Post-crisis portfolio constructionAsset allocation in a - Portfolio Cafe by xiangpeng


									   MArket IntellIgence

Post-crisis portfolio construction:
Asset allocation in a new era of risk
  “Investors have been suffering            The global financial crisis changed perceptions about the balance between investment
       from diversification deficit         risk and return. Investors who sustained losses in the 2007–2009 bear market are likely
disorder. What they thought was             to have a new appreciation for portfolio risk management. But they are faced with a
     diversified has become very            paradox. While long-term history shows that stocks have provided higher returns than
highly correlated because of the            other investments, recent history demonstrated that they can also devastate portfolio
   global integration of the finan-
                                            values over the short term.
cial markets. Assets we thought
 were uncorrelated have started             In the past, investors attempted to resolve this dilemma in two ways: with exposure to
 to move together, so we have to            high-quality fixed-income and through broad portfolio diversification. But these two
        be much more thoughtful             strategies may no longer be as viable as they once were.
          about asset allocation.”
                                            1) High-quality fixed-income may offer relatively stable returns, but with interest rates
    – Dr. Andrew W. Lo, founder
         and portfolio manager,             at historic lows, it will not likely generate a sufficient return.
            AlphaSimplex Group              2) Effective diversification assumes that historical performance relationships between
                                            asset classes remain stable – but they don’t, especially in periods of financial crisis.
                                            That’s why asset allocation models need to be adapted to a new era of risk.
  Not For Use With The Public • June 2010
          MArket IntellIgence

    the evolution of asset allocation
    Asset allocation has evolved over the past               Figure 1: Headwinds for traditional assets
    30 years. It began with the idea of using
    stock and bond mutual funds to create
    diversified portfolios. Throughout the                                 Historical yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury bond 1954−2009
    1980s and 1990s, diversification and                              20
                                                                            Returns: May 1954 – Aug. 1981                    Returns: Sept. 1981 – Dec. 2009
    asset allocation were promoted as a way                                 Stocks: 10% (5% inflation-adjusted returns)      Stocks: 11% (8% inflation-adjusted returns)
    to optimize returns and lower investment                                Bonds: 4% (-1% inflation-adjusted returns)       Bonds: 9% (6% inflation-adjusted returns)
    risk. But with market trends so broadly                           15    50/50 Mix: 0.28 Sharpe Ratio                     50/50 Mix: 0.36 Sharpe Ratio
    positive, they were never really tested on
    the downside. During the extended bull
    market of the 1990s, the primary goal of                          10
    asset allocation was generally to ensure
    exposure to the best-performing asset
    classes rather than to protect against
    a potential market decline.
    In post-2008 portfolio construction,
    that dynamic may be reversed. Today,                              0
    managing risk may be considered a higher                          Jan-55 Jan-60 Jan-65 Jan-70 Jan-75 Jan-80 Jan-85 Jan-90 Jan-95 Jan-00 Jan-05 Jan-10
    priority than chasing market-beating
    returns. But historically low interest rates             Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, Morningstar
    can make allocations to cash and high-                   Returns reflect reinvestment of capital gains and dividends, if any. Indices are unmanaged and do not incur fees.
    quality fixed-income very unappealing                    It is not possible to invest in an index. Stocks are represented by the S&P 500 Index. Bonds are represented by
    – and 2008 demonstrated the peril of                     the Ibbotson Associates U.S. Long Term Government Index. For illustrative purposes only. The information is not
                                                             intended to be a recommendation to purchase or sell a security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
    relying solely on assets with historically
    low correlation for risk management. So
    what are investors to do?
    The new foundation for successful asset                  maturity, including interest payments and                    Why? Because with yields so low, if stock
    allocation may be a portfolio that relies                appreciation/depreciation.) In this scenario,                market conditions are normal or better,
    on specific risk management strategies,                  the yield-to-maturity returns are likely to be               the allocation to high-quality bonds
    rather than on diversification across asset              in the range of investors’ long-term return                  should do nothing but dilute long-
    classes. This may allow for adequate                     needs under most circumstances. And in                       term returns to portfolios that also have
    levels of return under normal to favorable               scenarios where riskier assets like equities                 exposure to risk assets like equities. On a
    market conditions, but would potentially                 have losses, these high-quality assets benefit               hold-to-maturity basis, based on historical
    limit losses when market conditions                      from a flight to quality and can generate                    performance, intermediate maturity
    are poor.                                                returns in excess of their yield-to-maturity.                high-quality bonds should earn 3% to
                                                                                                                          5% annualized, with periods of time
    High-quality fixed-income                                As a result, investors with balanced
                                                                                                                          when they significantly underperform as
                                                             exposure to stocks and high-quality bonds
    losing its appeal                                        were generally spared the disaster that
                                                                                                                          interest rates rise.1
    Back when yields on high-quality fixed-                  befell equity-centric investors over the                     Finally, as Figure 1 shows, the Sharpe
    income securities were high, as they                     ten years ended 2009.1 But the flight to                     Ratio (risk-adjusted return) of a standard
    were from the 1970s to the 1990s, risk                   quality during the 2008 financial crisis is                  50/50 mix of stocks and bonds when
    management was a fairly straightforward                  partly responsible for the low rates offered                 rates were rising was lower than the
    exercise (see Figure 1). If investors can                by cash and high-quality bonds today.                        risk-adjusted return of the same portfolio
    get yields-to-maturity of high single digits             In fact, based on historical performance,                    when rates were falling.2
    or better from government securities or                  current rates are so low that significant
    very high-quality corporate bonds, there                 exposure to high-quality bonds is no                         In order for today’s investors to continue
    is minimal opportunity cost to allocating                                                                             to receive strong risk-adjusted returns
                                                             longer a source of risk management, but
    to these assets. (Yield-to-maturity is                                                                                from traditional asset allocation, interest
                                                             rather a de facto bet that the next crisis
    the annual return on a bond held to                                                                                   rates would need to continue to decline
                                                             should happen relatively soon.
                                                                                                                          while equity markets produce historically
    Source: Morningstar, Natixis Investment Strategy Group

