Funds of Funds

Tue, 2017/10/03 - 1:41pm | Your editor
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If you want to lobby your elected representatives to increase gun control after the horror in Las Vegas visit facebook.com/townhall to find them. And thank you to ShellyPalmer Strategic Advisors for finding this site.As a New Yorker I do not need to contact my Senators and Representatives to vote against the gun lobby, since they already do.

Our president, a rare New Yorker with “a license to carry”, needs to think about what the modern era proliferation of guns and gun deaths means to America. His remarks on the slaughter were, for him, surprisingly presidential, but they omitted the one thing every American needs to address: the absurd interpretation of the second amendment language to allow the proliferation on our streets and colleges, schools and now a hotel, of highly dangerous weapons. This isn't the 18th century any more and the weaponry is no longer just a hunting rifle.

This had nothing to do with “a well-regulated Militia” since regulation is exactly what the gun lobby increasing opposes. “The right of the people to keep and bear arms” does not mean that NY-style regulations and checks have no place in our free system. You cannot drive a car without a license or practice medicine as you wish. You also cannot become part of a militia by getting a gun without signing up.

 

BlackRock has acquired over 10% of the shares out of City of London Investment Group plc which runs a fund of closed-end funds to gain from their discounts from net asset value under savvy Barry Olliff. CoL sells its fund of funds, which is listed in Longon to institutional investors in the US but for regulatory reasons do not sell their funds to US retail investors. It also sells portfolio management to US institutions.Your editor watches their public placements because they often trigger buy-backs to cut the discount. Olliff started on focusing on emerging markets closed-end funds (CEFs) but now has the knowhow to also invest in developed market, notably the US and Canada.

BlackRock Inc (BLK) was recently added to its “Americas Conviction” list by Goldman Sachs and insiders have been buying. Goldman is also creating lower fee variants on exchange traded funds competing with existing ones.

Worldwide, BLK hasd $5.7 trillion under management, from individuals and institutions and has staff in over 30 countries. If offers mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and other pooled investment vehicles as well as separate accounts for rich people and trusts.

Its presence in the US CEFs area is very lop-sided. It offers a few specialized equity CEFs for sectors (like energy or health science) or high yield via stock or bonds. These are much less profitable for the manager than exchange-traded funds for the same sectors. It also has a bunch of loan participation funds, most of them launched recently.

But its main heritage CEF business is running bond funds including many covering the municipal bond market, with single-state munis (many for New Yorkers) and national ones. So the move on Olliff's outfit may signify that BLK wants to also work on global closed end stock funds and country funds, where it is absent. BLK HQ is in my zip code, as is Trump Tower from which a nut could kill many fund managers, but it plans to move to the more fashionable Hudson Yards by 2022.

One incentive for BLK which is of course a legal fund manager is the rush of so many people to bitcoin and other pseudo-currencies. While it is not interested in money laundering it is seeking to get more foreign equity exposure.

City of London Group stock rose 1700% today, which is of course lovely for Barry Olliff, a long-time friend who founded the firm 40-odd years ago and with whom I chat when in London. I'm afraid I never thought of buying into his fund management group which is a penny stock, in part because I could not buy its open-end UK fund.

 

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