Last week I discussed an investment conference in Zurich that I attended a few weeks back. I came back armed with lots of new ideas and connections for those of us interested in the capital markets. I don’t normally pontificate on money management, but after that conference in Zurich, my mind was full and I had no choice but to write about it.
Most of the presentations at Fonds were in German, but I attended two that were in English. One was presented by Jim Rogers, former partner to George Soros at the Quantum fund and the other was presented by Robin Batchelor from Blackrock. I was especially interested in attending these presentations because they focused on the future of commodity investing. Considering the world we currently live in, commodities may be something you should personally look at from an investment perspective. I know I am.
Rogers focused on foodstuffs and metals while Batchelor focused on energy. They both had essentially the same message; we have a growing population and a shrinking base of investment into production of necessary commodities. From a long term perspective, we have nowhere to go but up with commodity prices. Think about it, how many people do you know tell their kids, go to school, get a good education, and work on the farm? People need to eat and we need famers to produce. Right now we have a shrinking base of farming activity, but the population of the world is projected to triple in the next 30 years. We have to feed them somehow and the law of supply and demand says commodity prices must rise.
The same holds true for oil. Oil is primarily a transportation fuel. Most of your developed nations are near a peak or even in a decline with oil consumption. But China and India alone have nearly half of the world’s population with a hugely growing middle class. Right now they are consuming the same amount of oil per capita as the US was in the ‘20s. Do you think China and India’s consumption will go down, or up? My suggestion here is to look into portfolio diversification and take a long, hard look at commodities. There are many ETF’s now that track various commodities so it is no more difficult than buying Wal-Mart stock.
I also had a great meeting with a guy named Raoul. Raoul runs a family office for wealthy individuals and families. This is not a common practice in the US, but it is quite intriguing. His firm does not actually manage your money, but they provide you with the tools to assist with asset allocation and risk management. He also selects and works with your money managers, banks, financial planners, tax planners and anyone else involved with your finances to make sure you are getting what you are paying for. He can help you find the best money managers, place your money in Swiss banks (or anywhere else), and make sure you aren’t taking unnecessary risks. His firm can provide you with online access to your portfolio whether it is in real estate, cash, securities, gold, or cattle. He can even tell you if you have too much money tied up in cattle at any given moment. It is quite a revolutionary service he offers and for a very reasonable fee. He charges a small fee based on your asset holdings. He gets no commission for advising you to buy X stock, or Y commodity. The more your assets grow, the more he earns. And most importantly, he is connected. Very well connected. He can still provide American citizens with Swiss private banking services and connect you with money managers you would never be able to have access to otherwise. If anyone is interested in contacting Raoul, please let me know. I will make the introduction.
I would really like to hear from my readers. If you have some specific topic of interest, please let me know. I would be happy to discuss it with you personally, or I can write about it on our blog or in the newsletter. Feel free to contact me today for your free 30 minute consultation. Until next week, live well.