East Coast Asset Management's Q4 Letter: Embracing Uncertainty ~ market folly

Thursday, January 26, 2012

East Coast Asset Management's Q4 Letter: Embracing Uncertainty

Christopher Begg is out with East Coast Asset Management's Q4 2011 letter to investors. In it, he discusses the concept of embracing certain uncertainties. He writes,

"We observe a general misclassification between uncertainty and risk. Looking forward, we also anticipate the general perception of 'risk' versus 'risk-free' assets will change. Central bank intervention to mitigate the effects of the inevitable deleveraging cycle will raise the cost of capital and compromise the value of paper currency. We expect this could be a disappointing realization for those seeking long-term shelter in cash and bonds."

They've somewhat touched on this notion before when in a past letter they outlined why they see heightened and prolonged inflation ahead. This falls into one of their seven broad views in which they have constructed their portfolio currently:

1. Deleveraging
2. 'Fair Wind' for high quality equities
3. Inflation
4. Emerging market consumer
5. Eurozone consequences
6. Jobs and housing
7. Adaptation

We want to draw specific attention to their focus on the emerging market consumer because they aren't the only firm fixated on this phenomenon. Hedge fund Kleinheinz Capital has pointed to the power of the emerging market consumer, but also cautions that inflation is the biggest threat in emerging markets.

On the subject, Begg writes that, "This 'impression, sunrise' of the emerging market consumer is one of the most underappreciated change agents that will ultimately drive global economic growth over the decades to come, and help move the world economy beyond the deleveraging currently at hand."

Embedded below is East Coast's Q4 letter:

Given that East Coast's letters often serve as vehicles for passing along timeless educational aspects of investing, be sure to check out their pieces on competitive advantage and gaining an investment edge.

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