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2017 January Newsletter

Paul Sutherland, CFP®
By: Paul Sutherland, CFP®

Current Observations

Dear Clients, 

Happy New Year! I often get philosophical and reflective at the end of the year. I think about the past and reflect on the beautiful people I have known and those who are still in my life. I often miss and am saddened by memories of friends and family members who have lost their lives at relatively young ages. I also feel grateful to be alive in these exciting times. Each day seems to evolve and feel like a sort of “stay tuned for what’s next” drama.

When I was young, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would usually say “wise.” (When I was really young, I said, “Tarzan.”) Of course at 15 years old, 30 seemed “old.” Now that I’ve reached the wise age of 61, 90 seems old.

But my inspiration comes from a recent article about an active dancer and yoga teacher who, at 94, has much younger coworkers who say it’s hard to keep up with her. So, I have someone to inspire me to stay active and healthy.

This last week I was reflecting on a different article that got me ornery versus inspired. I decided to vent to my partner Jeff Lokken in Wisconsin (who is also my age), someone 

always willing to read my prose written in a frenzy. He was busy watching his grandchild and was delayed in his response by the reality of a dirty diaper.

Below is what I wrote to him. The point
of the note was to get Jeff’s feedback on whether these principles remain solid bedrock and strong cornerstones to our achieving continued success for our client portfolios at FIM Group. All of this, despite the quick, easy, low cost, “no hard work” methods that are being championed everywhere today as the way to wealth.

Here is the list that I wrote to Jeff last night...

1. You get nothing for free.

2. You even get nothing for free in investing.

2a. Low cost investing is about low cost. Low cost investing is not about striving for positive performance and good investment returns – it’s about cost.

3. Indexing/low cost simplified investing is not about optimizing investment returns.

4. We don’t think the world is an evil “rigged place.”

4a. We do believe you must investigate before you invest.

5. We don’t believe that truth is an opinion – rather, we live in reality.

6. We believe history is more than what we remember and that inquiry, investigation, books and study, and always more research can help us make better investing decisions.

7. Everything is cyclical.

8. Hard work matters.

9. Success comes from hard work by talented, skilled, educated, experienced professionals.

10. Spreadsheets don’t make money.

11. PowerPoint presentations don’t make money.

12. Theories and hypothetical investing are like betting on a 20-year-old nag that won high profile races three times, in 1997, 1998, and 1999.

13. Values matter.

14. Virtue matters.

15. As you sow, so shall you reap – so we avoid companies run by dishonest people and corporations that don’t produce healthy and ethical products.

16. Our job is top reserve wealth, to make it grow, and to provide income and returns so that our clients can stay retired forever, retire someday, educate their kids, and leave a legacy. Our job is not to beat an index but it is about client outcomes – not being “only” down 20% when the index is down 28% (which is how many in the industry define success).

17. Life is good, values matter, and our work both as individuals and as a company is meaningful – and matters.

The real catalyst for this letter is risk parity. Don’t know what risk parity is? Most people know what risk is and what parity is but, as with “peacekeeper missile,” “conservative Democrat,” or “liberal Republican,” the definition is often obscured by bias and misuse of the term.

Risk parity is based on a fact set that would go like this: Since bonds are less risky (volatile) than stocks – but have lower returns – and since stocks have higher returns than bonds, the key to success is to manage your volatility by having more bonds if you want less risk but can be happy with lower returns, and, blah-blah-blah, then you end up owning more stocks and fewer bonds for more returns. The result of this is that portfolios end up being sufficiently bond-heavy, which is, well, great in the marvelous bull market for bonds that Jeff and I have lived through over the last 20 or so years. But bull markets don’t start when interest rates on bonds are at 2.25%. They start when rates are five times higher than that. So if you bought a 10% government bond 10 years ago, then hold it to maturity, you make 10%. Easy math. When you reinvest that money today, you get to reinvest at 2.25%. So over the next 10 years, you have locked in a 2.25% return. But bull markets for bonds do not start from 2.25% bond yields.

Jeff and I are old guys – we watched our parents cry when Kennedy was shot, knew what black-and-white televisions were, and read comic books that cost 10 cents or less. But, more important, we saw the worst bear market in bonds when we entered this industry. We watched bonds just have one bad year after another, so we know that all things, whether good or bad, come to an end, or at least change. 

