The Litman Gregory Investment Approach
OUR PROVEN APPROACH TO INVESTING IS DECEPTIVELY SIMPLE.
1. Establish a Strategic Asset Allocation for Each Risk-Based Portfolio
For each portfolio, we set a long-term strategic asset allocation that we believe offers the best long-term return potential given its target risk level, which we define as a maximum loss over a one-year period. The strategic allocations serve as sensible long-term target allocations as well as our portfolio benchmarks.
2. Pursue Highly Compelling Tactical Opportunities
We shift away from the strategic allocation when our research identifies a highly compelling investment opportunity—a “fat-pitch.” Our fat-pitch approach seeks to capitalize on shorter-term divergences between the price of an investment and its underlying fair value. We take a portfolio’s target risk level into account when considering tactical fat-pitch moves.
3. Select Managers Through Intensive Due Diligence
Litman Gregory has been evaluating and investing with active investment managers for more than three decades. Despite our success over the long term with an active approach, we also understand the benefits of index investing for certain clients. For this reason, we provide active, index-based, and core-satellite portfolio strategy options.
The Key Elements of Our Approach
- Global Perspective. We invest across a globally diverse set of asset classes in order to uncover the most attractive investment opportunities.
- Long-Term Approach. A long-term approach allows us to take advantage of temporarily mispriced investments and helps ensure that fundamentals, rather than fear or greed, dictate investment decisions.
- Forward-Looking Analysis. History provides a valuable frame of reference but does not always apply to the current environment. We seek to learn how the world is evolving and incorporate our opinions about these changes into our assessment of risk and investment allocations.
- Discipline and Conviction. We set the bar high in assessing investment opportunities, and we have the discipline and conviction to act on an opportunity we find compelling. We believe that investors who lack the courage to act on their convictions are destined for mediocrity.
- Innovative Thinking. Our willingness to think outside the box allows us to identify unusually compelling investment opportunities. This has been an important part of our competitive edge and our long-term success.
- Broad Access to Talent: “Manager of the Managers.” Our reputation in the investment community provides us with unique access to investment talent from outside firms, via mutual funds and private investment vehicles, allowing us to incorporate a high level of expertise in a variety of asset classes that would otherwise not be available from a single firm. We are continuously evaluating the managers we’ve selected in order to ensure our clients are benefiting from the best talent available.
Active Investment Strategies
Our due diligence process for managers and funds is grounded in our conviction, supported by extensive research, that skilled managers can and do deliver superior performance over the long term. An essential part of the value we provide is the multiple decades of experience we bring to bear in assessing and selecting exceptionally skilled managers. We engage in exhaustive quantitative and qualitative research aimed at uncovering those select managers with an identifiable and sustainable investing edge. Here are just a few critical elements we look for in our due diligence:
- A clearly defined and well-articulated investment process supported by evidence of successful implementation over time
- A manager or team that demonstrates a high level of integrity, intellectual honesty, and a passion for investing
- Supportive team dynamics and a culture that insulates key investment personnel from noninvestment-related responsibilities
This rigorous process yields a select list of managers. For those we decide to invest with, our analysis is not a once-and-done exercise. We continue to closely monitor fund performance and investment decisions through regular updates with our managers, aimed at making sure they remain committed to their investment process and disciplined in its execution.
Passive Investment Strategies
As it comes to researching passive investment strategies such as index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), we believe there are many important elements to selecting the correct vehicle for our portfolios. Within each asset class, there are only a small number of ETFs or index funds that we believe are suitable for investment, given asset size, liquidity, and expenses. From that narrowed list, our team then filters by quality of sponsor, index construction and methodology, tracking error, and other implicit costs to owning the investment strategy.