Saturday, March 20, 2010


I absolutely love this video...and can only dream to have what they have...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Starting Your Own Mutual Fund

Starting Your Own Mutual Fund: Is it worth the time, energy and expense?

    If you ask Steven Rogé why the world needs another mutual fund, the 24-year old, who co-manages the Rogé Partners Fund, just chuckles. Now that he’s racked up 19.5% annualized returns since the fund’s inception two years ago, not much is going to knock Rogé off his game. Especially now that his fund broke even and is operating in the black.
    “This is a ten-year plus project for us,” says Rogé, who manages the fund along with his dad, veteran advisor Ron Rogé, president of the wealth management firm Ron W. Rogé and Co. Inc. “This is nothing we haven’t been doing in the past,” says Steve. “This is just another platform for us to leverage our research. It’s just great to have a public track record. It cuts through all the bull. In the long run, we think this will be the best marketing tool we can possibly have for our firm.”
    It’s expensive, this launching of a mutual fund business. The experience and the costs might intimidate a lessor firm. And just because you build a mutual fund doesn’t mean that investors will pay any attention. Still, Rogé is one of a growing cadre of advisors who are confident that packaging their successful private money management in mutual fund form will be one of the smartest things they’ve ever done.
    “It’s definitely not for the faint of heart or pocketbook, which is why we do so much up-front counseling to ensure a firm has what it takes,” says Mike Miola, whose firm Gemini Fund Services provides registration and back-office administration for all of the advisors-cum-fund managers we spoke with. Costs for launching a fund average about $150,000 in the first year.
    Until advisors hit the break-event point in terms of inflows and have collected enough investor dollars to offset their monthly operation costs, they must either subsidize the fund on a monthly basis or charge above-average expenses. This latter strategy can be counterproductive, since it will likely scare away the very investors the fund seeks. “We really don’t advocate pricing a fund above 1.25% to 1.5%. The market won’t bear it,” says Miola. “You’ll eliminate the investment advisor market over the 1.5% mark.”
    But the former strategy—subsidizing fund expenses—doesn’t come cheap. Rogé’s firm paid $20,000 a month to cover his fund’s operating expenses until the fund broke even in February—that’s a tab of a quarter million in expenses annually until and if you break even.
    These types of hard numbers are the starting point for the rigorous screening Miola and his firm put would-be fund managers through. “If they only have $1 or $2 million raised, we’ll typically tell them to do a private equity format. Usually if you don’t have $15 to $20 million raised to start a fund, it isn’t worth it. Even that can be tight,” says Miola, who notes that the Rogés are an exception because of their operating capital and excellent performance and marketing capabilities.
    Still, it’s not enough to just to build a good fund, says Miola, who founded his Scottsdale, Ariz.-based firm some 20 years and has launched more than 100 fund families in that time. “You can have a great investment discipline. You can be the best large-cap manager in the world. But unless you have a great distribution plan, don’t waste your time. This will end up being a frustrating and expensive experience.”
    Distribution strategies can run the gamut from using insurance companies and their variable annuity subaccounts to getting placement on fund supermarkets, wirehouses and regional broker-dealer platforms. Getting on the shelves with any of these distribution channels isn’t cheap.  Placement can cost as much as what the advisor charges to manage the fund. A less-expensive route? What Miola calls “four-wall distribution,” which essentially amounts to the advisor using the same marketing they use within the four walls of their wealth management firm. (The fact that many advisors are not stealth marketers should be noted here.)
    What can go wrong? “You don’t raise the assets you need. That’s really what can go wrong,” Miola says. The fact that funds don’t qualify for Morningstar or Value Line ratings until they have three years of performance under their belt can also make garnering investor assets a long-term proposition.
    Which brings us back to that important, burning question that drives to the heart of why advisors want to start new mutual funds in a universe that already includes some 8,000 registered investment companies: Does the world really need another mutual fund?
    “That’s a great question and the answer is no one knows,” says Miola. “There are always advisors out there who feel that they have come up with the most consistent strategy to successfully manage money. In reality, some strategies will do better than others.”
