In the first quarter, we witnessed the most dramatic change in sentiment in global financial markets for many years. This happened after the markets realized that the COVID-19 virus could not be contained and turned into a global pandemic. Governments are responding with draconian lockdowns and borders are being closed. Central banks have responded with almost limitless liquidity to prevent a systemic crisis and governments have begun to provide fiscal support to their populations and to corporations. The stimulus should work, but for markets to calm down, we will have to wait for signs that the spread of the virus is slowing and that the authorities have regained control. We continue to maintain our focus on unique growth companies with good cashflows and strong balance sheets – which we believe is not only crucial for long-term investing but also of paramount importance in the current environment.
In the quarter, the strategy fell 1.8%, while the MSCI AC World Index declined by 9.7%. The main reason for the better relative returns can be attributed to good stock-picking and a general focus on companies with strong balance sheets.