One of the questions that I am sometimes asked is why do I own so many funds? The answer is that I have a dual-income family with different employer sponsors, different types of tax-advantaged accounts, brokerage accounts, and that I like to set aside a portion of my assets to invest according to the business cycle and trends. With Mutual Fund Observer, computers, and the internet, it is no more difficult or costly to manage 20 or more funds than it is 5.
I identified in Flexible Portfolio Funds With High Risk-Adjusted Returns that KL Allocation (GAVAX), a Flexible Portfolio Fund, is one Continue reading →
Objective and strategy
The fund seeks “strong long-term risk adjusted returns.” The managers may employ a wide variety of strategies in pursuit of gains that are independent of the movement of the global stock and bond markets.
T. Rowe Price. Founded in 1937 by Thomas Rowe Price and Continue reading →
A reader on the Mutual Fund Observer Discussion Board asked “how do you feel about putting monies into funds that have a somewhat ‘black box’ dynamic to them…yes, they explain their positions but sometimes I wonder, how safe of an investment are some of these funds?”
For those not familiar with black box investing, Investopedia explains: “a black box is a device, system, or object which produces useful Continue reading →
The Federal Reserve is raising rates to slow the economy, reduce inflation, and reduce bond purchases (Quantitative Tightening). The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are lowering forecasts of global growth, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine is further disrupting supply chains and raising geopolitical tensions. I am at my neutral allocation of 50% to stocks but have shifted away from the most volatile funds and toward more defensive funds that do well during the late stage of the business cycle and higher inflation. This article describes Continue reading →
Risk is defined as “the possibility of loss or injury” by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and volatility as “a tendency to change quickly and unpredictably.”
Risk refers to the possibility of loss, which is outcome focused. Volatility refers to a quick, unpredictable change, which isn’t centered on the outcome. To be a good investor, a person must be able to differentiate between these. Volatility acts as noise, while risk is worth paying attention to.
– The Difference Between Risk And Volatility, Investopedia, Judy Hulsey
I continue to expect a regime change from mid-cycle to late-cycle later this year and look for opportunities to reduce exposure to riskier assets from my current 55%. Fourth-quarter nominal gross domestic product is up 11.8% compared to a year ago with the consumer price index up 7.5% for a real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product of 5.6%. Inflation, valuations, geopolitical risks, and volatility are Continue reading →
The Mutual Fund Observer writes for the benefit of intellectually curious, serious investors— managers, advisers, and individuals—who need to go beyond marketing fluff, beyond computer-generated recommendations, and beyond Morningstar’s coverage universe.
The quote above had a big impact on me in July 2019 when I was first introduced to Mutual Fund Observer, and I became its most enthusiastic fan. I began contributing to the monthly newsletter shortly thereafter. I appreciate the efforts that have gone into creating and maintaining MFO by Professor Continue reading →
I love reading the monthly discussions from Mr. Bolin. He is providing very useful information month after month. They’re always so insightful and analytical, yet it can be difficult to construct a portfolio because each month brings some new funds and different analyses. It would be very useful if he would have some specific portfolios and update recommended changes when he thinks it’s necessary. This month’s catastrophe portfolio is compelling, and one I may invest in for the long term. As a retiree of many years, it’s just what I want.
– MFO Discussion Board by golub1
I share a personal traditional IRA at Fidelity that I have constructed following Fidelity’s business cycle approach heavily influenced by the risk management philosophy from Mutual Fund Observer. Each investor’s needs are different, and this portfolio is Continue reading →
Correlation measures the relationship between two assets such as stocks and bonds and has a value of +1.0 for two assets that are perfectly correlated and -1.0 for two assets that move in the opposite direction. The most common example of correlation is that the S&P 500 has a correlation of about zero to US Bonds. The balanced 60 stock and 40 bond portfolio is familiar to investors as a way of building a portfolio of these two uncorrelated assets. In this article, I search for Continue reading →
Momentum is contrasted with “Buy and Hold” to develop a Tactical Sleeve. The objective is to increase risk-adjusted returns and benefit from the evolving business cycle.
I have written articles on Mutual Fund Observer about investing according to the business cycle, fund rotation, and trend following as well as finding funds that manage risk over the complete business cycle. As an individual investor nearing retirement, I like to evaluate Continue reading →
VictoryShares Enhanced Volatility Weighted ETF (CDC), a Great Owl with an Eye on Volatility
Each month, I sift through funds in my Ranking System, as well as trending funds, using the Mutual fund Observer MultiSearch screen. I search for high risk-adjusted returns across many asset classes for diversification. In March, I discovered VictoryShares Enhanced Volatility Weighted ETFs right under my nose. In this article, I look at the difference between low volatility funds and funds with high-risk adjusted returns.
This article is divided into sections for those who wish to Continue reading →
This past week has seen some significant market turmoil as the yield on 10-year treasuries climbed quickly to 1.5% while the S&P 500 dipped 2.5% on Thursday, February 25th. I show the Moving Average Convergence Divergence indicator below. The trends are short-term bearish. In this article, I focus on funds that lost less than a half percent on Thursday and were trending up over the past several months for clues on where to invest with the possibility of inflation rising.
