Update from our CEO, February 2021
April 1, 2021
Montreal, February 1, 2021 – The year 2020 will forever be remembered for the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus that continues to have dire consequences on the health of millions of people around the world. Global economies continue to feel the effects of the pandemic and barring the intervention of central banks and governments, the widespread effects could have been much worse.
Following a strong start to the year for equities, markets reversed sharply in the third week of February and earlier gains turned into losses as global markets entered into bear market territory. Global economies entered self-induced recessions as social distancing was strictly enforced, borders were closed, and transportation grounded to a halt.
Volatility reached levels unseen since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC), nominal bond yields reached their lowest levels in recorded history and the price of oil decreased by more than half in the matter of a few weeks.
Governments and central banks unleashed unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy, a globally coordinated response unseen since the end of the Second World War. Equity markets went on to stage a remarkable recovery as economies gradually emerged from confinement and investor confidence was restored.
More recently, Americans voted for Joe Biden to be sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States in January 2021, several pharmaceuticals announced positive trial test results for their COVID-19 vaccines, and the British Parliament approved a Brexit trade deal with the European Union just before year-end.
While we are currently experiencing the effects of the second wave of the coronavirus (COVID-19), markets continue to make new highs based on continued stimulus and the rollout of the vaccine. While it can be argued that the market might appear expensive, the reality is that ultra-low interest rates make fixed income investments unappealing and the continued lockdowns make it more difficult for the private equity and alternative space to consummate deals. The appeal of the equity market is supported by the strength of the initial public offering (“IPO”) market, pointing to the fact that entrepreneurship is alive and well.
While we are constructive on the equity market in 2021, we do recognize its fragility. We believe that any further setback, be it virus related or economic slowdown, will be met with equivalent or larger fiscal and monetary response in the form of more stimulus.
The Montrusco Bolton family of funds performed exceptionally well in 2020, in almost all cases delivering positive added value against respective benchmarks. A new fixed income fund was launched in December, the Montrusco Bolton ESG Bond Fund. The approach of the Montrusco Bolton ESG Bond Fund is to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in its investment process; and, to reduce exposure to climate-related risks by investing in Green Bonds and excluding securities involved with fossil energy.
On behalf of my colleagues, I would like to thank you for the trust that you’ve placed in Montrusco Bolton Investments. We look forward to continued partnerships for years to come.
President and Chief Executive Officer
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