This year’s Oscars marked the first “host-less” Academy Awards in over three decades after Kevin Hart dropped out following an ongoing social media backlash.
Amid this heightened publicity, and the last Academy Awards to take place without a host in 1989 being branded by critics as ‘the worst Oscars ever’, it was set to be an evening full of speculation and surprise.
29.6 million of us tuned in to watch Hollywood’s Super Bowl. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s live performance of ‘A Star is Born’ caused a flurry of backstage conjecture regarding their opaque off-stage relationship and for the first time in Oscars history three out of the four acting categories were won by non-white actors. Olivia Coleman was also the first British actress to win best actress in a decade; in short, it was a roaring success.
If punters had placed their bets on the success of the 91st Awards, many would have predicted disappointment, disaster and debacle (assuming their forecasts had been based on past events). The triumph of an Oscars defying the odds without a host and a performance that will go down in history reminds us of the phenomenon that history does not always repeat itself; a notion we are cognisant of when it comes to investment management. We don’t believe anyone can predict the future. Instead of trying to forecast the next big thing, we prefer to invest in real themes that are shaping the world in front of us.
Elsewhere off-camera, the crisis in Venezuela hit a climactic point this week as it was reported that at least four individuals were killed at the Brazilian-Venezuelan border. The country has been suffering from economic free-fall and political turmoil; inflation in the country now exceeds a million percent, basic healthcare is deemed too expensive for most to afford and many Venezuelan’s are attempting to escape the county in search of better opportunities. It is safe to say that Venezuela is at breaking point in terms of a crisis.
Emerging markets, such as Venezuela, have the potential to be unpredictable at times; our exposure to these regions, held through the Brown Advisory Latin America Fund, fortunately does not have exposure to Venezuela. Despite the volatility of these markets, we believe that emerging economies provide a powerful tailwind for growth over the long-term and we see their weighting proportionally in our investment management strategies. Across the globe, people are flocking from rural areas to cities in a phenomenon known as urbanisation and we look to invest alongside both the companies that help build them and those that serve the growing populations.
The UK reached its highest ever winter temperature with 21.2°C (70.2F) in Kew Gardens, London last week, a stark comparison to the “Beast from the East” we were experiencing this time last year. However despite this (slightly premature) summer buzz, Brexit was still the hottest topic of the week as negotiations appear to rumble on. As it stands the UK has invoked Article 50 and is scheduled to leave the EU on Friday the 29th March - a mere 25 days away. Whether we exit smoothly with a deal or enter a no deal Brexit is still ongoing and will be a clear focal point of this next month's headlines. For us, we are aware of our macro surroundings and how they may impact the investments held within our portfolios, however as global bottom-up investors, we are not in the business of making predictions and we will continue to hold our long-term positions at attractive valuations regardless of whether we Brexit with or without a deal.
On a lighter note, the wonders of modern healthcare yet again surpassed our expectations last week. The smallest baby boy ever born to later successfully be released goes home, after the original birth weight of 268g (9.45oz) from a Tokyo hospital. Healthcare is one of our irrefutable investment trends that we believe will provide the opportunity for growth over the long term, within our strategies, we find exposure to this sector via our Polar Capital Healthcare Fund.
Regardless of the socioeconomic noise around us, our investors can rest assured that we will continue to invest alongside our investment themes and hold these positions for the long-term.
We hope you have a great week.