Changing of the Guard

31. January 2024

Wachablösung

By Vahan P. Roth, CIO RealUnit Schweiz AG

Over the last few months, we’ve witnessed so many remarkable developments in the markets and in the global economy. We saw gold climb to all-time highs in December, and we saw very worrying signs of weakness and recessionary signals in most major economies. In January 2024, we saw US consumer debt climb to new peaks and companies selling a record $150 billion of debt, all at the same time when geopolitical risks escalated to levels unseen for decades. But then, despite all this, over the last couple of weeks we also saw the S&P 500 surge from record high to record high.

Many rational and prudent investors recognized this dissonance, this inconsistency between the picture that the markets paint and the actual state of the real economy. For them, as for us at RealUnit, this latest stock rally instead of fueling mindless optimism and wishful thinking, it rang alarm bells. Given the multifaceted (and in some ways unprecedented) risk factors we face today, such a bullish stance seems to be more divorced from reality than ever. In fact, it can be seen as yet another manifestation of dangerous complacence, or perhaps of irrational exuberance – and we all know how that usually ends.

That being said, we could see this bizarre bullishness persist for a while longer or it might fizzle out and trigger a massive selloff; tomorrow, next week, next month, or next quarter. Either way, the outlook for RealUnit investors is very positive. Admittedly, in the short term, we might not be able to tell if it will be a rally or a crash, but it makes no difference.

There’s only one thing that’s clear and it’s that volatility will continue to reign supreme for the foreseeable future. What is needed to survive this is resilience, stability, and reliability, which is what the RealUnit was designed to deliver.

Since its inception, the mission and the goals of RealUnit have been the same. The “ends” remained steadfast, even though the “means” changed, evolved and adapted. From the moment Karl Reichmuth and I first conceived it, it took 15 years for the RealUnit to become what it is today. This process also involved countless heated debates and disagreements, innumerable tweaks, tests, trials and errors, infinite hurdles and setbacks, and most of all, immeasurable patience, determination and conviction.

The inflationary wave of the last 3 years caused a lot of people to question fundamental principles and ideas and to look at money in a different way. Many, if not most, Western citizens saw their paychecks and their savings shrink dramatically and felt first-hand the impact of currency debasement. Therefore, today, the idea of creating an investment vehicle with the sole purpose of providing stability, protection against crises or government excesses and preservation of real purchasing power might sound intriguing, appealing even. However, this would definitely have not been the expected response 4 years ago – let alone 15 years ago.

Over the course of these 15 years, RealUnit has encountered an abundance of objections and it has been the target of both constructive and destructive criticism. It all played a part in recognizing and correcting mistakes, in improving, refining and fine-tuning the core idea itself and its practical implementation – bit by bit, tweak by tweak and test by test, the road was paved for the RealUnit to be what it is today.

It’s been a long and arduous journey, but also an extremely rewarding one. I’m thankful that I got to work on something I truly believe in and that I got to see it come to life and grow from a theoretical concept to the listed and tokenized investment company it is today.

But now, after so many years, so many milestones, and so many memories, the time has come for a change.

Even though it is too frequently cited, the ancient wisdom of Heraclitus still holds true: indeed, “the only constant is change”.

To be sure, it is easier said than done in this case. To me, RealUnit has been, still is and always will be, so much more than a company; it is an idea. It is a philosophy, a distinct perspective, a different worldview, or at the very least, it is a practical solution to practical problems. These exact ideas, perspectives, worldviews and solutions are today more relevant and more needed than ever.

I feel as gratified as I feel grateful for everything RealUnit has achieved and for all the lessons these 15 years have taught me. While I have high hopes for the new experiences, I’m setting sail for, I have even higher hopes for the future of RealUnit.

About the author
Vahan P. Roth Gründer und Chief Investment Officer

Founder and Chief Investment Officer

Vahan Roth

Vahan P. Roth started his career at both major banks in Switzerland, and subsequently worked at the private bank Reichmuth & Co as portfolio manager. Since 2009 he has been supporting the development of the RealUnit. Originally a jurist, but driven by his interest in the financial markets, he took the CFA exams.
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