June 1, 2024

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

It’s been a whirlwind month for us. In just about 30 days, I got married (waves to Chip!), finished my 68th trip around the big ball o’ fire in the sky, bade farewell to my 40th group of seniors (just a heads up, world. They’re coming for you!), visited with the managers from FPA (really, if you put Mr. Scruggs in a cardigan he’d totally rock the Mr. Rogers’ look), watched the Dow hit 40,000 and visited my brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh for the first time in two years.

Continue reading →

To Augustana’s class of 2024: money is not your master

By David Snowball

Hi, guys.

You made it. You survived Covid and being kicked off campus midway through spring of your freshman year. You survived a year of Zoom. You survived that weird casserole the dining commons kept serving. You survived me. And, at the end of it, you were standing together, laughing and glowing. We’re incredibly proud of you and hopeful for the good you can do in the world.

I’ve never aspired to deliver a “last lecture” for graduates, but you might consider Continue reading →

Asset Allocation & International Equities, Part I: What is the right percentage allocation?

By Devesh Shah

Introduction: “Can you improve the returns of this endowment portfolio?”

In late 2022, I became a trustee of a private school endowment and was asked to join the investment committee. The committee consisted of a dedicated group of trustees with prudent investment sense. Although there were no permanent employees to manage the investment, a number of decisions had made the job manageable. The endowment worked with a sharp financial fiduciary who advised and then carried out the committee’s decisions.

Broadly speaking, the endowment had followed David Swensen’s Yale public model. Market timing and stock picking were completely avoided. Asset Allocation, Continue reading →

great horned owl

FPA Queens Road Small Cap Value (QRSVX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The fund seeks capital appreciation by investing in the stocks or preferred shares of U.S. small-cap companies. The manager pursues a sort of “quality value” strategy: he seeks high-quality firms (strong balance sheets and strong management teams) whose stocks are undervalued (based, initially, on price/earnings and price-to-cash flow metrics). Because it is willing to hold companies as their market cap rises, the portfolio has about 9% invested in mid-cap stocks that it bought when they were small caps.

In general the portfolio holds Continue reading →

Fund Family Performance for Equity ETFs

By Charles Lynn Bolin

I went on a Bucket List Adventure to Yellowstone National Park last month and stayed at the historic Old Faithful Inn built in 1904. We saw the geysers, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with its beautiful falls, majestic bison with their calves, powerful grizzly bears with their cubs, and a coyote crossing through a congested intersection without concern for the traffic.

The other adventure that I went on last month was to take a deeper dive into “Fund Family” performance for exchange-traded funds that invest in domestic equities, global and international equities, and emerging market equities. The concept is Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted

By TheShadow


Morningstar expresses concerns with Akre Focus (AKREX).

On March 31, 2024, this portfolio had double-digit stakes in four different stocks … Such hefty positions aren’t the only concerns here, though. The transition from firm founder Chuck Akre to younger managers and analysts has been rocky, featuring several unexpected departures. The investment team currently consists only of manager John Neff and two research analysts.

There has been a serious problem with outflows from the fund, in almost a quarter since Mr. Akre formally separated himself from day-to-day management at the end of December, 2020. Firm assets Continue reading →