Benefits of the Tenant-In-Common Vs. Delaware Statutory Trust

Real Estate Tenant-In-Common or TIC Offerings 

Technically there are two types of Proportional Ownership products referred to as Tenant In Common  (TICs), which are structured as a securitized TIC or a Real Estate TIC.

Since the favorable ruling by the IRS in 2004 allowing a Delaware Statutory Trust, under specific restrictions, to be eligible for a 1031 exchange the use of securitized TICs has diminished.  Some security professionals have abandoned the TIC structure for the more lucrative business model that the DST format offers. For the sake of this comparison we will focus on the Real Estate TIC and how it compares to a DST.

A tenancy in common investment (better known as a real estate TIC) is an investment in real estate which is co-owned with other investors. Since the taxpayer holds a deed to real estate as a tenant in common, the investment qualifies under the like-kind rules of IRS Section 1031.

This type of an investment can appeal to taxpayers who are tired of managing real estate. TICs can provide a secure investment with a predictable rate of return. Real Estate TICs are often developed by commercial real estate professionals with an emphasis and expertise on the underlying real estate asset. They are marketed by real estate professionals and not security brokers.

A small number of TIC sponsors take the steps necessary to structure their TIC so that the investment is a real estate investment not subject to state security laws. Usually this means that the TIC sponsor will not be responsible for management of the investment and independent management will be employed by the owners.

Real Estate TICs have significant limitations when it comes to leveraging the properties with debt or investing in large complex commercial real estate that require ongoing management where the quality of the return is reliant on a third party. These limitations force Real Estate TIC sponsors to invest in debt-free high-quality Triple Net Leased properties. These limitations tend to produce a simple structure with a high level of safety and security.

The largest draw back to a Real Estate TIC is that each owner must take an active roll in decision making. This can be cumbersome with even a modest number of owners. The need for decisions can be mitigated up front by not taking out debt against the property and engaging in long term Triple Net Leases with investment grade tenants. This structure effectively eliminates the need for decisions in the near and intermediate term.  The tenant in common agreement for each property sets forth the structure whereby these decisions are to be made. Some can be structured with drag rights or other provisions to facilitate decision making.  Investors should closely review the tenant In common agreement.

Delaware Statutory Trust or DST Investment Offerings

In an effort to create an instrument that would increase the profitability for securitized TIC Sponsors as well as facilitate the placement of debt on properties the securities industry joined with commercial lenders and invested significant resources in developing a complex alternative fractional ownership structure that would overcome what they saw as the weaknesses and limitations of the traditional Real Estate TIC Investment Property offerings.  The result was the fractional ownership structure known as the Delaware Statutory Trust or DST.

The Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Ruling 2004-86 on August 16, 2004. This ruling offered seven significant management limitations that if followed, permitted the use of the fractional ownership structure of the Delaware Statutory Trust or DST to qualify as replacement properties as part of an investor’s 1031 Exchange transaction.

Each co-investor owns an individual beneficial interest in the Delaware Statutory Trust. The DST itself shields the investor from liability with respect to the underlying investment property owned and held inside the DST.  These instruments are created and sponsored by securities professionals with expertise and an emphasis on creating a quality security instrument. They are sold by securities brokers with no required training, experience or education in real estate and are governed by the SEC.

As discussed above individual investors in a Real Estate TIC structure must vote on all major property decisions. Without a majority owner and appropriate structure, it can be somewhat dysfunctional to get the individual TIC Investment Property co-investors to agree on major decisions. To address this issue, the individual investors or beneficiaries in a Delaware Statutory Trust are not permitted to vote. In the DST structure partners relinquish the agency and authority to make all decisions regarding the management and wellbeing of the property and investment and vest it in a single trustee – the sponsor. However, for the DST to be 1031 qualified the Trustee must relinquish the right/ability to make major property decisions. This can create an even more difficult situation than the TIC structure.

Financial institutions can loan to a DST entity. Because the loan is made to the Trust there is no need for a lender to separately underwrite each co-investor for purposes of loan qualification since the DST is the borrower and not each individual investor. This structure allows DSTs to hold multiple properties with multiple and varied debt structures. This can provide a false sense of security to investors. Although individual investors are not underwritten by the lender or personally sign on a loan, their investment is used as collateral and is 100% at risk in the event market conditions, fraud or other issues create a default. The debt structure of any DST should be thoroughly evaluated and understood by each individual investor.