    Which brings us to our advisor-turned-fund managers and what makes them tick. For Steve Rogé, working at his dad Ron Rogé’s firm summers during high school had him reading Warren Buffett like some kids read the Incredible Hulk. By the time he started college he was already boning up on the finer points of starting a mutual fund, as he spent time interviewing fund managers for his dad’s firm, which manages $220 million in private equity and fund portfolios for 200 clients who have average assets of $1 million each.
    In actuality, Rogé didn’t have long to wait. He launched his core mid-cap fund, which today has 80 investors and $9 million in assets, at age 22. He and his co-manager/father have produced annualized returns of 19.84% since the fund’s inception in October 2004.
    How does the fund complement the firm’s wealth management business, when Rogé admits few clients will ever be shareholders? “Our regular minimums for money management are $1 million, but we kept having clients come in saying, ‘My grandson just came into some money. Can you manage his money like you manage mine?’ We really can’t,” says Rogé who invests in both equities and mutual funds in the fund he manages. “With a $1 million portfolio, we invest in 15 mutual funds which have $5,000 order minimums each. So we can’t invest a $50,000 portfolio the way we’d manage $1 million.”
    The firm gets referrals of prospective investors who have $50,000 to $100,000 to invest all the time, Rogé says. This fund gives these clients access to the same investment manager their neighbor may get, but without the full planning relationship, he adds.
    The mutual fund, Rogé continues, allows the firm to leverage copious amounts of investment research for both fund and wealth management clients. “If anything, this doesn’t take away from our work with wealth management clients, it enhances it. We’re doing more research and finding more good investments. They benefit from that. Also, as the fund gets bigger, we’ll make more money and be able to add more wealth management staff,” he says.
    While many advisors have considered starting their own mutual fund, not everyone takes the leap. “We considered starting a small-cap mutual fund at our firm, from the perspective of, could we aggregate assets, reduce costs and have a better investment choice,” says Chris Cordaro, chief investment officer at RegentAtlantic Capital in Chatham, N.J. “We never made it to the part where we could reduce costs in order for it to make sense. It would have been an even trade, and the fund would have been no less expensive than using institutional mutual funds. Frankly, we didn’t see that we’d add that much value.”
    Instead, RegentAtlantic decided to launch a hedge fund of funds that invests in six different hedge funds specializing in long-short equity, equity arbitrage and fixed-income arbitrage. It’s a way to sidestep the high $1 million minimums most hedge funds carry. So far, RegentAtlantic has invested $35 million in client funds in its hedge fund. But Cordaro says that if small-cap funds keep closing, the firm may have to revisit the possibility of opening their own small-cap mutual fund.
    Rogé says he looked into the prospect of launching a hedge fund, but decided it was a bad fit, not least because it would have been designed to cater to wealthy or at least accredited investors with at least $250,000 to invest, rather than the type of referrals and investors he wants his fund to serve. “We typically don’t like the idea of short-selling on the magnitude of hedge funds. We don’t think it adds value. It just takes a lot of time away from the manager. We also didn’t want to keep opening another fund every time our partners grew past the 100-partner limit. And a lot of people would have been worried with the typical lockup period of a limited partnership. Worse, we wouldn’t have had an audited track record. Now, our clients can go on our site and see how we’re doing. For all these reasons, our mutual fund is a much better fit for us,” he says.
    The next hurdle? Turn the corner with fund inflows so expenses can be reduced. “Right now, the fund’s expenses are 1.99%. But as investors take notice, costs will come down significantly,” Rogé says. At the $50 million mark, expenses will fall to 1.5%. At the $100 million mark, 1.4%, he adds. Since the Rogés decided from the onset to cap the fund’s expensive ratio at 1.99% and reimburse anything over that, it was costing them approximately $20,000 per month until recently, when the fund broke even.
