Brookfield Asset Management (BAM)

The current worldwide macroeconomic malaise tends to create opportunities for the contrarian and value investment approach used by Brookfield Asset Management. The investment offers: real assets at a good value; shareholder friendly management; proven performance during challenging times; a strong balance sheet and stable cash flows; asset, geographic and currency diversification. The case can be made for downside protection and upside potential over the next 3-5 year time frame.

Three valuation cases illustrate a reasonable entry price is in the $28/share or less and an intrinsic value of $60-70/share could be realized in an estimated 3-5 year time frame.

Investment Thesis:

In the developed economies of the U.S. and Europe high sovereign debt levels are starting to be addressed. If history is any precedent, country debt issues will likely be handled through currency inflation.  Currency inflation, if chosen by policy makers as a tool, can result in real wealth destruction.

Investing in real assets that rise in value during inflationary times, if this were to occur, is a strategy that can help preserve wealth. Ideally these assets would be in countries with growing economies and relatively strong currencies. Often suggested for these macroeconomic conditions, among others, are industrial commodities, gold or real estate. These present their own volatility, storage, access or scale challenges for the individual investor.

Macroeconomic conditions are notoriously difficult to forecast. What if inflation doesn’t come about? At the microeconomic level, or company level, we still seek: good value; shareholder friendly management; proven performance during challenging times; a strong balance sheet and stable cash flows.

Brookfield Asset Management (BAM) appears to fit these requirements. Let’s examine BAM for each of these characteristics:

  • Shareholder friendly management
  • Proven track record during challenging times
  • Real assets that tend to rise in value with inflation
  • Strong balance sheet
  • Stable cash flows
  • Good value

Company Description/Profile:

Brookfield Asset Management, formerly Brascan Corporation, has all but completed its transition from a sprawling conglomerate with interests in more than 200 companies at its peak to a focused worldwide asset manager.  The transition is under the leadership of CEO Bruce Flatt and an experienced management team. The company is now focused on property, renewable power, private equity and infrastructure with approximately $154 billion of assets under management (AUM), 100 offices and locations, 500 investment professionals and 18,000 operating employees. From BAM’s 7th Annual Investor Day Presentation:

Source: Brookfield Asset Management Investor Day 2011 Presentation

BAM’s management team has created significant shareholder value during the transition from a conglomerate to asset manager.  They are simplifying a complicated structure and focused on deploying capital in businesses with real assets, competitive advantages and sustainable cash flows.  As value investors they are most active during periods of market duress, applying contrarian thinking and their stated investment principles. They now operate a portfolio of attractive real assets consisting of five primary operating platforms:

Renewable Power:  primarily hydroelectric generation, some wind generation; one of the largest independent producers of renewable hydroelectric power in North America.

Property: office, retail, residential, and development; among the world’s largest property investors.

Infrastructure: utilities, transport, timberlands; global platform of high quality infrastructure assets.

Development Activities: construction and development capabilities; large project pipeline provides capital allocation option in development and expansion projects.

Private Equity and Finance: restructuring, real estate finance, bridge lending; specialty products that leverage operating platforms and expertise.

The assets are held in three externally managed publicly traded entities and 20+ managed private funds. Brookfield Asset Management profile in 2012:

Source: Brookfield Asset Management Investor Day 2011 Presentation

Note: Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners was created on November 30, 2011 with the merger of the Brookfield Renewable Power Fund and BAM’s directly held renewable power assets.

The company’s investment guidelines from the 2010 Annual Report:

  • Invest as lead investor, where we possess competitive advantages and are in a position to actively manage our assets and create value through operational or other improvements
  • Acquire assets on a value basis to maximize long-term, risk-adjusted return on capital
  • Build sustainable cash flows to provide certainty, reduce risk and lower the cost of capital
  • Recognize that superior returns often require contrarian thinking

The stated measurements of success in the report:

  • Measure success based on total return on capital over the long term
  • Encourage calculated risks, but compare returns with risk
  • Sacrifice short-term profit, if necessary, to achieve long-term capital appreciation
  • Seek profitability rather than growth, because size does not necessarily add value

Shareholder friendly management:

Specifically management’s consistent long term core objective reiterated in the September 11 Investor Fact Sheet: Achieve a 12% annualized total return for shareholders over the long-term by increasing the operating cash flows from our existing $28 billion of principal capital, as well as returns from our asset management activities.