The Seven Deadly Sins of a DST

Internal Revenue Ruling 2004-86, which forms the income tax authority for considering a Trust as Real Estate for use with a 1031 Exchange has extensive prohibitions over the powers of the Trustee of the DST. In a 1031 qualified DST structure, the trustee is restricted from many actions that would otherwise be normal in typical ownership structures such as an LLC. The trustee may not renegotiate leases, make capital calls, or even re-finance the property. These IRS imposed restrictions are sometimes referred to as the “seven deadly sins,” and include the following:

  1. Once the offering is closed, there can be no future equity contribution to the Delaware Statutory Trust or DST by either current or new co-investors or beneficiaries.
  2. The Trustee of the Delaware Statutory Trust or DST cannot renegotiate the terms of the existing loans, nor can it borrow any new funds from any other lender or party.
  3. The Trustee cannot reinvest the proceeds from the sale of its investment real estate.
  4. The Trustee is limited to making capital expenditures with respect to the property to those for a) normal repair and maintenance, (b) minor non-structural capital improvements, and (c) those required by law.
  5. Any liquid cash held in the Delaware Statutory Trust or DST between distribution dates can only be invested in short-term debt obligations.
  6. All cash, other than necessary reserves, must be distributed to the co-investors or beneficiaries on a current basis, and
  7. The Trustee cannot enter into new leases or renegotiate the current leases.

The Springing LLC aka The Nuclear Option

These restrictions are significant. They are put in place to enable favorable consideration by the IRS and may even seem to provide protection for individual investors. However, they place significant limitations on the trustee in the event tenants default or market conditions require deviation from the management plan. In the event any of the above seven restrictions need to be violated, there is a way out. Delaware law permits conversion of the trust to an LLC. This is referred to as a “springing LLC”. This will allow for any or all the prohibited actions to be performed by the trustee without the consent of the members. This is the ultimate safeguard, but it comes with a massive price. This action will disqualify any of the tax-deferral benefits afforded by Section 1031 to the initial investors. The springing LLC clause is required in most DSTs because it gives the lender additional comfort that the trustee can perform necessary actions in the best interest of the bank even though activating this clause will have detrimental tax consequences to all 1031 investors in the fund. The alternative to having a Springing LLC clause is not pretty and typically does not provide the Trustee the tools necessary to react to even slight deviations in the anticipated investment course. This could result in a catastrophic failure of the Trust during a market correction.

For more information on 1031 strategies, please contact us.

 

Observations and Outlook April 2018

First quarter of 2018 turned out much differently than investors had been expecting at the turn of the New Year.  In January’s note, there were many sentiment indicators that had eclipsed their all-time highs. The highest percentage of investors expecting higher prices in twelve months was recorded.  Equity markets peaked on January 26 and fell 12%, followed by a large bounce into mid-March then subsequent decline that left us at quarter end about 4% above intraday lows from February.  We may be seeing the first stages of the end of the 9-year-old bull market.  Looking back at 2007 and 2000, the topping process can be choppy with market gyrations of +/-10%.   This is a complete 180 degree turn from the past two years where volatility was non-existent and equity markets went the longest period ever without a 5% decline.  Expect continued choppiness as the impact of Tax Reform filters through the economy and if corporations can continue the blistering pace of earnings growth going forward.  At the same time for mostly the same reasons, interest rates are likely to be range-bound.  Very recently the price of oil climbed on a news release that the Saudis would like to see $80/bbl oil.  Rising oil prices would be akin to a tax on consumers and hamper US growth.

Sentiment as seen by the AAII % bullish rolling 8-week average has declined from its euphoric high at 49% in January, down to 33%.  At the bottom of the last correction in early 2016 this average was 23%.  The current correction may be over and a lot of selling pressure has been exhausted there is room to the downside still. A reading in the mid 20% has been a good area to mark a low in the markets.  Sentiment is often a lagging indicator.  Investors are most enthusiastic after large price gains.  The opposite is true too in that sentiment numbers go low after a price decline.   It can be helpful to take a contrarian view as sentiment measures move to extremes.

