The past 15 years have seen no shortage of volatility in financial markets, and the first half of this year has certainly been true to that. In the first quarter of the year, not only was the stock market down but so too were various safe hiding places, including several classes of bonds and treasury bills.
Your savings should be a source of security, not anxiety. But when the markets are down, it’s difficult not to worry.
Justin Anis is Senior Portfolio Manager for Wealhouse Capital Management, and the founder of the Lions Bay Fund. From its inception, he says, the fund was built to sail straight and true during times of market instability. In fact, it often thrives in times of turmoil. It was designed to.
Justin cites his early experience in the financial industry as inspiration for the fund’s focus. He joined Wealhouse on September 1, 2008. That’s a pretty important period of time in the world economic landscape: two weeks later Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, sparking the biggest market crash since The Great Depression.
The memories of that tumultuous time were an inspiration when, nearly ten years after the crash, the Lions Bay Fund was born.
“That experience really stuck with me,” says Justin, who worked on a trading desk before joining Wealhouse. “It taught me the importance of risk management, and motivated me to develop a strategy that could navigate volatility.”
Justin developed a passion for investing while a student at McGill University. When he left university, he landed a job fetching coffees at a Bay Street firm so he could immerse himself in The Street.
Along the way he also acquired a solid understanding of investor psychology, specifically consumer sentiment and conviction, which he now uses to leverage the fund’s $100M in assets. “We have a disciplined risk strategy that really helps our investors weather challenging markets,” he says.
Some of that strategy involves protecting investors from their own worst instincts.
“We designed Lions Bay with the tools to protect from big drawdowns. Big drawdowns lead to reactive decisions,” explains Justin.
“When someone has a really scary month or a really scary quarter, they may panic, and get out of the market. We never want to put our clients through that experience.”
This equity strategy won Lions Bay the BarclayHedge Top 10 Monthly Performance Award on multiple occasions, including this past January and December. But awards are not the inspiration: Justin’s goal is to protect, and grow, the investments of his clients.
Drawing on experienceIn late 2021 and early 2022, Lions Bay achieved that by loading up on hedges, then reinvesting in them again in February. “We were very long on volatility, and that allowed us to profit considerably when the market declined,” says Justin.
By Q2, the strategy began to change as Justin and his team concluded that the market had priced in expectations of further decline. “We expect a choppy summer, but we are not nearly as negative on markets as we were at the end of Q4, particularly when we look six to nine months out,” he explains.
In the end, the fund will aim to continue doing what it was always built to do: weather the storm and provide security and wealth enhancement for its investors.
As Justin notes, ultimately everyone’s goal is to enjoy a predictable journey toward a financially stable outcome.
“It’s a long road. It doesn’t have to be a bumpy one.”
The Lions Bay Fund is currently closed to new investment, with a scheduled reopening for select investors slated for September 2022.