBQ+, you will find a lot of companies that are not anywhere near as forward thinking or innovative. So I think that's an excellent theme. Not all socially responsible investing does a good job of matching the intentions of the investor. This one actually does match pretty well with the value system that investors are seeking. I expect that investors who seek out this theme will do quite well.
For Clean Energy, this is a tougher one. People want clean energy globally. From France to the US, there have been regulations that have said that they don't want gasoline cars on the road in the next 10 to 20 years. If you're a young investor, the future of oil doesn't look like a bright prospect for investment — the future of clean energy looks a lot more interesting. Now, we don't know how that's going to shake out. We don't know if it's going to be wind, or solar or battery technology. But of course, there will be a massive demand for cleaner energy sources. Whoever gets it right will be a massive winner.
When we look at Entertainment Tech, obviously COVID has played a major role since everyone is stuck at home. But everyone being home and spending most of their time on their devices in order to get entertainment is not really going away — that was very popular before COVID and of course it's going to be popular after COVID. Services like Disney+ and Netflix are incredible entertainment providers. There are companies in the backend that are providing access to these services, like Roku. These technology focused businesses are leading the way into the future.
Digital Health is all about increasing access for people. It's not replacing doctors or replacing any jobs. This theme is about getting healthcare to people who are demanding it and using tech solutions to deliver that care. Healthcare is a sector where the demand and the need far outstrips the supply. This is a sector that has been very slow to adopt systems due to regulation and valid fears around privacy. It’s a positive sum theme that is desperate for innovation and leadership.
When we scan over these themes, I think it’s important to note that you would be proud to work for companies that are meaningfully contributing in these fields. If you worked at one of these companies, would you feel confident about the future of your job? Probably. Companies that embrace these themes are contributing something to society that it clearly desires. This also includes digital finance solutions which should make the process of handling your finances much more palatable. In my opinion, most of the banks will not be able to keep up with the wave of digital solutions coming to market over the next 5 years.
SaaS and Cloud Software is the one I would focus on more than any other. The cloud-computing space is very interesting to me, but a lot of people's eyes may glaze over if you talk too much about the cloud. But essentially, what cloud is doing is hooking a bunch of computers up to the internet and making it faster, smarter, more efficient, more accessible and cheaper. Basically, for all the things that we like to use and build on the internet, getting access to cloud computing has really opened up an entire other world. So, I would say that focusing on cloud-based businesses, and the companies that are built on top of the cloud, inside the cloud, and supporting the cloud, is a really amazing and powerful thematic investment that will last for many many years.
When you think of the word — the cloud — consider how you can store and access just about any documents from anywhere. Your laptop has become more of a gateway into this virtual world, rather than just an individual computer. If you like the convenience of signing documents digitally, or watching any movie you want, or listening to any song or any podcast remotely via your device, then you're a fan of the cloud..
I remember the days when I would spend 10 hours downloading a song on Napster over dialup — the next generations don’t even know about this. Future generations are experiencing music in a completely different way because of what Spotify has to offer. Algorithms and artificial intelligence used in data processing have a lot to do with how music is discovered. New and clever uses of data and AI are discovered on a regular basis. No one company can handle all of this. Most of these businesses are made up of many different service providers that help store data, organize data, route traffic, protect end users, so on.
Of course, with any investment, it pays to be mindful of your entrance and exit price, as well as the emotions around the volatility associated with it. Cloud is definitely one of the most interesting categories to me and investors who spend their time learning more about it will likely experience satisfying results.
If you invert ethical investing and instead choose to invest in companies that have questionable ethics, you're opening yourself up for major investment risks. From a purely investment minded view point, it's smart for risk management to stick with companies that have good ethical practices. This is why clean energy is an interesting investment, because so many people globally don't like oil for obvious reasons. We know that oil is unsustainable and dirty and climate change is a problem. That's a potentially ruinous risk for any oil investor. If you decide to focus on owning the companies that have strong values and ethics, you should do considerably better than the alternative given the positive support from their customers and other investors.
As for strategy, it's important to be specific about your categories. Spending your time and focus on the right sector will save you from wasting time in others. Ask yourself, what are these companies actually doing today and what could they do in the near future? How do they make money? Who is their customer? This is important because traditional sector labels are not anywhere near accurate enough. The companies in Digital Health make their money directly from digital health related events, products and services. The same with Biotech. The theme name needs to be as close to the actual business and their mission as possible.
I think it's powerful for investors to consider how sectors change and how their investments correlate with what's going on in trends today. It’s less important today to think in terms of how a customer behaves (discretionary or staple consumers) or the country of the headquarters. Themes are more global than ever because customers and companies are more global than ever. Going forward, most companies will seek to have global customer bases. Facebook for example, has 2.7Billion monthly active users. That’s 33% of the world’s population who use their product. It’s nearly impossible to wrap your head around how large these numbers have become. Because of these changes, it makes less and less sense to look at companies today in terms of traditional sectors and countries and instead group them together in distinct themes that describe how they function and where they provide value.
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The above does NOT constitute an offer, solicitation of an offer, nor advice to buy or sell specific securities. The opinions listed above are not the opinions of Unifimoney Inc. or Unifimoney RIA, Inc. but represent the opinions of independent contributors. These contributors may or may not hold positions in the stocks discussed. Investors should always independently research any stocks listed and form their own opinions, while recognizing that any investments made may lose value, are not bank guaranteed and are not FDIC insured.