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spartan

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  1. Found this discussion on Canada's data deficit very informative and relevant to Canadian analysts / decision makers. For those that don't have the time to watch, here are some interesting quotes: “On the business side, we have a serious problem in Canada. The restrictions of confidentiality under the Statistics Act make it very difficult to publish detailed economic data, and that’s a serious concern… In some cases, we can’t publish data by industry for a province because there are only two or three businesses in that province of that type. So therefore, if you want to do an analysis by industry in smaller provinces, you’re seriously hampered. And issues like the environment are inherently local. If you can’t obtain information about the scale and activities of businesses in the city, you can’t make the connections as well as you ought to be able to between economic activity and the environment / climate change. The data doesn’t exist or it’s in the hands of people who choose not to make it public, and that’s another issue entirely.” - Wayne Smith, Former Chief Statistician of Canada “Deloitte was doing a piece of work with the government looking at how we could harness AI and machine learning to basically increase the efficiency of government, and we had a great brainstorming session about what was possible. But almost immediately, we ran into an issue that the departments internal to the provincial government couldn’t share the data between themselves to actually unlock the use. One of the ironies we have is that computational power – our ability to use data to identify trends and develop analysis – has gone up enormously, and the data isn’t available to actually unlock the potential.” - Craig Alexander, Chief Economist at Deloitte Canada “One of our big areas of focus is intergovernmental relations, so “is Ontario getting a fair deal from the federal government in terms of expenditures?” The provincial economic accounts, which are generated by Statistics Canada, were updated in 2011/2012 [and] hey were also just updated a year or two ago. There’s about a six- or seven-year gap there, where we didn’t know how much money the federal government was spending or collecting in each province across the country. It makes it really hard to analyse “are certain provinces perhaps being treated unfairly?” “Are they not getting their fair share of federal spending?”” - Sunil Johal, Policy Director at The Mowat Centre “The United States statistical system is an interesting creature. It’s huge. It’s very decentralized. There’s a vast amount of statistical activity going on in the United States, some of it directly through government departments, other pieces through major university-based research organizations. Their efficiency is terrible, but their scope is huge. The U.S. system is data rich. There are just so many organizations producing this stuff. There’s no other country comparable in the world… They’re very restrictive. They don’t allow government departments from trying to monopolize the data or charge for it. They really run a very open and free system in the United States.” - Wayne Smith, Former Chief Statistician of Canada “Our system suffers tremendously from “what’s the issue of the day?” Since the end of the 1990’s, the funding coming to Statistics Canada has generally been tied to “this is the current policy issue, and so we’re going to have cannabis statistics and we’re going to look at foreign ownership of residential property.” Money is given to Statistics Canada for that. That’s applied research. The kind of data for generalized scientific research - where you can actually discover new issues that haven’t been identified yet - is what’s not being produced, it’s what was cut out of the budget in the 2000’s, and it’s what needs to be restored and protected…” - Wayne Smith, Former Chief Statistician of Canada “When we were determining that there was a massive labour shortage in Canada, which was at odds with Statistics Canada data, it turned out that the source that the federal government was using was Kijiji. Those ads were not a reliable source. The whole premise of a labour shortage was faulty, but it was the justification to bring in many, many foreign workers.” - Tavia Grant, Reporter at The Globe and Mail “It isn’t clear to me that the public actually is demanding evidence-based policymaking, and that increasingly, there’s a sense of distrust around what analysts and policy wonks have been saying for years because the outcomes people have been getting haven’t matched what they were promised. I think it’s undermining the confidence and support. This is a very fundamental issue.” - Craig Alexander, Chief Economist at Deloitte Canada
  2. Engines That Move Markets: Technology Investing from Railroads to the Internet and Beyond - Alasdair Nairn As the title suggests, this book is a fascinating collection of stories about various technological breakthroughs. The book illustrates the technologies' origins, industry development, investment results, and peculiar effects on human nature. It does an incredible job of capturing prevailing sentiment (through newspaper clippings, etc.) and exposing the various financial shenanigans used by promoters du jour. Philippe Laffont (Coatue Management) recently mentioned it on Twitter. Industries discussed: - Railroads - Telephone - Electricity - Oil - Automobile - Wireless - Computing - Internet https://www.amazon.ca/Engines-That-Markets-Alisdair-Nairn/dp/0857195999/ref=sxts_sxwds-bia-wc-rsf1_0?crid=2RXSCVKCA7MAG&cv_ct_cx=engines+that+move+markets&dchild=1&keywords=engines+that+move+markets&pd_rd_i=0857195999&pd_rd_r=b6eb4c88-525e-4478-b557-d2d0fa3de307&pd_rd_w=wD45x&pd_rd_wg=pqeNa&pf_rd_p=110044ae-711a-46cd-88ce-91b9591d369f&pf_rd_r=A206E7DP2WWK4DR34M47&psc=1&qid=1615471805&s=books&sprefix=engines%2Cstripbooks%2C168&sr=1-1-7bf78e84-8ef2-4f13-9926-bee5153e81cb
