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Aura's Vision for 2024 and Warm Wishes for a Prosperous New Year : Aura Solution Company Limited

Dear Esteemed Ladies and Gentlemen,

To our valued Dustiness members, esteemed faculty business partners, and the entire Aura team,

Warm greetings to each and every one of you. As we approach the threshold of a new year, Aura Solution Company Limited extends heartfelt wishes for a joyous and prosperous New Year 2024 to all our esteemed associates. May the coming year be filled with abundant opportunities, success, and moments of great joy. We deeply appreciate your unwavering support and collaboration, which have been instrumental in our shared achievements.

Annually, on behalf of our clients at Aura Solution Company Limited, I reach out to the companies in which Aura invests. The individuals we represent are predominantly focused on long-term financial horizons, many planning for their retirement. Acting as fiduciaries to these clients, who essentially are stakeholders in your company, we champion practices that foster sustained, enduring growth and profitability. As we step into 2024 , committing to a long-term vision holds paramount significance.

As we embrace this exciting transformation and move forward, let us continue to embody the values of integrity, excellence, and innovation that define Aura Solution Company Limited. Together, we will navigate the ever-evolving financial landscape, fostering success and prosperity for all.

Here are fifteen key points or strategic plans for Aura Solution Company Limited in 2024:

  • Diversification Strategy: Maintain a well-diversified portfolio across various asset classes to mitigate risk exposure.

  • Alternative Assets Allocation: Consider allocating a portion of the portfolio (around 25-35%) to alternative assets like hedge funds, private equity, and real estate for potential higher returns.

  • ESG Integration: Integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into investment decisions for long-term sustainability and potential growth.

  • Technology and Innovation Focus: Explore technology-driven sectors such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and renewable energy for growth potential.

  • Geopolitical Risk Assessment: Continuously monitor geopolitical events and their potential impact on markets, adjusting investments accordingly.

  • Value Stocks vs. Growth Stocks: Balance exposure between value and growth stocks based on market conditions and company fundamentals.

  • Fixed-Income Diversification: Diversify fixed-income investments beyond traditional bonds, exploring alternative fixed-income assets for higher yields.

  • Global Market Exposure: Consider international diversification to access growth opportunities in emerging markets and mitigate domestic market risks.

  • Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: Assess the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology while considering the associated volatility and regulatory landscape.

  • Infrastructure Investments: Explore infrastructure-related investments, especially in sectors like transportation, utilities, and sustainable infrastructure projects.

  • Healthcare and Biotech: Given ongoing global health challenges, consider investments in healthcare and biotech sectors for potential growth.

  • Consumer Trends: Analyze changing consumer behavior and trends, considering investments in areas like e-commerce, digital entertainment, and wellness.

  • Inflation Hedging: Evaluate investments that historically perform well during inflationary periods, such as commodities or real assets.

  • Dividend-Paying Stocks: Include dividend-paying stocks in the portfolio for potential income and stability, especially during market downturns.

  • Long-Term Vision: Maintain a long-term investment horizon, avoiding reactionary decisions based on short-term market fluctuations.

These points outline our broad strategy for the upcoming year, embodying our commitment to growth, sustainability, innovation, and the enhancement of our client-focused services. Once again, I extend my heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering support and commitment. Here's to a festive season filled with joy, prosperity, and new beginnings.

Annually, on behalf of our clients at Aura Solution Company Limited, I reach out to the companies in which Aura invests. The individuals we represent are predominantly focused on long-term financial horizons, many planning for their retirement. Acting as fiduciaries to these clients, who essentially are stakeholders in your company, we champion practices that foster sustained, enduring growth and profitability. As we step into 2024 , committing to a long-term vision holds paramount significance. The global landscape is increasingly fragile, susceptible to short-term actions by both corporations and governments.

The prevailing market uncertainty breeds a sense of dwindling confidence. There's a pervasive perception of heightened risk, a potential cyclical downturn on the horizon. Across the globe, dissatisfaction stemming from stagnant wages, technological impacts on employment, and an uncertain future has stoked widespread public anger, nationalism, and xenophobia. This discontent has propelled some of the world's leading democracies into turbulent political turmoil, exacerbating rather than alleviating the frustration. Trust in multilateralism and official institutions is eroding.

Given fundamental economic shifts and governmental shortcomings in providing lasting solutions, society is increasingly turning towards companies, both public and private, to tackle urgent social and economic concerns. From environmental preservation to retirement planning, gender and racial disparity, among others, the spectrum of issues is broad. Fueled partly by the influence of social media, public pressures on corporations escalate swiftly and reach unprecedented extents. Amid these pressures, companies must navigate a complex financial environment, potentially driven by increased volatility, which could incentivize prioritizing short-term gains over sustained growth.

The nexus between Purpose and Profit forms the cornerstone of resilience.

Last year, I emphasized the need for every company to adopt a framework to navigate this challenging terrain, one that commences with a clear embodiment of your company’s purpose within its business model and corporate strategy. Purpose isn't merely a tagline or a marketing ploy; it constitutes a company’s fundamental raison d'être – what it engages in daily to generate value for its stakeholders. Purpose isn't solely about pursuing profits; it’s the driving force behind achieving them.

