Our flagship strategy, offering a balanced approach to risk management.
Pinnacle’s Dynamic Prime strategy defends against both passive and active management risks. The approach guards against investment mistakes by owning a diversified portfolio of different asset classes, by allowing for tactical changes in asset allocation, by utilizing both quantitative and qualitative decision making, and by not making large asset allocation bets. Pinnacle’s Dynamic Prime portfolios boast a track record that spans more than a decade, and the same investment team that produced those returns is still managing the portfolios today.
Under the direction of Pinnacle’s highly respected investment team, this strategy will typically not deviate more than 50% from the risk parameters of its benchmark. Our Dynamic Prime portfolios are ‘go anywhere’ portfolios that can own any kind of institutional quality asset class that our investment team believes offers good value. As a result, the portfolio can potentially outperform in any market environment.
Designed to grab market returns and protect against strategy and human error.
The Dynamic Market strategy buys, holds, and rebalances a traditional diversified portfolio most of the time. The difference between Dynamic Market and traditional buy and hold investing is that at extremes in market valuation, the portfolio will either underweight risk assets when markets are expensive, or overweight risk assets when they’re cheap. These adjustments to asset allocation can have a significant impact on portfolio performance at major market turns.
This strategy defends against the risk of a major investment mistake by allowing 30% of the portfolio to be actively reallocated at market extremes while the majority of the portfolio remains invested in the diversified core portfolio.
At market bottoms this strategy is likely to have the highest allocation to risk assets, thereby increasing the probability of catching the early gains of a bull market.
While still offering the benefits of active management at market extremes, Dynamic Market is all about accepting market risks – and returns – most of the time.
Designed to protect against market decline and manager error.
The Dynamic Quant strategy utilizes our Dynamic Prime strategy as a ‘core’ portfolio, and then invests close to 40% of the remaining asset allocation in a sophisticated, proprietary quantitative model portfolio. This model has elements of value and momentum to sector rotate within U.S. equity markets, and will go to cash at major market turns. The rules for the Quant allocation were developed to defend against the kind of major market declines investors experienced in the 2000-2002 and 2007-2009 bear markets.
By adding a quantitative ‘satellite’ allocation to Pinnacle’s actively managed Dynamic Prime strategy, investors get a unique combination of portfolio styles. And because the quantitative allocation of the strategy can go 100% to cash or bonds during bear markets, this portfolio offers clients the opportunity to significantly reduce portfolio risk when markets become volatile.
Clean Green Global
Portfolios for the socially conscious investor.
The Clean, Green, Global portfolio series (“CGG”) is built to help mitigate downside risk and volatility, while allowing upside returns. The holdings include companies that have been shown to be not only well-run, but socially conscious, gender aware and culturally diverse. They are environmentally positive and have geared operations toward manufacturing and services using an environmentally sustainable supply chain and seek to produce a profitable outcome.
Pinnacle’s Clean, Green, Global is a platform of portfolios based on two different strategies, one emphasizing passive investing and the second offering an active satellite component along with a passive core.
Both strategies are diversified across 16 asset classes using ETFs that screen the underlying holdings to favor companies that rank highly on factors relating to Environmental, Social, and Governance characteristics. The Clean, Green, Global platform is designed for those investors who are interested in positioning their investment portfolio to be more socially and environmentally responsible, but are secure in the knowledge that a professional manager is selecting and adjusting the holdings when necessary, on their behalf, in their best interest.
Flexibility and diversification.
Dynamic Select is a variant on Dynamic Market portfolio, which is the more actively managed portfolio group we offer, with the added advantage of holding not just stock and bond ETFs but a special section of individual stock holdings. This allows for small shifts in the portfolio as the business and economic cycle moves the markets and various industry sectors are more efficient and have faster growth. Sometimes called a “Sleeve,” this sector of individual equities consists largely of Large-Cap stocks, some smaller cap equities, and high-yield bonds, allowing for sector adjustments in reaction to evolving trends and moves. It’s similar to the actively managed Dynamic Market portfolio, more so than the passive Strategic Market portfolio.
Our Investment Philosophy
The status quo approach to investing is broken.
With few exceptions, the financial community practices “Buy And Hold” investing. In short, Buy And Hold investing is based on the belief that while the market will go up and down in the short term, over the long term — five years or more — it will rise at a relatively predictable rate. So in periods of economic upheaval, investors are told to be patient and wait out the storm, and not “panic” and rearrange their portfolios.
