‘Actively Passive’ Investment Value Strategy

‘Actively Passive’ Investment Value Strategy

Via Jason Gilbert Jason Gilbert and Elliot Turner present actively passive investment value strategy.

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“The stock market is a giant distraction from the business of investing.” – Jack Bogle

In our last commentary, we highlighted the relationship between the market’s earnings yield and its long-­?term average return of approximately 6.67% since 1925. In response, several clients have asked us whether this should be viewed as an endorsement of passive, rather than active investing. This is a popular question in financial literature today, with many suggesting the recent financial crisis provides unequivocal proof that a passive approach is better than active. However, in order to offer a proper answer, we need to first define the essence of the question. What people mean today when discussing passive versus active investing is really whether one should “index” or “pick stocks?” As is often the case, we think this is the wrong question to ask. As we explain why this is wrong, we hope to answer both the right and wrong questions at the same time.

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What is Active Management?

The most basic problem with the above question is how “Active Management” is simply painted with one brush. Active management has come to mean something very different over time. John Bogle, considered by many to be the “Father of Indexing” recently published a book about (and aptly titled) “The Clash of Cultures” and borrowed Keynes’ distinction of investing as “forecasting the prospective yield of the asset over its whole life” and speculation as “forecasting the psychology of the markets.” What most people think of as active management today is actually more akin to speculation and momentum trading than true investing. In practice, active management has become what we popularly call “trading” and this is evidenced by the explosion in portfolio turnover at the average investment fund. Bogel laments how “in 1950, the average holding [period] for a stock in a mutual fund portfolio was 5.9 years; in 2011, it was barely one year.” As of 2011, annual turnover of U.S. stocks was over 250% per year!

Actively Passive Investment Value Strategy

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Jason explains about himself: I've been managing money for high net worth individuals since 2006. I'm the founder and Managing Director at RGA Investment Advisors LLC, an independent and fee-only registered investment advisor (RIA). I'm the partner in charge of wealth management and financial planning at Rayner and Gilbert CPAs. Prior to a career in wealth management and investment advisory, I held M&A roles at both General Atlantic LLC (GA), a leading global private equity firm providing capital for growth companies driven by information technology or intellectual property, as well as Berkery, Noyes & Co. (BNC), an independent Wall Street investment bank serving the broadly defined knowledge and information marketplace. At GA, I was responsible for deal prospecting, transaction structuring, as well as value added portfolio work. At BNC I specialized in serving large and mid-sized information providers in the U.S. and international markets with strategic mergers & acquisitions, corporate and asset divestitures, strategic research, and valuations. Prior to a career in Finance, I led the due diligence efforts for numerous financial buyers within KPMGs Transaction Services practice, and provided estate planning tax consulting services at the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll, PC in Washington, DC. I am a CPA who holds the PFS* designation for my expertise in Personal Finance and a CFF** for my accreditation in Financial Forensics. I hold a B.A. from the University of Michigan and an M.S. in Accounting and Finance from the George Washington University School of Business. I lives in New York with my beautiful wife Julianna, two sons, Logan and Henry, and dog, Samantha
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