Parsec invests in a variety of securities for its clients. These may include mutual funds, exchange traded funds or ETFs, and individual stocks, among others. All of these investments can and do experience significant price pullbacks from time to time. While Parsec’s Investment Policy Committee (IPC) focuses on investments it can hold for the long-term and performs significant research before adding any new positions, price declines still happen. In this email we’ll discuss how the IPC monitors investment securities and we’ll share with you our process for when a stock or fund doesn’t perform as expected.
Investment security returns are driven by a number of factors. For individual stocks, earnings growth, competitive environment, and exogenous events can significantly affect price performance. For mutual funds and ETFs, the general capital market environment as well as portfolio management departures or changes at the parent company can influence both fund flows and price changes. At Parsec, in addition to reviewing all covered securities at regularly-scheduled meetings, the Investment Policy Committee continually monitors client investments for these types of factors in between our ongoing investment reviews.
We do this by reading sell-side research reports, company government filings, and the news. Likewise, the financial software we use alerts us to any new developments on our covered securities and helps us manage the large volume of news flow in order to focus on the most important stories of the day. When a significant event does happen that negatively affects a security, we research the development by listening to a company’s conference call, reading industry reports, and conducting our own due diligence. We review our thesis on the fund or stock and determine if and how the latest events could affect the security’s long-term prospects going forward. In order to gauge an investment’s upside potential we adjust our growth assumptions to reflect the new information and evaluate the security’s risk/reward profile in light of its new price level.
Oftentimes when a major story surfaces there is minimal information on which to make a decision. At the same time, the market has a tendency to overreact to news events. For these reasons, Parsec’s Investment Policy Committee may intentionally wait before taking action when a stock or fund experiences a significant negative development. Although it may appear that we are not responding to the event in question, we are in fact working diligently behind the scenes to gather as much data as possible while reviewing our thesis and assumptions. This can be a frustrating time for clients who would, understandably, prefer us to take immediate action. However, we have found that taking a wait-and-see approach allows us to collect more information and answer important questions before making an uninformed or premature decision.
Waiting for the dust to settle while collecting additional information also allows us to better understand how a development could affect a stock or fund’s long-term prospects. If we determine that a company or fund can recover from an adverse event and the security has fallen significantly in price, it’s often an attractive buying opportunity.
However, on other occasions it may be clear that it’s time to sell a position. This can happen when an investigation surrounding a security is new but affects multiple divisions or aspects of the underlying company’s or fund’s operations. Another example may include an environmental disaster or a significant product recall that could take years to resolve. In these instances the best action may involve taking a modest loss now in order to avoid a much larger loss in the months or years to follow.
While our bias towards higher-quality stocks and funds may mean we’re more likely to hold a security or even add to positions following a negative news event, we are closely monitoring client investments and performing in-depth due diligence as new developments arise. Our intention is to make objective and thoughtful decisions that will benefit clients and their portfolios over the long-term.
The Parsec Team