EP 74 - Greg Silberman - Financial Learning Tips from a Chief Investment Officer Part 3

Awesomers Authority - We'll talk to subject matter experts that talk about various topics that would be of interest to other Awesomers who are listening including, but not limited to, starting a business, running a business, best marketing ideas, sourcing in China, organizational development, tools to help your your business more profitably and much more.
Greg Silberman is the CIO at ACG Wealth. He brings more than 16 years of market experience in
Europe, Asia, and North America. Greg is responsible for managing the firm’s global investment
portfolio, as well as supervising the implementation of the company’s asset management strategies.
Prior to joining ACG Wealth, Greg served as Director of Alternative Investments at Wilmington
Trust where he was responsible for managing more than $2 billion in private equity, hedge fund,
and real estate assets and was instrumental in the launch of a successful alternative mutual fund. He
also managed more than $80 billion as a member of the research team. He was a portfolio manager,
analyst, and product developer for Perpetual Investments in Sydney and JP Morgan Chase in
London with a focus on structured derivative products.
A South African qualified Chartered Accountant, Greg is also a Chartered Financial Analyst
(CFA®) and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA).
Greg serves on investment committees for the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta and the
Solomon Schechter Epstein School of Atlanta. He is a part-time lecturer for the Kaplan Schweser
CFA Review Course.

Greg Silberman is the Chief Investment Officer of ACG Investment Management LLC ("ACGIM") ACGIM specializes in creating custom private market solutions for RIA/Family Office Clients.

This material is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research, or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. They also do not include all fees or expenses that may be incurred by investing in specific products. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. You cannot invest directly in an index. The opinions expressed are the subject to change as subsequent conditions vary. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Advisory services offered through ACG Wealth Inc. is an affiliate of ACG Investment Management, LLC.


Money Talks - Financial Learning Tips from a Chief Investment Officer Part 3

Today is the last part of a three-part series with Greg Silberman, CIO of ACG Wealth. Greg is responsible for managing the firm's Global Investment Portfolio, as well as supervising the implementation of the company's Asset Management Strategies. Here are more key points on today’s episode:

  • Diversification as the best way to help clients achieve their goals.

  • The advantage of having business experts on your team.

  • Why patience is definitely a virtue.

  • Investing is not one size fits all.

So join us on today’s episode and learn all about managing and growing your finances.

01:11 (Steve introduces today’s guest, Greg Silberman, CIO of ACG Wealth.)

02:13 (Greg talks about the importance of getting an expert looking after your business.)

07:37 (Greg shares his predictions about the future of the market.)

13:55 (Greg shares his knowledge about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.)

18:32 (Greg gives his final words of wisdom to the Awesomers.)

Welcome to the Awesomers.com podcast. If you love to learn and if you're motivated to expand your mind and heck if you desire to break through those traditional paradigms and find your own version of success, you are in the right place. Awesomers around the world are on a journey to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. We believe in paying it forward and we fundamentally try to live up to the great Zig Ziglar quote where he said, "You can have everything in your life you want if you help enough other people get what they want." It doesn't matter where you came from. It only matters where you're going. My name is Steve Simonson and I hope that you will join me on this Awesomer journey.


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01:11 (Steve introduces today’s guest, Greg Silberman, CIO of ACG Wealth.)

Steve:  Okay, everybody we're back again Steve Simonson joined today by Greg Silberman on the Awesomers.com podcast series, and we've been talking about investments in various strategies and ideas about how to get a look at least from the 30,000 foot view of investments. I definitely agree as you talked about before the break, Greg, that you know the idea of being diversified is a fine idea whether it's a range of stocks or you know range of even private equity types of deals. You know there may be some allocation towards that higher risk but high reward stuff. But do you have a basic or easy to understand idea that would help us say, “Hey, why should we use somebody like ACG, somebody who's a wealth specialist versus just going and you know putting all the money in one of these mutual funds.” And you know they got ten thousand stocks so that's super diversified. That's got to be better. At least that's what they would tell us. How would you guys respond to that kind of issue?

02:13 (Greg talks about the importance of getting an expert looking after your business.)

