A Closer Look at our Investment Process
Three Tiers of Decision-Making.
We believe that full-service, risk-aware portfolio management is about more than selecting quality securities. Because even the highest-quality stocks and bonds are vulnerable to changing market conditions, we seek first to determine the likely impact of the economy, political and geopolitical activities, and other macro factors on the capital markets. Based on this assessment, we decide whether and how to alter the asset weightings in client portfolios — to reduce risk, to take advantage of emerging opportunity, or both. Finally, we seek out individual securities that fit our value- and risk-conscious approach as well as our economic and market outlook.
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Research.
Our goal is to be fully invested, and we do not attempt to time the markets (i.e., completely exit and re-enter) when market or economic conditions change. However, the evolving macro picture may call for tactical portfolio shifts. Toward that end, we review analysis and near- and long-term projections about the capital markets from a well-respected group of economists and credentialed securities analysts from a number of institutions, including those listed below. We pay particular attention to how their assumptions may impact investment returns and risks in the future.
In contrast to many firms, securities research at BLB&B is conducted primarily by the most experienced investment professionals, our portfolio managers. To identify individual investment opportunities, we draw on information from the best-known and most respected sources of securities research and data, the press, filings with the SEC and, occasionally, our own interviews with corporate management teams.
Our research process aggregates insights from many sources, including:
- Dow Jones
- Standard & Poor’s
- Wells Fargo
Team-Driven Securities Selection.
Most BLB&B decisions about individual securities are made as a team. Working in close proximity for many years has resulted in effective communication and group decision-making. After conducting their research, our portfolio managers bring investment ideas to the table where they are carefully evaluated by the entire investment committee. In spirited but respectful discussion, we weigh fundamental and technical data, buy-side research and comparisons to competitors — all to determine whether the security provides a high-quality investment at a discount, and how its inclusion would impact the characteristics of our clients’ portfolios.
Strict Price Discipline.
From our inception, our investment process has emphasized evaluation of risk relative to opportunity. We divest individual securities when, in our view, the price rises to or above a fair value, as determined by the underlying fundamentals of the issuing company or entity.