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NARFX Mr. Snowball?


I believe you also bought into NARFX like me? After looking at how it faired in the past month or so, I think it is time to throw in the towel. Assets have also dwindled down to a point I have started to wonder if they will just shut the fund down and liquidate.

I'm thinking TFSMX or MFLDX as replacements. Thoughts?


  • I owned it initially but sold not too long after. The fund is now below the initial price by a couple bucks - I wonder if the hedge fund is showing the same performance over the last couple of years or if there is a disconnect between how they've managed the hedge fund and the mutual fund. They seemed like nice Wisconsin folk on the conference call (yes, not that that matters), but the fund just never found its footing. Id be curious why AT & T is their largest short position as of last update. TFSMX seems like a good alternative in terms of a fund in that category that has actually performed well consistently, but I'm guessing some will consider it expensive. Third Point Offshore (TPNTF.PK) would be a certainly more risky stock option (and it is thinly traded.) Third Point Offshore is a feeder fund for famed long/short event-driven hedge fund Third Point.
  • edited July 2011
    Me thinks a lot of the stock exposure - long and short - of TFSMX is driven by the research behind their small cap fund TFSSX. They seem to be specializing in small caps and perhaps the evidence of that is they do not have a mid cap or large cap fund. TPNTF.PK might be a result of that.

    What I like about TFS is their propensity to close funds. Huh? WTF did I just say. The damn fund is closed to new investors! I'm having really excellent bad luck. First discovering David Iben does not invest in his Nuveen funds and now this.

    In any event TFS does not seem to be a company that is out their simply to make a buck. Any other fund company in their situation, with two solid fund records would most definitely have opened many more funds at this time.

    LCORX I see is open. Looking closely at MFLDX as well.
  • MFLDX in the long/short space would be more interesting to me. I don't particularly care for Leuthold (but that's just me.)
  • I'm inclined to agree with you. With LCORX I was trying to cure two of my problems in one shot. I will first say I don't put too much faith in M* classifications. I'm just looking for a defensive manager.

    So then, I discovered yesterday that NVOAX which I was looking to buy - the manager does not eat his own cooking. And then my problem with NARFX. Was thinking LCORX might solve both problems for me at once.

    At the risk of digressing, I found another couple of load waived funds at Schwab. BOPAX and BAEIX. Actually I had found them before but then forgot about them. Information on them is scarce, the annual report quite pedestrian. But at least the SAI confirms substantial manager ownership. Any ideas on these funds and George Shipp the manager?
  • I think what I found distressing about Leuthold was his appearances on Bloomberg last year touting all of the investment opportunities out there while his fund was at or near last place in the category at the same time. Not comparing, but Bill Miller was doing the same thing and in the same spot. I continue to be a fan of Romick and FPA Crescent - there has been some discussion of asset bloat at this fund, but I think Romick is a highly intelligent and reasonable manager who quietly and consistently does well. I also like the conference calls for FPA and, on a more personal level, really agree with their worldview.

    The funny thing about BOPAX/BAEIX is that I'd never heard of the company at all - however, George Shipp sounded familiar. I'd looked at Shipp's funds when they were called BB & T. Not that I was particularly interested in investing with BB & T (and didn't), but Shipp's funds (which included BB & T Equity Income) actually had pretty good track records.

    Apparently, at some point the funds were offloaded to Sterling Capital, which is apparently a subsidiary of BB & T (and Shipp's company is the subadvisor to his funds there). They are not long/short funds (MFLDX would be a good choice in that category) and they are load funds, but as long-only equity funds go, Shipp has a rather good track record.

    I think the issue would be Sterling Capital Management; I'd be curious about the extent of the relationship between it and BB & T.
  • edited July 2011
    Yes BB&T fund - two - that George Shipp managed are now part of the Sterling Funds. Such things happen. Remember those guys of FMLSX fame merging into Wasatch. Recently Delafield merged into Tocqueville.

    The fund and the manager is what I'm looking at this time. I might sound very cynical on the boards but I actually give people benefit of doubt all the time. So I'm assuming Sterling does not have an un-sterling reputation.
  • Regarding Leuthold, the same can be said about Berkowitz. He was practically fawning over Bartiromo on CNBC. And we know what's happened to his fund since then.