    Stocks are represented by S&P 500 Index and bonds are represented by the Ibbotson Associates U.S. Long Term Government Index.

2       ASSET AlloCATIoN IN A NEW ErA oF rISK                                                                                            Not For Use With The Public • June 2010
normal long-term rates of return. A                          acknowledges the need to take increased                      Historically, stocks have averaged
declining rate scenario is similar to the                    market volatility and global risk factors                    12-month returns of approximately 12%
economic environment experienced in                          into account to improve the odds of                          with a standard deviation of 22%.4 At first
Japan over the past two decades, which                       meeting investor goals.                                      glance, that risk-return tradeoff doesn’t
has not been a recipe for robust equity                                                                                   seem very alarming. But when you look
market returns.                                              Adapting allocations to                                      a little deeper, the risk inherent in equities
                                                             market volatility                                            comes into sharper focus:
What about diversification?                                                                                               • The maximum 12-month loss for
                                                             With today’s higher volatility levels,
Historically, diversification has lowered                                                                                   equities has been nearly 70%.4
                                                             relying on stocks alone to create attractive
risk because different types of assets
                                                             levels of return may be less likely to lead                  • Standard deviation (22%) nearly
respond differently to changing market
                                                             to success than in the past. Not only is                       double the average return of 12%
conditions, a concept otherwise known
                                                             equity volatility currently high relative to                   implies a significant possibility of
as low correlation. But in today’s global
                                                             historical levels, it may remain so. Analysis                  negative returns.4
marketplace, assets that have historically
                                                             of historical data shows that spikes in
complemented one another may be more                                                                                      Similarly, the maximum 12-month
                                                             volatility have consistently left a higher
likely to move in synch, reducing the                                                                                     drawdown on long-term U.S. government
                                                             baseline in their wake. These “aftershocks”
benefits of traditional diversification.                                                                                  bonds has been over 21% – a considerable
                                                             have continued for several years, with
As Figure 2 demonstrates, in times of crisis                 volatility levels 25% higher on average                      loss for what is commonly considered a
– just when investors are most in need of                    than pre-spike levels.3                                      “risk-free” investment. So while historical
risk management – the correlation of “risky”                                                                              data shows that it is highly unlikely for
                                                             Heightened volatility without downside                       significant negative returns to occur
assets such as stocks and bonds tends to
                                                             risk management may increase the                             simultaneously in both stocks and
increase. This phenomenon may make risk
                                                             potential for loss. Investors unwilling to                   high-quality bonds, 2008 taught us the
management through diversification less
                                                             tolerate the uncertainty and potential risk                  importance of expecting the unexpected.4
effective in extreme environments.
                                                             to their investment balances are seeking
Post-crisis portfolio construction                           new ways to limit overall risk but still
recognizes that historical trends                            maintain a reasonable opportunity
cannot predict future correlations, and                      for return.