aaii rolling bulls 4 2018

Blame for the downturn in January was due to a slightly hotter than expected print of Average Hourly Earnings (AHE), and the resulting concern over how quickly the Fed will raise interest rates.  The rapid change in AHE has not followed through into February and March, yet stocks remain well off their highs.  Analysts have been looking for wage pressures due to very low unemployment numbers for a long time.  The lack of wage growth is likely to the re-entrance of discouraged workers back into the labor force.  As a discouraged worker, who ‘hasn’t looked for work in the past month’, they are removed from the workforce.  When the number of unemployed decreases (the numerator) along with the total workforce (the denominator), the unemployment percentage rate goes down.  A low unemployment rate at the same time there is little wage pressure is due to the workforce participation rate being very low.  Focusing on the total number of people employed, which is still growing on a year over year basis, may give us a better read on employment situation without looking at the unemployment rate.  Any impact from Tax Reform should show up in an acceleration of year over year Total Employees growth.

total employed 4 2018

A more telling chart, and perhaps the real reason behind President Trump’s fiscal stimulus is the following chart. Using the same raw data that created the above chart, the chart below tracks the monthly, year over year percentage change in total nonfarm employees in the United States.  There are no seasonal adjustments etc.  While we are growing, the rate of increase in the total number of people working, is slowing.

% change in total employed 4 2018

Forward guidance from companies will be critical.  Expectations are still quite high regarding full year earnings and end of year price target for the S&P500, currently about 3000, 15% higher than todays price level.  During the first quarter, when earnings from Q4 2017 were reported, companies beating earnings estimates were rewarded only slightly, while companies missing earnings had their stock prices pushed down.  It seems there is still a ‘priced to perfection’ hurdle that companies must overcome.

 

The largest macroeconomic driver for the remainder of the year is the now global shift from QE (quantitative easing) to QT (quantitative tightening).   This global liquidity spigot the Central Banks have been running on full blast for the past 9 years has begun to end.  The US Federal Reserve stopped buying bonds (adding dollars to markets) and began raising rates.  These are tightening liquidity.  While in 2017 the European and Japanese central banks more than made up for the Federal Reserves actions, both have been broadcasting plans to temper their liquidity injections.  China is tightening as now in preparation for increased stimulus to coincide with the Communist Party’s 100th anniversary in power in 2021.

Over the past 9 years global liquidity additions has been the key driver to global asset prices.  As these additions slow and become subtractions, one must assume it will impact financial markets.  Most importantly global US Dollar-liquidity is the most important as the Dollar is the global reserve currency.  Recently the LIBOR-OIS has been in the news, having risen dramatically over the past few months.  This index is a rate that compares the overnight cost of interbank dollar borrowing in the US vs Europe.  The cost to borrow US Dollars in Europe has gone up dramatically.  A low cost would reflect ample Dollars for those who need them, a higher cost reflects a shortage of dollar-liquidity.  The TED Spread compares the interest rate on 90-day treasury bills and the 90-day LIBOR rate.  The TED spread is 90-day rates and the LIBOR OIS is overnight rates, and they follow each other closely.    The crux of it that they both measure the availability of funds in the money markets.  If these rates go up, it is seen as a decrease in available funds.

ted spread and us dollar 4 2018

The chart above tracks the TED spread and the US dollar.  The relationship is loose but fits well over multiple quarters.  If this relationship is correct, the US dollar should dramatically increase in value in the coming months.  An increase in the US Dollar will push the prices of non-US assets lower, make dollar denominated debt widely used in emerging markets more difficult to pay back and have further repercussions in debt markets.  A weak US Dollar is the underpin of global asset prices, and a stronger dollar, along with Quantitative tightening will be a strong headwind to asset prices in the second half of 2018.  If earnings can continue to growth strongly and more workers can be added at a strong pace, both leading to more credit growth, this headwind may be able to be offset.

In addition to international money market rates, the slowing velocity of money has been a constant impediment to economic growth.  Or, rather, the low velocity of money is indicative of an economy that continues to languish despite massive amounts of new money put into the system.  If the pace of money flowing through the economy slows, GDP can be increased by putting more money into the system.  More money moving slowly can be like a small amount of money moving quickly.   If money is removed from the system via tightening measure from central banks, and we do not see an increase in the velocity of money, GDP will decline.  The slowing of VoM has been a problem since 2000 and is likely directly related to ‘why’ the Fed keeps rates extremely low for very long periods of time.  Of course, if VoM were to return to 1960’s levels, interest rates would be substantially higher, causing a re-pricing of all assets—which is a topic for another day.

fredgraph

Adam Waszkowski, CFA

awaszkowski@namcoa.com    239.410.6555

This commentary is not intended as investment advice or an investment recommendation. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Price and yield are subject to daily change and as of the specified date. Information provided is solely the opinion or our investment managers at the time of writing. Nothing in the commentary should be construed as a solicitation to buy or sell securities. Information provided has been prepared from sources deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by NAMCO and may not be a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision.  Liquid securities, such as those held within managed portfolios, can fall in value. Naples Asset Management Company, LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. For more information, please contact us at awaszkowski@namcoa.com

DST as a 1031 Solution

A Delaware Statutory Trust (DST) is a legally recognized trust that is set up for the purpose of business, but not necessarily in the U.S. state of Delaware. It may also be referred to as an Unincorporated Business Trust or UBO.