    Regarding Leuthold, for some reason GLBLX has done better than LCORX. They aren't much different since both make it a point to invest globally. But yes, I had held off on LCORX because I don't like folks doing ULGY(X) things for no reason. Other ugly things they did was Leuthold Hedged Equity and Leuthold Green Fund or whatever that now is closed I believe.

    Eponymous fund companies should stay eponymous or their reputation suffers. Clearly the case with Leuthold. One would expect his funds to have Billions of Dollars. They don't.
  • Reply to @scott: i purchased it it 2007 and kept it less than a year - it sounded like a great fund - but it was horrible - i have sworn off long - short funds - most of my funds are balanced funds and world allocation funds.
  • Reply to @VintageFreak: I've put some money to LCORX when it re-opened despite the fact that they had a bad year in 2010 which damaged the 3 and 5 year returns. So far, they are doing OK.
  • Reply to @VintageFreak:
    If BPLSX interests you, I have heard relatively recent reports that it remains available in Thinkorswim retirement accounts for $1K minimum.

  • Reply to @kevindow:

    Really don't want to open yet another brokerage account. Not sure how long ThinkOrSwim will continue their "cheapness".
  • Please note: TFSMX is more of a 130-30 fund rather than a true long short. Their quantitative strategy is fundamentally based (confusing i know). Basically they take a premise, (stocks with p/e under industry will appreciate it), then back test it (they take pride in the fact their data set is far more inclusive than others, was soo confused when i spoke with one of the PM's), then take starter positions in the strategy and track returns. If after a longer period of time that particular strategy is working as expected, they begin to add to the strategy up to the weighting that they decide upon. If it fails, they tweak until it works or simply remove it from the fund. (example is a vast oversimplification)

    The thing i particularly like, is that although the strategies are primarily quant driven, they are based upon fundamental factors rather than momentum or technical levels.

    If you can get in, do it. They are soft closed now, but you can purchase through selected advisory platforms. They WILL hard close soon.
  • Reply to @VintageFreak: oddly, the LCORX and GLBLX portfolios are substantially different both in sector and country weightings. I have a note into Leuthold asking if they'd refresh my understanding of the relationship between the asset allocations of the two.

    In general, because skeptical of any Leuthold fund that is driven by stock picking rather than by asset allocation and sector selection. They're not distinguished stock pickers at all. Their strength is in getting the macro calls right more often than not. My recollection of Hedged (and one reason I haven't written about it) is that it focuses more on long/short positions in individual names.

  • Hi, VintageFreak.

    Sorry about the delayed response. Busy month. No, I never bought shares of Nakoma (NARFX). While I thought it was an intriguing fund, I'm fairly disciplined about adding funds to my portfolio. The slot that NARFX might have occupied was, and is, occupied by FPA Crescent (FPACX). NARFX is one of only two really inexplicable blunders I made while writing for FundAlarm (the other was Utopia). The general problem is that Mr. Pickett has been skeptical about the US market for much of the decade, has maintained about as many short as long positions (bad idea in a rising market) and has been repeatedly wrong in security selection. None of which I would have predicted. Indeed, none of which I did predict.

    Marketfield seems unusually volatile for me, and the other folks have made sensible comments on TFS. Since I've researched neither, I think I'll be quiet now.

    Take care,

  • Thanks guys. Was out of town on business. TFSMX I will not buy since I can't buy it. I don't do load = one of the things that goes against my religion.

    And I own both FPACX and NARFX. Heck I also own HSGFX.

    Looking at MFLDX very closely. Regarding volatility, I'm fine with it. I don't equate it to risk. I view permanent loss of capital as risk. FPACX and HSGFX are both good insulating against that. When these funds charts start looking bad, I put some more money in. Has worked reasonably well for me. Did the same with NARFX actually, only it didn't work out.

