February 1, 2017

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

I’m sorry we were late to the party, but glad that you’re here. We had a rough start to February. Our estimable technical director Chip had a bad fall at work which took her out for three days. Just as we were preparing for launch, our site was vandalized by what appears to be an Indonesian hacking collaborative. Then as we thought we’d undone the damage and settled back to work, they slipped in again. (To be clear: you’re safe. We collect neither personal nor tracking information. Any financial stuff goes through Amazon and PayPal, groups that can pay for security obsessiveness. Mostly they seemed interested in vandalism for the sake of “bragging rights.”)

And then, to top it off, Mr. Trump was president. Continue reading →

Survival of the Flushest?

By Edward A. Studzinski

“Cynic, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are, not as they ought to be.”

Ambrose Bierce

A question I have been pondering with increasing frequency is, of the mutual funds around today, how many of them will still be around in ten years? This grew out of a year-end luncheon with a friend of mine who heads up the strategic planning effort for a large financial services firm out of Chicago that has gone global and now has its fingers in many pies. Our discussion started around the problem with Continue reading →

Planning a Rewarding Retirement

By Robert Cochran

This is the first in a series of articles on preparing for retirement. The next few will deal with what retirement looks like – what I will do as I enter another stage of my life, Social Security planning, cash flow expectations, investments, planning for health care, eventual downsizing and/or re-locating, and other topics I am finding important.

In my 36 years of helping clients plan for their retirements, there have been a number of things I now refer to as truisms that ring consistently for most of those clients. These are not retirement planning items, but they will smooth the path toward retirement. Readers of my commentary know most of them by heart, but I am personally more aware of them as I prepare for my own retirement later this year. Here they are in no particular order. Continue reading →

great horned owl

AMG GW&K Global Allocation Fund (formerly AMG Chicago Equity Partners Balanced), (MBEAX), February 2017

By David Snowball

At the time of publication, this fund was named AMG Chicago Equity Partners Balanced.

Objective and strategy

The managers aim to provide “high total investment return, consistent with the preservation of capital and prudent economic risk.” The fund normally holds 50-75% in equities with the remainder in bonds and cash. The equity sleeve is mostly mid- to large-cap US stocks; direct foreign investment is minimal. The income sleeve is mostly high quality, intermediate-term bonds. The managers have the freedom to invest up to 25% in high-yield securities or in longer maturity bonds but, mostly, don’t.


AMG (Affiliated Managers Group) advises Continue reading →

great horned owl

T. Rowe Price Global Multi-Sector Bond (PRSNX), February 2017

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The fund seeks “high income with the potential for some capital appreciation.” Their target is to maximize total return on a risk adjusted basis through a blend of high yield and global fixed income securities. They hope to achieve that end by investing primarily in income-producing instruments including:

  • US, international and emerging country sovereign debt
  • US, international and emerging market corporate debt
  • Mortgage- and asset-backed securities
  • Bank loans
  • Convertible securities and preferred stocks.

The fund may invest entirely in dollar-denominated foreign securities; other than that, the restrictions in the prospectus come down Continue reading →

Elevator Talk: Rajiv Jain, GQG Partners Emerging Markets Equity (GQGPX/GQGIX)

By David Snowball

Since the number of funds we can cover in-depth is smaller than the number of funds worthy of in-depth coverage, we’ve decided to offer one or two managers each month the opportunity to make a 200 word pitch to you. That’s about the number of words a slightly-manic elevator companion could share in a minute and a half. In each case, I’ve promised to offer a quick capsule of the fund and a link back to the fund’s site. Other than that, they’ve got 200 words and precisely as much of your time and attention as you’re willing to share. These aren’t endorsements; they’re opportunities to learn more.

Rajiv Jain, with the assistance of a seven-person team, has managed GQG Partners since Continue reading →

Launch Alert: Osterweis Emerging Opportunity Fund (OSTGX)

By David Snowball

On October 1, 2012, Callinan Asset Management launched Emerging Growth Partners, L.P. On November 30, 2016, Osterweis Capital Management re-launched the adopted hedge fund as Osterweis Emerging Opportunity Fund.

Manager James Callinan screens the growth universe, including both IPOs and mature growth companies, for companies and stocks that meet his criteria. He says, in general, that

We want to find an undiscovered or misunderstood company that should have sustainable and open-ended revenue growth of at least 20% for three to five years. Finally, we’re looking for rising margins which may include companies that are losing money and then will break into profitability.

Continue reading →

Launch Alert: Symons Concentrated Small Cap Value Institutional Fund (SCSVX)

By David Snowball

On December 5, 2016, Symons Capital launched Symons Concentrated Small Cap Value Fund. It is, so far, available only as an institutional offering with a $1 million minimum.

The fund is an extension of the Symons Concentrated Small Cap Value composite.  As of 12/30/2016, that composite reflected quite healthy investment performance. Continue reading →

old license plates on a wall

Funds in registration

By David Snowball

An “arabesque” is either a graceful move in ballet or a graceful and intricate design in art and architecture. I’ll be fascinated to see how it plays out as a fund.

American Beacon TwentyFour Strategic Income

American Beacon Twenty Four Strategic Income will seek high current income with some hope of capital appreciation. The plan is to buy income-producing … uhh, stuff. Almost any conceivable stuff, globally and Continue reading →

old alarm clock

Manager changes, January 2017

By Chip

The good folks at Grandeur Peak worked hard in January to realign and rationalize the manager line-ups across all their funds, then Stewart Spencer left Emerging Opportunities (GPEOX) at month’s end to pursue other paths and an additional shuffle was in order. It’s worth watching. Meanwhile, founders Robert Gardiner and Blake Walker have resumed joint management of Global Opps and International Opp.

T. Rowe Price and Fidelity both had changes sufficiently consequential to trigger Morningstar reviews of their analyst ratings. Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly noted

By David Snowball


It feels like an unusually consequential month for some of the fund industry’s most trusted voices. Scott Burns, long-time Dallas Morning News columnist, announced his retirement after “40 years of deadlines, 36 in national syndication. That’s over 5,000 columns and more than 3.5 million words.”  Rather than share final thoughts on personal finance (which you should have been able to glean from his preceding 3.5 million words), Scott offered “collection of columns that I wrote by leaving my computer, office and comfort zone.” If you write him, he’ll Continue reading →