So how have they been doing on their core objective? The history shows superior returns:

It is interesting to go back to the 2004 Letter to Shareholders (while still the Brascan Corporation) where management described their investment approach in detail (emphasis added):

We remain committed to investing your capital to earn a high cash return on equity, while always emphasizing downside protection to minimize loss of capital. Some of the transactions we undertake may not appear on the surface to readily achieve the desired returns, nor are they generally the popular strategy of the investing public at a particular point in time. However, we believe that investing capital on a value basis, backed by sound fundamental analysis, will ensure that we achieve higher risk adjusted returns over the long term.

As our growth strategy is based on the successful reinvestment of our substantial annual cash flows, we are often asked how we allocate capital. In this regard, we recently came across a report written by Burgundy Asset Management, which, in general, captures our views on the reinvestment of capital in a business. Having never before articulated it as well, we have reprinted their views with a few comments on how they relate to us.

• “If you own a great business and you can profitably invest in it, that is the best use of the cash it generates. Such investment can take the form of either spending on marketing, or production efficiencies, or new facilities, or it can take the form of buying back the company’s stock. Investing in operations you know best, and in a stock whose intrinsic value you understand, should be the first priority of any management of a great business. It may appear to be a lower return, but it is almost invariably lower risk as well.” – For Brascan, this entails continuing to invest in property, power and other long-life infrastructure assets, while also repurchasing our shares.

• “If there are almost identical businesses that can be tucked under existing operations and skill sets, then acquiring these businesses is the next best use of cash, assuming those businesses are available at a sensible price.” – For Brascan, this may include other similar types of real estate such as multi-family apartments, or other forms of power generation assets, such as wind facilities. It could also include building or acquiring electrical transmission lines.

• “If the company has advanced skills in managing acquisitions or organic growth in the same industry in foreign countries, that is a perfectly viable use for the shareholders’ money.” – In the past couple of years we have focused on expanding into premier office properties in London, which is a market very similar to New York; and into power assets in Brazil, where we have an historical competitive advantage.

• “If the company wishes to build these acquisition or operations skills, management should start slow

and perhaps in minority positions, never risking very large amounts of shareholder capital.” – We agree with starting small, although generally do not like to take minority positions, but rather focus on joint venturing with high quality local partners.

 • “Investing in unrelated businesses is almost invariably an error”. – We agree with this.

In addition to adhering to the above principles when we invest capital, we will continue to work with institutional co-investment partners in order to reduce risk on larger transactions and enhance our return on capital. As the free cash flow grows within the company, adherence to these principles will become increasingly important.

As our business model is based on owning high quality, long-life assets which produce real cash, each day, we can, within reason, estimate our cash generation. Overall, and barring unforeseen circumstances in the economy (which we obviously cannot control), or a significant mistake (which we will try to avoid at all costs), we are comfortable that we can achieve our growth targets. Naturally, we hope to be able to do a little better than our stated objectives, and hopefully we can surprise you, and ourselves, on the upside.

Key measures of shareholder friendly management are consistency and transparency. BAM’s consistency is reflected in their investment approach above. Transparency is evident in the supplemental disclosures and analysis provided during quarterly earnings releases and management presentations. Experience shows management provides a refreshing dose of openness, honesty and humility.

Proven track record during challenging times:

The fundamental strategy is buying long life assets with sustainable cash flows below replacement value. This is often done during periods of financial stress where BAM provides capital and restructuring expertise in exchange for control of the company.  The recent turbulent markets favor BAM’s style of investing. As companies leveraged with easy money prior to the credit crises Brookfield and their institutional investors patiently accumulated a $10 billion war chest and then put it to work.

The 2008-2009 crises led to a busy 2010.  Paraphrasing from the Brookfield’s 2010 Annual Report performance highlights included:

  • The successful $8 billion restructuring of General Growth Properties (GGP), acquiring a major stake in one of America’s leading retail mall companies with 180 regional malls.
  • Rationalized and strengthened the global office property platform under one Brookfield entity, Brookfield Office Properties (BPO).
  • Announced the merger of the Canadian and U .S. residential properties operations to create North America’s sixth largest residential platform.
  • Significantly expanded the infrastructure business with the acquisition of the remaining 60% of an Australian based infrastructure company, with high quality utilities, transportation and energy assets on four continents.
  • Raised approximately $7.5 billion of private, institutional and public capital market financings, including the final close of three private infrastructure funds.
  • Increased the resources dedicated to agricultural lands in Brazil utilizing 25 years of experience. Economics are compelling and agriculture receives more investment attention in institutional circles as food prices increase and shortages loom.