JFK

“Right” or “wrong” depends on which side of the market you’re on. Well, at FIM Group we don’t own 30-year government bonds, and the bonds we’re favoring are 10 years or under and mostly have interest rate resets so they actually benefit from prices going up. What’s the point of this essay, then? That things change, and that all you need to do is visit any news site, even the ones on Facebook, to realize how good things
“they are a’changin’.”

Our January newsletter will discuss how we see things changing, what trends we see, and how all these new global presidents and prime ministers will influence the markets. We will even discuss some of the trends that President Trump will accelerate. We are already experiencing some consequences before he has taken office: (1) interest rates increasing, (2) world trade uncertainty, and (3) energy prices fluctuating, which of course is good or bad depending on how you’re invested, your industry, or your personal circumstances. Jeff and I live in the real world of dirty diapers, adult children with strong opinions, and shifting through the perceptions of what’s going on to see what is actual reality. In the investment world, the landscape is changing, but the truth is that “simple,” “inexpensive,” “easy,” and “no-risk” are not realistic attributes if you want a successful outcome. Portfolio insurance or a volatility management thesis of 2017 will look good on a spreadsheet or in a PowerPoint presentation, but if history is any guide, then history itself is the guide to use – not some random spreadsheet theory.

I figure I have changed more than 14,000 diapers in my parenting career, and have made millions of trades in the career as a money manager. Just like parenting, my career is still fun, and ever-challenging, but of course stinkers come along – and that’s the simple reality. Your success, of course, depends on how you respond to reality. Life changes, yet values and principles endure.

Welcome to 2017 / Happy New Year

Paul and the team at FIM Group 

Jeffrey Lokken, CFP®
By: Jeffrey Lokken, CFP®

Financial Planning Spotlight

With few exceptions, when someone provides advice for a living, they catch themselves repeating certain things. The clients are different – unique, for the most part – with vastly different portfolios and goals; however, because we all adhere to a shared set of rules, some advice becomes near-universal. What follows may seem random, tossed together without a unifying connection, but these are some of the vital planning points I’ve found to apply to many, many clients over this past year; they will likely apply to you, too. Please contact one of our planners if you have any questions or would like to take action regarding any of the following. 

When It Makes Sense to Beneficiary Your IRA to a Trust 

It’s not unusual for a rollover individual retirement account (IRA) – one holding distributions from a qualified retirement plan – to be the largest and most important family legacy asset. If you have substantial sums invested in IRAs or qualified retirement plans and would like to control distributions after your death, a trusted beneficiary designation should be considered. 

While owning these assets may make you rich on paper, this wealth could go up in smoke if the IRA isn’t handled correctly.
If you take the money out of the IRA, you must pay income tax on it. If you leave it
in the IRA until death, the date-of-death account balance will be subject to estate tax. Plus, your beneficiaries will still have to pay income tax on what’s left. 

By designating a qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust as the beneficiary of your IRA, you can postpone paying estate taxes on the property until your spouse’s death, and can provide for your spouse during his or her lifetime. And you can do this while protecting the property for ultimate distribution to your children. 

An IRA-to-QTIP trust arrangement can minimize your taxes and meet your non-tax objectives. But the arrangement must be carefully structured, otherwise your spouse and children may lose the benefit of income tax and estate tax deferral. Payout of an IRA must comply with technical provisions of the income tax law. QTIP trusts must satisfy estate tax requirements. Meshing the two sets of rules is complicated. 

IRA Distributions Without Penalty Before Age 591⁄2 

Ordinarily, distributions from an IRA before age 591⁄2 – so-called premature distributions – will subject you to an additional tax on the distribution in the amount of 10% of the amount of the premature distribution. But there is a way you can start receiving these funds without incurring the 10%penalty. 

The tax code makes an exception to the 10%early distribution penalty for distributions that are part of a series of equal periodic payments either for life or over your life expectancy. This exception presents some interesting options for you, since these payments don’t have to continue indefinitely. The payments must be made not less frequently than annually, and must continue until you’re at least 591⁄2, or for five years if that’s later. However, at that time the payments can be modified, or ended entirely, if your financial situation then is such that you can afford to put off receipt of the funds and defer the tax on these amounts. You can then discontinue the IRA distributions until you reach age 701⁄2. 

This option can be particularly useful if you also have a pension plan, in addition to the profit-sharing funds rolled over. If you’re too young to begin receiving pension benefits, or if the benefit would be substantially reduced if you began receiving payments now, an IRA payout can help tide you over until your pension and Social Security kick in or until your financial situation changes. 

Selling Your Residence: Is It a Taxable Event? 