This type of investment structure was created in Delaware in 1947, and in 2004 the IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2004-86 which permits real estate investors to perform a 1031 exchange into and out of a DST that holds title to real estate.  Today, DSTs are used for fractional 1031 exchange investments, offering investors an alternative way to benefit from management-free ownership while still potentially deferring up to 100% of the taxes that would otherwise be due from the sale of an investment property.

DST Investments are offered as replacement property for accredited investors seeking to defer their capital gains taxes through the use of a 1031 tax deferred exchange and as straight cash investments for those wishing to diversify their real estate holdings. The DST property ownership structure allows the smaller investor to own a fractional interest in large, institutional quality and professionally managed commercial property along with other investors, not as limited partners, but as individual owners within a Trust.

DST held properties are passive real estate investments that have professional asset management firms overseeing property acquisition, due diligence, loan sourcing when financing, asset management, property management when not triple net (NNN) leased, and property disposition.

Interests in the trust can be purchased, sold and otherwise transferred without affecting title.  Allowable transfers include donations to charity and transfer to heirs as specified in wills. Also Sellers of their interests in DSTs are eligible to invest the proceeds in other real estate investments via 1031 exchange.

Interests in DSTs are also available to buyers looking to satisfy 1031 exchange requirements.  As with an LLC, DSTs provide liability protection to investors in the trust.  Each DST may own one or more properties, and up to 499 investors may invest in a single DST (though most DST trustees limit the number of investors to fewer than 499).

Investors do not have voting rights over the operation of property owned by a DST.  Instead, a DST trustee (also known as an asset manager or sponsor) maintains 100% of the managerial duties of the asset(s) held by the DST.

For more information, please contact us.

Up, Up and Away – Why Not to Fear New Market Highs

2018 started off with NYE fireworks that have continued. It took only 3 trading days in the New Year for the Dow to surpass 25,000. It took another 8 trading days to close above 26,000.

Do you take your money off the table or do you say, laissez le bon temps rouler?

I’m not a soothsayer (more of a historian), so let’s step back and remember that a day or a month does not make a year.

Performance-wise, 2018 marks a phenomenal start for the Dow index. As of January 16th, the Dow was up ~ 5% YTD, on the heels of being up ~ 25% in 2017. The Dow jumping from 25k to 26k was the quickest 1,000 point move ever. Wow! The Dow is like the Golden State Warriors (as of recent) – we’re seeing some outstanding moves and records achieved.

It’s best to keep everything in check though. We only have to look back 2 years to the beginning of 2016 – the Dow had its worst 10 day start since 1897. The Dow lost 5.5% in January 2016 and 93% of investors lost money, if not more than the Dow that month, according to CNN_Money.

Back then, global economic worries pushed investors away from risky assets. Now an apparent synchronized global pick-up has investors jumping in and seeking risky assets, such as stocks, fearing they’re missing out on the next leg up. It’s a melt-up, the opposite of a market melt-down.

When people know that I’m a wealth manager, they often ask me what I think about the stock market. Often it’s along the lines of “I have cash that I could/should put to work but have been waiting for a pull back as the market is at an all-time high, so I just sit tight.”

I often proffer that “the best time to invest was yesterday and the second best time is today,” in addition to, “it’s about time in the market, not timing the market.”

We’ve been constantly hitting new highs since taking out the old high on the Dow back in October 2007 (Dow 14,093) in early 2013, a span of ~ 5 ½ years to be back in black. Now we’re close to another 5 years since then, and close to 9 years in on a really impressive bull market run.

For those old enough to remember the Nifty 50’s, the Dow climbed 240% during the decade of the 1950s. For me, I remember the Roaring 90’s and the spectacular run we had during that decade. In 1999 alone, the Nasdaq composite rose 86%, the biggest annual gain for a major market index in U.S. history, while the Dow gained 25%, a record 5th year in a row that the index posted a double-digit percentage gain. That’s what a market topping process looks like.

