Investment Management

Active Management

Active Management

1 . Active Management

We employ an active, tactical, and opportunistic approach to investment management that adapts to prevailing market conditions offering our clients peace of mind. We choose to work with clients who believe the traditional approach of  ‘buy the averages, hold, and hope…’ is for well – the average masses.  Our clients demand more than just ‘average’ performance  and passive  management of their portfolios.  In the last 23 years we’ve been through 3 significant market declines that were incredibly unnerving, especially to investors in their retirement years. These boom and bust cycles create challenges, dangerous pitfalls, but also opportunities in today’s increasingly complex economy.  We feel our client’s nest egg built over a long career is too valuable to risk leaving in the hands of money managers who are asleep at the wheel, simply collecting management fees from existing clients, and focused mostly on finding new clients. We have seen investors make costly mistakes during the bear markets that can have long-lasting impacts on their returns over the long-run. 

Many of our clients are accomplished active traders and investors, but when it comes to their nest eggs it can be challenging psychologically to make the right decisions with their portfolios.  Sometimes you’re just too close to make the right decision and our clients entrust us to make those decisions for them so they can fully enjoy their golden years.  We are acutely aware of the devastating impact a sustained bear market (such as 2000, 2008, and 2022) can have on an investor’s psyche, especially as that client is nearing or already at retirement.  We actively work to mitigate the impact a bear market would have on our client’s portfolios.

“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage—to move in the opposite direction.”

— E. F. Schumacker

Know what you own! When you simply own a benchmark like the S&P 500 you own everything!  Some companies are growing, gaining market share, and driving the indexes higher.  Other companies however, are not and are acting as a drag on the index. Some companies in the averages are deteriorating, run by weak management, have declining market share, or declining due to some negative story attached to the company.  The key is know what you own, carry only the best run companies with strong management, solid fundamentals, who are gaining market share, and well positioned according to technical analysis.

We study macroeconomic, geopolitical, fundamental, technical, and market sentiment factors to identify sectors, industries, and individual stocks poised for leadership.  We’ll overweight these companies in our portfolios and for the companies setting up to be laggards we’ll underweight,  if not exclude them all together.

Three quotes from Warren Buffett speak strongly to this concept:

Buffett Quotes

“Diversification may preserve wealth, but concentration builds wealth.”
“Diversification is protection against ignorance. It makes little sense if you know what you are doing.” 
“Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.”
Most money managers employ one of two approaches to portfolio management, either an ‘own it all to be diversified’, or simplifying buying ‘what’s worked in the past’.
Let’s talk about diversification.  Many money managers will recommend you be ‘diversified’ to protect in the event of a significant market downturn.  Well as we learned in 2000, 2008, and 2020, when a bear market rears its ugly head everything goes down. Diversification does not protect you.  How about the ever-popular approach of ‘diversifying’ overseas to own international equities.  Sounds like a good idea on paper right ? Take a look at the flagship emerging markets ETF ‘EEM’ vs the S&P 500 ETF over the past 10 years.  The S&P is up 163.50% while the Emerging Markets ETF is down -4.47%.  I would be furious if a portion of my portfolio was in emerging markets in order to be ‘diversified’.  There will be a time to rotate back into international emerging markets, but wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait to see improving fundamental and technical conditions? 

Let’s take a look at the other approach of buying the mutual funds that have the best historical performance. I can tell you this right now; buying historical out-performance is a great way to set yourself up for future underperformance! The masses historically underperform the averages because they’re all doing the same thing; buying what worked last year. The funds and ETF’s that worked in the past quite often will be the laggards of the future.  The economy and stock market are far too dynamic to simply buy what’s already been working.

Consider the following statistics for the S&P 500 over the past 50 years:

  • 1-Year Total Returns S&P 500 +10.65%
    • S&P 500 stocks outperforming:  281
  • Annualized 3-Year Total Return S&P 500  +19.45%
    • S&P 500 stocks outperforming: 263
  • Annualized 5-Year Total Return S&P 500  +10.85%
    • S&P 500 stocks outperforming: 206

As you can see above, the longer the investment horizon the fewer stocks outperform the benchmark. You have to know what you own and constantly review your holdings to adapt to the ever-changing economy. 

In summary, we have reviewed many account statements of clients whose money managers simply put them in a wide range of mutual funds that are ‘diversified’ and have done well in the past.  When speaking to prospects we encourage them to challenge their current wealth manager to produce performance reports and if they actually know what stocks are held within the ‘past-performing’ mutual funds. Rarely do they get a satisfactory response. So in essence you are paying your money manager, who is paying a mutual fund manager (with your money),  to buy stocks and he doesn’t know what he’s buying for you?  I’m sure you see the issue. 


