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Q&As and Interviews
Shauna O'Brien Feb 10, 2015
Jim Tassoni: The objective of the fund is total return. For us, this means that we seek to supply our investors with solid total returns comprised of both income and capital appreciation over full market cycles. We do this through a highly diversified mix of strategies comprising not only fixed income and equity but also other non-correlated and yield enhancement opportunities. In addition, we feel we are fairly unique in that we mix various types of strategies within one fund including bottom-up fundamental value based security selection and macro top-down trend following. This mix allows us to provide an additional level of diversification to the fund as we realize that different types of investing will be in favor at different points in various market cycles and we can seek to capitalize on those trends. We see this fund as a good core holding for the base of a well-diversified portfolio. An investor can get a highly diversified mix of asset classes and strategies in one fund with ease and efficiency. It is especially well suited for smaller investors who may have difficulty accessing this level of sophistication and diversification at smaller dollar amounts.
MutualFunds.com: Is it a challenge to find out as much as you can when it comes to some of these foreign names that may not have as much analyst coverage here in the U.S.?
Jim Tassoni: Whether we are looking at U.S. or foreign opportunities we really do not rely on analyst research and/or coverage. We prefer to do our own due diligence. That being said, there are obviously additional hurdles and/or concerns when evaluating foreign securities such as governmental or currency risks and we definitely build those concerns into our models.
MutualFunds.com: What areas or sectors are you finding particularly attractive at the moment?
Jim Tassoni: Seeing as how our fund utilizes multiple strategies we actually see a bit of a dichotomy amongst our opportunity set. In our value-based bottom up world we are finding some opportunity in beaten up names in the energy and materials sectors. There are very well run companies that have been taken down along with the rest of the group and are now selling at valuations that are extremely attractive even when sustained lower commodity prices are taken into account. These securities offer what we believe to be tremendous opportunity once these sectors stabilize. From a trend following approach we continue to overweight toward treasuries and high-grade corporates and away from the high-yield sector. We also have increased our weighting to the US Dollar as we think it continues to be the beneficiary of the global economic policies.
MutualFunds.com: With many governments around the globe employing a rate-cut mentality, how do you see this playing out and what does it mean for investors?
Jim Tassoni: We continue to think that the U.S. dollar will be a beneficiary of global monetary policies and have positioned the fund to take advantage.
MutualFunds.com: Can you bring us behind the scenes in what life is like as a fund manager and what a typical day looks like?
Jim Tassoni: Our fund is a bit unique in that we employ multiple strategies inside of that fund. For that reason our days take on a very collaborative approach. Every morning we meet for roughly 60 minutes to discuss current/prospective holdings and any material concerns and/or opportunities we may have for the portfolio. From there any changes to the fund are laid out in terms of execution strategy for the trades. Once those types of decisions are in place the rest of the day is split between doing research and preparing for the next morning’s meeting and speaking with current/potential investors.
MutualFunds.com: Finally, what are the main themes you feel investors should pay attention to as we head into 2015?
Jim Tassoni: At the heart of every decision and investment we make in the fund is risk management. We feel good risk management will be of utmost importance in 2015 as we believe volatility levels will increase and the investment landscape will become a bit more difficult to navigate. We are still overall constructive on the global markets and feel fortunate to manage a fund that allows us to be nimble and tactical in being able to search out those areas of the globe that offer attractive risk/reward opportunities while avoiding those that do not.
Chief Investment Officer
As Chief Investment Officer of the Regal Total Return Fund, Jim’s primary responsibilities are portfolio management and research for the Regal Total Return Fund and its underlying strategies. Jim’s ten plus years of investment experience also included positions as an analyst, consultant, and portfolio manager with WCM Investment Management, Morgan Stanley and UBS Financial Services, Inc. Jim earned his B.S. from Michigan State University and is currently a candidate for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
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