Greg: Steve, that is, you touched on kind of the million dollar dollar question there. So let me tell you my answer and obviously there's no right or wrong answer to this. My view is that in investing, there is a season and a time for everything. And so that means there is a season for mutual funds, there's a season for ETFs, there's a season for Robo-advisors, and there's a season for private equity, okay. I don't know when those seasons are. They don't, certainly don't ring a bell and say, “You know it's now time to go into bonds,” or whatever the case may be. So again, diversification is probably the best way that I can help my clients achieve their goals. That means, you know a sprinkling of mutual funds, private equity, venture, bonds, you know you name it, cash even and that's the best that we can do is tailor that to somebody specific requirements, their specific lifestyle, their specific life events that they've got going. So there's definitely an element of planning, financial planning which dovetails with investing side. So you know the investing side is not a one size fits all. What does fit is having a personal customized plan, and that's where you begin the investing process from. So putting all your money into you know, putting all your eggs into one basket, it's probably not the smart way to go about it. And you know probably following some automated device or service or algorithm, if you will, will work for a certain time. There's no question about it. But it's not going to work all the time.

And here again, so I always give thought to you know when the trends reverse, if you will. So, we've had a massive, massive build-up in exchange-traded funds, ETFs. We've had a huge compression in asset management fees as a result, which I think is overall benefit investors. And then, dovetailing on that, you've got the the Robo advice which essentially is saying, “Okay, you know, here is your risk return spectrum. This is how many stocks, bonds, commodities, cash you should hold, and you'll have an algorithm that will essentially balance you.” So that, I'm talking about like the betterment of the world, the wealth funds of the world. And that's great. I have no issues with that whatsoever. The only thing that got me thinking at night is when all of this reverses course, and it will, believe me as night follows day or day follows night, it will, who is going to be on the other end of the line for that client when they need to pick up the phone and go, “Guys, I can't take it anymore. The psychological pressure is killing me. What must I do?” And that's my only concern. There is no one on the other end of the line in certain instances, and you know I think that's worth paying for peace of mind. But again that's my answer, and they might be certainly all different views today.

Steve: Well, I think you know notwithstanding the fact there are different views of the world, the reality is we should value experience. We should value expertise. And you know for me, I know that I will never be an investment expert. I don't spend my days, I don't spend my nights trying to figure out what the best investment is. So it makes sense to have experts on the team that are looking out for your interest and understand your long-term interest, understand what the true plan is and where the investment pieces of it fit in. So I certainly understand what you're saying and agree that you know having somebody on the team who understands it, and that somebody in this case could be a team of somebodies, right? Where you guys have more than one person that at ACG that helps look out for the embed...

Greg: Totally. No question about it. You're totally correct. So it takes a village. Is that what the saying is? It takes a village. And the more wealth a person or a family has, the more complicated their structure is, the more complicated their text is, the more complicated their trust in a state requirements are. It definitely takes a village in that instance. And there's you know many different ways to skin a cat.

Steve: So, Greg, as we're starting to run against the clock a little bit, I want to talk  

little bit about the future. So maybe you have your crystal ball handy...

Greg: Let me just get this out. One second...

Steve: Make sure you got it pointed the right direction and...

Greg: Okay

Steve: Love to hear your you know predictions. And of course, who among us can be right about the future? But you know the market has been on just an extraordinary bull run. From my perspective, it's you know, it's scary for people to figure out if they should put money in you know? Is there going to be a big correction? What would you say to people who are maybe late to the the party on this bull run? Should they hold off? Should they put money into bubblegum? What's the strategy for them?

07:37 (Greg shares his predictions about the future of the market.)

Greg: Right. So the beautiful thing about the future is it’s able to humble all of us, okay. It's just, there's just no knowing, there's no telling. I don't think any person has seen beyond the horizon and can speak of it. That's it. There's a few things I'd like to just get out regarding this current bull cycle. We now know this is the longest bull market in history, and history is a long time, right? So that's one thing.

The second thing we know is that we came out of a global financial crisis, and I'm referring to 2008 which... and you actually said this early. You talked about depression babies. Well, millennial babies... and I don't know millennials necessarily. Anyway, a whole group, a whole generation of people, their psychology has been shaped around the global financial crisis. That's how deep this thing was and how deep it will remain in the psyche. So even coming out of it or since coming out of it, which was in March 2009, people have always been looking back and going, “Gosh, I don't want to go through that again. I'm not you know, I'm not going to have, that’s not going to happen to me again.” And so frankly, I would say everyone's been a little bit cautious since March of 2009, looking back and going, “I'm not going to repeat that mistake.” And that's probably what's known in our vernacular as the “wall of worry.” So this marker just continues to climb higher and higher because it's climbing the “wall of worry.”