    While the costs until then may keep away many advisors, not all have been deterred. Craig Marcott, an advisor in Smithtown, N.Y., who is building a firm that specializes in special needs and eldercare planning, says he plans to make the fund a core equity holding in his clients’ portfolios. “I can get Steve Rogé on the phone, which I’m never going to do at Fidelity or T. Rowe Price. I can’t get this kind of on-the-ground, hands-on management elsewhere. It provides added-value to my clients to be able to bring them a best-of-breed manager,” Marcott says.
    For his part, Rogé says he created the mid-cap core fund, which has 45 fund and stock holdings, with very few restraints. “This is a terrific vehicle for building a basket of assets from around the world. We own everything from large to micro-cap, both foreign and domestic. We’ll go anywhere and do anything.”
    Rogé’s holdings include Leucadia National Corp., Berkshire Hathaway and Investor AB. One of his biggest winners has been Legg Mason, which he started buying at $55. In early April, the stock was trading at $126.
    To market the fund, Rogé says he prefers to let his performance speak for itself, but he has registered the fund on TD Waterhouse and his wealth management clients can buy it on the Schwab platform. To reach a broader audience of investors, he’s also hired a public relations firm, JC Public Relations, in Hackettstown, N.J., which specializes in getting the word out about mutual funds and other financial services firms.
    As the fund applies for its ticker symbol (ROGEX) this month, Rogé says he is ready for growth. While all new funds desire nothing more than a strong and steady influx of new money, one new fund—The Ralph Parks Cyclical Equity Fund—has already announced that it will close at each incremental $50 million mark so it can fully digest all inflows before reopening. “We won’t allow a lot of money to ruin our track record,” says the fund’s namesake, investment advisor Ralph Parks.
    The 133-stock, all-cap fund, which launches in May, will feature weekly technical analysis of 10,000 stocks performed by Park and his co-manager Gina Griffo, using Park’s proprietary software. His one-year rate of return was 24.45% through last September (compared to 12.79% for his benchmark, the Wilshire), when he left his wirehouse employer of more than a decade.
    “Six out of very ten of our stocks are winners and four are losers, but through diversification we keep our losses to a minimum,” says Griffo.
    The fund’s cost will be high—an eye-popping 4%. “I know some advisors will have a hard time with the expenses, but how many know how to analyze stocks? And how many folks will analyze 10,000 stocks a week? How many have the technology to do this?” asks Parks. He estimates the fund will attract between $20 million and $25 millions in its first three months and begin to break even at that point. “We have quite a few investors lined up,” says Parks, who calls himself more performer than planner.
    He says a fund makes perfect sense for his firm, The Ralph Parks Investment Group, in Pittsford, N.Y., because he caters to investors with an average account size of $400,000. “My brokerage firm tried to get me to launch a hedge fund, but really, I wanted to work with middle America. It’s where I’ve always been comfortable,” Parks says.
    The fund will be offered on a select group of platforms (“Pershing is a strong candidate right now, as is National Financial,” Parks says), but at the end of the day he hopes it will be performance that sells investors and advisors on his fund. Winners in his stock portfolio into 2006 include Range Resources (up 407%), Nutrasystems (up 347%) and American Retirement (up 212%).
    The main reason that the Biondo Group decided to launch a mutual fund after running separate account portfolios since 1991 tracks Rogé’s reasons: Strong performance and a boatload of referrals that were no match for separate account management. “We just have tons of account referrals, and while we’re happy to do separate account management for our $3 million clients, it’s cost-prohibitive to do it for their $50,000 nephews,” says Joseph P. Biondo, manager of The Biondo Growth Fund, in Milford, Pa.
    Biondo just got Securities and Exchange Commission approval for the fund and was preparing to launch April 21 with $25 million. He expects to be at the break-even point very quickly, although the fund’s costs have been capped at 1.50% and the firm has vowed to subsidize expenses above that mark if necessary.
    “This will be a clone of our most successful portfolio, an all-cap growth strategy,” the advisor says. The portfolio’s performance, though unaudited, has beat the S&P’s performance by almost 5% in the past 15 years, more than 5% in the past five years and nearly 8% in 2005.