Selling one’s residence and moving into a smaller home or condo is seldom an easy decision, but at least part of the decision- making process is a little easier in light of an exclusion that eliminates most people’s federal tax liability on gains from the sale or exchange of their homes. 

Under these rules, up to $250,000 of the gain from the sale of a single person’s principal residence is tax-free. For certain married couples filing a joint return, the amount of tax-free gain doubles to $500,000. Since most people will not owe any tax on the gain from the sale of a principal residence under these rules, the hassle of trying to document costs, expenses, and prices involving various residences over the years should be alleviated. 

Like most tax laws, however, the exclusion has a detailed set of rules for qualification. Besides the $250,000/$500,000 dollar limitation described above, the seller must have owned and used the home as his or her principal residence for at least two of the five years before the sale or exchange. In most cases, sellers can only take advantage of the provision once during a two-year period. 

However, a reduced exclusion is available if the sale occurred because of a change in place of employment, health, or other unforeseen circumstances where the taxpayer fails to meet the two-year ownership and use requirements or has already used the exclusion for a sale of a principal residence in the past two years. A sale or exchange is by reason of unforeseen circumstances if the primary reason for the sale or exchange is the occurrence of an event that the taxpayer does not anticipate before purchasing and occupying the residence. Unforeseen circumstances that are eligible for the reduced exclusion include involuntary conversions, certain disasters or acts of war, death, cessation of employment, change of employment resulting in the taxpayer’s inability to pay certain costs, divorce or legal separation, multiple births from the same pregnancy, and events identified by IRS as unforeseen circumstances (for example, the September 11 terrorist attacks). The amount of the reduced exclusion equals a fraction of the $250,000/$500,000 limitation that is based on the portion of the two-year period in which the seller satisfies the ownership and use requirements. 

These rules can get quite complicated if you marry someone who has recently used the exclusion provision, if the residence was part of a divorce settlement, if you inherited the residence from your spouse, if you sell a remainder interest in your home, or if you have taken depreciation deductions on the residence. Also, the exclusion does not apply if you acquired the residence within the previous five years in a “like-kind” exchange in which gain was not recognized. 

Not everyone will be happy with this exclusion. Homeowners who sell at a loss still will not be able to claim a deduction. Also, homeowners with profits exceeding the $250,000/$500,000 limits may have to pay more tax under these rules than they 

would have paid under the rollover rules that applied to a sale or exchange of a principal residence before May 7, 1997. Those rules permitted a taxpayer to defer tax on all of his or her gain if he or she reinvested the sales proceeds by buying a more expensive house. 

On balance, though, the exclusion benefits most taxpayers, and the tax savings can
be substantial. 

*Sourced from Research Institute of America and Checkpoint (Reuters) 

John Bresnahan
By: John Bresnahan

The Opportunist In Search of Ubiquity

A journey down the rabbit hole 

Recently I asked contacts in varying industries around the world a series of questions, the crux of which emphasized how fleeting the present is and how we might invest for the future. Summed up as one Matryoshka doll of a question, “How is technology changing your enterprise?” 

A broad question that naturally leads to a string: How are data/sensors/connectivity/ automation affecting how you make decisions? How has the competitive landscape shifted? How do you marry this real-time data with long-term, strategic, planning? Where do you see the opportunities? Where are the pitfalls? In what ways has your business not changed, what trees are being missed for the forest? 

Halfway down the rabbit hole, I reined myself in, making global connectivity the loci of the conversation I sought to delve into: the push-pull between capital needs and wants, probable potentialities, and what it means to have a planet-wide network (i.e., humanity and individuals reaching an early stage of ubiquity). 

A goal emerged, to discern whether automa- tion, big data, parabolic advancements in processing power, leaps in miniaturization – how all these exponential technological trends might lead to the next great global boom. The premise being that globalization 1.0, the growth of emerging markets, outsourcing, global trade, etc., is going to see the spotlight shift as a new dimension is taken on. If globalization 1.0 made the world flat (The World Is Flat – Thomas L. Fried- man), then version 2.0 seems to be reducing the planet to a singular point. 

Geography 

Geography has always fascinated me.

