ACG Wealth Welcomes Travis Weitz, CFA to the Team!
This October, Travis Weitz, CFA, joins ACG as a member of the portfolio management team. We caught up with Travis for a one on one look at what he hopes to bring to our research and investment approach.
After so many years with the same firm, what was your impetus for making the switch to ACG?
The two parts of my job that I love the most are working with clients to create an optimum allocation of financial assets to meet their short-term and long-term goals, and researching which investments should offer the greatest potential returns. So whether it is deciding which stocks are great buys or which ETF strategies complement each other best in a portfolio, each day brings new opportunities to refine the investment selection and asset allocation processes.
I see an opportunity with ACG to continue utilizing the knowledge and processes I have built over my 18 years in the industry. The chance to do bottom-up fundamental research on the universe of stocks and evaluating various fund strategies, along with the ability to continue working with many of my long-time clients, seemed like a wonderful opportunity. It allows me to keep doing what I love on a much larger scale.
What is the contribution you hope to make to the firm?
I hope to bring new ideas and perspective which can be easily communicated to the firm's advisers and existing/prospective clients. While analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of individual stocks will always be a subjective process, creating a more systematic process around position sizing and the buy and sell disciplines has potential to make an impact.
What is the biggest trend in the industry you see having an impact and how does this influence your approach?
The biggest trend impacting the industry now seems to be the shift in assets from active management to low-cost passive management (indexing).
It is hard to argue with the data that show most active managers underperform the S&P 500 index over time. However, when these statistics are quoted in the financial media, they rarely mention what I believe to be the primary cause of this underperformance. That is, most active funds are a victim of their own success.
As the top-performing funds got larger, they were forced to own more positions because of the constraints on their position sizes. And, of course, very few funds were going to turn away new assets. So the more diversified the funds became, the more they looked similar to the index and the fewer opportunities they had to add alpha with their stock selection. I believe the only way for active strategies to outperform their respective benchmark index over the long-term is to have a reasonable level of portfolio concentration and/or invest in more inefficient asset classes, like small-cap stocks.
I was attracted to the fact that the ACG equity strategies are fairly concentrated, because if this wasn't the case, I would have a hard time advocating for these strategies over a passive approach. Active managers are charged with picking stocks that can outperform, not mimic, an index. While concentrated portfolios can result in greater short-term volatility, this should add alpha over time if done correctly. If you examine the history of investor Warren Buffett, he has typically owned large positions in a fairly concentrated number of stocks that he understood well.
As a portfolio manager, who do you see as your internal "clients"? What have you learned over your time and experience about working with these "clients?"
In my current position, I work with both advisors and external clients. I see my internal "clients" as the advisors, wealth managers, and financial planners in the firm.
Being someone who has experience working directly with the end client has given me a unique perspective. I understand some of the challenges that advisors face on a daily basis working with clients that each have their own expectations, needs, and personalities.
As my daily routine has me constantly analyzing market moving news and data and trying to filter out what is significant, I’m always looking at it through their eyes. I constantly ask myself, “How do I communicate this information to clients so that they can understand what is behind the short-term market movements, yet ignore the ‘noise’ in the market and stay focused on their long-term goals?”
If I can share some of my insights on the market in a way that simplifies the advisor's communications with their clients and prospects, then hopefully it will make their jobs a little easier.
Welcome, Travis! It’s great to have you with us and we look forward to the road ahead.
This material is provided for informational purposely only and is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. You cannot invest directly in an index. The opinions expressed are subject to change as subsequent conditions vary. Reliance upon information in this material is at the sole discretion of the reader. Advisory services offered through ACG Wealth Inc.