Investment Philosophy

Investment Philosophy

Evidence-based investing is backed by decades of financial economic research.  We monitor and review the latest published research and work together with key partners to develop highly effective strategies.  Our investment philosophy is grounded in the belief that markets are informationally efficient per the Nobel Prize-winning work of Eugene Fama and incorporates the dominant theories that guide the handling of trillions of dollars of institutional investments.

Asset allocation is the primary determinant of a portfolio’s expected return.  Essentially, risk and return are related.  We focus on the composition of the total portfolio in relation to the client’s risk tolerance and the rate of return that is required to fund the goals identified in the client’s comprehensive financial plan. Clients are encouraged to realize the benefits of ownership offered by equities, whenever appropriate. An abundance of historical evidence supports the conclusion that equities are the financial asset of choice for investors seeking to fund long-term goals.

Global diversification across asset classes, factor premiums and individual securities, consistent with Modern Portfolio Theory, helps to control portfolio-level risk.  Here, we rely on the Nobel Prize-winning work of Harry Markowitz and William Sharpe.  While diversification cannot eliminate the risk of market loss, effective diversification does mitigate risk incurred from a single company, sector or country.

Factor exposure, including company size, relative valuation, profitability, and momentum are the basis for “smart beta” strategies that can enhance portfolio return over time.  Factor performance tends to be cyclical and diversifying by combining multiple factor exposures can provide more consistent results.

Minimizing costs is a critically important part of portfolio design.  We take advantage of institutional fund cost structures with minimal turnover and patient, opportunistic trading that yields a quantifiable price advantage.  

Tax efficiency is key to maximizing after-tax return.  We incorporate tax-management strategies that avoid short-term capital gains, manage dividend payments and harvest losses.  We may also consider the optimal location of assets within accounts with different tax treatments and the use of tax-efficient core equity funds that integrate factor exposures.

Education, in other words, implementing and maintaining a thoughtful investment policy based on evidence and transparency creates the foundation for investment success.  

Ultimately, the success of any investment strategy is primarily dependent upon the behavior of the investor.  All portfolio designs involve tradeoffs and compromises.  The best portfolio strategy for any investor is likely to be the one that he or she can follow regardless of the gyrations of capital markets. To learn more about our approach to investing, read "From Financial Economic Theory to Real World Portfolios", found here.

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