In October 2020, BBH Global Core Select Class N (“Global Core Select” or “the Fund”) declined -3.97% while the MSCI World index fell -3.07%. Our top performer in the month was Alphabet and our largest detractor was SAP. We initiated a position in Starbucks, the world’s largest specialty coffee retailer, and exited our position in KBC to invest in more attractive opportunities.
Alphabet, the parent holding company of Google, reported solid third quarter results during the month. Alphabet’s advertising businesses showed broad strength across its markets, indicating a faster-than-anticipated recovery from the COVID-19 economic crisis. Improved operating profitability was aided by careful expense control, but key investments were sustained in high-growth areas such as cloud computing. The company briefly addressed a recently-filed Department of Justice lawsuit that claims Alphabet has pursued anti-competitive practices in online search. Google is expected to file an initial response to the complaint in the coming weeks, after which a multi-year legal process could commence. While there is likely to be volatility from this case, at this point we do not foresee material changes to Alphabet’s business model or long-term prospects.
SAP’s stock came under pressure after the company announced third quarter results that were below expectations and made material changes to its mid-term business plan. SAP had planned to update its 2023 goals to account for the impact of COVID-19 and incorporate strategic decisions made by the new sole CEO Christian Klein. However, SAP made more drastic changes than expected, and expects weakness from COVID-19 to persist through the first half of 2021 and pushed out its financial targets by two years. SAP also plans to accelerate its customers’ transition to the cloud, which will create operating margin headwinds over the next three years. These changes, along with weakness in SAP’s travel and expense management tools, result in a 14%-16% cut to 2023 earnings expectations. While we are in the process of revising our estimates and vetting SAP’s product readiness for this transformation, we continue to view SAP as a strong fit with our investment criteria. SAP holds a strong leadership position in segments of the enterprise software market that support the backbone of operations for its clients, and SAP’s extensive industry-specific experience has embedded its software within the business practices of large global enterprises customers.
Holdings are subject to change. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Price/Earnings (P/E) ratio is a company’s current share price divided by earnings per-share. Turnover ratio is the rate of trading in a portfolio; higher values imply more frequent trading.
Opinions, forecasts, and discussions about investment strategies represent the author’s views as of the date of this commentary and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes, and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as recommendations.
Purchase and sale information provided should not be considered as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular security and that there is no assurance, as of the date of publication, that the securities purchased remain in a fund's portfolio or that securities sold have not been repurchased.
Investors in the Fund should be able to withstand short-term fluctuations in the equity markets and fixed income markets in return for potentially higher returns over the long term. The value of portfolios change every day and can be affected by changes in interest rates, general market conditions and other political, social and economic developments.
Foreign investing involves special risks including currency risk, increased volatility, political risks, and differences in auditing and other financial standards. Prices of emerging market securities can be significantly more volatile than the prices of securities in developed countries, and currency risk and political risks are accentuated in emerging markets.
Investing in medium sized companies typically exhibit greater risk and higher volatility than larger, more established companies.
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Shares of the Fund are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. and is located at 1290 Broadway, Suite 1000, Denver, CO 80203.
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. ("BBH"), a New York limited partnership, was founded in 1818 and provides investment advice to registered mutual funds through a separately identifiable department (the "SID"). The SID is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. BBH acts as the Fund Administrator and is located at 140 Broadway, New York, NY 10005.
Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Money
IM-08713-2020-11-10 BBH003089 Exp. Date 12/31/2020