Each year, we hold an event called the Vista Investment Symposium. Members of our Investment Team gather during this all-day, off-site meeting to review research on important investment and financial planning topics. The Symposium affords us time to delve deeper into projects too lengthy to be handled effectively in our weekly Investment Team meetings. Oh, and we have some fun, too. This year’s highlights included a YouTube clip of one of our lead advisors singing, and some nostalgic photos of our founding partners.
We held our 10th Annual Investment Symposium in early July. Topics on the agenda included:
- A detailed review of our funds
- Rules and best practices for trading
- When do municipal bonds make sense
- Withdrawal rates
- Rules and best practices for rebalancing
- Asset location
These discussions do not always result in changes. This year, for example, we decided our fund line-up should remain the same. Our detailed review confirmed our current fund selection continues to provide the most appealing combination of diverse investments and low costs. This was determined only after we reviewed the data—including costs, yields, tilts towards small cap and value, number of holdings per fund, the structure of each fund, and other important characteristics.
We conducted a similar review of our rebalancing strategy. Rebalancing is the process of realigning each asset in a portfolio with its target percentage and is primarily used to maintain a desired level of portfolio risk. Disciplined rebalancing forces investors to reduce a relatively appreciated asset (sell high) and to replenish a relatively depreciated asset (buy low) with the proceeds. We also use portfolio cash flows—including dividends, interest, capital gain distributions, and investor contributions/withdrawals—to keep portfolios on track.
We referenced several research papers to determine whether or not our rebalancing methodology remains optimal. Our research confirmed our current approach maintains an appropriate level of risk while minimizing trading costs and taxes.
A change which did emerge from this year’s event was a small reduction in our minimum trade size. This is the amount we believe is large enough to warrant incurring a transaction fee. As brokerage costs have decreased over the years, we have occasionally lowered our thresholds. It also allows for greater consistency—keeping the cost as a percentage of the minimum trade roughly the same for ETFs (exchange traded funds) and mutual funds.
Whether or not portfolio activity results from Symposium decisions, we hope the effort to adapt our thinking as the investment landscape evolves provides you confidence in our ability to protect and grow your life’s savings.