Monday, April 25, 2022

Two New Investments

 I invested in another painting at Masterworks, No Hopeless by Yoshitomo Nara:

This takes my investment back up to 12 paintings again, given that Doppelbild by Albert Oehlen was sold and should pay out soon. I was a bit nervous this was overvalued but after a bit of research took the plunge anyway and invested USD 10k.

I also started buying units in a property on Domacom: 60 Devonshire Road, Rossmore, which is a market garden near the planned Badgery's Creek Airport. After the initial investors paid up big fees for the establishment of the investment, it trades below par but at the last valuation saw an uptick in value. I am thinking now it makes more sense to buy in the secondary market on Domacom instead of joining "campaigns" that seem to go nowhere. 

So far, I only invested AUD 920, but have a bid open waiting for sellers.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Unpopular Ventures

We have invested in a rolling fund – Unpopular Ventures – on the AngelList platform. We invested in Moominmama's name (because she is in a lower tax bracket) following a failed attempt to invest through our SMSF. We will invest USD 10k each quarter for eight quarters, which is the minimum investment. The fund will invest in new startups each quarter. In effect, you invest in eight different subfunds. I learnt about Unpopular Ventures from an episode of Meb Faber's podcast, which featured an interview with Peter Livingston, one of the general partners. The attraction of this fund are: 

  • It has good historic returns.
  • Meb is an investor, which I see as a good sign.
  • It not only invests in the US but also in other countries, and in particular, developing countries and regions like India and Latin America. These regions are not as competitive for venture capital as the US market and so it should be able to get into investments at better valuations in theory. I guess exits might not be as highly valued either... but diversification is good.

Until now, we only had venture capital investments in Australia through Aura Ventures funds and the listed Wilson Asset Management Alternative Assets Fund (WMA.AX).

Tuesday, April 05, 2022

New Trade: Pendal

I bought a position in Pendal (PDL.AX). Yesterday, they announced that they got a takeover offer from Perpetual (PPT.AX) for the equivalent of AUD 6.23 per share. The price isn't a constant as it is about 2/3 in terms of Perpetual shares. The stock was trading around AUD 5.25 after being higher yesterday, but PPT was trading up on yesterday. Analysts say the stock is undervalued and a strong buy after falling a lot in the last year, prior to the bid. So, I didn't see  lot of downside in this. 

In other news, URF.AX is now up to AUD 0.24, 10% above the AUD 0.22 that investors are supposed to eventually receive. I can't sell as my shares are in transit from Interactive Brokers to Commonwealth Securities. They have now left Interactive Brokers, but haven't shown up yet at CommSec...

Monday, April 04, 2022

Domacom Appoints New Chairman and CEO

Good news at Domacom (DCL.AX). They announced today that they have appointed John Hewson as chairman and John Elkovich as the new CEO. Hewson is chairman of Crescent Finance who are collaborating with Domacom on Islamic mortgages. Domacom has interesting products but has struggled to get enough funds under management to breakeven. They need 5-10 times as much FUM to become profitable. So, though they have seen nice growth in FUM recently, 40% p.a. growth just doesn't move the needle that quickly. My hope has been that the company would be acquired. It's good to see that some other experienced people believe in the product.

I can see scope for improving the fractional investing product. I find the financial information provided on existing investments to be unclear and non-transparent. The level of explanation really needs to be stepped up to make secondary investors willing to participate and increase market liquidity in my opinion. I have only invested in one secondary investment, which is now exiting. I signed up to several "campaigns" but there is glacial progress on raising funds for them. I just discovered that two of them seem to have given up and released the pledged cash back to investors.

Hopefully, these things will improve going forward. Maybe I should send the new chairman (who is my honorary colleague) a letter with my thoughts :)

Saturday, April 02, 2022

March 2022

World markets rebounded with the MSCI World Index (USD gross) rising by 2.22%, the S&P 500 by 3.71%, and the ASX 200 rising by 7.10%. All these are total returns including dividends. The Australian Dollar rose from USD 0.7248 to USD 0.7494 reducing Australian Dollar returns and increasing USD returns. We gained 1.89% in Australian Dollar terms or 5.35% in US Dollar terms. The target portfolio rose by 0.75% in Australian Dollar terms and the HFRI hedge fund index is expected to rise 1.11% in US Dollar terms. So, we under-performed the ASX200, but outperformed all the other benchmarks. 

Here is a report on the performance of investments by asset class (currency neutral returns in terms of gross assets): 

Real assets, gold, and rest of the world stocks lost money, while other asset classes gained. Real assets were negatively affected by the URF debacle. Rest of the world stocks were negatively affected by the China Fund. Gold fell in Australian Dollar terms, though the USD price rose. Futures performed best, and hedge funds contributed most to performance.

Things that worked well this month:
  • The three top performers were all hedge funds: Tribeca Global Resources (TGF.AX) gained AUD 35k, Regal Funds (RF1.AX) AUD 30k, and Pershing Squre Holdings (PSH.L) AUD 27k. These were followed by the Winton Global Alpha Fund with an AUD 14k gain.

What really didn't work:

  • URF.AX lost AUD 22k when the fund announced they were selling their portfolio at a discount. Gold was second worst with an AUD 19k loss.

The investment performance statistics for the last five years are: 

The first two rows are our unadjusted performance numbers in US and Australian Dollar terms. The following four lines compare performance against each of the three indices over the last 60 months. We show the desired asymmetric capture and positive alpha against the ASX200 and the MSCI but not against the hedge fund index. We are basically performing like the average hedge fund levered 1.64 times.

I adjusted the leverage on the URF.AX investment down to 1:1 in our gross asset allocation as it is supposedly no longer exposed to movement of the actual real estate portfolio. On the other hand, since the end of the month, the share price has bounced back above the 22 cents which shareholders are supposed to receive as a distribution later this year while the convertible bonds are trading at an 18% discount to face value. This suggests that the market doesn't think that the stated deal is final. After all, URF shareholders need to vote on it.

This changed our asset allocation a lot. Real assets are now the most underweight asset class and hedge funds the most overweight. We moved nearer to the target allocation. Our actual allocation currently looks like this:

70% of our portfolio is in what are often considered to be alternative assets: real estate, art, hedge funds, private equity, gold, and futures. We receive employer contributions to superannuation every two weeks. In addition we made the following investment moves this month:

  • I sold AUD 125k in exchange for US dollars.
  • I sold 2,000 shares of PMGOLD.AX equivalent to 20 ounces of gold.
  • I sold 1,000 shares of Fortescue Metals (FMG.AX). 
  • I sold 10,000 shares of URF.AX. Only 5% of our position. 
  • I sold 7,039 shares of RF1.AX.
  • We are exercising the rights distributed by Pengana Private Equity (PE1.AX).
  • I am preparing to invest in a venture capital fund on the AngelList platform. I was trying to invest through our SMSF but that ran into problems...