Now the time to be concerned is when everyone is piling into the market ala 2007, 2000 and you know everyone and you're getting stuck up from your cabbie or your Uber drive in this case. And you know that's the time to be cautious. But right now, I don't see much exuberance out there. I you know, I speak to a lot of people. No one asked me for stock tips. Thank goodness, I don't have any. But you know as I'm looking out of my window right now, I'm seeing three or four cranes on the Atlanta skyline, business is booming but in a quiet way that the psyche is not at this exuberant point. All of which is to say this market could possibly go even further and even higher, believe it or not.

Again, I don't know for sure, and I'll discuss in a second what one should really do whether you believe me or you don't. But the one point I want to make is this, the Amazon effect, if you will, right? What tech is doing and the disruption there tech is causing in every single industry is unlocking an amount of value that we have never ever seen before. It is arbitraging information, if you will. It's taking a bunch of people who are driving around in their cars with excess capacity now go pick up a passenger and get paid for doing that. I mean that's a huge unlocking and I believe that only, only just begun. Which is to say that you know if that's what's been propelling the market forward, I think it still got a long way to go. I mean, there's you know health care, goodness! Health care is the most bureaucratic system I've come across. And so that's right for disruption. And I'm sure there's a thousand other industries rapid disruption and unlocking value and that could propel earnings of certain stocks, certainly the tech stocks higher. That's it. I may be dead wrong, and I accept that, okay?

So the real approach, the real prudent approach here is we don't know. So we can't be at the market and we can't be all in, but what we can do is we can be averaging in. So every month, every two months, every three months, whatever allows, I would take a portion of my savings, a portion of my investable funds, and I would just methodically put it into the market whether the market is higher or lower. I would just methodically put it into the market. And I'll leave off on one last thing, and I actually said this on a podcast we did a couple of weeks ago. I said, “Had a person merely just bought the S&P 500 in the year 2000 and held it as firm as possible and didn't trade it all the way up to 2018 going through two horrific day of market, I believe and don't quote, where I'm going to say in numbers are an offhand but they would be at you know in the hundreds and hundreds of percentages, I believe.”  And that certainly just about whole which says the following, “Stocks do go up on the long run if you can have the wherewithal to stay with them.”

Steve: Well, I think that's really sage wisdom, and I do want to just echo that first of all, very salient advice there and I think good predictions as well. But the reality is you know so many people I knew especially during that the dot-com meltdown of 2000 or the housing meltdown of you know 2007, you know all of, so many people, not all of them, but so many said, “Oh, we should sell. We got to get out, you know.” And in many cases that dot bombs you know they should have been in the first place, and there's nowhere to go. But in most other cases, I remember some friends saying you know, “Hey, we've lost 50% of our you know value in the last whatever six or nine months of the market in 2007. You know we better sell and get out before it's down to zero.” And you know of course I was like, “Hey, we already lost so much. What's the difference? Let's just write it out.” And the reality is those who wrote it out and stayed in the market were rewarded long term because it all came back and then some and then some. Patience is a definitely a virtue.

So, Greg, because you have so much experience, I would definitely like to get any words of wisdom or vision or whatever you may have as it relates to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general. There's so much talk about it. You know, on one side we see people saying you know, “It's the latest in the tulip craze fly-by-night,” and the other guys were like, “This is disrupting, changing the world, maybe unlocking value.” What's say you on this matter?

13:55 (Greg shares his knowledge about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.)

Greg: Yes. Steve, it's a great topic. I love it. And it's oh, look, it’s technology, it’s disruption at edits roots. I mean there's no question about it. So there's a few ways we can go about this. Look, I'm from Africa originally. And you go to South Africa, you go to any African country now, which is still got large waves of poverty. And I'll tell you what you do see, the guy who's standing next to the traffic light. We used to call him robots in South Africa. The guy and he's selling you… he's basically got his bag of goods. So he's got a hanger possibly with clothes with an iPhone or whatever it is. He's trying to you know sell you some stuff at your car window. That guy has got a smartphone, and his buddy who's on the side of the road just taking a nap, he's also got a smartphone. So they've all got smartphones, right? But they don't all have bank accounts. So if there is a mechanism by which they could cheaply transfer value between themselves, they would certainly use it, and they do. And that is the fundamental characteristic of cryptocurrencies. It’s a token of value which can be shared electronically.

