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In the recent webinar, “Managing Money Through a Pandemic,” presented by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business & Economics’ Master of Finance (MFin) program, panellists offered financial guidance, shared thoughts on the economy and talked about risk management, investor behavioural biases, debt and equity investments, and portfolio management during coronavirus.
The webinar was hosted by Tony Tang, director of the MFin program and Finance Professor Brian Smith. Panellists included Christopher Kerlow, Laurier Graduate Student Investment Fund co-supervisor and Portfolio Manager, Richardson GMP Asset Management, Shane Obata (MFin ’17), Executive Director, Investments and Portfolio Manager, Middlefield Capital Corp and Anthony Tavella (MBA/MFin ’18), Head of Exchange Traded Funds, Middlefield Group Middlefield Capital Corp.
Here’s a high-level summary of advice from the panellists:
“It’s definitely important to have a game plan because of human emotion, which is something that we can't get rid of, you want to have a game plan coming into different scenarios so you aren't forced to make decisions under duress in that case you've already made your decisions in a way,” Obata said.
Obata and Tavella both learned about fundamental analysis and portfolio management during their time in the Lazaridis MFin. Kerlow, an instructor in the program, educates students on stock selection and valuation.
A common mistake, discussed by panellists in the webinar, is the difference in trends between the stock market and the economy, as many believe they are the same thing; but, stock market leads the economy by a few months, according to Kerlow.
“The disconnect between the economy and the stock market – that is something that doesn’t just apply to this pandemic situation,” Tang said. “whenever there is an economic up and down, we see a similar pattern of disconnection from time to time.”
Another topic of discussion was the pace at which the world economy will re-open, as some countries like those in Asia and Europe are decreasing active cases of COVID-19, but industries that contribute to their economy are still unable to bounce back due such as tourism.
“Certain geographies are opening sooner, certain industries are starting things, so if you are looking in the near term and you want to try and capture some of that, I would go with Asia and North America second and then Europe,” Tavella said.
Other questions included central banks’ interest rate policy, governments’ stimulus spending and how they will affect future inflation and the economy, prospects of REITs and business security as investors navigate an uncertain future.
“I definitely think it has changed the economy or the financial markets, because even recently it's been the market's kind of willing central banks and policymakers doing their bidding in a way when the times were tough,” Obata said.
Overall, the webinar provides a great resource for participants concerned about investments to have their concerns addressed, as well as an opportunity for current and future students to see the breadth of knowledge of Lazaridis MFin faculty and alumni.
“It’s also great to see some of our alumni and how well they are doing, and I think that is representative of all the work you have been putting into the program, Tony, over the years and also the quality of folks we have had through the program,” Smith said.
Domestic applications for the Lazaridis Master of Finance are open until Aug. 15.
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