While the U.S. economy slowly emerges from the credit crisis, European nations are working through a European sovereign debt crises.   European companies, especially financial institutions, must de-leverage their stressed balance sheets. This is creating a new opportunity for BAM and their institutional investors. They are now working patiently in Europe to assist European companies with worldwide assets complimentary to BAM’s operating platforms. The replenished war chest is about $8 Billon in liquidity.

Not resting on their laurels in 2011, activity continues at a brisk pace. Paraphrasing performance highlights from the 2011 Interim Reports show positive improvements are continuing:

Assets Under Management: Announced a partnership with the Investment Corporation of Dubai with approximately $1 Billion committed; raising capital for eight funds with objective of $5 Billion third party commitments; completed $6.1 Billion capital raise in 3Q 2011 bringing total to $22.1 Billion for 2011.

Select Operations Expansion and Improvement: Completed several long term contracts enabling $600 million expansion of the western Australian rail lines; pursuing expansion of a coal terminal in eastern Australia; commenced construction of a $750 million electrical transmission line in Texas; electrical transmission projects in South America, and connection project in UK is underway; investing £30 million to double container capacity at UK port, Brazilian residential completed R$913 million launches and R$1,330 contracted sales; eight advanced stage hydroelectric and wind projects with 500 megawatts capacity at a cost of $1.4 Billion in North America and Brazil; $2 billion of retail mall redevelopments; U.S. retail spinning off 30 non-core retail malls to focus on core prime malls; re-tenanted several U.S. malls with category leading retailers and adding specialty anchor stores; two office properties in Melbourne and Perth Australia; four million square feet of new commercial office leases, year to date 8+ million feet; five projects, nine million square feet commercial office development, about $7 Billion; refinancing to capture higher liquidity and lower rates.

Acquisitions: Agreement to acquire two toll roads in Santiago, Chile for $340 million; timber and agricultural land acquisitions in the Brazil Funds; 55% interest in 480,000 square foot luxury mall in St. Louis; in late November acquired equity ownership of the Atlantis mega resort and Ocean Club properties in the Bahamas and the Palmilla in Mexico in return for $175 million debt.

Restructuring Global Renewable Power: Announced major initiative to combine renewable power assets into a single global entity; entity is Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners (BREP) to be listed on New York and Toronto exchanges, completed November 30, 2011; market capitalization of $6 Billion, stable cash flow, attractive distribution profile; anticipate favorable capital to fund long term growth accretive to Brookfield and unit holders’ long term.

In the November 11, 2011 Letter to Shareholders, Bruce Flatt wrote: We are fortunate to have a global operation that is well capitalized, with backing from both public shareholders and private investors in our funds. The international nature of our business allows us to carefully select where we allocate capital, allowing us to invest where valuations are lower, or growth is positive, or preferably where both of these conditions exist. In this environment, our global scope is more important than it has ever been to execute attractive transactions.

Brookfield continues capturing value from opportunities identified and acquired during the 2008-2009 crises through restructuring, bolt on acquisitions, and divestitures. The following graph of assets under management illustrates an impressive pattern of growth.

A more direct question is how are common shareholders benefiting?  For example earnings growth, or any growth for that matter, can be diluted through additional share issuance. Shareholder ownership claims can also fall behind increasing debt burdens and decreasing book value.

Increases in book value per share and dividend payments to shareholders provide a direct measure of how shareholders benefit from the financial performance of the company because:

  1. Dividend payments are returns directly to the shareholder.
  2. Retained earnings entrusted to management if effectively invested for shareholders increase book value per share overtime. Increase book value results in increasing share price.
  3. Share re-purchases, if done wisely for the benefit of shareholders; increase book value per share provided they are not offsets to dilution by option awards.

Compiling book value per share and dividend payments over the long term show how effective common shareholders’ money is being managed. Using Morningstar’s data:

 

BAM Five Year Book Value & Dividend

Note: 2008 includes a special dividend of $0.94 for Brookfield Infrastructure, BAM converted to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 12/31/2009.