How did the US grow to be the power it is? Why did the USSR fail? Why is Russia so aggressive with its foreign policies? Why isn’t the Brazilian economy more resilient? Why isn’t the Indian economy more efficient? How has Argentina managed to tread water? Why is China spending so much on infrastructure to the west and south? Sub-Saharan Africa, with such bountiful natural resources – why is prosperity severely lacking? Geography is at the core of each of these questions. Geography has shaped much, arguably all, of history; is it any wonder that a study of history is often a study of who was fighting over which piece of dirt? What role will geography play going forward? Can the current course of technological advancement smooth out geographical challenges and advantages? Is there any evidence that connectivity is having the sort of global impact that could render the planet, and humanity, a singular point? If there is, how might we as investors need to factor this into our decision-making and portfolio- building processes? 

Consider that you can send a file from London to New York in less than sixty milliseconds, while a quick commercial airliner can make that trek in a speedy seven and a half hours. Put another way, you could send the contents of the Library of Congress (LOC) from New York to London in less than an hour and in mere seconds if you used the most recent breakthroughs. (This is calculated using the LOC’s estimate of its printed materials, which is just the tip of its collective iceberg – some 208 terabytes of physical data, such as books and manuscripts – and recent communications advancements.) For comparison’s sake, it would take roughly 136 Boeing 747s and some 12,500 tons of jet fuel to accomplish the same feat. 

Demographics, the new geography 

Demographics are imperative to under- standing cultures and societies – how they act and interact. I believe they have taken on a level of importance equaling that of geography (the challenges and advantages of which are being leveled), eventually taking precedence as the world continues to come together. Unique cohorts (aren’t they all?) value dissimilar things, act in different ways, and help to evolve a culture. In a geographically smaller world, these cohorts will reach across borders. Demographics is more than age brackets, for at its simplest we are talking about populations and data pertaining to them. How much effort is spent analyzing a certain age group’s proclivities? As an investor, I am more interested in how Asian cuisine is so dissimilar as compared to, say, European cuisine; i.e., ingredients that are near opposites are combined vs. complementary ones. If such a basic thing as food is so dramatically different, ought we to step back and challenge our forms (e.g., corporate culture/governance, the shareholder vs. stakeholder push-pull, government’s role, and so on)? If we don’t address our mail in the same format, at least we ought to broaden our more complex understandings. 

As a population ages, it will need increased services (e.g., healthcare, transportation, etc.); as with geography, I believe similar advancements in technology, especially healthcare, will slowly erode the challenges and advantages currently present. What will matter at this point? I believe that the soft sciences can help here, and that views from sociologists and anthropologists might be more useful than a USA Today ranking would lead one to believe. 

Are we in the midst of a paradigm shift? 

For starters, globalization is clearly at the fore with both its value and values being questioned daily. I’m not talking about think tanks, ivory towers, or bubbly dinner conversations. Rather, action is the word that comes to mind. Take the recent election in the US. I reason that it can be fairly argued that the name “Clinton” is synonymous with globalization. We’ve had a “Trumpit” (a rejection of globalization) and a “Brexit” (a rejection of Euroization), yet the global political calendar shows no signs of easing any day soon. 

The world over, political events (perhaps we should call them upheavals) are shocking the mainstream media. I make that distinction as I believe the hoi polloi were merely surprised that it took so long – they are, after all, the ones bringing about this grand change. Borders are fuzzier than ever, evinced in the palpable social divisive- ness rearing its head and sparing no nation or peoples. A sort of national identity crisis seems to be popping up, well, everywhere. Social undercurrents appear to be shifting rapidly; is this actual change or the mere semblance of it? The rapid dissemination of information (accurate or not) has led to a hyper-aware global populace. Look at the role Twitter played in the Arab Spring of 2011 or at Facebook, Twitter, and other social media in the scrutiny of law enforce- ment across the US in 2016, for examples. 

I don’t have an answer other than to say that at the very least people are more aware of the current paradigm than at any other time that I can think of (consider CEO compensation, Presidential golf outings, and the like). 

Amid this, companies are more multina- tional than ever (even smaller enterprises are), and in today’s business environment there are no borders. What are the conse- quences of such an interlinked global economy where information moves near the speed of light, while analysis (that is, wisdom) lags? I believe you start to see a world of extremes. 

Hype rules the day; cutting through it will be the key to an efficient and effective outcome for investors and business operators 

Recently I read that in 2016, $1.32 billion will have been invested chasing the current grail known as the IoT (Internet of things), just in the US! With the success of the iPhone, suddenly everyone is working to invent the next connected device. Does my coffee grinder really need to be able to speak to my toaster? With machine learning, will they commiserate about their boredom in how they are only utilized in the morning? Maybe the sharing economy will afford them greater utilization and happier lives. 