This confidence in an ever-rising market forms the foundation of the mainstream approach to portfolio construction. Investors are taught to decide how much risk they’re willing to take — greater risk offers higher potential returns, but also an increased chance of losing your money if things go wrong. Once investors settle on the level of risk they’re comfortable with and what time frame they have, they’ll then know how best to divide their investments. For example, if they need their money in four years and would rather have lower but more reliable returns, they might go with a conservative portfolio made up of 70% bonds and only 30% stocks.
According to Buy And Hold investing, each time frame and level of risk has its own ideal asset ratio. And because Buy And Holders believe the market grows at reliable, historical rates, investors can depend on receiving the returns they were promised when they first created their portfolios.
Unfortunately, things haven’t worked out that way.
If you had entrusted your nest egg to the S&P 500 on January 1, 2000, expecting a historical annual return of 11%, you’d be in for an unhappy surprise: By December 31, 2010, your investment would have grown a paltry 4.25% in total returns, 0.38% per annum, which includes reinvested dividends. Once you calculate in 3% inflation per annum, you would have actually lost ground. That’s no way to save for the future.
Wall Street to the rescue! (Well, not really.)
Wall Street has known about the problems with Buy And Hold investing for many years. So in response, they developed a new type of investment style that would “hedge” the results of those portfolios that depended on the markets delivering expected historical returns. That’s how hedge funds and “alternative investments” came to be.
Hedge funds, as the name implies, are designed to hedge the performance of a traditional portfolio by using strategies that are not dependent on the markets. Alternative investments, like private equity pools and managed future funds, are intended to do the same thing. It’s not uncommon for hedge funds and alternative investments to make up 20%-30% of today’s most sophisticated portfolios.
Unfortunately, both approaches suffer from a serious weakness: They rely on managers to execute those strategies. Modern behavioral finance tells us that money managers are subject to biases and heuristics that can lead to poor decision making. Being human, they’re vulnerable to the crowd mentality and can succumb to panic buying and selling. Not only that, but those strategies tend to be inconsistent in their effectiveness—in other words, “they work until they don’t work.” Managers who dogmatically follow one approach can make large bets with investors’ money that result in catastrophic, unexpected losses. If you’ve followed the financial news over the past ten years, you’ve seen plenty examples.
Our solution: Balancing investment art and science.
In our view, neither the traditional Buy And Hold approach nor the risky strategies of hedge funds and alternative investments are ideal. What is needed is a strategy that utilizes the best ideas of both. We believe we’ve achieved that. In 2002, Ken Solow and the investment team combined the portfolio diversification of traditional investing with active portfolio management to create Pinnacle’s proprietary investment strategy. A few years later, Ken literally wrote the book on active portfolio management.
While status quo advisors agree that portfolios should be diversified — it’s the investment equivalent of not putting all your eggs in one basket — they reject the idea that portfolios should also be actively managed. Because of their near-religious belief that markets will eventually deliver the returns that they have in the past, they tell their clients to “be patient” and wait out any market turmoil (even when it lasts over ten years).
We disagree. Instead of sitting on our hands and hoping the market will eventually deliver the returns our clients need, we respond to changing economic and market conditions by modifying our portfolios asset allocations accordingly — first, to minimize any risk to their assets, and second, to take advantage of opportunities to increase their returns. And unlike other firms, our Investment Team isn’t limited to specific asset classes — they’re free to invest in whatever offers the best value, so long as they stick to the risk levels set by our individual clients. This comes out of our fundamental belief that asset classes will earn the best returns if we buy them at prices that represent good value.
How we safeguard against big investment mistakes.
Of course, all investors make mistakes at times, ourselves included. That’s why over the past ten years, we’ve instituted a series of safeguards that help prevent investment errors, and minimize their harm when they do occur:
- We make investment decisions as a team. Our strategy doesn’t depend on a single “superstar manager” who might go on a cold streak and make a series of investment blunders.
- We use a “weight of the evidence” approach to decision-making that requires a significant majority of factors in reaching investment conclusions. This helps defend against the possibility that dogmatically following any one factor will lead to an incorrect conclusion about the markets.
- We find investment value using three different methods, which defends against the possibility that any one method might give a false signal.
- We make only small, incremental changes to portfolio asset allocations, believing that sudden, major shifts put our clients’ money at risk.
At Pinnacle, we believe we’ve developed the ideal investment strategy to both protect your money when the market is in turmoil, and to grow it when the opportunities arise.