MARCH 2019

The Exemplary Analyst

Erick Rawlings, managing director, research, draws parallels between what it means to be a research analyst at Athena and his study of Confucius’ The Analects. Fed from a desire to learn more about Chinese culture and perspective when conducting diligence on China-based investment managers, Erick takes The Analects’ concept of being an exemplary person and finds common ground in the Research team’s studies, opportunities, travel, and approach.


Risks Related to Growing Corporate Debt Levels

Doug Cohen, managing director, portfolio management, raises concerns on uncharted trajectories for US debt amid excess low-rate refinancing for high yield and loan issuance. What is at stake when US government debt exceeds 100% of GDP and media sources highlight mainstream progressive economist views of ‘good debt’? Such a present state may be indicative of liquidity risk being a higher concern than credit risk.


ESG and Impact Investing: Q4 2018 News Highlights

Bill McCalpin, managing partner, impact investments, provides an overview of the latest news coming out of the impact investing industry. This quarter's roundup includes highlights from US SIF Foundation's biennial report assessing sustainable and impact investing in the US, the launch of The Diversity Project, and proposed guidelines issued by the IRS for taxpayers electing to defer capital gains by investing in economically distressed communities.



Investing in Gender Equality

A practitioner’s perspective on gender lens investing and the construction of gender inclusive investment portfolios

JUNE 2017

Alice's Adventures in Volatility-land

Managing portfolios according to Modern Portfolio Theory directs us to find investment portfolios with the highest level of return for a given level of risk. In this paper we examine the nuances of volatility and risk measurement to better inform decision-making in investment portfolios.

APRIL 2017

Building Impact Portfolios

A framework to building diversified portfolios that balance the objectives of maximizing risk-adjusted financial return and generating social and environmental impact.



Market Update - 4Q18

For US markets in 2018, it was seemingly the best of times and the worst of times. The S&P 500 began the year at the highest price-earnings multiple since the financial crisis, but ended 2018 slightly below the ten-year average. In bonds, the US ten-year Treasury yield climbed to its highest level since mid-2011, only to end the year about back where it started. And in credit markets, spreads hit post-financial crisis tights, only to end the year at elevated levels last seen in 2016.


Interim Market Update - 4Q18

Notable themes thus far in 4Q18 include: the October-November equity selloff, global growth concerns, another quarter of strong earnings, an oil price bear market, rising concerns over corporate debt levels, and higher yields on high yield bond.


Market Overview - 3Q18

In this quarter, there is still a sense of caution due to geopolitical pressure points and global trade tensions. Meanwhile, robust US growth, strong employment figures, and moderate inflation have emboldened the Federal Reserve to stay on a tightening course well into 2019 or beyond.


JULY 2018

Financial Inclusion in Emerging and Frontier Markets

Financial inclusion is, today, one of the most popular investment themes among impact investors, in part because it has a long track record dating back to the emergence of the modern microfinance movement in the 1970s. Over the past 10 years, the field has shifted away from an emphasis on microcredit and towards the broader notion of financial inclusion. Athena Capital's landscape review examines the role for private capital within financial inclusion, the potential for meaningful social impact from investment activity, and the available investment strategies.

APRIL 2018

Evaluating Potential China Trade Tariffs

The escalating trade rhetoric between the US and China has recently garnered headlines as the countries have announced or enacted tariffs. We believe these actions mark a shift in the trade relationship between the US and China—from one of tolerance to one of engagement.


Introduction to Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have garnered significant attention due to their astronomical 2017 returns and the lack of consensus on their true value among prominent market strategists. While Athena Capital classifies cryptocurrencies as speculative assets with a high degree of volatility, we continue to evaluate this evolving market and the implications of its underlying technology, blockchain.