Figure 2: In periods of crisis, risk management through diversification may lose its effectiveness

                 Correlation to large-cap U.S. stocks 1998−2007 compared to 2008
                                                                                                                                        1998−2007                2008






                      Small-cap           International     Emerging markets      Investment-grade          High yield            Convertible             Hedge
                       stocks                stocks              stocks               U.S. bonds              bonds                 bonds                 funds

Source: Natixis Investment Strategies Group 1998–2008. Large-cap U.S. stocks represented by S&P 500 Index, small-cap stocks represented by Russell 2000, international
stocks represented by MSCI EAFE Index, emerging markets represented by MSCI EM Index, investment-grade U.S. bonds represented by Barclays Capital Aggregate Bond Index,
high yield U.S. bonds represented by Barclays Capital High Yield Corporate Bond Index, convertible bonds represented by Merrill Lynch Convertible Bond Index, and hedge funds
represented by Credit Suisse/Tremont Hedge Fund Index.

    Natixis Investment Strategies Group
    MPI Stylus 1926–2009

Not For Use With The Public • June 2010                                                                                               ASSET AlloCATIoN IN A NEW ErA oF rISK     3
        MArket IntellIgence

    rethinking the core
    Conventional wisdom on the purpose                      Components of the new                                The evolution of asset allocation
    of core portfolio holdings has been to
                                                            core include:                                        1980 to present
    harness the long-term risk-adjusted
    return potential of a traditional mix of                1. GloBAl EQUITY EX-U.S. – Equity exposure           1980s
    assets such as large-company stocks and                 to developed and emerging markets
                                                                                                                 Guiding principle:
    high-quality bonds. The goal of asset
                                                            2. GloBAl FIXED-INComE – A portfolio                 Reduce risk by investing in diversified
    allocation has been to strike a strategic
                                                            allocated across geographies to gain access          portfolios, not individual stocks or bonds
    long-term balance between these two low-
    to-negative-correlation asset classes that              to different yield curves, as well as across         Key points:
    optimizes their risk-adjusted return.                   the quality spectrum, to pursue yield                • Equity and fixed-income pooled funds
                                                            and total return potential                             were a cost-effective way to help
    But in the post-crisis world there are                                                                         investors diversify their holdings
    three key factors in play:                              3. rISK-mANAGED AlTErNATIvES –                       • Age, risk tolerance and specific
                                                            Global exposure to currencies and                      investment goals helped shape
    • Historically high volatility                                                                                 recommended allocations
                                                            commodities as well as traditional asset
                                                            classes, with the ability to take long and
    • Historically low interest rates
                                                            short positions, and managed with tight              Late 1980s – 2000
    • Renewed awareness of the potential for                risk controls to potentially limit volatility        Guiding principle:
      historical correlations to break down                 and the possibility of extreme loss                  Lower pooled fund risk by diversifying
                                                                                                                 across the style box
    In this environment traditional core                    4. HEDGED U.S. EQUITY – A traditional                Key points:
    holdings – especially long stocks – may                 U.S. large-cap portfolio that maintains              • Investors encouraged to diversify
    just be too volatile. And the low rates on              exposure to the growth potential of                    holdings across equity and fixed-income
    high-quality fixed-income securities make               equities while limiting the variability of             style boxes
    it likely that their long-term returns are              returns and adding protection on the                 • Maintain exposure to all equity categories,
                                                            downside                                               because no one could predict the next
    insufficient to provide strong risk-adjusted
                                                                                                                   big winner
    returns even when accompanied by stocks.
                                                            This new core portfolio can provide
    Post-crisis core portfolios may benefit                 global exposure to stocks and bonds,                 2000 – 2008
    from some revisions to traditional asset                risk-managed exposure to non-correlated
                                                                                                                 Guiding principle:
    allocation. Each potential component of                 asset classes and hedged exposure to U.S.
                                                                                                                 Core that combines traditional assets,
    the new core includes an enhancement                    equities. Satellite investments that seek            diversified with satellite investments to
    that may offer greater risk management                  to add alpha should continue to play                 seek higher returns
    better suited to today’s environment.                   an important role in complementing                   Key points:
                                                            core holdings, but they too may reflect a            • Establish core portfolio of inexpensive
                                                            greater concern for risk and diversification           passive or low tracking error investments
                                                            beyond traditional asset classes.                    • Seek alpha with satellite holdings