Historically, the stock market has had its share of peaks and troughs, from bull to bear back to bull again, taking out previous highs and setting new ones. How long does that take? It depends on many circumstances but I would say that while the past is no fortune teller, it does offer clues.

Wharton School Professor Jeremy Siegel studied the ‘Nifty 50’ stocks of the early 1970’s. These were much sought-after stocks that got to ‘nose bleed’ valuation levels and then had a melt-down. However, they ultimately turned around and by 1996, they had offered up annualized double digit returns. (you can read the full study here: https://www.aaii.com/journal/article/valuing-growth-stocks-revisiting-the-nifty-fifty)

So even if you believe you are purchasing stocks at high valuation metrics, over a long period of time those securities will reward investors (caveats of diversification, etc. are always warranted).

There will be bubbles – Dutch tulip bulbs, dot-com stocks, and now we’re in the throws of a cryptocurrency craze. And yes, many U.S. stocks are currently stretched, valuation-wise, and probably will be for a while longer as there’s momentum from investors adding to stocks and away from bonds.

As economist John Maynard Keynes stated back in the 1930s, “The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent.” At this juncture, that means a tricky part of putting money into a bearish bet is the timing. You can be right that a market or sector is overvalued but wrong on the timing.

My best answer to investing near or at market highs is to stay steadfast – continue to invest or get started in doing so. Dollar-cost averaging helps as well. Investors with a long runway before they need to draw on their assets should hold a good amount in stocks in their overall asset allocation.

One should take a diversified investment approach and forgo timing entry points. One’s time and energy is better served on focusing on a factor that has been shown to have a greater impact on returns – one’s asset allocation. That should be based on one’s long-range financial goals and needs as well as knowing one’s limitations. A wealth manager who has an informed view of a client’s total financial picture can then position the client to best hew to his or her overall financial plan.

In financial literature we often speak of a “rational investor” but we all know that humans are emotional beings (we’re not Vulcans!). It’s really difficult for human beings to envision what might happen in the future. That’s why we have a very tough time taking money we earn today and saving or investing it for some far-off point. But doing exactly that is what’s required if you want to reach big financial goals.

If you want to get or stay on track to reach your long term goals, feel free to reach out to me (or a fellow Naples Asset Management advisor in your local area) about any adjustments your plan may need.

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.” ~ Ayn Rand

Observations and Outlook January 2018

Investors have not been as fully invested in the stock market since 2000.  Does this mean anything?

Maybe.  It is a reflection of investor expectations though.  One can infer this by assuming investors own what they think will go up in price and therefore is investors are very long, then they expect prices to rise.  The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) recorded the highest level of optimism in 7 years, since December 2010.  The historical average is 38.5%.   In an article from AAII, dated January 4, 2018 they review how markets performed after unusually high bullish and usually low bearish sentiment readings.

From AAII:    “There have only been 46 weeks with a similar or higher bullish sentiment reading recorded during the more than 30-year history of our survey. The S&P 500 index has a median six-month return of 0.5% following those previous readings, up slightly more times than it has been down.   Historically, the S&P 500 has realized below-average and below-median returns over the six- and 12-month periods following unusually high bullish sentiment readings and unusually low bearish sentiment readings. The magnitude of underperformance has been greater when optimism is unusually high than when pessimism has been unusually low.”

This does not necessarily mean that our current market will decline rapidly.  Actually, AAII finds that while returns are below-median, they are positive.  Positive as in ‘above zero’.   Sentiment drives markets and when sentiment gets too extreme, either in bullish for stocks or bearishness for bonds or any other financial asset, returns going forward are likely to disappoint.  If everyone has bought (or sold) who is left to drive prices up (or down)?   What we need to recognize is that investors become optimistic after  large advances in the stock market, and pessimistic after declines.  UM-Probability-of-Stock-Mkt-Rise-Oct-2017-1024x705_thumb1

Again, this chart above does not mean we are about to enter a bear market.  It only shows the markets progress at points of extreme optimism.  We can see in 2013 into 2015 rising expectations and a rising market as well as from 2003 to 2007.   Now that we can visualize the mood of the market, lets review some other metrics from 2017 and what is in store for 2018.

