Real Assets Adviser

May 1, 2023: Vol. 10, Number 5

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From the Current Issue

Infrastructure in the 2020s: economics, environment, geopolitics

For centuries, building and investing in infrastructure was primarily about developing the sinews of economic growth, such as the canals, railroads, highways and ports. Founding father Benjamin Franklin’s first claim to fame was in 1737 when, as postmaster general of Philadelphia, he earned admiration for improved service through better postal roads, eventually linking Philadelphia mail to New York City with a 24-hour turnaround time.

The future of food is coming fast

Much about what you eat is about to change dramatically. This transformation can create opportunities for you as an investor, possibly in ways you’ve yet to imagine. Food is a growth industry. As the human population rises, the global food market has expanded to $10 trillion annually in revenue, representing close to 12 percent of the entire world’s GDP. We believe multiple catalysts will cause seismic change throughout the food system.

Robots are everywhere and doing serious work

Robots are machines that can sense the environment and use that information to perform an action. You can find them nearly everywhere in industrialized societies today. There are household robots that vacuum floors and warehouse robots that pack and ship goods. Lab robots test hundreds of clinical samples a day. Education robots support teachers by acting as one-on-one tutors, assistants and discussion facilitators. And medical robots composed of prosthetic limbs can enable someone to grasp and pick up objects with their thoughts.

On its 30th birthday, the ETF looms large

The ETF structure seemed to emerge from each crisis better tested, and ready to play a bigger role in the world of advised clients, institutions and self-directed clients. As of late 2021, about 40 percent of ETF assets were with advised clients, 39 percent with individual investors, and the remaining 21 percent with wealth managers and institutional investors.

End of the petrodollar? China and the ‘petroyuan’ are attracting oil-producing nations

While most investors were fixated on trying to gauge the Federal Reserve’s next moves in light of recent bank failures, something interesting occurred in Moscow. During a three-day state visit, Chinese president Xi Jinping held friendly talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin in a show of unity, as both countries increasingly seek to position themselves as leaders of what they call a “multipolar world order,” one that challenges U.S.-centric alliances and agreements.

Q&A: Founder of the Family Office Real Estate Institute discusses real estate investing to secure generational wealth

While many families have earned their fortunes through savvy investments in real estate, others lack familiarity with the asset class. And even those who did earn their fortunes through real estate are lacking in detailed knowledge about governance, portfolio management and generational wealth transfer. That is what prompted DJ Van Keuren, who has worked with families for many years, to head down the path that eventually led to the founding of the Family Office Real Estate Institute.

What the market overlooked in 2022: A letter from the founder and CEO of ARK Investment Management

In 2014, I founded ARK Invest for two reasons: to focus exclusively on disruptive innovation and to create a transparent research ecosystem designed to surface and share information on the convergences between and among the five major innovation platforms evolving today. Involving 14 technologies, those platforms are multiomics sequencing, robotics, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and blockchain technology.

It’s all about the network: Consider your commitments and cultivate your time wisely

There’s a huge difference — qualitatively and in terms of results — between time engaged with small networks and time engaged with larger networks. So, be careful how you spend your time, with whom and where. One way to think about this publication is as the hub of a large, well-established network of private wealth advisers, consultants and investment managers — the people who read and refer frequently to this publication and its web-related resources. Each of you reading this publication conceptually constitutes a node in that large, global network.

Big Spend by Big Oil: Trade group allies outspent clean-energy groups by a whopping 27x

You’ve probably seen ads promoting gas and oil companies as the solutions to climate change. They’re meant to be inspiring and hopeful, with scenes of a green, clean future. But shiny ads are not all these companies do to protect their commercial interests in the face of a rapidly heating world. Most also provide financial support to industry groups that are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on political activities, often to thwart polices designed to slow climate change.

3D printing promises to forever transform architecture

In architecture, new materials rarely emerge. For centuries, wood, masonry and concrete formed the basis for most structures on Earth. In the 1880s, the adoption of the steel frame changed architecture forever. Steel allowed architects to design taller buildings with larger windows, giving rise to the skyscrapers that define city skylines today.

5 Questions: The critical post-harvest factor in U.S. agriculture

Post Harvest Technologies Inc. in Salinas, Calif. — which acquires and operates income producing ag-tech companies — has roots dating back to 1936 when the original founders of Growers Ice Co. established services supporting the fresh produce industry in the Salinas Valley. Today, Jim White, CEO of Post Harvest Technologies, is sounding the alarm that the U.S. needs to invest more heavily in the post-harvest side of the supply chain and is offering clear opportunities for investors.

Why investing in the Bio Revolution is a big deal

Humans have been innovating as long as we’ve been around, but the pace of our innovation is now accelerating rapidly. People are waking up every morning and solving new problems that have not yet been solved by anyone. In addition, we are experiencing a super-convergence of technologies where technological innovations feed other technological innovations in a cycle of mutually reinforcing invention.

Tax Update: Senators want Treasury to limit use of trusts by the wealthy

Five Democratic senators urged Treasury secretary Janet Yellen to crack down on the use of trusts by wealthy Americans to dodge paying some taxes. “Billionaires and multi-millionaires use trusts to shift wealth to their heirs tax-free, dodging federal estate and gift taxes,” sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) told Yellen in a letter.

Research Roundup: May 2023

Innovation NOI reports on How AI is Revolutionizing Property Technology. The article delves into the myriad ways AI-driven proptech is doing everything from predicting market trends to automating tasks. Access the information here.

Regulation Update: Nineteen-state coalition formed to fight ESG

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced an alliance with 18 other states to push back against President Biden’s support for ESG investing. The states argue that Biden’s backing for socially conscious ESG investing, under which investors weigh sustainability and ethical considerations, is a threat to the U.S. economy.

Profile: Kristen Bitterly Michell, head of North America for Citi Global Wealth

The hard finality of mathematical calculations. The life-saving ministrations of a medical doctor. The warm and magical embrace of Spanish literature. The exhilaration of musical performance. These were the considerations that fired the imagination of a young Kristen Bitterly as she completed her high school years and prepared to head to South Bend, Indiana, to enroll at Notre Dame and join the ranks of the Fighting Irish. It was a suitable choice for the young Ms. Bitterly, the product of an Irish Catholic family with dashes of Germanic and Austrian influences sharing the bloodstream. What wasn’t so congruous was Bitterly’s ice-and-fire decision to double-major in economics and Spanish literature.

Once hot, nonlisted real estate funds are meeting their Waterloo in 2023

Public nonlisted real estate funds, especially nontraded REITs (NTRs), have been on fire the past two years. 2021 proved to be a record-setting year with $36.5 billion raised, and 2022 wasn’t far behind. 2023 is a different story altogether. Fundraising among nontraded real estate investment trusts in February 2023 sank to just $489 million, a low not seen since August 2020, while reported monthly redemptions have exceeded $1.7 billion, an amount reflecting 351 percent of fundraising and about 1.6 percent of reported net asset value (NAV) for the industry, according to Robert A. Stanger and Co.

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