    The fund, says Biondo, will be concentrated to between 40 or fewer stocks with a long-term perspective, evidenced by turnover as low as 0% on the private side in some years. Biondo’s homeruns in the past year for his private money clients have included Intuitive Surgical (up 300%) and Idexx Lab, which has stellar average annual 20% growth over the past eight years and was up 50% in 2005.
    “I don’t know anyone who does investment research the way we do,” says Biondo, who will meet with the top three to four executives at any company before investing. “You really get a sense of what they do well and where they’ll fail, which gives you a clear perspective of when to buy and when to sell. That’s made and saved us a lot over the years.” 

Author: Tracey Longo  

Judge Kithil Highlights Most Atrocious Sections of Health Care Reform Bill!

Judge Kithil wrote... "I have reviewed selected sections of the bill, and find it unbelievable that our Congress, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, could come up with a bill loaded with so many wrong-headed elements." "Both Republicans and Democrats are equally responsible for the financial mess of both Social Security and Medicare programs." "I am opposed to HB 3200 for a number of reasons...
To start with, it is estimated that a federal bureaucracy of more than 150,000 new employees will be required to administer HB3200. That is an unacceptable expansion of a government that is already too intrusive in our lives. If we are going to hire 150,000 new employees, let's put them to work protecting our borders, fighting the massive drug problem and putting more law enforcement/firefighters out there."
"Other problems I have with this bill include:"
** Page 50/section 152: The bill will provide insurance to all non-U.S. residents, even if they are here illegally.
** Page 58 and 59: The government will have real-time access to an individual's bank account and will have the authority to make electronic fund transfers from those accounts.
** Page 65/section 164: The plan will be subsidized (by the government) for all union members, union retirees and for community organizations (such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - ACORN).
** Page 203/line 14-15: The tax imposed under this section will not be treated as a tax. (How could anybody in their right mind come up with that?)
** Page 241 and 253: Doctors will all be paid the same regardless of specialty, and the government will set all doctors' fees.
** Page 272. section 1145: Cancer hospital will ration care according to the patient's age.
** Page 317 and 321: The government will impose a prohibition on hospital expansion; however, communities may petition for an exception.
** Page 425, line 4-12: The government mandates advance-care planning consultations. Those on Social Security will be required to attend an "end-of-life planning" seminar every five years. (Death counseling.)
** Page 429, line 13-25: The government will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order.
HAD ENOUGH???? Judge Kithil then goes on:
"Finally, it is specifically stated that this bill will not apply to members of Congress. Members of Congress are already exempt from the Social Security system, and have a well-funded private plan that covers their retirement needs. If they were on our Social Security plan, I believe they would find a very quick 'fix' to make the plan financially sound for their future."
Honorable David Kithil
Marble Falls , Texas
All of the above should give you the point blank ammo you need to support your opposition to Obamacare. Please send this information on to all of your email contacts.
Norman Adams - March 11, 2010 - source TexasGoVote

Nancy Pelosi Given VERY SERIOUS Warning...

I know you're not going to listen to me...  I'm going to say it anyway, because as a concerned citizen of The United States of America, I must. ~ Karl Denninger
You are making a grave, perhaps nation-ending mistake.
Attempting to "deem" the Health Care bill passed when it has not actually been voted on is not Constitutional.  Article 1, Section 7:
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.
If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively.
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.
This is the black-letter law of the land. 
There are millions of Americans who are extraordinarily pissed off right now.  Some of them, like me, write scathing columns on The Internet or we rant on Talk Radio and on Television (such as Judge Napolitano)
But some just smolder.  Some remember the other founding document of our Republic, The Declaration of Indpendence, which says, in part:
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
That doesn't sound so good.  What has tempered these people is largely what always has in all nations, that is:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
Neither you or I knows where the line is for that cross-section of the citizens in this land.  I cannot speak for them, for I am not inclined toward the sort of actions that they are, nor do I countenance them.  As such I'm not exactly on those folks' "A list".
In fact I fear the day they decide to express their disgust, for while in singular number those expressions are horrifying, as a group such actions harken to a time I hope we would never revisit in this nation.
