Equity Fund

December 31, 2021

Market Context

  • The Canadian stock market (S&P/TSX Composite Index) rose 25.1% in 2021. The energy, financial, and real estate sectors were key areas of strength.
  • Global stocks, as measured by the Morningstar Developed Markets Index, gained 19.6% in Canadian dollar terms.

Portfolio Specifics

  • The fund holds 24 stocks, of which 12 are headquartered in Canada, 7 in the U.S., and 5 overseas.
  • The fund rose 17.5% in 2021, marking another solid year. Its focus on industry leaders served investors well. Top performing holdings included Microsoft (software and cloud services), Sika (specialty chemicals), Nutrien (fertilizers), S&P Global (financial information and analytics), and Danaher (medical products and services), which all gained more than 40%. These companies are at the top of their field and executed well in a year marked by COVID variants, supply chain issues, rising inflation, and severe weather.
  • It was a strong year for our U.S. investments, which all turned in double-digit returns with the exception of Visa. Likewise, overseas holdings had an excellent 2021, driven by healthy profit gains from Experian (credit rating services), Keyence (factory automation products), Aon (insurance and pension consulting), and Sika.
  • The fund’s more defensive businesses like Metro (grocery retailer), CCL Industries (packaging), and Telus (telecom services) also turned in solid results. And our lone holding in the banking sector, TD Bank, was up nearly 40%.
  • Our manager, Fiera Capital, favours businesses with little or no debt. This should prove beneficial in an environment of rising interest rates, as companies that need financing will have to do so on less favourable terms.
  • There were two primary detractors to performance: Philips, and Brookfield Renewable Partners. The former fell 25% as its sleep apnea machines were recalled, while renewable power leader Brookfield pulled back after a strong run last year.
  • Portfolio turnover was minimal in 2021, with two stocks added. Aon was purchased early in the year and CBRE Group (commercial real estate services) was bought in the fourth quarter. Fiera feels the increasing role of real estate in institutional portfolios bodes well for the company.
  • The fund currently has a cash position of 3%.

Positioning

  • The fund is comprised of a concentrated group of businesses operating in a diverse array of industries, from information services to renewable energy to packaging to software. The manager’s focus is on best-in-class companies that generate strong cash flows, have good growth prospects, and are well financed.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Important information about the Steadyhand funds is contained in our Simplified Prospectus. Please read the prospectus before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated.