November 1, 2020

By David Snowball

And now we wait.

I’m writing this less than 48 hours before the end of the most divisive and likely most consequential presidential election in a hundred or a hundred and fifty years. (It depends on your view of the sea change enacted in 1932 or the tumult of 1860.) I am exceptionally distracted by the unfolding events.

In general, I have faith that things will work out okay. People are, on the whole, sensible when not terrified. And, while many of our fellow citizens are terrified – in part because conditions in many parts of the country are unremittingly hard and, in part, because political parties have learned that it’s in their best interests to enflame our worst fears – we have an okay track record of tempering our fears with Continue reading →

Newest MultiSearch Metrics

By Charles Boccadoro

The search for yield has never been tougher. The 10-year Treasury Rate is below 1% per year.

As a retiree of eight years now, with today marking Happy Medicare Day, I’m acutely aware for myself and many fellow retirees.

Fortunately, nearly all of the 140 Core Bond mutual funds through September in our Lipper (Refinitiv) database yield more than that 1%. And while none of these funds are “risk free” and many suffered drawdowns of Continue reading →

Chuck Akre & the Future of Focus

By David Snowball

Chuck Akre is an iconic investor, the sort of guy whose very existence vexes the efficient market advocates. Some years ago, Mr. Akre managed FBR Focus. After a dispute with the parent company (they, incorrectly, didn’t think he was worth what they were paying him), Mr. Akre left to found his own adviser and launch his own fund.

Akre Focus (AKREX) launched on August 31, 2009. Against all conventional wisdom, it’s grown to nearly $14 billion and continues to generate exceptional absolute Continue reading →

The Rookie Roster

By David Snowball

Each month we chronicle the funds newly in registration with the SEC. You could think of them as akin to all of the players who declare their eligibility for the NFL draft each year. “Put me in, coach,” they cry. “I’m ready to play!”

Here’s the football math: each year, around 3500 players are eligible for the NFL draft. Two hundred fifty-four will actually get drafted. Of the drafted players and undrafted free agents, about a third make it to a training camp. By the calculations in Pro Football Reference, of those making the final roster, only 20% Continue reading →

Searching for Yield in the Coming Lost Decade

By Charles Lynn Bolin

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 →

old license plates on a wall

Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

We warned last month that we were “at the beginning of the annual insanity.” This month, it’s at flood tide.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, by law, gets between 60 and 75 days to review proposed new funds before they can be offered for sale to the public. Fund companies anxious to have a new fund up and running by December 31st need to have it in the hopper by the third week in October at the latest. And, my goodness, a lot of folks did find time to file.

The fund industry is given to fads and Continue reading →

Launch Alert: West Hills Tactical Core Fund

By David Snowball

On October 26, 2020, Frank Capital Partners launched the West Hills Tactical Core Fund (LEBOX).  The plan is to invest half or more of the portfolio directly, or through ETFs, in domestic large-cap stocks. The remainder will be placed in cash or options.  The fund will be managed by Alan McClymonds. From 2011 to 2015 Mr. McClymonds was a consultant for Whitaker Securities in New York, NY. Whitaker’s “primary goal is to provide global liquidity in the fixed income markets,” which they do for 200 or so clients.  From 2016 to present, Mr. McClymonds has been a private investor who was introduced to founder Brian Frank by a professional associate.

Three things to know Continue reading →

Launch Alert Redux: Evolutionary Tree Innovators Fund

By David Snowball

In our October issue, we shared a Launch Alert for ET Innovators. In late October we had the opportunity to speak with manager Tom Ricketts, and so share this expanded Alert.

On September 9, 2020, Evolutionary Tree Capital Management launched the Evolutionary Tree Innovators Fund (INVNX).  The plan is to invest in 25-35 domestic growth-oriented companies that qualify as “leading innovative Continue reading →

old alarm clock

Manager Changes, October 2020

By Chip

Fund managers matter, sometimes more than others. As more teams adopt the mantra, “we’re a team,” if only as window-dressing, more than more manager changes are reduced to “one cog out, one cog in.” Nonetheless, we know that losing funds with new managers tend to outperform losing funds that hold onto their teams, while the opposite is true for winning funds. Strong funds with stable teams and stable assets outperform strong funds facing instability (Bessler, et al, 2010). Because of the great volatility of their asset class, equity managers matter rather more than fixed-income investors.

This month, 48 funds saw management turnover. By far, the most eye-catching is the departure of Chuck Akre from Continue reading →