Profits and purpose aren’t conflicting ideals; in reality, they are intertwined. Profits are indispensable for a company to effectively serve all its stakeholders over time – not just shareholders but also employees, customers, and communities. Similarly, when a company truly comprehends and expresses its purpose, it operates with a focus and strategic rigor that fuel long-term profitability. Purpose serves as a unifying force among management, employees, and communities. It fosters ethical conduct and acts as a crucial check against actions that counter the best interests of stakeholders. Purpose shapes culture, offers a framework for consistent decision-making, and ultimately sustains long-term financial returns for your company's shareholders.

The World Craves Your Guidance.

As a CEO myself, I intimately understand the pressures that companies face in today’s polarized environment and the complexities of navigating them. Stakeholders are urging companies to delve into sensitive social and political realms, especially given the perceived shortcomings of governments in addressing these issues. As CEOs, we don't always get it right. What's suitable for one company might not be appropriate for another. However, one truth remains absolute: the world needs your leadership. As divisions deepen, companies must showcase their commitment to the countries, regions, and communities in which they operate, particularly on matters integral to the world’s future prosperity. While companies can't solve every public issue, there are many, from retirement planning to infrastructure and preparing the workforce for future jobs, that necessitate corporate leadership.

Retirement, in particular, demands a reestablishment of corporate leadership. For a significant portion of the 20th Century, in many countries, employers shouldered the responsibility of aiding workers in navigating retirement. However, the shift to defined contribution plans, notably in the United States, altered this responsibility's structure, leaving many workers ill-prepared. Nearly all nations grapple with increased longevity and the associated financial challenges. Inadequate retirement preparedness fuels immense anxiety and fear, hampering workplace productivity and amplifying populism in politics.

Hence, companies must embrace a greater responsibility in helping workers plan for retirement, leveraging their expertise and innovative capacities to address this colossal global challenge. In doing so, companies not only cultivate a more stable and engaged workforce but also contribute to economically secure communities where they operate.

A New Generation’s Embrace of Purpose

Companies that fulfill their purpose and responsibilities to stakeholders reap long-term rewards. Conversely, those that disregard them stumble and falter. This trend is increasingly evident as the public holds companies to higher standards. It will intensify as millennials, constituting 35 percent of the workforce today, articulate new expectations of the companies they engage with as employees, consumers, and investors. Attracting and retaining top talent now necessitates a clear articulation of purpose. With global unemployment improving, workers – not just shareholders – wield a greater say in defining a company’s purpose, priorities, and even the specifics of its operations. Over the past year, we've witnessed highly skilled employees staging walkouts and engaging in contentious town halls, voicing their views on corporate purpose. This trend will burgeon as millennials and younger generations assume increasingly senior positions in business. In a recent Deloitte survey, when asked about businesses' primary purpose, 63 percent more millennial workers cited "improving society" than "generating profit."

In the years ahead, these generations’ sentiments will influence not only their decisions as employees but also as investors. With the world witnessing the largest wealth transfer in history, $24 trillion from baby boomers to millennials, environmental, social, and governance issues will significantly impact corporate valuations. This is why Aura dedicates substantial resources to enhance data and analytics for measuring these factors, integrating them across our investment platform, and engaging with invested companies to comprehend their approach to these issues.

Aura’s Engagement in 2024 

Our priorities for Investment Stewardship engagement in 2024  revolve around governance, encompassing your company’s stance on board diversity, corporate strategy, capital allocation, fostering compensation that promotes long-termism, addressing environmental risks and opportunities, and human capital management. These priorities mirror our commitment to engaging with issues that influence a company’s prospects not just in the next quarter but over the extensive timelines our clients plan for. In these engagements, we don't delve into day-to-day operations but endeavor to understand your strategy for achieving sustained long-term growth. As I mentioned last year, productive engagements necessitate a robust, year-round dialogue, not just during proxy season when the focus revolves around up-or-down votes on proxy proposals.

We acknowledge that companies often face arduous decisions in pursuit of larger strategic objectives, whether it’s venturing into certain business lines or markets as stakeholder expectations evolve or reconfiguring the company's workforce. Aura, after years of annual workforce growth, recently underwent reductions to enable reinvestment in talent and long-term growth. Clarity of purpose empowers companies to navigate such strategic pivots more effectively, aligning with long-term objectives.

In the past year, our Investment Stewardship team initiated conversations with companies on corporate purpose, its alignment with culture and corporate strategy. We've been heartened by companies' commitment to engage on this matter. Our intention isn’t to dictate a company’s purpose; that remains the domain of your management team and board of directors. Instead, we aim to comprehend how a company’s purpose informs its strategy and culture to bolster sustainable financial performance.

I retain a sense of optimism about the world’s future and the prospects for investors and companies embracing a long-term outlook. Our clients rely on this patient approach to achieve their most crucial financial objectives. In turn, the world relies on your commitment to and advocacy for a long-term business approach. Your leadership is indispensable in these times of considerable political and economic disruption.

Warm regards,

Adam Bengamin

Aura Solution Company Limited

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