We are pleased to welcome leading industry experts to the 2017 Cayman Investment Forum. We hope you find the panels stimulating, relevant and informative.
Luke Gromen: Is the US Dollar Monopoly Expiring?
Money is a political instrument. The United States has employed its dollar to maintain a political monopoly in the pricing of commodities. But monopolies do not last forever. Mr. Gromen will put forward his thrilling thesis that will take us from the halls of power in Moscow and Beijing to the oil fields of Iran. By weaving together the disparate threads of recent international agreements, bilateral currency transactions and futures contracts a coherent tapestry emerges that reveals a picture similar to the late 1960s. Back then the signs were there that the global monetary order was on the verge of revolution. Mr. Gromen will show that the signs are here again.
Luke Gromen is the founder of Forest for the Trees, a macro/thematic research firm catering to institutions and high net worth individuals. In addition to highlighting news that goes unnoticed by the mainstream on Twitter (@LukeGromen) Mr. Gromen has appeared on Real Vision Television. Mr. Gromen aggregates a wide variety of macroeconomic, thematic and sector trends in an unconventional manner to identify investable developing economic bottlenecks. He began his career in the mid-1990s at Midwest Research where he became a partner. In 2006, Mr. Gromen left FTN Midwest to become a founding partner of Cleveland Research Company. In 2014, Mr. Gromen left Cleveland Research to found FFTT where he would apply what customers and former colleagues consistently described as a “unique ability to put the big picture pieces together.” Mr. Gromen is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati and received his MBA from Case Western Reserve University. He earned the CFA designation in 2003.
Jeff Snider: The Rise and Fall of Shadow Money and Dark Leverage
As we perceive it, the nighttime sky is made up of starlight, planets and gasses. And yet, it is the dark matter and dark energy in between that accounts for the vast majority of mass-energy content. The same is true of our global monetary system. Money that we know – dollars, euros, gold – are merely the pinpricks of light in an otherwise black sky of monetary dark matter. This vast body of shadow ‘money’ has various aliases: eurodollars, wholesale funding, credit-based capital. Like dark energy it is not directly observed and its existence is disputed. Mr. Snider will reveal the bewildering true story of money that first assimilated the global economy, and then, on August 9, 2007 began to decompose and with it our finances, economy and politics.
Jeffrey Snider is Head of Global Investment Research for Alhambra Investment Partners. In addition to economic analysis posted daily at AlhambraPartners.com he is published nationally at Seeking Alpha, RealClear Markets, ZeroHedge, NewsMax and Yahoo! Finance. Mr. Snider’s media appearances include Real Vision Television and Macro Voices, where he will be featured in a forthcoming series Eurodollar University. In the nearly year and a half run-up to the panic in 2008, Mr. Snider analyzed and reported on the deteriorating state of the economy and markets. In early 2009, while conventional wisdom focused on near-perpetual gloom, his next series of reports provided insight into the formative ending process of the economic contraction and a comprehensive review of factors that were leading to the market’s resurrection. Mr. Snider is a graduate of Canisius College.
Simon Mikhailovich: Gold: History’s Reserve Currency
When facts change, so should the strategy. With rates, asset values and debt levels at their all-time records, traditional diversification practices no longer reflect today’s realities. Dispassionate assessment of the pitfalls specific to the current economic and investing conditions reveals the need for new thinking and calls for portfolio inclusion of the truly uncorrelated assets, such as physical gold.
Simon A. Mikhailovich is the co-founder of Tocqueville Bullion Reserve where he manages private bullion holdings on behalf of institutional and private clients. In addition to regular appearances on Real Vision Television and market commentary on Twitter (@S_Mikhailovich) Mr. Mikhailovich shares his insights at BullionReserve.com. Prior to founding Tocqueville Bullion Reserve, Mr. Mikhailovich co-founded Eidesis Capital, a special situations investment firm formed in 1998. Since inception, Eidesis has raised and deployed over $2.5B of capital through special opportunity funds focused on high yield corporate bonds and loans, credit derivatives, distressed CDOs and mortgages, and gold. Between 1985 and 1998, Mr. Mikhailovich was a Portfolio Manager at Falcon Asset Management overseeing private placements and hard assets’ investments. Mr. Mikhailovich received a M.S. in Business (Finance) from the University of Baltimore and a B.S. from Johns Hopkins University.
Tuur Demeester: Cryptocurrency Capital
Cryptocurrencies represent a new frontier for investors. Blockchain has been called ‘The New Internet’, Bitcoin has been called ‘Gold 2.0’ and the technological revolution that propels it all has been compared to the combustion engine and the Internet revolution. When properly understood, this technology can act as a unique insurance policy against an increasingly unstable financial system, as a countercyclical hedge in your speculative portfolio, or, for the risk-tolerant investor, as a rational bet on early retirement. Mr. Demeester will explain what cryptocurrencies are, describe their value proposition, note the risks and speculate about a future in which private currencies play an increasingly prominent role.
Tuur Demeester, an independent investor, commentator, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Adamant Research. As an expert in cryptocurrencies he has been featured by numerous media sources including ZeroHedge and Real Vision. He first discovered Bitcoin on a research trip in Argentina, and started recommending it as an investment at $5 in January 2012. He has participated in angel investment rounds including for in the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken. Mr. Demeester was previously author of the Dutch financial newsletter MacroTrends. Before his career as an investment analyst he was active in education (Sudbury schools) and Austrian economics.
Rebecca Spang: When Money Changes (and Why)
Money today seems to be changing faster than ever. National moneys—the norm for the past two centuries—face serious challenges from transnational currencies such as the euro and non-national, private currencies like bitcoin. The Indian government’s demonetization of 500- and 1000-rupee banknotes invalidated 86% of currency in circulation; meanwhile, policymakers in the United States and European Union have argued for demonetizing large-denomination bills as a way of fighting crime and tax evasion. In places as far flung as Kenya, China, Poland, and Spain, mobile technologies have disrupted traditional banking practices. Professor’s Spang will put these changes in historical perspective and draw on earlier episodes of monetary transformation to suggest their implications for investors and governments alike.
Rebecca Spang is Professor of History at Indiana University, where she regularly teaches about the history of money and directs the Liberal Arts and Management Program. She has recently written about money’s history and its future for the Financial Times and the TLS and is the author of the prize-winning Stuff and Money in the Time of the French Revolution (Harvard University Press, 2015). Professor Spang studied history at Harvard and Cornell Universities, and previously held appointments at the University of Michigan, University College London, and the University of Tübingen (Germany).