WHAT LEVEL OF HEAT IS ACCEPTABLE IN YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO?
By Amal Mashru and Matthew Lowe, Consultants at Mattioli Woods.
Mattioli Woods is proud to sponsor the Leicester Curry Awards. Mild, medium and hot are just some of the topics that need to be discussed when ordering a curry, and in a similar way, when we invest for clients, we need to understand the level of ‘heat’ they want to accept within their portfolios. However, as with investing, it is the blend of ingredients (different assets) that matters; curry, for the aficionados, is much more about spices than heat, per se.
Spices have been a source of fortune (for countries and individuals) for millennia. The Romans sailed to India in the first century AD to purchase black pepper. Due to continued demand one pound of pepper eventually cost half a month’s salary. Soaring cost was not confined to the condiment, with nutmeg being marked up over 60,000 times by the time it arrived in London in the 17th century. Nutmeg’s infamy continued throughout history with the British swapping three nutmeg producing islands (now part of Indonesia) for New York. At Mattioli Woods, our investment team is effectively taking the opposite view right now, as we have a preference for the Far East over US equity indices. As above, the right blends are essential to ensure client portfolios, like curries, aren’t heavily led by one asset/spice/taste.
Today, India is one of the largest spice producers in the world, selling 75 of the 109 known spices. Between 2011 and 2019 exports in Indian spices increased from £850m to £2.5bn. While not the largest equity market, the Indian stock exchange is the fourth oldest in the world, and we like Indian equities, believing they offer clients a growth potential not (currently) often seen as we move into a new decade. Saffron is to spices what gold is to precious metals, and while it is not true to say they cost quite the same (this is an urban myth – gold remains the more expensive), both are scarce, which is something we look for when investing.
To be frank, the debates when the Mattioli Woods investment team meets are not dissimilar to when any group gets together for a night out featuring curry – everyone has their favourites, some want more ‘spice’, others insist on just wanting one dish, others are happy to share and investigate new tastes. We wish everyone the very best of luck at the Awards – happy tasting!