The Conscientious Investor
Full Transcript - Episode 19
Vaccine hopes and fears, currency concerns, and what's in a name? Plus Miss Elle tells us why she likes Christmas.
Plus - Pedro Vilela talks about his decision to step out of management consulting and launch his own venture capital impact investment business.
G: So, Happy Christmas everybody!
J: Merry Christmas!
L: Merry Christmas, São Paulo!
J: Yay, ho, ho, ho!
G: Merry Christmas Miss Elle!
L: Ho, ho ho.
G: Ho, ho, ho!
G: So, here we are with our Christmas episode, I guess this is.
J: Ho, ho, ho. So, Gee, what...what do you plan to do this Christmas?
G: What do I plan to do? I plan to celebrate the fact that it’s Christmas, and we have a vaccine, and hopefully next year will be different to 2020.
J: Nice. Erm, do you eat any special food in England for Christmas?
G: We have very much what you normally have at Thanksgiving, actually. We have turkey, we have stuffing, we have roast potatoes, we have...um...
J: Do you have cranberries?
G: We don’t usually have cranberry sauce. We normally have cranberry sauce with lamb. That is traditionally our Christmas meal, yes.
J: Yeah...I’d...I’d say ours is...at least my family’s...is typically turkey and stuffing. Yeah, it’s very similar to Thanksgiving, in many ways. It’s just bigger and better.
G: Yeah, it’s kind of strange for the Americans cos it’s like only a few weeks apart between Thanksgiving and Christmas isn’t it?
J: And, we’re basically eating the same bird twice!
G: Yes. So, you can just freeze it for a couple of weeks and get it out again – eat the other half!
J: Ergh! That doesn’t sound so good.
G: And you? What are you planning for Christmas this year?
J: Well, I’m...I’m going to travel to the interior. We have a house in the interior. I’ll stay there for...er...probably about a week, and then I’m going to go to the beach.
G: Ah, which beach?
G: Santos is good.
G: I like Santos.
J: Yes, Santos is nice. There’s...there’s a big city with lots of good restaurants.
G: And it’s nice at New Year there, too, isn’t it?
J: It’s wonderful. They...they have got fireworks. They have got really good fireworks.
G: So, that sounds like a good time! I bet you are looking forward to that.
J: I am. So, what do we have today for the pod, Gee?
G: Well, the main thing we have today for the pod is we have a gentleman coming in called Pedro Vilela.
J: Pedro Vilela?
G: Yes. He is...
J: Is he Spanish?
G: He is actually a Brazilian chap who I have known for a little while and he is going to tell us all about his business, which is investing in eco-friendly and responsible businesses. ‘Positive impact’ businesses, I think he calls them.
G: So, we’ll hear all about that and how he’s getting on in trying to change the world, cos he is quite an interesting chap, actually.
J: Well, it should be good fun then?
J: I’m looking forward to that.
G: ...I imagine we’ll have a bit of Guru and probably a bit of What Caught My Eye and...
J: And probably...
G: A bit of Laurie in the background. Miss Elle, sorry. I shouldn’t call her Laurie.
G: A bit of Miss Elle in the background.
J: Yes, she’s her ever-present self.
G: Omni...omnipresent...omnipres...er...one of those words, anyway.
G: So, let’s get going!
G: So what...what caught your eye, this week, Jay?
J: Well, my top story is actually important. I know a lot of times we...we make jokes here and we have fun with the stories but this one is actually quite serious. It’s about the Covid...er...vaccine.
G: Yes! We have a vaccine!
J: Yes! From...from Pfizer. And my news actually comes from the UK.
G: Hmm, well, they’ve started vaccinating, haven’t they, which is great news.
J: I...I have heard a warning though. I understand that the UK authorities are warning people with serious allergies to avoid the Pfizer vaccine, because there have been... until now, there have been two adverse reactions.
G: There are... Yes, I saw that too. There have been two people who had a prophylactic shock, or something?
J: No, anaphylactic.
G: Anaphylactic – whatever it’s called.