Ultimately, I think we’re asking the wrong questions. Instead of focusing on the next great thing, I believe we ought to ask ourselves why the iPhone was such a success. Perhaps therein we might find a framework that we can employ going forward. After all, it’s tough to find the needle in a haystack when the needle hasn’t even been placed in the haystack yet and, for that matter, the haystack is ever growing and is filled with pseudo-needles. 

iPhone, one phone to rule them all 

The year is 2007 and, after playing with the iPhone (I think we are talking launch day plus two or three), and keep in mind that I was as quickly as anyone else to denounce it as a gimmick: a touch screen – no keyboard, the Internet (but was there enough bandwidth), no flash (Adobe), no Word, no Excel, no Outlook, no copy and paste, limited Bluetooth, a terrible camera, no flash (physical), and a small hard drive. Enterprise, Apple has no presence? 

How could Apple unseat RIMM (aka BlackBerry)? I mean, look at that screen; how long can the battery possibly last? Well, after playing with an iPhone floor model for maybe two minutes, I was sold. 

Flash forward a few days, when a friend of a friend opened my eyes and changed how I viewed global business. He used an iPhone to navigate to eBay.com (there were practically no apps back then, and there was no “eco-system”) to check on his listings, his little side business! 

How was the iPhone such a hit where so many had failed before it? The iPhone wasn’t the first “smartphone,” just as the subsequent iPad wasn’t the first tablet; both got scathing reviews at launch. Just as Google did at its IPO in 2004 by nearly all of Wall Street (the Dutch auction might have had something to do with that). 

Oh, and you guessed it: the iPod also wasn’t a first to market and, wow, was it pricey! There also was no iTunes store, and pundits hated it. 

Three factors come to mind: the world was ready for an upgrade to their Nokia bricks and Motorola flip phones (I would add that sometimes I miss having a small phone that, you know, fits in my pocket, needs to be recharged just once a week, and simply works!). Steve Jobs masterfully built on his iPod/iTunes success, and the infrastructure was there. What sticks with me is that last point: the external factors that helped to make the iPhone a success. 

A virtuous cycle was kicked off for sure, where communication infrastructure spending begat tangible change and demand accelerated. I don’t believe we are  done yet. All that fiber that was deemed a bust after the first technology bubble now may as well be made of gold because – well, actually, it is worth more than that. So, while I am positive that there is a great misallocation once again happening today, primarily in private entities in Silicon Valley, there is surely great opportunity as well. I really don’t need a custard app or “place simple singular action here” app; yet billions are being plowed into toothpaste as a service, and so on. 

Being connected 24/7 has created a paradox, a device that affords us the ability to waste unparalleled amounts of time (e.g., looking at cat pictures) and yet boosts our productivity exponentially by keeping businesses active around the clock, as decision makers are always plugged in, matching that global time (i.e., tomorrow is always today and the future is always now). 

Productivity begets opportunity 

Let’s talk a little about productivity. Therein I believe we can find lasting opportunity. 

I recently read in The Wall Street Journal that after the invention of the ATM people were fearful that teller jobs would be relegated to history. As it turns out, there are now more tellers in the US than before the ATM hit the scene. 

Technology has brought about great change, pulling people from agricultural fields into factories and now offices and the knowledge economy. I’ve read a great deal about happiness and the notion that being a productive member of society has at least something to do with that feeling and the meaning that happiness can instill in one’s life. It seems to me that the exponential technological changes that we have seen have merely allowed us to better utilize our human potential, and that we now have a greater ability to be productive members of society, since we ostensibly have more time. 

It sounds romantic to have the farm, to provide for one of the basic human needs. But do you really want to be out in that field all day? Is that the best use of your time? Engagement is important and is often laid aside Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Technological advances are allowing us to be more engaged than ever, should we so choose. We ought not to fear automation or change. Skepticism is healthy. I don’t know when it took on negative connotations, but outright rejection without facts or data won’t get us anywhere. 

Will automation replace all jobs? Well, in that case isn’t that a positive? Who needs a salary? I think we would have a utopia, as money and power would become less necessary. When I think about it, increased automation should just increase productivity and replace all the cheap labor that came in from the emerging or recovering world. I mean, what if we see another boom, one based on human-less cheap labor? It seems that from a stakeholder perspective, this would be having our cake and eating it too. 

My inclination is that even with all the highly politicized and overly hyperbolized instant information (not knowledge, surely not wisdom), inertia wins the day. We will endeavor forward through whatever is thrown at us. There will always be wild geopolitical events; there always have been. 

