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Portfolio > Portfolio Construction

2019 IA25 Portfolio Winners

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Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett is the vote-leader in the portfolio, markets and investments category. He also collected the highest number of votes among all the IA25 candidates in 2019.

At age 88, the Oracle of Omaha continues to tell investors what is on his mind and to lead a conglomerate with large holdings in Apple, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Bank of New York Mellon, American Express, US Bancorp, Kraft Heinz and Coca-Cola. Buffett recently weighed in on who should be the next leader of Wells Fargo, now under Federal Reserve-imposed growth restrictions, for instance.

“They just have to come from someplace [outside Wells] and they shouldn’t come from Wall Street,” he recently told the Financial Times. “They probably shouldn’t come from JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs.”

“There are plenty of good people to run it [from the Wall Street banks], but they are automatically going to draw the ire of a significant percentage of the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, and that’s just not smart,” he told the London-based newspaper.

The famed investor also discussed bitcoin earlier this year on CNBC: “Bitcoin has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything. You can stare at it all day and no little bitcoins come out. It’s a delusion basically.

Concerning blockchain, though, he said, “It’s a very ingenious thing to figure out how to have a limited supply and make it harder and more expensive to create.” Buffett also took the time to suggest the Tesla CEO Elon Musk avoid Twitter. “He’s a remarkable guy. I just don’t see the necessity to communicate,” he said in a televised interview on Yahoo Finance.

See Buffett’s 10 Nuggets of Investing

Another popular figure in the investing world is Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist for Charles Schwab. In addition to sharing her views regularly online and in other media — including Twitter, where she has 69,000 followers — the investment expert remains a fixture on the speaking circuit.

What’s her view of today’s markets? “U.S. stocks continue to trend higher, indicating investor optimism about economic growth, while a flat/inverted yield curve has tended to herald a weakening economy — the truth may be somewhere in between,” Sonders wrote in mid-April with Schwab colleagues Jeffrey Kleintop and Brad Sorensen.

She’s also been busy of late discussing the dreaded inverted yield curve: “For the first time since mid-2007, the 10-year to three-month portion of the U.S. Treasury yield curve inverted [on March 22]; which unleashed a near-2% decline in the S&P 500 on heightened fears of recession. That’s the longest stretch of time since at least the early-1960s without an inversion.”

What makes the inversion significant? “Every recession since the mid-1960s has been preceded by an inverted yield curve …,” Sonders explained. Still, “an inversion doesn’t help define either the length of runway between the inversion and the subsequent recession; or the severity of the recession (or attendant bear market).”

The Schwab executive adds that recessions are inevitable endings of economic cycles. There’s “much hyperbole being thrown around these days …,” she said. “With both yield curves discussed above having inverted, it shouldn’t be unexpected that the countdown clock has ‘officially’ begun.”

Also popular on Twitter — with more than 61,000 followers — and with IA25 voters is Sallie Krawcheck, who leads Ellevest, the digital-investment platform she founded to help women improve their financial lives.

The platform just raised $33 million in new funding, including support from Valerie Jarrett, Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, PayPal and Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and Alphabet. Also in late March, Ellevest said its Private Wealth Management service now has $100 million in assets under management.

“Today, we bring in a group of rock star investors deeply aligned with our mission,” according to Krawcheck. “And it’s no coincidence that many of them are unparalleled changemakers and advocates for women who understand that being under-invested can cost women a fortune over their lives.”

The former head of Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup’s Wealth Management business (including Smith Barney) reminds the public and the advice industry that nearly 90% of traders are male, as are about 86% of financial advisors, 90% of mutual fund managers, 95% of hedge fund managers and 95% of venture capital partners. “Where’s that meritocracy?” she asks.

The two honorable mentions in this category are Wharton Finance Professor Jeremy Siegel and Allianz Chief Economic Advisor Mohamed-El Erian. Siegel sees stocks, now trading at roughly 19 times trailing earnings, as “pretty fully valued,” he told Bloomberg Television; he’s concerned that if trade talks with China fail, there could a market drop “of 20% or more.”

El-Erian, in his latest opinion column for Bloomberg, said China should quickly implement “more fundamental reform measures needed to power an increasingly complex economy.”


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