OUR OCTOBER RESULTS

Our weighted average return in October was -3.88%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +40.48%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for September were (a) -1.36% for conservative strategies, (b) -6% for balanced strategies, and (c) -2.97% for aggressive strategies.

October was a brutal month. In all of 2017, the S&P 500 index had 12 trading days where the daily change in price exceeded 1%. October had 10 such trading days. The monthly performance for key equity index ETFs were as follows: S&P 500 index -6.91% (SPY US), Euro Stoxx 50 index -8.18% (FEZ US), and MSCI Emerging Markets index -8.76% (EEM). Bonds outperformed equities, but there was nowhere to hide in the fixed income space as well. The Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF was -0.86% (BND US), the iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond index (HYG US) was -1.98% and the JPMorgan Emerging Market Bond index (EMB US) was -2.42%. Ugly numbers. The only safe haven was the US dollar, which increased 2.59% versus the euro.

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OUR SEPTEMBER RESULTS

Our weighted average return in August was +4.74%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +46.16%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for September were (a) +.03% for conservative strategies, (b) +1.70% for balanced strategies, and (c) +9.37% for aggressive strategies.

September marked the 10th anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Despite considerable media mention of this painful theme, US equities continued to trade higher and gained 0.59% in September, posting an impressive gain of 7.7% for the third quarter of this year. In terms of economic data, US consumer confidence hit its highest level since 2000 (around the peak of the ‘dot.com’ bubble), while US small business confidence hit its highest level since the National Federation of Independent Businesses began its survey in 1974. Moreover, monthly average unemployment figures hit their lowest level since 1969 – the year the US Apollo Mission successfully landed on the Moon.

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OUR AUGUST RESULTS

Our weighted average return in August was +2.67%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +39.53%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for August were (a) -0.33% for conservative strategies, (b) -0.71% for balanced strategies, and (c) +7.18% for aggressive strategies.

August was a difficult month for almost all asset classes other than US stocks, as it remains quite clear that international trade tensions have done little to dim US business confidence.

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OUR JULY RESULTS

Our weighted average return in July was +1.30%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +35.90%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for July were (a) +1.07% for conservative strategies, (b) +1.77% for balanced strategies, and (c) +0.96% for aggressive strategies.

July was good month for most asset classes. Trade tensions remained heightened, but the outstanding strength of corporate earnings in the US and Europe pushed equity markets to new highs. S&P 500 earnings per share grew a phenomenal 25% year-over-year. While US corporate tax cuts certainly contributed to these gains, they were not the only differentiating factor. In their analysis of the Q2 earnings season, Goldman Sachs commented that: “the effective tax rate for the overall S&P 500 index equaled 25% in 2Q 2017, but fell to 20% in 2Q 2018. However, pre-tax earnings rose by an impressive 16%, ahead of the 13% expectation at the start of reporting season.” Truly, a superb result.

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OUR JUNE RESULTS

Our weighted average return in June was -0.32%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +34.16%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for June were (a) -0.46% for conservative strategies, (b) +0.65% for balanced strategies, and (c) +0.16% for aggressive strategies.

Trump’s trade war antics took center stage in June, causing broad weakness in emerging market bonds (-1.49%) and equities (-4.54%), as well as base metals (copper -3.72%; nickel -2.18%; zinc -6.89%). The effect of trade wars is simple: tariffs increase costs to producers, which they then pass on to consumers. Higher prices for consumers lead to lower demand. Guess who wins? No one! Now carry this dynamic over to companies with multi-national supply chains and consider the disruptions tariffs might cause. Fun, right? And so, because markets dislike uncertainty, we saw considerable sell-offs in exporters and raw goods suppliers. No one can say for certain how long Trump’s trade war tactics will endure, but the longer they persist, the greater the chance they will damage economic sentiment.

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OUR MAY RESULTS

OUR MAY RESULTS

Our weighted average return in May was +0.66%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +34.59%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for May were (a) -0.91% for conservative strategies, (b) +0.04% for balanced strategies, and (c) +2.39% for aggressive strategies.

The dominant theme in May was the continued resurgence of the US dollar, which gained 3.5% versus the euro. The media attributed this move to political strife in Italy and Spain, but the fact of the matter is that the US economy is doing extremely well. First quarter earnings for the S&P 500 rose by 24% versus the same period last year and the flash manufacturing purchasing managers index also rose in May.

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OUR APRIL RESULTS

OUR APRIL RESULTS

Our weighted average return in April was +0.50%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +33.71%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for April were (a) -0.41% for conservative strategies, (b) +0.40% for balanced strategies, and (c) +1.31% for aggressive strategies.

April was yet another volatile month with corporate earnings and geopolitical drama sending markets back and forth. Corporate earnings came in stronger than expected and gave a strong indication that the US economy continues to perform well. In the commodity space, Trump’s decision to back out of the Iran nuclear deal helped push oil prices up 7%. As mentioned is last month’s commentary, there was also significant volatility in the metals sector as the US applied sanctions to a number of Russian industrial titans. By the end of the month, the S&P 500 was +0.4%, the US dollar gained +1.8% versus the Euro and the Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index was -1.6%.

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OUR MARCH RESULTS

OUR MARCH RESULTS

Our weighted average return in March was -1.94%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +33.05%.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for March were (a) -0.61% for conservative strategies, (b) -1.60% for balanced strategies, and (c)-3.37% for aggressive strategies.

Financial markets continued to experience significant volatility in March and no sector was spared.

The prospect of global trade war, coupled with heightened tensions in Syria meant waking up every morning to new headlines that sent markets into tailspin or euphoria. By the end of the month, ‘tailspin’ had gotten the upper hand.

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OUR FEBRUARY RESULTS

Our weighted average return in February was -3.18%. Since 2015, we have generated a net return of +35.68% with a Sharpe ratio of 1.24.

In terms of investment strategy performance, our weighted average net returns for February were (a) -0.36% for conservative strategies, (b) -3.25% for balanced strategies, and (c)-4.37% for aggressive strategies.

February was a difficult month. January’s euphoria gave way to massive selling across all asset classes and served as a reminder that investing in capital markets is not easy.

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