We must continually beware the strategists and talking heads as they make names for themselves through a well-plotted game of Whack-a-mole. They stick their heads up and thus stand out but they play in a realm where there is no mallet. 

Oh, and by the way, the advertising dollars – oh the advertising dollars! Hyperbole is great at stoking the flames that bring in those ad buys. 

So, attempting to be a pragmatic optimist, I look out and see some things I believe to be pertinent: societal conscientiousness (i.e., our footprint, physical and historical), automation, digital security, connectivity, one planet – a society at some point looking beyond our globe – but in the meantime 

I realize this is all we have and there are seven billion of us. 

Some 2,000 words in, what am I saying? That productivity ought to be our focus, and I don’t mean in a strictly business sense.
I mean the state of being productive, as I am talking about “yielding results, benefits, or profits” per Merriam-Webster. Notice that profits are just one facet. So, what does it mean, when examining potential investment, that we ought to ask ourselves if it will increase productivity (either directly or as a knock-on effect)? 

When I spoke with management at our Finnish healthcare investment, Pihlajalinna, these comments stood out: 

“We see that all healthcare is transforming to a digital landscape and almost every conceivable process around health services will be digital. This also applies to services which include monitoring customer health for providing better or more tailored services. This will include all sorts of sensors and tracking devices which follow customer life and habits, including and not limited to sports, exercise, walking, nutrition, surroundings, noise, air, pollution, temperature, etc. But there is a caveat in all of this. Nothing will take away the human touch aspect of health services and there are also limits regarding the clinical validity of digital services compared to nondigital services. Customers are also divided into two major groups: those who are willing to adopt digital services and those who are not willing. For a health service provider, this presents a unique problem (and potential for better services) as one can start profiling customers and serving them with different ways of reaching services and SLA’s [service level agreements]. One should not forget the great potential of digitalizing back-office operations of any service provider. And in a healthcare environment this is even greater.” 

–Niclas Kohler, CFO, Pihlajalinna 

If we are talking about the healthcare sector or old standby industrial firms utilizing machine-vision cameras, on-demand additive manufacturing, and near-real-time raw materials procurement to cut their working capital budgets (all the while producing higher quality goods), there is one apparatus making all this possible: connectivity. 

Connectivity, two entities at the fore 

Two recent entries into your portfolios are helping to quite literally bring the world together: Ericsson, the Swedish telecom equipment manufacturer; and Nokia, their Finnish rival. Huawei is a private competitor out of China that rounds out the triumvi- rate and, while they are on our radar, the West remains quite circumspect of their offerings (i.e. their addressable market remains checked for geopolitical reasons), for now. 

Both Nokia and Ericsson have business beyond merely connecting mobile phones and web users, which excites us. Ericsson ecently created a joint venture with Cisco, and Nokia, its their Alcatel-Lucent merger, has a bright future, thanks in part to the integration of Bell Labs. Ericsson and Nokia have spent and will continue to spend tremendous sums on research and develop- ment, affording them sizable moats (colloquially known as patent portfolios). 

Both are making changes internally to become more efficient, all the while investing for tomorrow. So, while they have fallen out of favor today, they’ve got their eyes focused over the horizon and we are happy to offer them some slack, given their depressed valuations. 

I believe that focusing on the future, beyond just the next few quarters, will garner us solid and repeatable returns. Both Ericsson’s and Nokia’s stories encompass more than just the upcoming 5G cycle; they engender pushing the human potential to new limits, which seems to align quite well with the “global megatrend” tropes often bandied about. Whatever the next iPhone ends up being, you can be sure that it will be made possible through the infrastructure built with Ericsson and Nokia parts. While this is perhaps not as glamorous as investing with the great hoodied CEO or one of his black turtleneck compatriots, in the end each needs one another. I believe that Ericsson and Nokia are more integral to that final equation – giving them leverage. 

My current reading list that helped to inspire this: 

In Patagonia – Bruce Chatwin

The Revenge of Geography – Robert Kaplan 

The Water Kingdom: A Secret History of China – Philip Ball

Mindset – Carol Dweck

Competitive Strategy – Michael Porter 

An Extraordinary Time – Marc Levinson 

The Age of Aging – George Magnus 

Other sources: Journal Nature, Science News, Harvard Business Review, ArsTechnica.com, Stratfor.com, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, LoC.gov, Boeing.com, www. ericsson.com/thecompany/investors, www.nokia. com/en_int/investors, Company Filings 

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