Investment Model Concept
We have found that in order to succeed as a portfolio manager over the long term in all economic and market environments, it is imperative to have a strict discipline and a sound methodology and the ability to stay the course. In fact, Warren Buffet once said,
“ To invest successfully what is needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that. ”
We have learned the importance of this concept over the last 20 years of portfolio management, sometimes the hard way. While our portfolio management style consists of appropriate asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing, we consider that to simply be the starting point of a successful investment management approach. By using our more sophisticated methodology, we avoid the pitfalls of pure “buy and hold” or straight “indexing” investment styles, which put investors at the mercy of the markets. We also avoid the over used style of the “shot gun approach”, which is where advisors shoot a virtual spray of pellets at the investment board containing all major types of investment positions. Once positions are bought, there is no methodology or discipline to manage that portfolio on an ongoing basis. Investors are just in a bunch of investments, and they cross their fingers and hope that the markets cooperate. Hope is not a successful investment approach.
Our investment discipline relies on a range of set investment models appropriate for most clients. Most of them are volatility suppressing portfolios of complementary investment positions and strategies. A portion of the models stay in passive positions, while a portion utilize an active approach that is influenced by intermediate and long term market assessments. Accordingly, the active portion transitions across a risk continuum. Portfolio adjustments, including rebalancing, generally occur 2-5 times per year and enable the portfolios to participate in bull markets and transition to protection mode as needed. This assessment approach for our active portion of portfolios is not a market timing technique. We are simply letting the markets tell us what they are doing and adjusting accordingly.
When necessary, we will also construct appropriate portfolios for clients with unique situations or requests. Some clients may be most comfortable with the buy and hold approach. With that in mind, we will construct a portfolio that offers a strategic, diversified mix of investments that we are comfortable buying and holding long term with minimal changes.
Taking Advantage of Market Inefficiencies
In addition to our volatility suppressing models, we manage a few more aggressive investment models that allow us to leverage our Market Assessment tool to take advantage of certain market inefficiencies. These particular models are considerably more volatile, and we recommend clients put no more than 10-15% of their overall financial assets in them. However, they have had a proven track record of substantially outperforming equity markets.
There are two major inefficiencies that we capitalize on in these models:
- The nature of leveraged inverse funds to inherently decline due to their structure costs and daily resetting process.
- The deterioration of volatility ETFs due to their structure costs and the concept of contango that effects every futures product like volatility.
While the concept of these aggressive models could be considered complex, the actual execution of the models is relatively straight forward and results in minimal transactions. They historically outperform equity markets most of the time, but they tend to perform best when equity markets are both intermediate and long term bullish or when equity markets are both intermediate and long term bearish.