INVESTMENT APPROACH

OUR INVESTMENT APPROACH

Our approach to investment is based on fundamental analysis.  We conduct economic conditions analysis, sector and industry analysis, and individual stock analysis.  We use technical analysis in a limited way to provide additional information on certain aspects of the investment decision.

We invest in various size companies such as large, medium and small capitalization companies.  Most of the time, we have a significantly higher percentage of stocks in large and medium cap stocks than small cap stocks.  Since we manage customized portfolios following the guidelines set by the investor, the mix of large, medium and small cap stocks in a portfolio are influenced greatly by the individual investor’s preferences and philosophy.

Our style of stock (equity) investing is best characterized as a “blend” approach.  That is we utilize both the “value” approach and the “growth” approach.  Our main goal is to find stock opportunities that we believe will give us a minimum of 15 to 20% return per year during the next 1.5 to 5 years.  We do not care to distinguish whether we find these stocks through the “value” or “growth” stock analysis.  We always find good opportunities through both methods.  Thus, it does not make sense to us to exempt one area where many good stock opportunities might come from.  The stock market often goes through cycles where there are more opportunities in either “value” or “growth”.  Our style allows us to be in better sync with these cycles by naturally flowing towards where there are greater stock opportunities whether it be in “value” or “growth”.

Our “growth” style is close to the GARP (growth at a reasonable price) style.  Our “value approach” is close to the Ben Graham style.

We also co-manage or otherwise work with other Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) managers who specialize in only “value” or “growth” style of investment for those clients who want these styles exclusively.

We generally look to invest in companies for the medium to long term hold, anywhere from 2 to 5 years or longer.  We will invest in a limited number of shorter term prospect stocks.  We are not traders, and thus the level of turnover of stocks is modest.

We consider asset allocation (decision on what percentage of portfolio to be invested in stocks versus fixed income such as bonds) to be an important decision that plays a big role on the performance of the portfolio.  For this reason, we carefully monitor, consider and implement the changes in the proportion between stocks and fixed income securities within the minimum and maximum percentages of each set by the client as the conditions in the economy and market change.

We also regard diversification as a principle of investment that must be followed.  While we do not believe it is necessary to follow this to an extreme degree, we follow the general principal of diversification within the confines of the social criteria and other  guidelines set by the client. We will, however, place greater emphasis on certain sectors over others at different times depending on our analysis of the market, the economy and at what stage the economy is in the cycle.

We do not utilize any short positions or purchase in margin accounts unless expressly requested by the client.

We strive to find “value” companies that
– have a strong or dominant position in their market segment,
– have strong financial position with a good balance sheet,
– stable history and prospects of continued stability,
– currently undervalued with a good prospect of achieving full value within 12 to 24 months.

We strive to find “growth” companies that
– have reached early levels of stability but poised to continue a high level of growth for the next several years,
– have a strong or dominant position in its niche market,
– good balance sheet position with good prospects of stability,
– relatively lower levels of volatility as compared to similar size companies and industry  sub-sectors.

We will adhere to the principle of diversification.  We will, however, emphasize certain sectors and industries and de-emphasize others depending on the conditions of the economy and where it is in the cycle.

We conduct research on individual stocks utilizing various sources including several analyst companies.  We develop lists of good prospect stocks from various sources including analyst firms, research services, and various screening methods as well as our own research.  On bonds, we purchase only investment grade bonds, almost all A or higher rating.  Our philosophy is to purchase medium term bonds mostly in the two to seven years range.  We also purchase slightly shorter or longer term bonds when the market or interest rate conditions (yield curve) make it necessary.  We employ a ladder approach to bond purchases.

Generally we will limit the maximum of the value of one stock as a percentage of the entire portfolio to 10%, unless expressly directed by the client.  Also generally, we will not hold more than twice the percentage in any single sector that it represents of the value of the overall stock market.

We invest mostly through individual stocks and bonds.  We invest in mutual funds only in limited circumstances such as for international stocks or bonds and in small niche domestic markets such as alternative energy to reduce risk and increase diversification.

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