NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The 13D Activist Fund (DDDIX), the first mutual fund to offer investors pure exposure to shareholder activism, has achieved a market-beating three-year track record. The Fund’s three-year average annual return of 24.12% compares to the S&P 500 average annual return of 20.41%. The Fund received Morningstar’s lowest risk rating and an overall Morningstar Rating™ of 5 Stars, ranking 12th (top 2 percent) out of 645 funds in the mid-cap growth category, based on risk adjusted returns for its overall history and three years ended 12/31/14. According to Morningstar, a hypothetical investment of $10,000 in the Fund made at inception (December 28, 2011) would have grown to $19,123.06 as of December 31, 2014 versus $17,357.04 for the S&P 500.1 The Fund has assets of approximately $375 million as of December 31, 2014 and is widely available on platforms such as Schwab and Fidelity in addition to select wirehouses.
|Average Annual Return Returns Through 12/31/14||
|13D Activist Fund Class I||15.46%||24.12%||24.05%||91.23%|
Inception date of the Fund is December 28, 2011. The total annual Fund operating expense ratio is 1.50% for Class I shares. The performance data quoted here represents past performance. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted above. Investment return and principal value will fluctuate, so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. A Fund's performance, especially for very short periods of time, should not be the sole factor in making your investment decisions. For performance information current to the most recent month end, please call toll-free 1-877-413-3228. The S&P 500® is regarded as a gauge of large cap U.S. equities. It is not possible to invest in an index, unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges.
13D Activist Fund was created by portfolio manager Ken Squire who has operated the premier research service on shareholder activism for the institutional community since 2006, has hosted the largest shareholder activist conference, and has written a column on activism in Barron’s since 2007. The Fund is an event-driven mutual fund that focuses on and analyzes activist 13D filings for what Squire believes to be the best investment opportunities.
In the following Q&A, Ken Squire talks about the unique niche the Fund holds, its current strategy, and the outlook for 2015.
Q. Briefly explain the difference between the 13D Activist Fund and what people generally think of when they hear “activist fund.”
When you hear “activist fund” you think of investors like Carl Icahn, Bill Ackman and Nelson Peltz – investors who invest in what they believe to be undervalued companies and provide their own catalyst for unlocking value by advocating for governance, strategic or financial changes. The 13D Activist Fund is not an activist investor, but a fund that invests in what we believe to be the most compelling investments of activist investors.
Q. Why did you start a mutual fund and not a hedge fund?
After six years of seeing how successful an activist investment strategy has been historically, I wanted to give exposure to the strategy to individual investors who do not have the resources to invest in an activist hedge fund. We have been pleasantly surprised to see that there has also been significant interest from institutional investors who want exposure to the strategy with more liquidity and lower fees than hedge funds tend to offer.
Q. Your fund invests in niche, event-driven situations requiring a unique skill set to understand the wide variety of activists and the many types of activist strategies. What experience do you have analyzing activist engagements?
We have been operating the leading research service on shareholder activism for the institutional investor community since 2006. Over the past eight years we have done nothing but analyze 13D filings and shareholder activism. We really understand the different activists and activist catalysts and the chances that an activist agenda will yield a sizable return. There are over 1,500 13D filings and 4,000 13D amendments each year and we analyze each 13D event to select the approximately 30 situations we feel offer the best risk-reward ratio. Among other things, we analyze the activist, his track record, the sector and his track record in that sector, the activist strategy employed, and the type of returns that strategy typically creates. We also make a judgment on the probability for success of the filing based on the activist’s experience, the shareholder base and other factors.
Q. What is the outlook for activism in 2015?
Each of the past three years more money has been allocated to activist investors. Shareholder activism has become an accepted asset class and is increasingly supported by institutional investors. It is also more widely accepted as a positive way to improve company management and governance. With low rates combined with an improving deal-making environment, we expect the number of activist situations to grow in 2015 creating more opportunities for the Fund Still only a very small proportion of public companies that are engaged by an activist investor. There was less than 2% in 2014. So, activism has a long way to grow while still providing many attractive investment opportunities.
Q. How does the Fund do in down markets?
Activism has often flourished in down markets as it is hard for bad managements to hide and it is easier to get shareholder support for activist agendas. Moreover, when investors cannot rely on up-markets to generate returns, a non-correlated catalyst is even more valuable. As we expected, our Fund has captured more of the gains of up markets, but less of the losses of down markets. According to Morningstar, the Fund’s upside and downside capture ratio over the past three years ending December 31, 2014 is 102.29 up and 62.41 down*.