Management appears to be doing an outstanding job.  Retained earnings and share purchases have increased book value per share at an average rate of 19.8%/year during the past five years. Today’s dividend yield at about 2% could be increased, but I prefer to leave the money in the custody of management providing a total return of almost 29% per year by this measure.

BAM’s directors and executives are paid reasonably, with a majority of pay coming in the form of equity in the company. Directors and executives own roughly 20% of the company so interests should be aligned with shareholders. It appears management is shareholder friendly based on their comments and the results the results support this.  BAM’s management passes the proven track record test in my view.

Real assets that tend to rise in value with inflation:

Monetary policy in the U.S. and abroad is highly stimulative in efforts to combat recession, unemployment and the ongoing banking crises. The infusion of money into the mature economies of U.S. and Europe and possible currency devaluation to address sovereign debt has created a heightened risk of inflation. The central banks’ policies to combat potential deflation could over shoot, and the banks make it clear they will error on the side of inflation if needed.  Although beyond my capability to forecast, inflation is perhaps the greatest risks portfolios will face.

Real assets include real estate, power generation, farmland, timber, and infrastructure among others. They provide downside protection through contractual income streams and offer upside protection through contractual (or operational) escalations in income as markets recover or inflation escalates. Financing for real assets are at historically low rates adding to their attraction. A reassuring feature of real assets their long life nature and the ability to measure their value as opposed to financial assets (like derivatives) that are often off the balance sheet, difficult to value and seemingly can just vaporize. The table below outlines the investment attributes of infrastructure real assets:

BAM’s investments in real assets include many positive and growing attributes:

Renewable Power:

  • 167 hydroelectric power plants with 4,300 megawatt (MW) capacity
  • Long life assets with minimal carbon emissions
  • Low cost, reliable form of generation

Property:

  • 90 million square feet of office properties
  • 180 million square feet of retail properties
  • 80 million square feet of residential density

Infrastructure:

  • Long life assets providing essential service with high barriers to entry
  • Long term contracts, many with regulated rate bases
  • Competitive positions in key global markets

Development Activities:

  • 500 MW of hydro and wind construction
  • Strong renewable development pipeline 2,000 MW
  • $2 billion of retail mall redevelopments
  • New rail contracts to add incremental rail capacity underway
  • 14.5 metric tons per year of further potential rail volume growth from existing customers
  • Development ready office pipeline totaling ±10 million square feet
  • Coal port terminal expansion, development costs estimated at A$5billion

 Private Equity and Finance: specialty products that leverage operating platforms and expertise:

  • Deal sourcing networks and access to deal flow
  • Track record of transaction execution for growth

Stable cash flows:

Global infrastructure historically has demonstrated resilient cash flows throughout the economic cycle. From BAM’s The Case for Real Assets 2011:

Source: Brookfield Asset Management: The Case for Real Assets, September 2011

Brookfield’s operating cash flows were relatively stable during the stressful economic environment of the past few years. Significant cash flow was generated from disposition gains as they restructured and disposed of non-core assets. The underlying operating cash flow during this difficult period remained strong.  The chart below illustrates ongoing operating cash flow and cash flow from the sale of assets:

Note: The 2007 to 2008 decrease in cash flow from operations is primarily due to an extraordinary gain in 2007 on the Xstrata debentures ($331) and higher interest expense in 2008 ($198) as the company drew on lines of credit for opportunities generated during the crises.

It is reasonable to expect some lag time while new projects created during the recent crises are fully developed and cash flows become apparent.  Further, the tables below illustrate the contractual nature of existing cash flow stability for the major operating platforms.

In the asset management business increasing assets under management creates current base fees.  Performance benchmarks create performance income. There is unrecognized performance income of $354 Million (LTM) until collected from clients down the road as they start realizing the returns on the investments. This is a platform that should continue to be lucrative as the average duration of invested capital for private funds is approximately nine years.

Strong balance sheet

BAM operates with investment grade financing secured by assets. Only modest amounts of debt are at the corporate level. As management describes on page 9 of the 2010 Annual Report:

“…we believe that each asset in a company like ours should be financed with minimal support from other assets, and without corporate guarantees. This ensures that no one asset, investment, or entity can ever compromise our core operations, which is obviously paramount to the success of any great long-term business. 

As a result, we focus our attention on capital structure to ensure that we always have a strong balance sheet. We may sacrifice short-term cash flows to achieve this, as we believe that in our business, the number one focus should always be the balance sheet, as it will also lead to greater stability of operating cash flows.

