May 1, 2019

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

HESCO barriers are really impressive.  They were conceived by James “Jimi” Heselden, a British entrepreneur and former coal miner. They are, at base, portable protective barriers; a box of heavy steel mesh that gets lined with a heavy plastic tarp and filled with sand. Start to finish, two guys and a front-loader can get one of these things built, positioned and filled in 20 minutes. The alternative, about 1500 sandbags, would take 10 guys far longer.  They’re strong enough that the military uses them as blast-proof fortifications and governments worldwide use them as protection against hurricanes. They can be strung together to form a continuous barrier a mile long.

They’re really impressive.

But the Mississippi, running at flood crest, is Continue reading →

The Investors Guide to the End of the World, Part 2: Concrete advice

By David Snowball

Much has been written about the threat of climate destabilization and investors are more and more aware that there are distinct challenges between posed to their own portfolios. Whether it’s rising sea levels, intolerable summer temperatures, frequent extreme weather (droughts, super-sized hurricanes, flooding, blizzards) or assertive government regulators, it is clear that these things are going to impact our portfolios.

But how? What, other than moving to Minnesota (or investing in Mairs & Power, which is located in Minnesota and is famous for investing in Minnesotans), should Continue reading →

Asymmetric Investing

By Edward A. Studzinski

“If more than ten percent of the population likes a painting it should be burned, for it must be bad.” George Bernard Shaw

Where are we with one third of the year gone? Many domestic and international funds are showing year-to-date positive total return performance ranging from the low teens to just into the twenty percent range. The more instructive number is the total return performance looking back over one year. There many funds are still showing negative numbers, not having Continue reading →

Living a Rewarding Retirement – Put Some Things on Auto-Pilot

By Robert Cochran

Readers of my previous blog posts know that since I retired more than 18 months ago, I don’t spend much time looking at the values of my investments. There are four main reasons for this. First, I spent more than 30 years watching the markets and client portfolio values on a daily basis. I was more than ready to pass that off to my former investment partners, and I don’t miss it one bit.

Second, I am blessed to Continue reading →

New MFO Search Tools Publicly Available

By Charles Boccadoro

We’ve supplanted our “Miraculous MultiSearch” and Risk Profile search tools with QuickSearch, which is now available on the MFO Premium site. It offers more features and is updated monthly. We’ve also consolidated our Great Owl, Three Alarm, and Dashboard (of Profiled Funds) tools to the MFO Premium site, similar info as before but more user-friendly and also updated monthly. All these tools remain available to public and trace back, in fact, to our legacy Fund Alarm site.

To help walk users through these tools, as well as to Continue reading →

great horned owl

Balter Invenomic (BIVRX/BIVIX/BIVSX)

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Balter Invenomic Fund is seeking long term capital appreciation. They pursue that through a widely diversified long-short portfolio comprised, primarily, of domestic stocks. The long and short portfolios each held about 150 positions, as of early 2019. The long portfolio is always fully invested in undervalued, timely stocks while the size of the short portfolio varies based on the opportunities available. The long portfolio is all-cap and might include equity securities other than just common stocks. The fund’s short portfolio is broadly diversified and targets stocks which are both overvalued and are likely to fall. The short portfolio is not designed merely as a defensive buffer; it is designed to deliver positive returns and reduce the overall risk of the portfolio through Continue reading →

Elevator Talk: Alexander Oxenham, Hilton Tactical Income Fund (HCYAX/HCYIX)

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 300 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 a few hundred 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. 

Sometimes relationships start in unexpected ways. Unbeknownst of us, our relationship with Continue reading →

great horned owl

River Canyon Total Return Bond Fund Institutional Class (RCTIX)

By Dennis Baran

Objective and strategy

The fund seeks to maximize total return by investing across the structured credit sectors – RMBS, ABS, CMBS, CLO, and other non-traditional fixed income sectors. The fund must invest at least 60% of its assets in securities rated as investment grade. The balance of the fund will typically be invested in bonds rated below investment grade.

The management team seeks relative value across the breadth of structured credit sectors including Agency/Non-Agency RMBS, ABS, CLOs, Mortgage Derivatives, and Continue reading →

old license plates on a wall

Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

Before funds and ETFs can be offered to the public, they’ve got to be submitted to the SEC which has 70 days to review the application. In general, advisers try to launch just before year’s end because that allows them to have clean “year to date” and calendar year results to share. These launches will likely occur in late June so that they’ll at least have full-quarter results for 2019 Q3.

The dominant themes this month seem to be enhanced risk-management (Aptus, Horizon, Hussman, Quadratic, RG) and ESG emphasis (Horizon, Kennedy, Wahed). Also cannabis. Continue reading →

old alarm clock

Manager changes, April 2019

By Chip

In the course of the average month, MFO chronicles partial or complete manager changes at 60 – 80 active equity, alternative or balanced mutual funds. We rarely report on changes at passive products or “vanilla” bond funds because, in about 99% of such instances, the changes are inconsequential to the fund’s performance.

This month, changes were reported at only 30 funds – a few low which largely parallels the lull in fund liquidations which we report in our “Dustbin of History” feature. Two of those changes are attendant to the unexpected death of Patrick Flynn, of Neuberger Berman. Mr. Flynn left behind a wife and several young children, for whom we mourn and to whom we Continue reading →