Written by: Amber Ott
Agili’s dedicated Investment Team, led by firm President Michael Joyce, is in charge of identifying and analyzing investment opportunities, setting strategic allocation and applying both specific investment decisions and strategic allocation to individual client portfolios. Separate from, but similar to, our entire Investment Team, we have a formal Investment Policy Committee (IPC) that considers investment ideas and proposals brought by the entire team, other members of the firm, or sometimes even clients. The IPC makes decisions and formal recommendations as to how client portfolios, in general, should be invested.
Diversification and Asset Allocation
Our investment strategy at a very high level focuses around asset allocation and diversification. Asset allocation is the designation of different baskets of securities a client should invest in and how large those baskets should be, whereas diversification refers to the number of securities within each basket. We invest across the broad universe of asset classes and focus on a core set of holdings within each asset class to provide a base level of diversification.
We use both passively-managed index and exchange-traded funds when appropriate for the client and actively-managed funds, dividend paying stocks, and individual bonds where there are opportunities to make a difference by security selection. We may also at times recommend unrelated, third party investment managers, who have a greater expertise in certain investment sectors or disciplines, when appropriate for the client. For example, we typically will recommend institutional class mutual funds (when available) or third party managers to invest in international equities, foreign bonds, real estate and commodities.
Beyond our core holdings, we work into a client’s allocation any legacy holdings they may have, preferences for or against certain securities or sectors, and individual ideas informed by their unique situation (tax bracket, time horizon, etc.).
At Agili, we analyze securities using both fundamental and quantitative methods. The Investment Team relies on information from a variety of sources, such as Bloomberg Professional Services, Morningstar, Argus Research, Value Line Investment Research Center as well as others including public filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do rudimentary analysis as to a security’s intrinsic value but largely rely on the very capable Analysts at the resources mentioned above for in-depth valuation information. We also employ some version of technical analysis to help us make decisions about when and at what price we should consider buying or selling a security.
For each individual security in which we invest, we set a “buy-up-to” price as well as a target price. When the security reaches the target price, we either sell the security or do another analysis to determine if a new target price is warranted based on current market and company fundamentals. The IPC sets each of these price levels after a discussion among the Investment Team. One Analyst then prepares a formal write-up of our investment thesis for each individual security and actively managed mutual fund we decide to invest in. The entire team reviews the investment brief to ensure the outcome of our conversation was captured correctly and that all thoughts were heard and considered. Once finalized, the investment brief is used by our Financial Strategists to familiarize themselves with a new investment or new thesis, and can be provided to clients who have questions or are interested in more details about the new investment.
Thus, the Investment Policy Committee defines the universe of investments available to each Investment Analyst for investment in a specific client portfolio. It is then the Investment Analyst’s job to invest each client’s portfolio into an appropriate combination of the investments vetted by the IPC. The Analyst must first determine a client’s risk tolerance and begin with a strategic allocation appropriate for that risk tolerance. They then decide which securities are most appropriate to fill the specific asset class for the client and what level of diversification is required in each asset class.
The investment strategy for a specific client is based on the objectives, income needs, investment time horizon, constraints and unique circumstances (including tax situation) stated by the client during meetings. Changes may be warranted to any of these factors at any time, and our Analysts work to incorporate these changes into a client’s investment portfolio regularly. All the while our Analysts are careful to consider costs of trading and tax implications of their proposed trades.
Our investment process is designed to utilize the resources we have efficiently so that we are able to create a customized investment portfolio for each and every client. We care deeply about helping clients attain their financial goals and each member of the Investment Team is dedicated to doing their part to make that happen.