                                                                                                                 Guiding principle:
                                                                                                                 Limit overall volatility to optimize risk-
                                                                                                                 adjusted return
                                                                                                                 Key points:
    Derivatives, primarily futures and forward contracts, generally have implied leverage (a small amount        • Unhedged equity exposure may be
    of money to make an investment of greater value). Because of this, extensive use of derivatives may            too volatile
    magnify any gains or losses on those investments as well as certain risks. Stock markets, particularly       • Interest rates on high-quality bonds
    foreign stock markets, are volatile and can decline significantly in response to adverse economic,
    issuer, political or regulatory changes. Exchange rate risk between the U.S. dollar and foreign curren-
                                                                                                                   may be too low
    cies may cause the value of investments to decline. Exposure to commodity markets may result in              • Managing risk may be more important
    greater volatility than investments in traditional securities. Interest rate increases can cause the price     than reaching for return
    of debt securities to decrease and will affect the value of investments in income-producing securities.

4     ASSET AlloCATIoN IN A NEW ErA oF rISK                                                                                   Not For Use With The Public • June 2010
Post-crisis asset allocation with the new core
Global equity ex-U.S.                          Alternatives                                   Hedged U.S. equity
Exposure to world equity markets is            Alternatives can be broadly defined as         Owning a large number of stocks may
essential to proper diversification, but       investment strategies that aren’t limited to   help diversify away stock-specific risk, but
many global equity strategies tend to          long-only stocks and bonds. Alternative        in strong bear markets equities as a group
overweight U.S. holdings. An allocation        strategies can diversify traditional           tend to respond similarly to economic
to non-U.S. global equity – including          portfolio holdings because many of             risk factors. Certain types of strategies,
emerging markets – ensures exposure            their techniques, such as shorting and         particularly hedging strategies, seek to
to more world economies and reduces            hedging, produce non-correlated returns.       constrain the deviation of returns and
dependence on large-cap companies.             In addition, they often provide exposure       reduce loss during unanticipated negative
                                               to new or different asset classes, such as     events and crises.
Global fixed-income                            commodities and currencies.
                                                                                              Adding hedged equity as a core holding
High-quality bonds have traditionally
                                               This combination of sophisticated              maintains exposure to the appreciation
been recommended as a core allocation
                                               techniques and non-traditional asset           potential of equities while limiting the
because they are historically less volatile
                                               classes has the potential to deliver strong    volatility of returns. Hedged equity funds
than stocks and have historically had low
                                               risk-adjusted returns and significantly        generally pursue returns similar to stocks,
correlation with equity returns.5 They
                                               improve the overall risk-return efficiency     but seek to maintain a lower volatility
also generate a regular income stream,
                                               of asset allocation programs. Institutions     profile.
which may help cushion overall returns.
                                               and hedge funds have relied on the
But an effectively diversified fixed-income                                                   A hedged equity strategy may provide
                                               non-correlation and risk management
core may need exposure to international                                                       greater stability to the core allocation
                                               properties of alternative investments for
securities, interest rates and yield curves.                                                  under volatile market scenarios, although
                                               years. However, the experience of 2008
                                               showed us that alternative strategies must     it should underperform in strong bull
In addition to diversification across
                                               be offered with strong risk controls,          markets.
geographic regions, a global fixed-income
core allocation may benefit from the           transparency and liquidity if they are         • If stocks go up, hedged equity may
flexibility to allocate across the quality     intended for individual investors.               provide an “equity-like” return, but
spectrum of fixed-income securities.                                                            will most likely lag traditional long-
                                               Now alternative strategies available in
This may also be an advantage in a low                                                          only strategies.
                                               pooled funds can bring these benefits to
interest rate environment, as lower-
                                               individual investors. Alternative funds can
quality bonds can provide opportunities                                                       • If stocks go down, hedged equity
                                               provide the added benefits of liquidity,
for the pursuit of higher yield and total                                                       declines may be less severe.
                                               transparency and lower expenses. In
return. Additionally, bonds with higher
                                               addition, alternative strategies with          • If stocks are flat or move sideways for a
coupons or current prices well below
                                               strong risk controls designed to limit           period of time, earning premiums from
par value may help offset the negative
                                               volatility can make alternatives exposure        call options can still generate a return.
effects of periods of rising interest rates.
                                               appropriate for the core allocation.
However, these bonds may be exposed to                                                        A traditional long-only equity portfolio
greater economic, political and currency                                                      may generate a higher return than its
fluctuation risks.                                                                            hedged counterpart from time to time.
                                                                                              But hedged equity may provide more
                                                                                              consistency to buffer the effects of steep
                                                                                              losses, which may make it easier to stay
                                                                                              committed to long-term investment goals.