So there's no question there is a huge need for something like this, and there's no question that it will continue to evolve. So that's my first point. It ain't going away. It's not going to disappear. It's not tulips in that sense. What did happen was I think a mania, a mania occur, something new that came on board, something with a finite supply, something where there was no government intervention to a degree, although governments can make crypto go away by making them illegal. So there was an element of a speculative mania which we just underwent, and that was what I would call the first phase, the first wave of the crypto mania.

So using Bitcoin, I think Bitcoin they say you know used to be a zero was a ten, three hundred, went up to twenty thousand and is now back down I don’t know what... it's six or seven thousand dollars. You know, I don't frankly know. I don't think it's going to go to zero. And it may you know but I don't know what his value is either. Intrinsically, it's difficult to value. But there's something there. There is something there. I don't quite have my hands around it fully yet. Certainly, the blockchain technology, which is an easy cop out from crypto, the blockchain technology is very, very interesting because there is a disintermediation of notes. That's where you and I can transact even if we don't know each other. And we can say that it's an element of trust and an element of value that we can exchange even if we don't know each other, and it's implicit in the contract in written into the blockchain. Now that's value. That's got to have value. It's just a matter of extracting that value.

So I certainly have stayed away from giving you a buy or sell recommendation, my compliance car would actually kill me on that, but it ain't going to zero. That much I will be willing to say.

Steve: Well, I think that's again, I think it's you know wise words spoken, and the reality is nobody knows. I do think that you know your point that blockchain, the fundamental piece of the puzzle that is, what enables crypto or any of these other emerging technologies, that's a definitely something to keep an eye on. You know in our industries, you know I do some import/export stuff, I definitely see big shippers being able to put blockchain into you know practice to help make these transactions, which now are so bureaucratic and so much friction within the system. And to be honest, it's similar to the example you gave earlier you know about the Uber drivers you know. The taxis were a bloody nightmare, still are frankly, and Uber is just such a better way, and whether it's Lyft or Uber or any of the similar brands, DiDi in China, and so many others, we've done, we found a better way to do business, and we found it by having that technology unlock the value as you talked about earlier. So very, very wise words. Greg, as we close it up, any final words of wisdom that you care to leave what the Awesomers out there listening?

18:32 (Greg gives his final words of wisdom to the Awesomers.)

Greg: You know, Steve, I'm reminded of the quotes and I think was a Shakespeare quote about you know life take, life taken… what was the quote now? You know if you take life as at the mouth of a flood so to speak, it can be wonderful and you know there's just no turning back and can take you to places you've never dreamed of, and if you don't get into that flood, you can languish on the banks forever. And I've basically butchered that entire quote. But I think you understand what I'm saying.

And so, this is such an exciting time to be alive. It is, you know, the world is being reshaped. I mean, goodness, we're going to space, and we're talking about space exploration. You know it's just wherever you look, what's going on in biotech. I mean, you know, there's a chance, I know your fall off your chair but there's a chance that somebody amongst us today may live to certainly 200 years old, I would suspect or maybe even longer. And there's a very real chance of that. So we are in you know crazy times, and everyone can, there's a space for everyone, and everyone really needs to take life at the flood right now because we are in a flood. And it's just whatever you can dream of you can achieve literally.

And so I hope all your listeners you know take that on board. But it's tough, and it takes perseverance. And you're going to get hit down and you got to get up and you got to get hit you know. It's just, that's the hardest part of it all. It's not having the idea. It's not even executing. It's just getting a time off the time off the time. And again, that goes back to your psychological makeup and just you know getting tough and knowing that there's only a finite amount of problems you can experience before you make that breakthrough.

Steve: Ah again, very well said. And I definitely want Awesomers out there to pay close attention this idea that you know in this dynamic and exciting world that we live in with so much happening, often the difference between you know winning and losing is just simply how many times you got back up and you know fight your way through the flood, enjoy the parts of the flood that are useful. And again, very well said, Greg. Thank you for again for joining me, Greg. It's been great to have you.

Greg: Thank you.

Steve: We'll definitely have your links in the show notes and things like that. So thank you one last time. And Awesomers, we'll be right back after this.

Well, we've done it again everybody. We have another episode of the Awesomers podcast ready for the world. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed our program today. Now is a good time to take a moment to subscribe, like and share this podcast. Heck you can even leave a review if you wanted. Awesomers around you will appreciate your help. It's only with your participation and sharing that we'll be able to achieve our goals. Our success is literally in your hands. Thank you again for joining us. We are at your service. Find out more about me, Steve Simonson, our guest, team and all the other Awesomers involved at Awesomers.com. Thank you again.