Q. Tell us about a few of your top performers in 2014. Which positions did not do as well as expected and why?
One of our best positions for 2014 was Tessera Technologies, Inc. In 2013 Starboard Value Fund settled a proxy fight with the company pursuant to which Starboard received control of the Board. When you believe in the activist and the activist agenda, the best thing that can happen is for the activist to get control. The stock was trading at 19.71 at the beginning of the year, and closed the year at $35.76, an 81.43% increase. We also did very well with some more transactional forms of activism, with activists getting companies like Beam, Forest Labs, Compuware and Riverbed sold.
Like many funds, we ran into a bit of trouble with our oil and gas companies. With the sector in decline, we decreased our exposure to oil drillers to the two positions we thought had the best activist catalysts. We also increased our position in the company we thought had the strongest activist catalyst – Talisman Energy. In November, with the stock down to $5.75, from our initial price of $13.08 in October of 2013, we more than doubled our position, not because of the price drop, but because we felt there was a very strong activist catalyst for a sale of the company. Carl Icahn had two board seats, the CEO had announced that he wanted to resign by the end of the year, and the Company had been discussing a sale with several potential acquirers throughout the year, and came very close with Repsol when the stock was trading over $10 per share. On December 16, the Company agreed to be sold to Repsol for $8.00 per share. Our other oil driller, Chesapeake Energy, is down to $19.57, from $27.14 at the beginning of the year, but Carl Icahn has a board seat there too, so we know someone is looking out for the shareholders.
*We like to look at Morningstar’s upside/downside capture ratio to gauge how our investment strategy holds up vs. a benchmark. This statistic is a relatively straightforward way to evaluate a fund's historical performance during both rallies and down markets. The capture ratio shows whether a given fund has outperformed ─ gained more or lost less than ─ a broad market benchmark during periods of market strength and weakness, and if so, by how much. If both the upside and downside capture ratios for a fund are 100%, that means the fund moved in lockstep with the benchmark during both up and down markets. For most actively managed funds, upside and downside capture ratios will illustrate a more significant divergence from the benchmark. For example, our Fund’s upside capture for the three years ending December 31, 2014 is 102.29% and its downside is 62.41%. What this means is that the Fund outperformed the benchmark by 2.29% in up markets and captured only 62.41% of its benchmark’s negative performance during market declines. Morningstar benchmarks our Fund vs. the Mid-Cap Blend category. Our downside capture ratio has been consistently low which supports the premise that activism is less correlated to the markets in general.
About 13D Management
New York based 13D Management, a registered investment advisor and manager of the 13D Activist Fund, is an event driven asset manager that focuses on 13D filings of activist investors. The firm was founded by Ken Squire who is the leading authority on activist investors and also leads 13D Monitor, a research service for major investment banks, top law firms, hedge funds and institutional investors. The 13D Activist Fund is available directly to investors or through Schwab, Fidelity, TD Ameritrade, UBS, Scottrade, E*TRADE, Vanguard and Pershing LLC, among other major platforms.
Investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other important information is contained within the Prospectus, which can be obtained by calling 877-413-3228. The Fund Prospectus should be read carefully before investing.
The Fund is distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. 13D Monitor and 13D Management, LLC and the above listed platforms are not affiliated with ALPS Distributors, Inc.
Overall stock market risks will affect the value of individual instruments in which the Fund invests. Factors such as economic growth, market conditions, interest rate levels, and political events affect the U.S. securities markets. When the value of the Fund's investments goes down, your investment in the Fund decreases in value and you could lose money. The Fund is a non-diversified investment company, which makes the value of the Fund's shares more susceptible to certain risks than shares of a diversified investment company. The Fund has a greater potential to realize losses upon the occurrence of adverse events affecting a particular issuer. The value of small or medium capitalization company stocks may be subject to more abrupt or erratic market movements than those of larger, more established companies or the market averages in general.
For each fund with at least a three-year history, Morningstar calculates a Morningstar Rating™ based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a funds’ monthly performance (including the effects of sales charges, loads, and redemption fees), placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of funds in each category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. (Each share class is counted as a fraction of one fund within this scale and rated separately, which may cause slight variations in the distribution percentages.) The Overall Morningstar RatingTM for a fund is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five-, and ten-year (if applicable) Morningstar RatingTM metrics. 13D Activist Fund was rated against the following number of U.S. domiciled mid-cap growth funds over the last three years: 645. With respect to these mid-cap growth funds, 13D Activist Fund received a Morningstar RatingTM of 5 stars for the three-year period. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
© 2015 Morningstar. All Rights Reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
1 The S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged composite of 500-large capitalization companies. This index is widely used by professional investors as a performance benchmark for large-cap stocks. You cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
CN 13D 150 Exp. 01/31/16