World-Class, Innovative Wealth Advisors
Ultra High Net Worth
Andrew Carnegie accommodates the financial needs of individuals that have net assets of more than US$30 million or annual income in excess of US$20 million. We provide bespoke investment advice that optimizes balancing of assets and allocation.
Our family office investment solutions offer fully outsourced management of multi-generational family wealth with a specific focus on legacy creation and succession planning. Our investment professionals guide the formation and administration.
Central banks, sovereign wealth funds, and other institutions entrusted with holding national wealth face unique challenges and responsibilities. Our wealth advisors prioritize risk management and prudent investment decisions with balanced.
We offer asset management services that are tailored to the specific objectives, tolerances for risk, and defined missions of foundations and endowments. We tune our advice to match the foundation’s goals of supporting particular current needs while achieving continued asset
More than US$750 billion worth of trade passes through Singapore every year. The island-state sits at a geographically precarious outpost with Malaysia and China to its north and Indonesia to its south yet boasts one of the richest economies in southeast Asia that is bolstered by political stability and respect for the rule of law. The COVID-19 epidemic has raised a question of whether and to what extent this small state will survive the economic dislocations brought on to the international economy by the COVID-19 epidemic.
Singapore’s history provides an answer to this question. The British Empire founded a colony in Singapore in 1819 and used its strategic location as a trading hub between its other far east colonies and the rest of Europe. Singapore gained its independence in 1965 and rapidly undertook the development necessary to bring it on par with the rest of the industrialized world. The country’s small size made it amenable to a form of government that was largely authoritarian but that recognized individual rights and liberties. That authoritarian government adopted an industrial strategy that attracted foreign direct investment and opened its economy to globalization long before any of its regional neighbors joined the international economy. Simultaneously, the country built housing and supported schools for its citizens, which reduced domestic unrest and made Singapore even more attractive to foreign investment.
For more than 50 years, Singapore’s stability and strong institutions gave foreign investors the assurances they wanted and needed to make long term investments. The country’s manufacturing sector experienced rapid growth that was further fueled by a vibrant shipyard industry. When Singapore manufacturers faced increased competition from enterprises in neighboring Asian countries, the country became even more successful by changing its economic backbone with tax and regulatory incentives that led to the establishment of a thriving financial services sector with international banking, consulting, and insurance services that cater to all of southeast Asia.
Singapore’s willingness and ability to transition from manufacturing to services and its highly qualified workforce and strong education system have enabled Singapore to thrive in a challenging geographic region with potentially hostile neighbors and a dearth of natural resources.
Early in 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world’s economy into disarray. Singapore was one of the first countries in its region to implement travel restrictions to prevent a widespread outbreak that would otherwise overwhelm the country’s healthcare resources. Those restrictions brought censure from the Chinese foreign ministry, which blamed developed countries with robust healthcare systems for imposing travel restrictions that adversely affected China.
The economic relationship between China and Singapore is a two-way street. China has been Singapore’s largest trading partner since 2013, and Singapore is China’s largest foreign investor. Singapore relies on the millions of international visitors that come to Singapore every year, including almost 3.5 million from mainland China alone. The average spending by Chinese tourists in Singapore is almost double that of visitors from other countries. Singapore swallowed a bitter pill when it precluded those visitors and their pocketbooks from visiting the island-state.
Singapore authorities were likely aware of the risks and costs of a travel ban when they imposed it. Singapore’s government lost more than US$230 million in response to the 2003 Sars epidemic. In a few short weeks, Singapore has experienced an impact on its economy COVID-19 that has already exceeded the costs imposed by Sars.
Perhaps in recognition of its small size, Singapore has slowly allowed work pass holders who have traveled to China to return to Singapore. Singapore is taking this action presumably because its native population is not large enough to meet the needs of all of its healthcare, transport, and waste management services. Singapore has predicted that its manufacturing sector will suffer as a result of its actions in response to COVID-19 and that its relationship with China may be permanently affected by the travel ban. The country adopted a proactive approach to ease those tensions when it announced an assistance package to China and made donations to international aid organizations that were supporting the Chinese communities most affected by COVID-19.
Singapore’s history and its nimble approach to previous economic stresses bode well for the country’s prospects. Investors that are considering Asian opportunities would be well-advised to keep Singapore at the forefront of their considerations. The strength of Singapore’s economy before the COVID-19 epidemic will put the country and its industrial and financial sectors on good footing to recover quickly when the pandemic comes under better control. The country has long been a conduit of Asian trade and shipping, and there is no reason to suspect that this conduit will be closed down or bypassed as the region comes back online.