    Natixis Investment Strategies Group

Not For Use With The Public • June 2010                                                                 ASSET AlloCATIoN IN A NEW ErA oF rISK   5
         MArket IntellIgence

    Asset allocation with the new core
    Traditionally, asset allocation models have                 In this example, the traditional plus                  Figure 3: Comparison of
    been based on a mix of equities and fixed-                  alternatives core pared back global equity
                                                                                                                       hypothetical asset allocation
    income products.                                            and fixed-income exposure to 40% each
                                                                and added a 20% position in alternatives.
                                                                                                                       from 4/1/90 to 3/31/10
    Figure 3 compares a traditional core                        This modification resulted in a higher                           TrADITIoNAl CorE
    allocation (50% global equity represented                   return with noticeably lower volatility, a
    by the MSCI World Index and 50%                             better risk-adjusted return and a lower
    global fixed-income represented by                          maximum drawdown.
    Barclays Capital Global Aggregate Bond
    Index) with two other hypothetical                          The risk-managed core went even further,                         Global         Global
                                                                                                                             Fixed-Income       Equity                   Global
    portfolios that consider the impact of                      dividing the equity position into non-U.S.                        50%            50%                 Fixed-Income
    implementing components of the new                          global equity and hedged U.S. equity,
    core. Each portfolio shows annualized                       and retaining the alternatives allocation at
    return, and highlights measures of                          20%. This hypothetical portfolio had the
    volatility and risk.                                        highest return with the lowest volatility,             ANNUAlIzED rETUrN                     7.13%
                                                                a better Sharpe ratio and the lowest
    • STANDArD DEvIATIoN mEASUrES                                                                                      ANNUAlIzED
                                                                maximum drawdown.                                                                           8.60%
      ToTAl volATIlITY – Lower standard                                                                                STANDArD DEvIATIoN
      deviation indicates a historically less                   All asset allocation scenarios are for                 SHArPE rATIo                         0.34
      volatile portfolio.                                       hypothetical purposes only and are                     mAX DrAWDoWN                        -29.60%
                                                                not intended to represent a specific                    TrADITIoNAl PlUS AlTErNATIvES CorE
                                                                asset allocation strategy or recommend
      rISK-ADJUSTED rETUrN – A higher
                                                                a particular allocation. Each client’s
      Sharpe ratio indicates better historical                                                                                        Alternatives                           Alte
                                                                situation is unique and asset allocation                                  20%
      risk-adjusted performance.
                                                                decisions should be based on a client’s
                                                                                       Global     Global
    • mAXImUm DrAWDoWN mEASUrES                                 risk tolerance, time horizon andEquity
                                                                                   Fixed-Income                                   Global          Global                 Global
                                                                financial situation. 50%           50%                        Fixed-Income        Equity             Fixed-Income
      WorST-CASE DoWNSIDE PErFormANCE                                                                                              40%             40%                    40%
      – A lower drawdown indicates a less
      severe historical portfolio loss.

