Rolling Down the Appian Way

By Edward A. Studzinski

“To succeed in the world, it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.”


There is a show on Showtime cable that purports to give a pretty good reading of the world of hedge funds and their masters, called “Billions.” It is now into its third season. A scene in the third episode of this season resonated with me regarding some of the issues and problems that active managers face today. The main character, Bobby Axelrod of Axe Capital, has surrendered his rights to trade as a hedge fund manager/chief investment officer in return for having his personal capital unfrozen and thus accessible. His successor as Chief Investment Officer at the firm, Taylor Mason, has begun a search to find some quantitative managers that can be brought into the firm, hoping they will be additive to the Continue reading →

The Morningstar Minute

By David Snowball

Morningstar’s plan to roll out their own family of mutual funds, for use with their managed portfolio service, is becoming more concrete. In an April 23, 2018 filing with the SEC, Morningstar notes that they’re in “the quiet period” required by the SEC; nonetheless their filing says a lot.

Morningstar will offer nine funds to their Morningstar Managed Portfolio clients. That’s a booming Continue reading →

Premium Site Update – Much Expanded Data Feed

By Charles Boccadoro

“I’ve come loaded with statistics, for I’ve noticed that a man can’t prove anything without statistics.”

                                                                                              Mark Twain

We launched our premium site in November 2015. Its origin stems from our desire to identify funds that minimized downside performance across full market cycles, using metrics and evaluation periods not readily available on other sites at that time. Parameters of interest included maximum Continue reading →

New York AG forces fund companies out of the indexing closet

By David Snowball

(with special thanks to rforno of MFO’s Discussion Board for the title)

The New York State Attorney General’s office has weighed-in on behalf of investors, and active share. Active share is a measure of the extent of the difference between what’s in fund’s portfolio and what’s in the fund’s benchmark index. If your fund holds all the same stocks in all the same percentage as its benchmark, then its active share is zero. A zero active share is good if you’ve bought – and are being charged for – an index fund. A zero active share is bad is you were sold – and are being charged for – something masquerading Continue reading →

Living a Rewarding Retirement : Settling into Retirement, May, 2018

By Robert Cochran

There have been many changes for me since August 31, 2017.  On that day, I officially retired as partner and Chief Compliance Officer of PDS Planning, Inc. in Columbus.  Having worked for a total of almost 50 years (five of those while I was in college), there was more than a bit of trepidation as I neared retirement.  Would I really fill my time?  Would I find myself longing to be at work again, missing the daily interactions with colleagues and meetings with clients? Would I be able to sit back and not be on top of the financial markets?  These were just a few of the thoughts running through my 67 year-old brain as I cleaned out my desk and office.

Notice that I did include the future of the company I helped build in Continue reading →

It’s going to get worse before it gets better

By David Snowball

Not the stock market. I have no earthly clue about what it’s going to do, when, or why. I mean the headlines.

On April 24, the Dow dropped by 425 points. That’s 1.7%, which isn’t large and isn’t saying “the market” dropped by 1.7%. The Dow is a narrow and quirky construct. The broader market is reflected in the performance of the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX), which declined Continue reading →

great horned owl

Prospector Opportunity (POPFX), May 2018

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

The Opportunity Fund seeks capital appreciation. They apply a value-oriented discipline to micro-, small- and mid-cap stocks in the US and other developed markets. In general, the managers look for companies with long, consistent, predictable track records of free cash flow yield generation and healthy organic growth. They identify undervalued securities by starting with balance sheet strength but they also consider qualitative factors (e.g., quality of the management) and the presence of a Continue reading →

old license plates on a wall

Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Proposed new funds and ETFs have to be submitted for review by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has 75 days to raise any concerns. During those 75 days, the so-called “quiet period,” advisors are forbidden from discussing the fund in registration. Advisors hoping for a fund launch by New Years have their funds in registration by October; those seeking a mid-year launch get the papers filed in April. A lot of the filings were rushed and incomplete. That said, the BBH and Metropolitan West income funds are apt to be entirely reasonable additions; for income-seeking investors, they bear Continue reading →

old alarm clock

Manager changes

By Chip

There are an exceptional number of manager changes this month, our partial recounting here finds 72 funds with changed teams. The tally is partial because we tend to exclude vanilla bond funds and index funds from the tally, since the managers in such funds make relatively modest differences in the funds’ performance.

Two departures seem worth note. Anthony Cragg is stepping down from Wells Fargo Asia Fund Fund (WFAAX) after a Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted . . .

By David Snowball


Two notable updates from the folks at Zeo.

Our 2014 profile of Zeo Strategic Income celebrated their “extraordinarily thoughtful relationship between manager and investor. Both their business and investment models are working. Current investors – about a 50/50 mix of advisors and family offices – are both adding to their positions and helping to bring new investors to the fund, both of which are powerful endorsements. Modestly affluent folks who are looking to both finish ahead of inflation and sleep at night should likely make the effort to Continue reading →