This attention to balance sheet strength instead of short-term cash flows is one of the reasons we were able to maintain our focus and execute our strategies over the past few years and emerge in a strong position to grow our business. We believe this company-wide strategy will continue to safeguard our asset values in the future.”

There are too many examples where company liabilities are not reflected on the balance sheet and must be added back to achieve a reasonable valuation. BAM is a rare example of where balance sheet liabilities can be removed to obtain a more reasonable valuation.

BAM’s 3Q11 long term debt/equity ratio is 2.5 in line with the asset management segment. The debt to capitalization is 0.40 using IFRS adjusted equity. However, much of this debt is non-recourse to the parent, secured at the subsidiary by real assets.  The consolidated balance sheet includes the liabilities of consolidated entities, partially owned funds and subsidiaries.  In many cases the consolidated capitalization includes 100% of the debt of the consolidated entities, even if the company owns a portion of the entity and/or the debt is non-recourse. The real pro rata exposure to this debt is much lower.   The details are described starting on page 51 of the Q3 2011 Interim Report:

Accordingly, we believe that the two most meaningful bases of presentation to use in assessing our capitalization are proportionate consolidation and deconsolidation. The following table depicts the composition of our capitalization on these bases, along with our consolidated capitalization, all based on the net asset value of our equity and the interests of other investors:

Source: BAM 3Q11 Interim Report page 52.

Valuation:

BAM estimate of intrinsic value:

The company provides an estimate of intrinsic value reported each quarter including a supplementary analysis describing changes in intrinsic value compared to the previous period. Their estimate in my view appears to be reasonable and is described on page 9 & 10 of the 3Q11 Interim Report. It is summarized in the table below:

Source: BAM 3Q11 Interim Report, page 9 & 10

 

Net Asset Value:

Net Asset Value or book value is a term referring to the sum of all of a company’s assets minus its liabilities. It is reflected on the balance sheet as shareholders’ equity. Because the assets and liabilities exist today; many are tangible or can be measured with precision.

The company’s book value may also include intangible assets like goodwill. The value of these assets are more subjective than “real” assets such as cash, property, and equipment. Including intangible assets in the calculation of book value may misrepresent the underlying worth of the company. To adjust for this a “tangible” book value is determined by reducing book value by the intangible assets and goodwill for a more accurate estimate of the value of the company.

Brookfield reports under the International Financial Reporting Standards which requires an ongoing revaluation of substantially all of the fixed assets to their fair values at least once a year if not quarterly. This is important because, for example, a prime office property in Manhattan under U.S. GAAP can be depreciated to zero value and reflected that way on the balance sheet even though the property’s actual value is increasing over time. GAAP can significantly understate the book value of a company, whereas IFRS provides a more realistic appraisal.

Calculating the Net Asset Value using IFRS as the basis for Brookfield’s invested capital (as reported 3Q11 on page 10), deducting all intangible assets, adding the value of the asset management business assuming no growth, and deducting only debt with recourse to the parent the following Net Asset Value is determined:

Earnings Power Value:

Earnings Power Value is an estimate of the company’s value calculated from free cash flow derived from ongoing operations with no credit given for cash flows anticipated from future growth. Earnings Power Value assumes that current cash flows are sustainable and because future growth is zero it is a more conservative valuation. It eliminates the hazards of trying to predict future growth and the errors associated in the Present Value techniques commonly used where the future, not actual performance, can often amount to 70-80% of the total value calculated. This is a huge potential margin for error.

Earnings Power Value was determined for the deconsolidated debt and proportionate debt cases and are summarized in the table below.  The six year adjusted operating margin (28.7%) was applied to 2010 annual sales ($13623 million) yielding a zero growth normalized free cash flow of $4314 million per year and a Earnings Power Value before debt adjustments of $53,941 Million.

The proportionate case reflects the debt allocated to the parent even though 77% of the proportionate debt is non-recourse to the parent.  That is not to suggest the debt is not owed or will not be repaid. But it does suggest there is an unrecognized margin of safety because it is non-recourse to the parent.

Growth Value:

Because of the potential margin for error in forecasts of future growth, value investors typically refuse to pay for growth.  However, it is hard not to recognize that growth, if achieved, can add considerable value to the company.  One way to solve this conundrum is refuse to pay for the value of growth, but to consider it as part of the margin of safety.