This article is divided into four sections for those Continue reading →
A tradition dating back to the days of FundAlarm was to annually share our portfolios, and reflections on them, with you. My portfolio, indolent in design and execution, makes for fearfully dull reading. That is its primary charm.
2020 was replete with adventures and surprises Continue reading →
I won’t grow up,
I don’t want to wear a tie.
Or a serious expression
In the middle of July.
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
– Peter Pan
Several readers have asked that I expand on a comment I made about aging a few months ago. This is a hard article for me to write because it means looking at investing from a different perspective. The typical American works 30 to 50 years before retiring and must save enough to last another 20 to 30 years, or more. This means saving diligently and investing wisely while Continue reading →
How much is “enough” to retire when there are likely to be multiple decades of low returns due to high starting valuations with low yields and dividends?
- Section 1 of this article summarizes the investment philosophies of John Bogle, Warren Buffett, Ed Easterling, Charles Ellis, Benjamin Graham, and Howard Marks.
- Section 2 looks at the benefits of combining actively and passively managed funds to reduce risk.
- Section 3 shows the impact of high valuations and inflation for over 120 years.
- Section 4 covers stock and bond performance during secular bear markets with rising inflation and interest rates.
- Section 5 looks at nearly two dozen lower risk funds for investors seeking “all-weather” funds or safer yield.
- Section 6 provides estimates of “enough” for retirement in the coming decades.
Readers can skip to Continue reading →
In this article, I look at Janus Henderson Flexible Bond (JANFX), BlackRock iShares Aaa – A Rated Corporate Bond ETF (QLTA), Carillon Reams Unconstrained Bond (SUBFX), BBH Income (BBNIX), T Rowe Price Multi-Strategy Total Return (TMSRX), Advisory Research Strategic Income (ADVNX), and Vanguard LifeStrategy Income Inv (VASIX) as potential income funds to own during a lost decade that starts with high valuations and low interest rates. The second section looks at why I expect the next decade to have low returns for equity and bonds. The third section looks at Risk to Reward comparisons for Continue reading →
I am selective in the analysts that I receive market commentary from. They are overwhelmingly cautious. The buzz word “FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out” is used to describe retail investors piling into markets. The quote that sums up my feelings best comes from Liz Ann Sonders of Charles Schwab in “High Hopes: S&P 500 Hits All Time High Amid Pandemic/Recession”, published on Advisor Perspectives.
I worry about the signs of froth in the market and among some behavioral measures of investor sentiment: not to mention traditional valuation metrics that are historically stretched. This is not an environment in which greed should dominate investment decisions; but instead one for discipline around diversification and periodic rebalancing…
This article looks at a brief Continue reading →
On August 31, I added T. Rowe Price Multi-Strategy Total Return (TMSRX) to my non-retirement portfolio. I funded that position by transferring about half of my stake in T. Rowe Price Spectrum Income (RPSIX).
Why does this make sense?
I traditionally have minimal savings, in the sense of money in a savings account at the bank. That decision makes sense for me because my income is incredibly predictable (a perk of being a tenured senior member of the faculty at a strong college), though it grows minimally. Because savings accounts have for so long offered near-zero to negative real returns, I chose to keep the money otherwise destined for savings in exceedingly low volatility funds that offered the prospect of low- to mid-single-digit returns. RiverPark Short Term High Yield (RPHYX, 3% annual returns, 0.8% standard deviation, 1% maximum Continue reading →
Welcome to the summer of our discontent.
I admit to being a bit distracted this month. My son, Will, was exposed last week to an individual who subsequently tested posted for the coronavirus. Neither she nor he was… uh, optimally cautious during their interaction and she’s subsequently fallen ill. We promptly sought a test from the State of Iowa’s preferred provider, only to learn that they couldn’t see him for four days and weren’t sure how quickly they’d have results. We turned, instead, to our local hospital which administered the test immediately, promising the results “in two to three days.” Four days later, we’ve been told that actually means Continue reading →
Welcome to summer.
All of us hope that it’s not going to be a long, hot one.
Some months it’s easy to write a welcome note, some months not. This is one of those latter times. Over the night just passed there were ongoing instances of “civil unrest” (the police chief’s term) with a caravan of 100 cars proceeding from one shopping plaza to the next. Four people – including a police officer simply driving his car – were shot; two, not including the officer, died. Many of the caravanning cars bore Minnesota plates. That followed a Continue reading →
On February 23, 2018, T. Rowe Price launched Multi-Strategy Total Return (TMSRX / TMSSX) which combines six liquid-alt strategies in a single package. These multi-strategy or multi-alternative funds function in the way that hedged funds were originally envisioned to: they combine strategies whose returns are not dependent on the movements of the broad equity and bond markets and, ideally, are not correlated with each other. The goal is to produce the Continue reading →