But I do understand, and see, that they are seething in anger at what has befallen this once-great country.
They have watched as thirty years of corruption in Washington DC has turned our economy and government into a bad joke.
They have watched their jobs go overseas to a Communist Nation for the benefit of a handful of corporate oligarchs, while Washington chortles.
They have watched banksters do everything in their power to imprison them in debt, including bribing Congress to remove usury laws, "reform" bankruptcy so as to render a significant percentage of the population under effective indentured servitude (allegedly prohibited by the Constitution) while the very same banksters declare bankruptcy at the drop of a hat and stick lenders with losses, and while these very same banksters peddle fraudulent securities, cook their balance sheets and generally defraud everyone in the nation - then force the taxpayers, at gunpoint (quite literally, if you remember the fall of 2008 - you were in the room with Bernanke and Paulson when they threatened tanks in the streets) to bail them out.
Finally, they have watched Health Care turn into a monstrous mess, with cost increases of 10, 20 even 30% or more a year.  These costs are expanding at that rate because ambulance chasers like former Presidential Candidate John Edwards make millions while Congress has passed laws forcing Americans to eat the development expense for every advanced medical technology over the last 30 years. 
Congress has refused to demand that medical practitioners bill everyone the same price for the same procedures and drugs.  Congress has passed laws exempting medical providers and insurers from anti-trust law, so those aggrieved cannot sue in private causes of action for these abuses. 
And finally, Congress has forced all of us to eat the cost of care for illegal invaders who commit their first crime with their first step over our national boundary.  All of these abuses and more could be addressed, but none of them are in the bill you wish to advance, and that, Madame Speaker, is intentional.
But all of this, while it has been outrageous and even criminal, has been, for the most part, Constitutional.  It may be the stuff of a Banana Republic, and it may violate equal protection of the law (a founding principle and in fact a guaranteed right), but Congress has never cared about any of that in my 47 years on this planet.
Witness all the laws you, Madame Speaker and the rest of the Government (including this Health Care plan) do not have to obey while the rest of us do under pain of fine or even imprisonment.
What you propose to do now, however, is not Constitutional.
Rather than negotiate, advance and pass something like my four-point plan that would, along with dropping anti-trust protections and ending the practice of preventing reimportation of drugs and devices, attack the problem at the source, you instead are putting forward the Senate's 2200-page monstrosity.
You are doing so because this bill is not about Health Care at all.  It is about revenue, and you know it.  It is about the fact that The Federal Government is running into a wall at warp speed trying to furiously cover up all the fraud and scams in the financial system while at the same time spending over $1.5 trillion we do not have to replace collapsed consumer demand. 
You must raise revenues, and you know it - or this ship called "The USS Treasury" sinks beneath the waves, and the first sacrifices to go overboard will be all the Seniors on Medicare and Social Security - not by choice, but by force of fiscal insolvency.
In short, this is just another Washington scam. 
But this time you're going to too far, and you're taking a horrific risk. 
You must not, Madame Speaker. 
You must instead face this nation and tell the truth.
We cannot fund the scams and frauds any more.  Those who committed them must go to prison, even if they're campaign contributors.
We cannot borrow 10% of our GDP and spend it forward, as the CBO projects we will try, in a futile and permanent attempt to replace consumer demand.
If we do not stop this idiocy we will soon be unable to fund Social Security, Medicare and Welfare in all its forms, leading to an immediate and critical breakdown of our society.
The mad reach for revenue, Madame Speaker, is why you're in such a hurry - and you know damn well I'm right. 
If you succeed, we will get your tax bill now and the promised health care never. 
That's a fact.
There is a bright white line for every person in this country who has taken an oath to uphold our Constitution.  It is in different places for each of those individuals, but you had better believe it exists.
For some it will be crossed if you try to disarm Americans, as was attempted after Katrina. 
For some it will be crossed if you try to occupy their homes. 
And for some, it may be crossed if you attempt to "deem" this bill passed, when The House has not actually passed it.