Growth only has value if it is within the franchise, the area of competitive advantage. Outside the franchise growth has no value because it is temporary.  Competitors will eventually eliminate the profit margin. Only firms with sustainable barriers to entry or competitive advantages have a franchise to protect value. If the growth is within the franchise the company grows by doing more of the same. In doing more of the same, it is reasonable to assume that the returns will be similar. The value created by this growth is dependent on the incremental return on capital in excess of the company’s cost of capital.

To determine if growth is sufficient to provide a margin of safety, a comparison is made between the present value with growth and the Earnings Power Value without growth. Two growth cases were examined using an estimate of BAM’s long term cost of capital and the estimated current incremental cost of capital. BAM’s target growth rate is 12%, but to be conservative, is assumed that only 25-50% of this growth can be realized within the franchise and therefore be sustainable. This is reflected in the 4% and 6% growth cases below.

The margin of safety estimated below is calculated using the EPV not the current market price.

Valuation Summary:

The intrinsic value of a company is still an estimate subject to error based on the assumptions used. To compensate for this potential error a margin of safety (MOS) is applied to help preserve our capital. Since estimates are imprecise it is better to reflect intrinsic value as a possible range of values built around the assumptions used. It is better to be approximately correct rather than precisely wrong. Three are provided in the cases below:

Case I: Brookfield’s estimate of intrinsic value is currently about $37.93 per share. It implies an acceptable entry price of about $26.55 after applying a 30% margin of safety.  This seems to be a fairly conservative valuation in that it is an estimate of Net Asset Value, essentially the replacement value of the assets, without franchise value or growth value considered.

Case II: In the second estimate the assumptions consider some value for the franchise and growth. The assumptions used include:

  • Reduce management’s growth from the 12% target to 6%
  • Use 8% long term cost of capital rather than the estimated incremental cost of 6.6%
  • Use the proportionate debt case even though 77% of it is non-recourse

This estimate yields an intrinsic value of $62.89 per share. However, since we do not want to pay for growth, the acceptable entry price would be the proportionate case EPV of $28.59 with a 55% margin of safety.

Case III: The third estimate is more optimistic. It allows no value for growth and uses 80% of the estimated franchise value. The assumptions used include:

  • Zero growth versus management’s target of 12%
  • The 8% long term cost of capital rather than the estimated incremental cost of 6.6%
  • The proportionate debt case even though 77% of it is non-recourse
  • Use 80% of the historically achieved franchise value

This estimate yields an intrinsic value of $67.15 per share.  This reflects an imbedded franchise value of about $33.62 per share. The acceptable entry price would be the $47.01 per share with a 30% margin of safety.

Some may wonder if the use of proportionate debt is appropriate in some of the above valuations. Wouldn’t GAAP or IFRS standards be more appropriate?  Warren Buffett makes the argument that at times conventional accounting does not reflect the true
economic value of a company, in his case Berkshire Hathaway. He explains the
concept of look-through earnings in the Berkshire Hathaway 1980 shareholder letter, subsequent letters and in the Berkshire Hathaway Owner’s Manual. In my view he successfully argues at times adjustments should be made from an investment perspective. I believe Brookfield’s managements presentation of proportionate and deconsolidated debt is the corollary argument for non-recourse debt at BAM and appropriately treated in the valuation above.

Reasons to Consider this Investment:

Current worldwide macroeconomic issues tend to create opportunities for the contrarian and value investment approach used by Brookfield Asset Management. Real assets at a good value; shareholder friendly management; proven performance during challenging times; a strong balance sheet and stable cash flows; asset, geographic and currency diversification with downside protection and upside potential over a 3-5 year time frame.

It appears in the above three valuation cases a reasonable entry price is in the $28/share or less and an intrinsic value of $60-70/share could be realized in an estimated 3-5 year time frame.

Disclosures:

I am long BAM, BIP, BRP & GGP.

The information contained herein is provided for informational purposes only, is not comprehensive, does not contain important disclosures and risk factors associated with investments, and is subject to change without notice. The author is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness or lack thereof of information from third parties which may be relied upon. The information does not take into account the particular investment objectives or financial circumstances of any specific person or organization which may view it. Nothing contained within may be considered an offer or a solicitation to purchase or sell any particular financial instrument. Before making any investment, investors are advised to review such investment thoroughly and carefully with their financial, legal and tax advisors to determine whether it is suitable for them.

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