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StonebridgeFOCUS | Right Place, Wrong Time

Cassius Clay, or Muhammad Ali, the widely regarded GOAT of professional boxing, could’ve been even bigger, socially speaking. Ali practically invented swagger. He talked the talk and walked the walk. Imagine the brand he could’ve created if his career overlapped with the TikTok era of social media.


Adolf Fick is a German ophthalmologist known for inventing the contact lens in 1888; however, it was French philosopher, René Descartes, who did it first. Inspired by da Vinci’s Codex of the eye, Descartes proposed the idea of a contact lens 250 years before Fick. Descartes even created a contact lens that corrected vision to 20:20, but he was constrained based on the technology of the era1.

It’s not just people who can be ahead of the times, but some companies may fall under this same affliction. Here are some examples.

This company delivers food, groceries, and other products to customers’ homes within a 30-minute window of their choosing. You might be thinking of Instacart or UberEats, but first there was Webvan, which went bankrupt in 2001.

Another company was a retailer that sold toys via the internet. Amazon was not the first, but eToys, which ceased operations in 2009.

There was also a company that sold pet supplies online. No, not Chewy, but the infamous, whose notorious collapse ended in 2000.

Each of these individuals and companies were in the right place, just not in the right or most opportune time.

It’s a fair question to ask if cryptocurrencies and digital assets are another case of right place, wrong time. 2022 has not been kind to crypto, as headlines range from crashes and bankruptcies to fraud. This hasn’t been isolated to retail investors but also institutions. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan invested nearly $100 million in FTX, formerly the second largest crypto exchange, that has since filed for bankruptcy protections with allegations of fraud and stolen client funds.

The situation with FTX is so bad that the newly appointed CEO (appointed by the US Bankruptcy Court) declared that “in his 40 years of legal and restructuring experience” he had never seen “such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.” By the way, this is the same person the court put in charge of cleaning up Enron’s collapse in the early 2000s.

There was a lot of money that flowed into the crypto space. It was only a year ago when the total market cap of crypto reached $3 trillion. Today, it’s hovering around $800 billion. There’s nothing wrong with exploring different investment options or emerging opportunities. The key is to evaluate them on their merits, understand the risk-reward trade-off, and determine how they contribute to a broader achievement, or goals-based plan.

Asset allocation and investment strategy development should be a rigorous and high conviction process. High levels of scrutiny should be applied. Every piece should have a purpose. This is particularly true when it comes to private market or alternative investment exposures.

At Stonebridge, our process begins with our institutional investment consultants at Callan®. The four-stage process includes:

  1. Development of capital market expectations while examining the relationship between economy and asset class performance.
  2. Customized and optimized portfolios based on the risk/reward tradeoff with institutional manager due diligence, search, and selection.
  3. Tax-Efficient implementation with values-based filters and private market exposure.
  4. Continuous monitoring of manager performance and measuring net-of-fee, after-tax returns. We seek managers, like our clients, who outperform.


We believe in a disciplined approach to asset management that is not based on the investment-flavor-of-the-week but on historical track records and thoroughly vetted opportunities. Long term wealth is built by time in the market, rather than trying to time the market.

Thank you for your continued trust and confidence.

Tyler Martin, CFP®, CPWA®


The History of Contact Lenses

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