September 1, 2021

By David Snowball

Dear friends,

It’s fall! We’re back! And we hope you are, too.

Well, it’s “meteorological fall” anyway. “Astronomical fall” (or is it “anatomical fall”? I can’t recall) holds off until September 22. With two classrooms full of students (one studying Propaganda with me, the other Advertising and Consumer Culture), my brain assures Continue reading →

The Catastrophe Portfolio

By Charles Lynn Bolin

What if you had to build a portfolio now and could not change it for the next five years other than annual rebalancing? The most obvious real-life situation might be preparing in case a spouse who does not know much about investing needs to manage finances; hence the name, “Catastrophe Portfolio”. A different scenario is the Rip Van Winkle scenario where you fall asleep for five to ten years and wake up to see what your portfolio is worth. And of course, there is the K.I.S.S philosophy. 

The obvious question would be, “Why not use an investment advisor and/or an independent financial planner?” I have talked with Continue reading →

Launch Alert: Virtus KAR Small-Mid Cap Value

By David Snowball

On August 3, 2021, Virtus Partners launched their latest collaboration with Kayne, Anderson, Rudnick (KAR), Virtus KAR Small-Mid Cap Value. The fund is managed by the KAR of the title: Kayne, Anderson Rudnick Investment Management, Virtus’s largest wholly-owned subsidiary. KAR, based in Los Angeles, manages rather more than $17 billion in assets.

Across all of their portfolios, KAR emphasizes Continue reading →

great horned owl

Harbor International Small Cap (HIISX / HNISX), September 2021

By David Snowball

Objective and strategy

Harbor International Small Cap Fund pursues long-term growth by investing in a diversified portfolio of international small-cap stocks. They have three particular preferences:

  1. demonstrate traditional value metrics primarily on a price to book, price to earnings, and/or dividend yield basis;
  2. well-capitalized and transparent balance sheets and funding sources; and
  3. business models that are undervalued by the market.

Up to 15% of Continue reading →

old license plates on a wall

Funds in Registration

By David Snowball

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. Each month we survey actively managed funds and ETFs in the pipeline. This month brings 50 new products in the pipeline, most of which will launch by the end of October. The recent record, though, is that many authorized products are being Continue reading →

old alarm clock

Manager Changes, August 2021

By Chip

Each month we track changes to the management teams of actively managed, equity-oriented funds and ETFs. That excludes index funds and most fixed income funds. The index fund exclusion is pretty straightforward: in a passive fund, the managers are interchangeable cogs whose presence or absence is almost always inconsequential to the fund’s performance.

Similarly, most bond fund managers have a very limited ability to add value. Over the past ten years, for instance, the top-performing Core Bond fund in Continue reading →

fountain pen writing a note

Briefly Noted

By David Snowball


Effective immediately, Neuberger Berman Commodity Strategy Fund‘s investment strategy will permit the fund to invest up to 5% of its assets in cryptocurrency investments through bitcoin futures and investments in the securities of exchange-traded funds organized and listed for trading in Canada to gain indirect exposure to bitcoin.

WisdomTree Cloud Computing Fund, an active ETF, now solemnly swears not to invest in … you know, weapons systems, coal, or tobacco. In short, it’s declared itself to be Continue reading →