J: Well...you...th...that’s very serious. You can die from those. There’s people that die from peanut butter poisoning or spider bites or all kinds of crazy things.
G: That’s true.
J: For the mom...for the meantime, if you have strong allergies, they are advising not to take the Pfizer vaccine until more information is known about these reactions.
G: Hm, so, do you think that’s going to complicate things a little bit?
J: Well, I think certainly in the US it will because in the US there are a lot of people, especially – even in my family – there’s a lot of people with...er...allergies.
G: With food allergies, yeah?
J: Food allergies. So, imagine where that is going to go.
G: So, in the United States, I think, they are still evaluating the...er...Pfizer vaccine. They haven’t made a decision yet, have they?
J: Exactly. Well, I understand they are going to start giving the vaccine probably within the next two weeks. In three weeks. I don’t know why the US is slower in releasing the vaccine to the general public. That’s...that’s just part of the US protocols.
G: I believe it is just a slower process, from Mr Faucci...Dr Faucci said. It is surprising, though, that they didn’t pick up on any allergic reactions when they tested it, isn’t it?
J: Well, I...to that point, I...I understand that...er...Pfizer has said that people with a history of the...of the allergic reactions were not included in the emergency testing process. So, possibly thinking that they wanted to get this to the general public as soon as possible, they passed over that...that...er...step. Imagine all of the al...allergic reactions you could possibly have. That’s going to take a long time.
G: But, as you say, they must have an idea of what percentage of the population has allergic...allergies – food allergies?
J: What...what their statement says is that ‘Any person with a history of...of a significant allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine or food, such as previous history of anaphylactoid reaction, or those who have been advised to carry an adrenaline auto-injector should not receive the Pfizer bio-intech vaccine.’
G: Wow. That’s pretty serious.
J: That...that’s quite serious. So, then...because imagine – you want to avoid ‘death by Covid’ and you get ‘death by vaccine’ instead.
G: Yes. ‘Death by anaphylactic’ – or whatever it’s called – shock.
G: That would be nasty.
J: That’s not pleasant.
G: Well, the situation here is kind of interesting too. I don’t know if you have been following the...the latest here in Brazil, but...um...Butantan has announced they are going to start producing the Coronvac, which, of course, is the Chinese vaccine.
G: Um, and they are on the end of the process, and they are waiting for approval from Anvisa, the...er...body that approves vaccines here. And they have also inspected the factory in China, and basically they are saying the Chinese vaccine is fine and, meanwhile, Doria is planning to roll it out fairly quickly, starting in January – probably the end of January, the beginning of February.
J: The Chinese vaccine?
G: The Chinese vaccine, yes. And then, meanwhile, Mr Bolsonaro, however, he’s not interested in the Chinese vaccine. He’s announced that he’s going to be buying some of the Pfizer vaccine. And he’s ordering 70 million doses.
J: 70 million?
G: Yes. So...um...that will complicate things a little bit too.
J: So, what’s 70 million times 0.63%?
G: Erm, that’s quite a lot of people.
J: That’s...that’s a lot of people but that’s because the 0.63%, that’s what Pfizer says that...that...that in the testing trial, that’s the amount of people that tested positive for some kind of allergic reaction.
G: Right. So, when they hear about this, then maybe people will feel less suspicious about the Chinese vaccine and maybe they will pivot back towards the Coronavac?
J: Yes. Maybe the...the Hung Far Low vaccine is starting to sound pretty good?
G: But it’s all...it’s all very strange actually because the you’ve got the plan here in São Paulo, which is the Coronvac. You’ve got Bolsonaro ordering the Pfizer. In Paraná...er...sorry, yeah in Paraná they are going with the Russian thing. They are going to develop the Sputnik 5. So, they are going Russian. And in the Distrito Federal, around...er...Brasilia, they are in the testing phases with the Belgian vaccine called Janssen.
J: My god! So I...I...it sounds like it’s a free-for-all. Go wherever your be...your political interests serve and get that vaccine for you.
G: It is. So I am going to have them all. I’m going to have the whole menu, I think – all four and see which one kills me!
J: But can...that...that...that brings up a valid question. Can you over-vaccinate?
