Independent Review of the Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX)

fidelity logoDear Mr. Market:

You need to hear about another mutual fund like you need a new hole in your head. That being said, however, how about we talk about one that’s been around for a long time? They must be doing something well….right?

We’ve certainly not held back with our opinion in the past when it comes to mutual funds. While they certainly can warrant a spot in many portfolios, they need to be reviewed and compared carefully to their peers and other investment options. Today we are going to take an in-depth look at a fund we see in many portfolios but very few individuals actually understand what it is. The Fidelity Contrafund (FCNTX) is one of the largest actively managed equity mutual funds there is with assets just under $110 billion! Continue reading

More than a Client …

photo[287]Dear Mr. Market:

Like most Mondays you begin the week with your gyrations of going up and down. All the companies that make up your identity are digesting the news from over the weekend as well as what’s on tap for the week ahead. As of this writing investors are scared and don’t completely trust you but conversely they’re also almost bored since you have yet to provide any meaningful direction or hint as to what your real plans are.

You could continue to break out and go higher or you could do what you’re supposed to do which is sell-off by at least -10% to -20% within the next few months. Guess what? We don’t care…at least not today. After some sunsets, both literal and figurative ones, there is so much more to them than what happened with the market. Yesterday, June 22, 2014 was such a day.

Driving over to the Long Beach Yacht club was pleasant and relaxing. On this first day of summer I looked out over the bridge leading into Naples and Belmont Shore and I could see tons of people splashing in the water, kids building sand castles, and nearby boats sailing in and out of the marina. As I parked my car however, the reality of why I was going to the yacht club struck me harder than expected. I was going to see a client, or at least one of them. For the third time this month our firm lost another client to cancer. Today was to be a celebration of her life and although that’s what she and her family wanted, it sure was difficult to “celebrate”. After all these years a client becomes a friend and a part of your extended family. Continue reading

3 Common Diversification Mistakes

Dear Mr. Market:Diversification 2

Whether you handle your portfolio or hire a professional to manage it, there is no way you have not heard of the importance of diversifying your investments. The reality is, however, most investors fall prey to one of three major diversification mistakes; which of the three is your issue?

First and foremost, let’s briefly review what diversification is:

Investopedia defines Diversification as: ‘A risk management technique that mixes a wide variety of investments within a portfolio. The rationale behind this technique contends that a portfolio of different kinds of investments will, on average, yield higher returns and pose a lower risk than any individual investment found within the portfolio.

At first glance this makes sense and doesn’t appear to be complex, right? We find that investors typically appear to be in one of three different camps when it comes to diversification:

  1. Under Diversification
  2. Improper Diversification
  3. Over Diversification

Let’s take a moment to look at each and how investors can get their portfolios back on track. Continue reading

MPG Core Tactical 60/40: May 2014 Performance Update

MW-BB798_sm6040_20130422180557_MDDear Mr. Market:

Where have you been? Whenever you get quiet like this it makes us even a bit more nervous.

Hopefully you didn’t succumb to the alluring sounds coming from those in the “bear camp” last month. If you were tempted to “sell in May and go away” it still just wasn’t meant to be. As cute and trendy as that old investment adage is, we must remind you that it doesn’t necessarily have a specific date in mind. Proponents of this theme merely imply that the summer months are the ones to avoid and if there ever was a month of May to make this move…it was now. Or was it?

Now that the “sell in May” adage looks flat out stupid, you can perhaps resort to a “June Swoon” for the eye candy headline of the day. After all, June is the 10th worst calendar month of the year. Since 1950 it’s basically been a flat month but more recent history points to June losing an average of -1.33% over the past 10 years.

It’s not so much the market or serious investors that love catchy phrases but it’s those that feed you the news who are the perpetrators. If this article were being written in November we would have many of the same concerns as we do now. Many of the catch phrases will be stale by then but in the interim…much like a broken clock tells time correctly twice a day…eventually the bears will be right. Contrarian investors will point to this immediate period as the market climbing the proverbial “wall of worry”… or is it now a “slope of hope”?

Here’s the current summary of the MPG Core Tactical 60/40 portfolio mix, which is updated as of this writing (June 9, 2014).

Click here to compare the MPG Core Tactical Portfolio against the 60/40 benchmark.

What adjustments did we make? Continue reading