A common feature of both bull and bear markets is the presence of unicorns, namely, those enterprises that are able to absorb the economic circumstances that markets throw at them and that thrive by serving new demands created by those circumstances. Many Silicon Valley investors thought they had identified the startup unicorns in their back yard, but the coronavirus market shock has shown just how rare those unicorns are.
As evidence of the ephemeral nature of a unicorn, consider the San Francisco short-term rental startup, WanderJaunt. This once-high flying company laid off a fourth of its staff after experiencing a slate of cancellations in March 2020. Likewise, Wonderschool, a start-up that connects parents with daycare and preschool providers, recently cut most of its staff after the demand for its services all but evaporated in March. Other startups, including ClassPass, which offers fitness class membership programs, scrambled to create video streaming services to replace the in-person services that they had previously provided.
Real unicorns, if they ever existed, may have gone extinct through the process of natural selection. The natural selection that is killing of Silicon Valley’s corporate unicorns is marching through the region at a blistering pace. The New York Times reports that upwards of 6,000 employees were furloughed from more than 50 startup companies in March. Startups that had attracted significant investor attention at the end of 2019 are now putting. plans for initial public offerings on hold. Newer tech companies are scrambling for a depleting pool of angel investor capital.
The companies that looked like durable unicorns, including Airbnb and other peer-to-peer sharing services, are fighting a two-front war. On one front, they are struggling to maintain their existing business; on the other front, they are fending off ever-present challenges from smaller companies that have a more disruptive mindset. The immediate effect is that the few survivors are suspending hiring or laying off staff and reducing or eliminating marketing budgets.
Some industry sectors might look like fertile ground for unicorns, including telemedicine, food delivery, online learning, remote work, and gaming. Separating the unicorns from the imposters in these sectors, however, will be a challenge to even the most seasoned venture capitalists. Given a few of the much-hyped but underperforming IPOs of 2019 (e.g. Uber, Lyft, WeWork), and in view of the COVID-19 pandemic, Silicon Valley venture capital firms are issuing blanket warnings to start-ups, leaving many of the riskiest start-ups exposed to the sudden termination of capital investments and an almost-certain death of thinly-capitalized enterprises.
Silicon Valley has never been known to accept defeat. Almost as quickly as some startups were closing up shop, others jumped in to take their place and respond to the conditions that drove many erstwhile unicorns away. Furloughed valley employees have rushed to sign up for Upstream and Silver Lining, networking apps that connect tech workers affected by coronavirus layoffs with companies that are still hiring. Hiring manages and recruiters are sharing weekly newsletters like Layoff List, which is published by Drafted, a Silicon Valley recruiting company. Tech veterans in the Valley know that venture investors may have shut off the startup money tap now, but the larger established tech companies are still sitting on piles of cash.
The startup unicorns that will survive the current shakeout are shifting to survival mode, in which they cut spending, lower prices on products, renegotiate fixed costs for things like leases and take advantage of government programs that have been hastily put into place to help small- to midsize businesses and their employees. Successful executives will adopt a “wartime C.E.O.” mentality that will have them doing whatever it takes to win in the face of the existential coronavirus threat. WanderJaunt, for example, may have laid off a fourth of its staff, but it also quickly transitioned from serving the needs of from vacation travelers to helping employees and others displaced by the virus, like stranded college students, people seeking a separate workspace or medical workers isolating themselves from family. In this environment, companies no longer have the luxury of taking days to make major decisions. Those decisions are now made in a matter of hours.
The venture capital that fuels the valley will likely sit back in the short run to let natural selection run its course and to allow struggling startups to fade away. A number of startup unicorns will die, but the relationships that fostered those startups will continue to breed new ideas and opportunities. One small San Francisco-based venture firm, Alpha Bridge Ventures, has committed to contribute $25,000 to founders that it backed for new startups if the founder’s existing company fails due to coronavirus issues. If a once-novel solution is no longer viable, a creative mind will always find something else that is.
Investors that seek to increase the values of their portfolios will need to work harder to find the viable startup unicorns in this market. They will always have the option of waiting for established venture capital firms to reopen their pocketbooks and then to follow that wave of investment, but that strategy may lead to forfeiture of early substantial gains. In every case, investors need to be prepared to leverage their capital resources and to act quickly when they do find an elusive but valuable opportunity.
