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We Don’t Confess to Avoiding the Sin Stocks


Our investment style is contrarian. We buy stocks that are out of favour with the expectation that there will be greater pricing upside when the tide turns. However, we won’t just buy anything that’s down in price. Our due diligence process requires a bunch of boxes to be checked before making a purchase. But, even if a stock is out of favour and passes our screening process, there are some industries we avoid for ethical reasons.


The tragic casualties reported this week in the Middle East, following a year-and-a-half of war in Ukraine, clearly required a strong military response. We believe democratic countries need a strong military to defend against tyrants and terrorists. That said, the publicly listed companies that manufacture armament are not the kinds of stocks we look to add to a client portfolio. Profiting financially from war is simply not something we want to do.


Some stocks are more obvious to avoid than others. We would never buy a cigarette company. The growing public campaigns to curtail smoking, not to mention the health consequences to that bad habit, make it a bad business on its own anyways. Gambling stocks that prey on addicts are an automatic “avoid”.


Others are more difficult. Is a retirement home an unethical investment? We know several people, including family members, that quite like the retirement home where they live, in addition to the staff that looks after their needs. There is always the occasional story of a rogue staff member, but what company does not have one of those?


What about pharmaceuticals? Without the dollars to invest in research and development, many life-saving drugs would never have been discovered. On the other hand, the prices that many of its consumers pay is often quite astounding. That one is more difficult.


We have our own code of ethics. Our clients may not agree.


For that reason, we always ask during the account opening process if the client has any companies or sectors that we are restricted from buying (or selling if the client brings in a security from elsewhere). Once that information is collected, we input the restrictions into a “restrictions list” and check that list before executing a block trade purchase.


-Jeff Pollock


DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this publication are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to represent specific advice. The views reflected in this publication are subject to change at any time without notice. Every effort has been made to ensure that the material in this publication is accurate at the time of its posting. However, Schneider & Pollock Wealth Management Inc. will not be held liable under any circumstances to you or any other person for loss or damages caused by reliance of information contained in this publication. You should not use this publication to make any financial decisions and should seek professional advice from someone who is legally authorized to provide investment advice to assess your goals and objectives, personal circumstances, and make an informed suitability assessment.


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