  3. https://production-carnegie.s3.amazonaws.com/filer_public/ab/c9/abc9fb4b-dc86-4ce8-ae31-a983b9a326ed/ccny_essay_1889_thegospelofwealth.pdf "The price which society pays for the law of competition, like the price it pays for cheap comforts and luxuries, is also great; but the advantage of this law are also greater still, for it is to this law that we owe our wonderful material development, which brings improved conditions in its train. But, whether the law be benign or not, we must say of it, as we say of the change in the conditions of men to which we have referred: It is here; we cannot evade it; no substitutes for it have been found; and while the law may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it insures the survival of the fittest in every department. We accept and welcome therefore, as conditions to which we must accommodate ourselves, great inequality of environment, the concentration of business, industrial and commercial, in the hands of a few, and the law of competition between these, as being not only beneficial, but essential for the future progress of the race. Having accepted these, it follows that there must be great scope for the exercise of special ability in the merchant and in the manufacturer who has to conduct affairs upon a great scale. That this talent for organization and management is rare among men is proved by the fact that it invariably secures for its possessor enormous rewards, no matter where or under what laws or conditions. The experienced in affairs always rate the man whose services can be obtained as a partner as not only the first consideration, but such as to render the question of his capital scarcely worth considering, for such men soon create capital; while, without the special talent required, capital soon takes wings." "The Socialist or Anarchist who seeks to overturn present conditions is to be regarded as attacking the foundation upon which civilization itself rests, for civilization took its start from the day that the capable, industrious workman said to his incompetent and lazy fellow, "If thou dost not sow, thou shalt not reap," and thus ended primitive Communism by separating the drones from the bees. One who studies this subject will soon be brought face to face with the conclusion that upon the sacredness of property civilization itself depends--the right of the laborer to his hundred dollars in the savings bank, and equally the legal right of the millionaire to his millions. To these who propose to substitute Communism for this intense Individualism the answer, therefore, is: The race has tried that." "It will be understood that fortunes are here spoken of, not moderate sums saved by many years of effort, the returns on which are required for the comfortable maintenance and education of families. This is not wealth, but only competence which it should be the aim of all to acquire." "Why should men leave great fortunes to their children? If this is done from affection, is it not misguided affection? Observation teaches that, generally speaking, it is not well for the children that they should be so burdened." "It is not suggested that men who have failed to educate their sons to earn a livelihood shall cast them adrift in poverty. If any man has seen fit to rear his sons with a view to their living idle lives, or, what is highly commendable, has instilled in them the sentiment that they are in a position to labor for public ends without reference to pecuniary considerations, then, of course, the duty of the parent is to see that such are provided for in moderation. There are instances of millionaires' sons unspoiled by wealth, who, being rich, still perform great services in the community. Such are the very salt of the earth, as valuable as, unfortunately, they are rare; still it is not the exception, but the rule, that men must regard, and, looking at the usual result of enormous sums conferred upon legatees, the thoughtful man must shortly say, "I would as soon leave to my son a curse as the almighty dollar," and admit to himself that it is not the welfare of the children, but family pride, which inspires these enormous legacies." "Men who continue hoarding great sums all their lives, the proper use of which for - public ends would work good to the community, should be made to feel that the community, in the form of the state, cannot thus be deprived of its proper share. By taxing estates heavily at death the state marks its condemnation of the selfish millionaire's unworthy life." "Poor and restricted are our opportunities in this life; narrow our horizon; our best work most imperfect; but rich men should be thankful for one inestimable boon. They have it in their power during their lives to busy themselves in organizing benefactions from which the masses of their fellows will derive lasting advantage, and thus dignify their own lives. The highest life is probably to be reached, not by such imitation of the life of Christ as Count Tolstoi gives us, but, while animated by Christ's spirit, by recognizing the changed conditions of this age, and adopting modes of expressing this spirit suitable to the changed conditions under which we live; still laboring for the good of our fellows, which was the essence of his life and teaching, but laboring in a different manner." "The best uses to which surplus wealth can be put have already been indicated. These who, would administer wisely must, indeed, be wise, for one of the serious obstacles to the improvement of our race is indiscriminate charity. It were better for mankind that the millions of the rich were thrown in to the sea than so spent as to encourage the slothful, the drunken, the unworthy. Of every thousand dollars spent in so called charity to-day, it is probable that $950 is unwisely spent; so spent, indeed as to produce the very evils which it proposes to mitigate or cure." "In bestowing charity, the main consideration should be to help those who will help themselves; to provide part of the means by which those who desire to improve may do so; to give those who desire to use the aids by which they may rise; to assist, but rarely or never to do all. Neither the individual nor the race is improved by almsgiving. Those worthy of assistance, except in rare cases, seldom require assistance. The really valuable men of the race never do, except in cases of accident or sudden change." “…the man who dies leaving behind many millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away unwept, unhonored, and unsung" "The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced."
  4. Interesting. Well if there's one thing Toronto doesn't need more of, it's real estate developers. So many sleezeballs have turned into real estate geniuses (developers, sales agents, brokers raising equity for developers but calling themselves private equity professionals, "investors"). Lots of filth in industry. After covid hit, I thought we'd have a welcome moment of sanity and mean reversion... As for the original question, every piece of real estate is different. It would be hard to make blanket statements regarding a % loss in value of urban residential real estate. Depends on the city, the employers and their future plans for WFH, and hundreds of other variables.
