Losses are linear, growth is geometrical
(A 30% Loss Requires a Gain of 42.86%)
Have you ever got into your car at some point and noticed or heard something not sounding right? Perhaps it was a spark plug that was ‘missing its spark’. Maybe it was a water pump going bad. Whatever it was you did take notice and had a professional take care of it.
How about your investments? Your retirement accounts, i.e. 401(k), Keogh, 403(b), Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, etc.? Is everything you hold in your portfolio ‘hitting on all cylinders’? If not, why not? Have you bought into the old adage of ‘buy and hold’? It may have worked for your father and grandfather but it is foolish (in our opinion) to ascribe to such a strategy today. We firmly believe that one should never fall in love with a stock because it will never fall in love with you. We see equities as letters with numerous data points….and that is it.
The problem with today’s diversified portfolios, as we see it, is that in most cases there is always a portion (or part of) your portfolio not working. Just like your car that needed just a slight adjustment, have you ever REALLY looked at your portfolio and its holdings and made those adjustments? Have you REALLY looked at the overall costs (directly and indirectly) of your portfolio? If you are carrying an international position (equity) and it is well below its moving average (MA) why continue to carry it?
If you desired to save gas, would you remove two spark plugs from your car in order to run on two less cylinders and save gas? Of course not! You want it to run on all cylinders.
The way we look at investing and portfolio diversification is to understand that one should not become emotionally attached to any asset class. For example, there may come a time when one is not invested in large cap stocks. It is also common to not be invested in several sectors of the economy. We understand and take seriously the volatility and manage around it. In 2012, three sectors of the S&P 500 (Consumer Discretionary, Industrials, and Healthcare) exceeded 40%*. Were you part of that? In that same year (2012, two sectors (Energy, and Utilities) returned 5% and 1% respectively.
How much exposure, if any, did you carry that year in these sectors? If so, why?
First of all, from our point of view, tracking the sectors of the economy is ‘key’ in determining where to invest. Secondly, paying close attention to the many oscillator indexes that exist to assist us in tracking sector trends. This is called ‘tactical’ style investing and we believe this is what investors who hire investment advisors are looking for. We take the position of ‘active’ management while constantly looking for equities that support or undergird that specific sector. These equities can/will be in the form of Exchanged Traded Funds (ETF’s), Unit Investment Trusts (UIT’s), Master Limited Partnerships (MLP’s) and Stocks.
Though we predominantly utilize equity based investments, we will (on occasion) utilize Mutual Funds if we see a ‘sideways’ pattern within a specific sector or asset class. But by and large we will steer away from Mutual Funds since we cannot attach a STOP or TRAIL STOP where we can with equities in order to prohibit a serious correction.
NOTE: Generally speaking, we feel that if one has a predominantly managed portfolio that comprises of mostly Mutual Funds….in our opinion that person is getting ‘ripped off’.
Enough said. You are welcome to come in and interview us and ask any question you feel comfortable asking to learn more.
*Source: Bloomberg / SPDR Sector Funds ending 12/31/2013