I pray this evening I am wrong, and that for no material number of people - indeed, for no one person - that is where their personal line is.
But I am reasonably certain that this prayer will be offered in vain.
Therefore, the choice is yours, not mine, for all I can do in furtherance of my hopes (and abeyance of my fears) is pray. 
You, Madame Speaker, on the other hand, can act to quell this idiocy.
Or you may tempt fate, you may tempt the millions of people who have swore an oath to defend and uphold The Constitution and, having done so, went to war throughout our history.  Many of those people, along with millions more who never wore a uniform stand today in defense of that "quaint" old piece of parchment - but not in defense of you, nor any other person.
You will almost certainly lose your Speaker's Gavel come November, as the mortal sin against the Constitution of deeming a bill passed without actually voting on it is so inimical to a republican form of government and displays such gross arrogance that you have forfeited your right to wield that gavel by mere contemplation of the act. 
I am quite certain that I stand with millions of other Americans who are willing to put forth whatever effort is necessary to see that occurs come November - at the ballot box - whether you proceed with your abhorrent plan or not. 
But what I pray for this evening, as I complete my day and offer homage to God before retiring, is that your office, and those of your fellow Democrats who are about to violate your sacred oaths willfully, intentionally, and with malice aforethought - is all you lose.
Karl Denninger - March 16, 2010 - source TheMarketTicker

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Olive Leaf Extract – Know the Cause

Olive Leaf Extract – Know the Cause
Since I have had a history of a fungus imbalance (Candiasisis), most likely caused by penicillin and other antibiotics throughout my life (not to mention candy, fast food and booze), I thought it would be good to take some anti-fungal supplements that are recommended highly by Doug Kaufmann, who has written many books on fungus, parasites and “mycotoxins”.
One of the things Doug recommends for “anti-fungal” support is Olive Leaf Extract.
I just ordered an anti-fungal support kit from Seagate
Olive Leaf Extract has been shown to have a number of benefits in addition to helping to control fungus, mycotoxins and parasites. It appears to have many other benefits such as for people who experience anxiety.
The booklet “Natural Relief For Allergies” talks about Olive Leaf Extract and is very impressive.
I suggest that you read it.
Almot every day I watch a show on TV called “Know the Cause” with Doug Kaufman and it has some excellent information. Among his views are that many of our ailments are actually caused by fungus and mold. He is not the only one that believes this.
Sure – it may be a hassle to find it on your cable system but why not watch it online!
Know the Cause – Today’s Show – now streaming:
Basically, in a nutshell, since the 1950’s doctors have been prescribing Antibiotics at an increasing rate. ANTI as in it kills bacteria. While it has saved some peoples lives, Doug and many others feel that the side effects of all this antibiotic use is that it is causing MANY other problems.
Mainly because anti-biotics kill bacteria of all kinds – bad bacteria and good bacteria. We need good bacteria and without it all kinds of things get out of whack.
Taking “probiotics” such as acidophilus, which helps get some the good stuff back in our bodies (it’s in yogurt) is a step in the right direction, but we also need to get out the bad stuff that came in. The main problem is that when the natural balance is out of whack from antibiotics and the bacteria that would normally help us fight invaders such as fungus, mold, parasites and other “mycotoxins” is not there – the bad stuff starts to thrive in our bodies causing cancer and heart disease and all kinds of problems.
In the case of fungus – it thrives on sugar and carbohydrates.
So basically – we kill the good stuff and open the door for the bad stuff – then we feed the bad stuff by eating lots of sugar and high carb foods.
It’s no wonder people get sick and have so many problems, not to mention overweight.
So, it is my mission to start being more aware of this and trying to get the balance back and get rid of the bad stuff that is living inside me. I’ll do this by eating food like garlic and carrots which help fight that off as well as take some vitamins and herbs that also help. Plus Doug Kauffman has a “low carb – low sugar diet” called the Phase 1 diet that promises to help fight off the bad stuff by eliminating sugar and carbohydrates for a long enough period to get rid of the invaders. Interesting stuff!
 More info like this at the Know The Cause site