  5. If you're (1) young (2) no family (3) can permanently WFH, your range of potential dwellings is all housing that falls within the same time zone +/- 2 hours. This is much more than 10x. I have friends in London that are planning on moving to other European cities (cheaper). Some of my family members in Toronto are considering moving out of the country to cut their living expenses in half (at least). As for Toronto condos, what happens is anyone's guess. Sellers are in denial and refuse to lower prices. It will be interesting to see where all of that money will go. Assuming these people sell their units within the next year or so, is that just hidden pent up demand for housing in the burbs? Or are they "investors" that got burned from real estate, don't want that feeling again, and would rather put money in the stock market where they see their 12 year old nephew making more money than them? Less headaches, more liquidity, etc.
  6. This forum can be hostile for absolutely no reason sometimes.. wtf is wrong with you people.
  7. Spruce Point’s searing critique of GFL: https://www.sprucepointcap.com/gfl-environmental-inc/ Alleged connections to organized crime, vanity projects for garbage trucks, larger than life CEO that develops real estate as a side hustle... this has it all.
  8. Definitely not. I want to work in investment management, primarily because I enjoy the challenge of fundamental analysis.
  9. I was hired to work on compilation and review engagements. I did a good job and wanted more of a challenge, so they moved me into audit.
  10. Is the CPA a valuable designation re: investing? Buffett always talks about the importance of accounting, but is earning the CPA necessary? Can't I learn as I go along by reading regulatory filings? My thinking is that if there are particular aspects of a financial statement that I don't understand, I can always look up the rules (i.e. CPA handbook, etc.). I have 3 years of experience in Big 4 audit, which has built a strong foundation of accounting knowledge. My original intent for joining Big 4 was to learn accounting, but earning the CPA will likely take me another 2 years. I'm not concerned about the time/effort required, but if I'm going to embark on an arduous journey and take time away from finding bargains, I want to know that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Any thoughts/opinions are welcome. How has everyone else on this forum learned accounting over the years?
  11. Friend of mine who’s dad started a business just posted this on Instagram. Guy hasn’t worked a day in his life. Probably looks forward to nudie magazine day. Enjoy.
  12. spartan

    Dan Rasmussen

    These articles are a gold mine: https://verdadcap.com/featured-thinking Data-driven arguments, eloquent prose, and written by someone with actual experience (Harvard, Bain Capital, then started his own fund). What an excellent way to spend the morning. Highly recommend. Here is an excerpt from his PE article: "The California gold rush of 1849 was led by individual speculators who dreamed of newfound wealth. The great private equity gold rush of the postcrisis era, like the subprime bubble before it, is led by managers and consultants, whose spreadsheets are well formatted and precisely wrong. The California gold rush of 1849 was based on the discovery of actual gold in streams and mountains. The great private equity gold rush of the postcrisis era is based on airy ideas about operational improvements, low volatility, and historical outperformance. They may not be tangible, but they make for good bullets in a PowerPoint presentation. The California gold rush of 1849 did not end well for the poor and desperate speculators who dreamed of a better future. And the great private equity gold rush of the postcrisis era may not end well for the confident experts who deploy other people’s capital with the goal of staying rich, not getting rich—and it may be even worse for everyone else. How much has private equity contributed to the bizarre economic situation of recent years—in which asset prices soar while underlying GDP, along with productivity growth, remains historically weak? And is today’s private equity froth a warning sign of the next crisis?"
  13. Here are a few more anecdotes from Toronto: 1. I just sold my house a few weeks ago (the closing process has been horrendous - lots of buyer's remorse), and my realtor told me that one of his clients owns what would have been $80 Million in real estate a few months ago. The client called him yesterday and told him to "fire sale" everything because their "scheme doesn't work anymore". According to my realtor, the client is currently entertaining an offer for $60 Million. 2. Very close friend of mine operates a coffee roaster business. His dad started it in the mid-1970's. Around $25 Million in annual revenue. Their business is down 90%. They let go of most of their employees and, according to him, can last for one year until they go belly up. (They own the land so no need to worry about rent...but I'm assuming they have debt and will likely have more coming out of this.) 3. My dad is a cardiologist and never in my life have I seen him this stressed about finances. He doesn't go to work (no employment income), stays at home (ruminates / lots of phone time), has been seeing his assets go down in value almost every day... he would be helping out in the hospitals but he's 73 years old with pre-existing lung issues... 4. A close relative owns a gym in downtown Toronto (now closed). The guy drives a Benz SUV, smokes and drinks excessively, goes to super expensive grocery stores for food, has two kids with another on the way, and lives in a sweet home. I wonder if government cheques will be enough to support that lifestyle... because his business was operating at break-even before this hit.
  14. For anyone who hasn’t been reading Garth’s blog recently, he has been warning Canadians of an increase in the capital gains inclusion (50% to 75%). Seems like a very real threat to me.
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