Last week at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, nearly 100 global money managers took to the stage to give a speech or join me for a fireside chat to discuss their outlook on the remainder of the decade.
More so than ever before, I heard a consensus from almost all of my guests:
2023 will be a year to be patient.
Let’s review the decade thus far…
2020 kicked off with a global pandemic and economic shutdown.
2021 erupted with worldwide civil unrest. Tens of millions protested and rioted around the world, breaching government buildings and burning police stations to the ground.
2022 brought a hot war in Europe. Tanks, shells, bullets and knives. Horrific.
These crises have not been resolved yet. They are not finished with us.
We have not felt the full ripple effects of the global economic shutdown.
We have not solved the cultural tensions that inspired the riots and protests.
We do not understand the future implications of the Russian War, the subsequent sanctions and the new world order that is forming as a result.
Three years in, three generational events. What's behind door number four?
In hindsight, we always knew that the big event was coming. Because hindsight is 2020, and hindsight bias is misleading. We often look back at the hyper-consequential events of our past, see the inevitable unfolding of events and think - yes, it was all so obvious.
But we rarely see it in real-time. If we could, we’d all be billionaires.
We don’t know what's behind door number four. No-one knows.
Predictions are fun, but should be treated as such - fun. When we take our predictions too seriously, we expose our vulnerability and amplify our blindspots.
It is the acceptance that we can’t know, coupled with generationally high volatility, that led my guests to encourage patience as the trade of the decade.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
This should not be interpreted as a pessimistic outlook. The human journey is one of continual progress, but nothing goes up in a straight line.
In the context of value investors like myself, patience is a great trade. It is only beneficial to slow down, focus on our time horizon instead of near-term volatility, and ignore the daily headlines of the 24-hour news cycle. These habits benefit our mental health, let alone our portfolios.
Stay long human ingenuity and progress, stay ready, and play the long game.