                                                                                                                       ANNUAlIzED rETUrN                     7.35%
                                                                                                                       STANDArD DEvIATIoN
                                                                                                                       SHArPE rATIo                         0.43
                                                                                                                       mAX DrAWDoWN                        -27.64%

                                                                                                                                rISK-mANAGED CorE

    Hypothetical portfolio annualized returns include reinvestment of dividends and capital gains,Alternatives
                                                                                                   if any.                              Alternatives
    Past performance is no guarantee of future results.                                                20%                                  20%
    Indexes are unmanaged. It is not possible to invest in Global
                                                           any index.                                                                              Hedged
                                          Global                                                                                                  U.S. Equity
                                                           Equity                           Global            Global
    Global fixed-income is represented by Barclays Capital Global Aggregate Bond Index, Global equity is represented
                                      Fixed-Income                                                                                Global              20%
    by MSCI World Index, Alternatives are represented by HFRI Fund of Funds Index, Global equity ex U.S. is Equity
                                           50%              50%                                                               Fixed-Income
    represented by MSCI World Index ex US, and Hedged U.S. equity is represented by BXM Index.                 40%                 40%         Global Equity
    Barclays Capital Global Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged index of domestic debt issued by the U.S.                                        ex U.S.
    government, its agencies, and U.S. corporations.                                                                                               20%
    HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index is a composite of over 800 hedge funds that have at least $50 million in
    assets under management or have been actively trading for at least 12 months.
                                                                                                                       ANNUAlIzED rETUrN                     7.71%
    CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index (BXM) tracks the performance of a hypothetical S&P 500 covered call strategy.
    S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged index of U.S. common stock performance.                                              ANNUAlIzED
                                                                                                                       STANDArD DEvIATIoN
                                                                                                                       SHArPE rATIo                         0.54
6     ASSET AlloCATIoN IN A NEW ErA oF rISK                                                                            mAX DrAWDoWN                        -24.31%
      Not For Use With The Public • June 2010
Beyond the core
Many advisors also recommend satellite                   take on greater risk. Possible satellites      Post-crisis asset allocation:
investments for their clients, to provide                could include asset classes thought to be
                                                                                                        The implications
alpha potential from a skilled manager or                undervalued, short exposure to asset classes
exotic asset class. In post-crisis portfolio             thought to be overvalued, an experienced       • For INvESTmENT FIrmS – Consider
construction, with a risk-managed core,                  absolute return manager, sector fund             expanding platform offerings to
satellite investments may be able to                     exposure or alternative alpha.                   include risk-managed mutual funds,
                                                                                                          particularly hedged equity, global bond
                                                                                                          and alternatives, to help meet demand
                                                                                                          from financial advisors and their clients.
The new core/satellite model
                                                                                                        • For FINANCIAl ProFESSIoNAlS –
                                                                                                          Become familiar with the new models
                   Long exposure
                                                                            Alternative                   of asset allocation and the investment
                   to undervalued
                                                                               alpha                      solutions available to help create better
                    asset classes
                                                Alternative                                               risk-managed portfolios for investors.
                                                               Hedged                                   • For INvESTorS – Learn more about
                                                              U.S. Equity                                 the new realities of today’s financial
                                          Global                 20%                                      landscape and how investments other
                                                                                                          than traditional stock and bond funds
                                           40%         Global Equity
                                                          ex U.S.
                                                                                                          may help improve diversification and
                                                           20%               Short exposure               potentially lower overall portfolio risk.
                 Sector fund                                                  to overvalued
                                                                              asset classes


     Asset allocation in a new era of risk
     As investors consider diversification in a new light, strategies that can help reduce market risk, improve risk-
     adjusted returns, and lower overall correlation may become the foundation of asset allocation. Understanding
     the tradeoffs may help create more durable portfolios that are better adapted to this new era of risk.

Not For Use With The Public • June 2010                                                                          ASSET AlloCATIoN IN A NEW ErA oF rISK   7
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business development units located across the globe, each of which is an affiliate of Natixis Global Asset Management.
This material should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any product or service to any person in any jurisdiction where such activity would be unlawful.
Natixis Distributors, L.P. and Natixis Asset Management Advisors, L.P. are located at 399 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116. 800-862-4863 •

Not For Use With The Public • June 2010                                                                                                                           WP33INT-0610

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