You may have heard about “robo advisors”.  On the surface it sounds appealing, but after much study I can assure you the stock market cannot be beat by computer logic and mathematics (with the exception of a few massively capitalized super-powered quantum computing firms that trade on very small time frames).  In fact it’s a grand exercise in mass human psychology trying to beat out everyone else by discounting future events.  Our human imperfections are driving the constantly changing stock market including our fear, greed, hopes and desires.  If you could automate investing, don’t you think the Google and Facebook founders would direct their massive computing power to beating the market rather than selling advertising?

A World Class Gameplan

2 . A World Class Gameplan

Our Investment approach at Inside Edge Capital is based on the same approach a world-class ski racer will use. To prepare for the ski race season the racer will ensure they are equipped physically, mentally, and their equipment is the best available and tuned to perfection.  When race day comes they have to have 100% confidence that they are fully prepared giving them the best chance of success.  Before the race there is an inspection run where the racers slowly side slip down the course building a game plan for the up-coming race.  When they are in the starting gate they have to trust that months of off-season preparation, along with the race day inspection of the course yields a battle plan for the upcoming race that lasts 2 minutes or less. 

During the race the skier can reach speeds approaching 100 miles an hour. At those speeds the racer has to strongly rely on their game plan as there’s simply too much coming at him to process all variables at those speeds.  Most of the racer’s turns are automatic based on the game plan.  However, there will be variables that pop up during the race that could not be factored in ahead of time such as snow conditions, ruts, wind, dangerous turns, etc..  The racer has to account and adjust the game plan for those inevitable unforeseen variables to ensure the best chance of victory.

An investment plan is very similar.  There are a ton of preparation steps that are taken ahead of time that go into an investment game plan.  Many factors including economic and fundamental reports, technical levels, geopolitical events, individual investor risk tolerances, goals, and other various factors need to be accounted for and incorporated into the game plan before dollar one goes into the market.  Because when the investment plan is deployed in the market, there will be those inevitable variables that arise that must be quickly accounted for and adapted into your game plan.

To paraphrase Charles Darwin in the Origin of Species, “It is not the most intellectual or strongest of the species that survives, but the species that is best able to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself.

Investment model

Fees - What Are You Really Paying?

3 . Investment models

4 . Fees - What Are You Really Paying?

Consider that mutual funds charge you fees to buy, sell, or even hold the mutual funds. ETF’s also charge a ‘management fee’, many times less than that of a mutual fund. Are you paying your wealth manager who chooses mutual funds for you? In effect you’re paying your wealth manager to buy mutual funds run by portfolio managers who are also charging you to buy and sell stocks that usually just track the S&P 500.  So you’re paying two different companies to pick stocks for you that usually just track the S&P 500.  Why not do it yourself?!

Here’s a study of fees charged by mutual funds and ETF’s in 2021.  The average equity mutual fund expense ratio was 0.47%.  The average equity ETF expense ratio is 0.16%.  The most famous Nasdaq 100 ETF, the QQQ, has a 0.20% fee. The EFA, one of the most popular international market ETFs that excludes the US and Canada, charges 0.33%.

We manage portfolios of individual equities that are thoroughly screened for technical and fundamental characteristics to even be considered for inclusion in the portfolio.  There are no costs to buy, sell, or hold individual stocks.  Our typical management fee is 1% or less year per year with no other hidden costs.  We do all stock selection and management in house so we know what we own, and are not passing on any hidden costs to you. 

Consider the possibility that you are paying a wealth manager 1% per year who places you in a group of ‘diversified’ mutual funds with a total expense of 0.50%.  As Buffett says, diversification is protection against ignorance. So you’re paying 1.50% to underperform the averages. We feel investing in the averages is for the ‘average’ investor.

The White House Council of Economic Advisors issued a report that Americans lose more than $17 billion a year from ‘conflicted financial advice’.  Many of the major banks, wire houses, broker dealers and even some fiduciaries will earn commissions on investment and insurance products they recommend and sell to you.  Other possible hidden or embedded costs are transaction charges, commissions, platform and product fees, revenue share, soft dollar compensation etc.  All of these hidden fees may seem insignificant and in the normal course of business, but they dilute your returns and when compounded year after year that adds up!  We fight for every last percent return we can earn for our clients, which in time adds up!

Some managers charge flat fees for services.  We do not believe in this model.  We want to make more money only if YOU make more money. If your portfolio underperforms, we should be penalized.  This applies to portfolio management and financial planning.  Your wealth manager should be incentivized to grow your account value as much as possible via strategic planning,  tax efficiencies, and portfolio growth.  If a wealth manager gets paid regardless of what happens, where’s the incentive to continuously strive to do better?