INVESTING FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS
Do you want to be an investor or a gambler? The fact is, these days it can be hard to tell one from the other. At Griffin Black, we don’t want to gamble with your money. We don’t try to guess what the markets will do next week or next month. We make use of the latest research and analysis in finance, economics, and human behavior in order to build portfolios for clients that are financially sound as well as personally appropriate for them.
People sometimes ask us, “How did your clients’ portfolios do last year?” “Which one?” we reply. “The one invested for our 67-year old client’s ongoing retirement expenses? Or the 92-year old’s money that he doesn’t need but which is set aside for his kids to inherit some day? Or the 39-year old entrepreneur’s ‘safe’ money because the rest of his life is all risk and uncertainty?” Each client’s portfolio is different, because each client has a unique set of financial circumstances and life goals.
Once we understand what role an investment strategy is intended to play in its owner’s overall financial strategy, we build a portfolio to address those specific needs. In all cases, however, there are two important high-level questions to answer. The first is: What combination of different kinds of investments available should be included in this portfolio? The second is: which specific securities, and in what proportion, should we buy to represent the different investment types? In finance-speak, we need to make decisions about portfolio construction and security selection.
For the portfolio as a whole, we focus on making client-appropriate choices for risk versus return, for liquidity, and for income versus capital gains. And as the size of a client’s portfolio grows, we can consider more specialized – and sometimes less liquid –investments.
When it comes to security selection, there’s a growing body of research that supports the conclusion that certain kinds of stock in particular – small companies, value companies, profitable companies – deliver superior returns over the long run. One company in particular, Dimensional Fund Advisors, has built a business around turning this kind of deep academic research into real-world investment solutions. In particular, Dimensional (also known as DFA) has created a unique set of low-cost mutual funds that seek to deliver the benefits of the great ideas in finance to the investing public. Griffin Black is pleased to partner with Dimensional Fund Advisors, and uses DFA funds as the core component of our portfolios.