Price tolerance was a key to our success in 2017 even as we leaned into the wind, reducing our investments in the most expensively priced shares, particularly in those businesses we viewed as more exposed to cyclical and regulatory risks.
Our additions in the IT sector are companies whose competitive advantages we think will provide sustained protection against the steady stream of newcomers enticed by the sector’s high returns and its rapidly evolving nature.
China is unique in possessing a combination of pro-development government policies, strong infrastructure, rising incomes for a vast population, and well-managed companies skillfully exploiting these advantages. This powerful combination has aided the fundamental advance of the country's IT companies. We believe it also presents attractive investment opportunities in other sectors.
Financial strength is one of the key criteria we apply when considering any company for investment. Strong financials are especially crucial in the small-cap universe, where a weak balance sheet could rapidly lead to an existential crisis.
Our focus on financial strength—one of the key pillars of our investment philosophy—leads us to invest in more-profitable and better-capitalized banks that should be less affected by IFRS 9 than their weaker peers.
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