G: I...I’m sure you...well, I don’t know, actually.
J: I mean...I mean, you can, like, overdose on something, but can you over-vaccinate – which becomes an overdose?
G: Yes. ‘He died from an overdose of vaccines.’ That’s a good point – especially as they have all got different...um...methodologies, haven’t they?
J: Right. And...and let...let’s say something. So, imagine that you take all four, or all five, or however many there are. Would all of the bad qualities of like...er...add to each other or would they subtract from each other?
G: I think we need to do some research on that.
J: I don’t know. Let’s go out and let’s go test ourselves.
G: Let’s go out and test a few people off the street, and see what happens.
J: And I think I’m going to start with the...the beer vaccine that’s here on the corner.
G: I think that’s an excellent place to begin.
J: That...that’s the Corona vaccine, by the way!
G: Yes. Let’s start with the Corona beer. Or maybe not.
J: Ok. So what...what else do you have for us, Gee?
G: My item is vaguely political again, actually.
G: Did you know that Adolf Hitler has just won an election?
J: But he’s been dead for a while.
G: Well, that particular Adolf Hitler has been dead for a while but there was a...
J: That particular? There’s more than one Adolf Hitler?
G: There is more than one, you’ll be delighted to know.
J: Now that’s something that I didn’t expect. It’s not Adolf Hitler Junior – don’t tell me that!
G: Almost. No...it’s...er...it’s almost Adolf Hitler Junior. It’s Adolf Hitler Uunona, and he is a member of Namibia’s S.W.A.P.O. – the South West Africa People’s Organization.
G: And he has now been elected to the council of Ompundia constituency.
G: From...from where he’s planning to take over the world.
J: But what...what was, let’s say, his message, or his platform that he was...er... Why would anybody pick him?
G: Well, um, basically because he seems like a nice guy and...
J: Ah, ok.
G: ...he just has an unfortunate name. What...what I didn’t know, apparently is that Namibia used to be a German colony, from the...this mid 1880’s to about the First World War.
J: I...I didn’t notice that either.
G: So, the word...the name Adolf is actually not that uncommon. Erm, and he says that when his father picked the name for him he was unlikely unaware of the previous owners of the name and the reputation that he had. So, um, possibly his father was a bit naive there.
J: Yeah, or his father just didn’t have enough time to do any research. Or, maybe, I don’t know – spur of the moment. But how would you come up with a name like Adolf Hitler and not know that...that...about Adolf Hitler? I mean...
G: That is a good question, actually. Erm...
J: I...I...I just don’t get that.
G: So, it will be interesting to see how far his political career goes with that name. Erm, although apparently just knows him simply as Adolf, so...
G: There we go. We have another Adolf Hitler in the world – in politics...on the up!
J: Well, as long as he doesn’t...well, nevermind!
G: And what about you Jay? Have you got another story for us today?
J: I...I do. Mine’s, again a little bit more on the...er...little bit more on the serious economic side. This comes from...
G: This is your future career – economist, isn’t it? This is...this is where you are moving, isn’t it?!
J: I...I don’t know. Actually, I don’t know anything about it but it’s important.
G: You just know it’s important!
J: I just know it’s important because it...it deals with...er...the exchange rate.
J: And the...Paulo Guedes, who is the chief economist of the country...
J: ...has said that the highest value of the Dollar, at 5.80, was too high. So it...it just, kind of, basically overshot its target. So the...the exchange rate is...is constantly, let’s say, this...this negotiation in the market...er...trying to find the...the right value for...for the...for the Real...er...and at 5.80 it appears it is too high.
G: It’s one of those things you can’t control directly, isn’t it?
J: No, you can’t. It’s...it’s...it’s a complicated mechanism, because basically it’s the...it’s the market that’s telling you what they think the...the value of your currency should be.
G: Exactly. The market tells you that.
J: Right. So, let’s say, in terms of inflation, and then you tend to think about price inflation. Here we’ve got a high food cost inflation. And just in the last month, in São Paulo, the price of food has gone up significantly. Most of that is due to the export rate.