Whether rightly or wrongly, the news cycle has focused on China’s initial and subsequent responses to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan province. Financial media outlets have shifted their attention to the global economic consequences of the pandemic, but that focus has largely ignored the renewed stability of China A-shares, which have been quietly outperforming other international market indices without showing excessive fluctuation.
China recovered from the 2008 global financial crisis more quickly than other economies, in no small part due to an RMB 4 trillion stimulus package that the country quickly put into place for infrastructure investment. Government stimulus packages are not a panacea because they are a catalyst for increases in local government debts, cash flow into inefficient enterprises that would not normally qualify for investment capital, and growth in loosely-regulated lending. Regardless, it is beyond question that China’s 2008 stimulus package helped pull China out from a potential downward economic spiral.
Analysts are now watching China to see if an analogous infrastructure stimulus package will be announced. Rapid advances in technology over the past decade have changed the meaning of infrastructure to include not just physical elements such as roads, ports, and railways, but also digital infrastructure, including faster 5G cellular networks, data centers and server farms, and all of the products and services required to develop that digital infrastructure.
The foundation of these digital infrastructure projects is already in place. At least 25 provincial-level regions have put new infrastructure projects in their government work reports. 21 of those regions plan to advance 5G network construction. The coronavirus pandemic appears to have little effect on the rollout of these projects. China Unicom, for example, recently reported that it will finish the construction of 250,000 5G base stations by the end of the third quarter.
Further, China’s consumer space has embraced digitization faster than almost every other major economy. As network providers ramp up their 5G capabilities, China’s cloud computing capacity will increase to better serve big data, self-driving vehicles, artificial intelligence systems, virtual offices, and internet of things (IoT) devices.
China’s imposition of homestay quarantine from late January 2020 has forced Chinese enterprises to rapidly shift to a telecommuting mode, and much of the non-manufacturing work that ended abruptly in January resumed in early February. The mobile apps that were originally developed for China’s white-collar workers, including Alibaba-backed DingTalk, Tencent Conference, and WeChat Work, are adding new in-home education and other functions that extend their utility beyond their white-collar users. Both Alibaba and Tencent added new server capacity to handle traffic that increased by orders of magnitude almost overnight. China’s willingness to invest in digital infrastructure and the transition into remote telecommuting may hold the key to solve the challenges of a coronavirus-induced slowdown in global productivity.
This is not to say that traditional spending on railways, roads, airports and urban utilities will be jettisoned in favor of digital infrastructure. Build-outs of “last mile” logistic facilities, for example, will serve the sectors of the new economy that rely on highly efficient and reliable logistics support.
As China resumes infrastructure work and production, analysts expect to see the country deploy at least RMB 3.5 trillion. That spending will fuel investments and opportunities in related industrial and infrastructure sectors. Chinese administrators will have no option but to adopt more proactive fiscal policies to accelerate infrastructure construction. All of these factors combine to create enormous opportunities for investors to profit from a recovery in China.
An important caveat is that although economists are encouraged by recent rebounds in the Chinese market, they remain divided over whether a recovery will be sharp or more gradual. China reversed course very quickly after the 2003 SARS epidemic, and some analysts predict that any current recovery will mirror China’s experience from 2003. Others look at the February 2020 decline and the subsequent March rebound and emphasize that the reversal is still below certain support thresholds, which could be an indicator of a second decline.
It is rare to find consensus among any group of economists, but the one common thread that runs through virtually every economic report is that no government stimulus will be effective if the global coronavirus pandemic is not first contained and controlled. Containment efforts are ongoing and are showing some early signs of success. The strength and pace of recovery in China and the rest of the world will ultimately be a function of these efforts as much as it will rely on government stimulus and any industrial response to the demands of infrastructure development.
Perhaps the best guidance that any investor can rely on under the current circumstances comes from Warren Buffett, who often tells investors to be greedy when others are fearful. China’s economy has shown remarkable resilience in the past. It continues to have the capacity to serve the front end of a global supply chain for goods and services. Nobody knows when the world economy will recover from the coronavirus shock, but it is safe to say that a recovery will happen. Savvy investors will use this time to take their cash and liquidity when they can and to invest wisely in the enterprises and industries that will be the first to benefit from that recovery.