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Mark J.P. Anson

Market Commentary: Impact of the Coronavirus on Markets and Portfolios

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Feb 28, 2020

Topic: Market Commentary

After a strong calendar year 2019, the S&P 500 reached its most recent all-time high on February 19, up nearly 5 percent since the year began. Now...

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The Sustainability Conundrum

Posted by Deborah Spalding, Mark J.P. Anson, John Delano, Kristofer Kwait on Feb 12, 2020

Topic: Responsible Investing

Sustainable investing, sometimes called environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing, has been a hotly contested topic for decades, an the debate continues with both supporters and naysayers drawing battle lines across the social divide. Do ESG intitiatives add value to an investment portfolio? Subtract from it? Are they neutral, but with the potential to be valuable?

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Year-End Update and 2019 Investment Outlook

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Jan 2, 2019

Topic: Market Commentary

As we bid farewell to 2018 and head into 2019, I am pleased to provide you with an update on developments at Commonfund as well as our perspective on the markets and investing. Our roots as a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing the financial interests of institutional investors provides...

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Inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report and 2018 Mid-Year Letter

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Commonfund on Jul 12, 2018

Topic: Governance and Policy | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy | Responsible Investing

We are pleased to share with you our inaugural Corporate Responsibility Report. Since our founding in 1971, Commonfund has pursued a singular mission – to enhance the financial resources of our clients by delivering exceptional performance, service and insight. Beyond our focus on investment excellence . . .

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Bonds: Unwanted and Unloved but not Unnecessary

Posted by Timothy T. Yates, Jr., Mark J.P. Anson on May 30, 2018

Topic: Fixed Income | Investment Strategy

Well, the party may finally be over. Like the college dean who shuts down the campus party, the Fed has finally taken away the interest rate punch bowl that investors have enjoyed for so long. It may be hard to believe, but we have been in a secular interest rate decline for over thirty years...

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Trade Wars and the Land of the Rising Sun

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Apr 26, 2018

Topic: Industry Knowledge | Market Commentary

The trade wars began with the United States and China but have now expanded to Japan as well. With Russia, the U.S., and the U.K. all looking inwardly, emerging market nations need another superpower to turn to for foreign direct investment, infrastructure, and other economic support.

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Baring Their Teeth –
FAANGs Take a Bite Out of Equities

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson, Mark Bennett on Mar 2, 2018

Topic: Equities | Investment Strategy

Narrow markets are not uncommon to equity investors. They tend to manifest themselves during the best of times, as bull markets lengthen and thematic elements of investing gain popularity. Prior narrow market environments existed in the late 1990s (the historic tech bubble that many remember) and also in 2007, prior to the global financial crisis. The most recent narrow market has been dominated by the headlines of FAANGs — Facebook,, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet, formerly known as Google. These five business models are disrupting all sorts of industries, and with it, their stock prices have soared.

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Hedge Fund Land:
An Expensive Amusement Park?

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Aug 16, 2017

Topic: Asset Allocation | Hedge Funds | Industry Knowledge | Investment Strategy

In a series of articles, we have addressed two recent investment “fatigues” experienced by institutional investors: Active vs. Passive; and Global (ACWI) vs. US benchmarks. In this article, we tackle the third and last “fatigue”— Hedge Funds. Hedge funds have come under extreme criticism lately for their expensive fee structure, lack of performance, and too much “beta” wrapped up in an “alpha” fee structure. It appears that hedge funds are run more for the amusement of the hedge fund manager and less for the benefit of the hedge fund’s clients. These are all legitimate concerns but we still believe that there is value to be found in Hedge Fund Land.

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Flexing your Global Portfolio can lead to ACWI Fatigue

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Jun 6, 2017

Topic: Asset Allocation | Investment Strategy

Like the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles after a strenuous workout, the underperformance of Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World index (ACWI) vs. the Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) – or any U.S. equity benchmark, for that matter – for the last several years has been building up to a painful point. This pain threshold has pushed investors to the limits of their global endurance resulting in what we call “ACWI Fatigue.” ACWI Fatigue is most acute with institutional investors who use the MSCI ACWI as their equity benchmark and, as a result, have a globally-oriented equity portfolio.

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Is the Endowment Model a Crowded Trade?

Posted by Mark J.P. Anson on Apr 11, 2017

Topic: Investment Strategy

With core tenets of the endowment model seemingly under stress for the last several years, some investors have questioned the long-term viability of the model. At issue: Are too many investors piling into the same ideas and thus squeezing out opportunities for better returns? In this 2017 Commonfund Forum Spotlight, three CIOs tackled questions designed to surface concerns about the model and provide insight based on their long experience.

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