J: Because...er...for the producers, it’s much more interesting for them to export their products to the exterior at 5.80. You know, they are paying in... They are getting paid in dollars...
J: ...and they are getting less value here in the internal market.
J: So, then they choose to export, which raises the prices for all of...all of the goods. Erm.
G: Alright. So, is Mr Guedes planning to intervene with the Central Bank? Is he gonna to start buying Reais, or something like this?
J: No, no. He...he has said that, in the beginning, the Central Bank has...er...spent about 70 to 80 billion dollars to try to fight that a little bit, but they won’t continue to do that.
G: Good. I think it is a waste of money trying to prop up the Real, actually.
J: Right. Right. So, they...he welcomes the volatility, but of course...er...the volatility, historically, a good rate for Brazil is usually between 3 to 5 Reais. So, now it’s at 5.80. It’s going back down to, perhaps, 5.30-5.20. Hopefully it will go below 5, because that will make travelling that much cheaper.
G: Well, yes. I mean this is actually historically very high still because...
G: ...if you take the last twenty years, then for a lot of that time it’s been well below 3, actually.
J: Right. Right. And for anyone, if you want to buy dollars – if you are buying dollars at about 2 or 3 Reais – that’s a good price.
G: Yes. But nobody is right now.
J: But nobody wants to buy dollars at 5, 5.50, 5.80, no. But I would like to get an economist back in here to talk exactly about the exchange rate.
G: Yeah, I think we...it makes us feel better, beating up an economist, whether it changes anything or not.
J: Nah, probably not.
G: Yeah, let’s get him back in. Let’s see what he has to say.
J: Ok, so, what’s your... Do you have anything else for us?
G: Um, well actually, um, I have got a small item that caught my eye, here. Erm, we have just had an election here in São Paulo. They have had an election in a small village in Austria, too, actually.
G: Yes. In the area of Tarsdorf. Have you ever been to...er...Austria?
J: Yes. Yes, I have been. I went hiking there once. It was nice.
G: Have you ever been to Tarsdorf?
J: I’ve been somewhere with a dorf, but I don’t remember if it was Tarsdorf.
G: You were accompanied by a dorf were you? Anyhow, um, maybe you passed through the little village near Tarsdorf called...er...F**king?
J: F**king? Yes, I...I don’t remember going through F**king in Austria but that was...that was also my ex-wife, so I don’t know. There wasn’t a lot going on then!
G: Oh, ok! So, there wasn’t a lot of f**king in F**king?
G: Anyhow...um...they have voted to change the name!
G: Yes. Because they say they are attracting too much unwanted attention from tourists, which seems kind of surprising because most people welcome tourists, don’t they?
J: So, how did they spell the previous name, and how do they want to spell the new name?
G: Well, it’s going to be renamed...um...Fugging.
J: Fugging? Oh, that’s much better!
G: Maybe that’s something between f**king and hugging? I’m not sure.
J: Yes, I...I don’t know.
G: But...er...yes. It’s going to be called Fugging and...um...the...
J: Well, we do have ‘fugly’. I know about that.
G: Well, yes. We better not go there.
G: No. Um...but, um...so, the mayor of Tarsdorf, she said, “I can confirm that the village is being renamed.”
G: “And I don’t really want to say any more.”
J: Ok, well, that’s...that’s it, so...very nice!
G: That’s it. Short and sweet.
J: Short and sweet.
G: It is now Fugging.
G: Fugging strange! Fugging useless!
J: Oh, terrible.
G: Fugging Austrians!
J: Those...Austrians, th...they just don’t really...er... Change it to anything else!
G: I actually like Fugging. I think Fugging is a good alternative...
G: ...to...to a certain expletive, actually.
J: But I guarantee that there will still be English tourists that go there and try and steal the signs, or something like that.
G: That’s true. There was another town called Shitterton, actually. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it?
J: No. I know they have Titz in Germany.
G: Oh, they do?
G: They got lots. Lots of Titz in Germany, yes. Anyhow, we better move on quickly.
J: Ok. Let’s go on.
End of part 1