    Another candidate is FMLSX.
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  • edited July 2011
    Reply to @Maurice:

    Good Morn'in al,

    Just a short 2 cents to some of the related just above this post.
    I still have a difficult time wrapping my arms of investment love around the broad sector of long/short offerings. There will always be some better ones, but if one doesn't choose correctly.....
    This Bloomberg link is for long/short funds set to the 3 year return numbers. POO ! the 3 year link wasn't happy....SO, you may click upon the "long term" icon just above the list and then click the "3 year" icon to resort the list.
    BPLEX is one in this category that appears to do fairly well.
    Aside from my sounding arrogant, our house will use our holdings with buys and sells to be our own long/short operation; although we never enter into holding or trading what are normal methods of "going short" the market or any sector.

    Take care,
  • edited July 2011
    I think if you think the manager is good you buy the fund and don't look at recent performance. I'm not to unhappy with Hussman. I am unhappy with NARFX. Hussman is doing what he says he will. And he explains what he is doing even a "child" like me can understand. I think that's very important for investor confidence in funds like these. NARFX and for that matter TFSMX manager don't do that too much. Particularly, NARFX managers seem to have their head stuck in the mud.

    Right now I'm accumulating HSIEX. And yeah, I did buy a little of MFLDX as well. NARFX is a goner from my Portfolio by close of 2011. I also have FPACX in my IRA so I will accumulate FPACX there and sell out my FPACX position in taxable account. So I'll be left with Hussman Funds and MFLDX by end of 2011.
  • Reply to @mobryon: that is truly confusing.. the name states market-neutral (close to zero beta); you're saying 130/30 (100% net market exposure) and comparing with long/short, which is yet another classification. what is TFSMX then?
  • edited July 2011
    Reply to @fundalarm: It is never market neutral. There is always a net positive exposure, that is why i compare it to a 130/30 fund. Over the last three years, i believe the net exposure has stayed around 60-70% net long. I had this discussion with on of the PM's there, and he agreed that the "market-neutral" title is a bit deceiving. With that said, it is included in all of our allocations, and provides a wonderful smoothing effect for the overall portfolio.
  • Reply to @mobryon: i beg to differ. There are truly market-neutral offerings. They might not be in traditional 40'Act funds, but it is a fairly large category. The pricing is different and so is investor eligibility, but these are true zero beta offerings (usually within -0.1+0.1 range).

    i do agree that a good 130/30 where manager can leverage its best ideas and add value on the short side, is better than just a long fund. however, this category too has had difficult time recently to catch up to the S&P500. Whatever worked since the market bottom, isn't quite working in 2011.
  • I own FMLSX and QASIX (available no load at TD Ameritrade) which are long/short type funds. QASIX is very conservative and has been negative on the US for a while (down 2% in 2008 and up 13% in 2009). They place a premium on preservation of capital. FMLSX has done well for me and they tend to be longer than they are short. QASIX started the fund in 2005 and in order to navigate the volatile market period they've been very conservative. Their conservatism has led to them not gaining very many assets, but they have a good risk profile. I have been watching GADVX which is a different kind of absolute return return fund with fixed income, cash, value stocks, and arbitrage. And an interesting manager to boot in Gabelli.
  • Reply to @fundalarm: I was speaking about TFSMX particularly. And from what i have seen, there really aren't any 40 act funds that have executed on a true market neutral strategy.

    As for what TFSMX has done this year, up 5.43% ytd, so not too bad for a fund that was down only 7% in 2008.
  • I think TFSMX, FMLSX, and co really simply behave like balanced funds, i.e. equity funds with some insurance due to part of their portfolio being in stuff that is supposed to have low correlation to stocks.

    Their names say "Market Neutral". M* categorizes then as Long/Short equity or Market Neutral. On the other hand HSGFX is categorized as Long/Short. Now who is going to argue with M* right?

    HSGFX is not a freak*** Long/Short fund. It buys protective puts.

  • I got into this fund when the rest of you did I suppose. However, I decided to stick it out. Seems to be coming on lately with the market downturn. Anyway, while I'm not happy with the performance to date, it has been under unusual circumstances. We'll see what happens.
  • This fund has been sold to Schooner Funds. Now to be called Schooner Global Absolute Return Fund. Supposedly, a no tax implications deal for NARFX shareholders, if there are any left besides me.
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