2017 was interesting in several areas.  It was the first time in history the S&P500 had a ‘perfect year’ where every month showed gains in stock prices.  We are also in record territory for the longest length of time without a 5% pullback, almost 2 years.   Historically, 5% drawdowns have occurred on average 3-4 times each year.  In addition to price records, there are several valuation metrics at or near all-time records.    The ‘Buffet Indicator’ (market capitalization to GDP) just hit 1.4, a level not seen since Q4 1999.  “Highest ever” records are exceeded well into mature bull markets, not the early stages.  Stock markets generally spend most of the time trying to recover to previous highs and far less of the time exceeding them.    Momentum and priced-to-perfection expectations regarding tax policy are driving investors to be all-in this market, as reflected by Investors Intelligence Advisors’ (IIA) and American Assoc. of Individual Investors (AAII) stock allocation and sentiment surveys each at 18 and 40-year extremes.  Combined with the Rydex Assets Bull/Bear Ratio, at its all-time extreme bullish reading, it’s difficult to argue who else there is to come into the market and buy at these levels.

However, bullish extremes and extreme valuations can persist.  Their current levels do likely indicate that we are well into a mature bull market.   The bull was mature in 1998 too and went on to get even more extreme.  This is the case many perma-bulls trot out, that since were not as extreme as 1999, there is plenty of room to run, and ‘dont worry’.

The US Dollar and Quantitative Tightening

The current ‘conundrum’ is why is the US dollar so weak?  We have a Fed that is raising interest rates growth likely to exceed 3% in the fourth quarter.  Usually a rising currency would accompany these conditions.    The dollar declined throughout 2017.  This was a tailwind for assets outside the U.S. whose value in dollar terms increases as the dollar declines vs foreign currencies.   If the dollar begins to move back up this will be a headwind for ex-US assets and for sales/profits to large companies in the S&P 500 who do almost half their business outside the U.S.

In addition, central banks have given notice that, while the Fed ended QE in late 2015, other central banks are beginning to end their programs with the European Central Bank reducing its bond purchases from 60 billion euros per month to the current 30 billion, and down to 0 in September 2018.   The Bank of Japan (and the Japanese Pension Fund) have declared they are reducing their purchase of stocks, bonds, and ETFs.  Only China hasn’t formally announced and end to market interventions.   Most pundits are pointing to the bond market as the area that will be most affected.  Possibly, but to claim that bonds will get hurt and stocks will be fine is ignoring how global equities have performed hand-in-glove with banks’ liquidity injections over the past 10 years.  Both stocks and bonds will likely be affected.

Yield Curve Inversion (or not)

I102YTYS_IEFFRND_I30YTR_chart

The chart above shows in red the persistent decline in 30-year treasury rates.  This week Bill Gross called the bottom (in rates, the top in prices).  This may be premature as one can see dips and climbs over the past few years, all of which have been accompanied by calls of the end of the 35 year bond bull market.

What is more interesting is that in the past 3 recessions, the yield curve as seen through the 10-2 Year Treasury Yield Spread declines, through the zero level (aka inversion, 10yr bonds paying less than 2 year notes) before a recession.   Our current level of .5% is not far from zero.   Most people are waiting to see it invert before saying a recession in on the way, often adding it will be a year beyond that point.    If one looks very closely at the chart we can see said spread actually increase after bottoming out, just prior to a recession starting (which wont be officially recognized until 6-8 months along).   While there are different factors influencing the 2yr and the 10yr rates, a spread widening might be a more important development than continued compression.

Finally, what does all this mean for an investor.   In short, we must all recognize that a 24 month span without a 5% decline is extremely unusual, as there are often 3-4 in a given year.   Also that when investors are most optimistic, returns often lag with the more extreme readings leading to more significant changes.  Mature bull markets eventually end and investors with a longer term horizon need to have a strategy not only for growing their investments, but also protecting the gains one already has.

We all know how to deal with a bull market, but few people have a strategy on how to deal with a bear market.

Adam Waszkowski, CFA

What is the “JOBS ACT”?

Typically, when a company raises capital, it has to register its securities (basically the shares/interests that they are offering for sale).  Registration is expensive and takes a long time.  Most companies look for an exemption from registration. The most common exemption used by companies for this purpose is the private placement exemption, which basically meant the companies couldn’t publicly solicit or advertise.

The “Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act”, or the “JOBS Act” changed that.  The JOBS Act allows companies to publicly solicit for funds and advertise while still conducting a private offering.  However, it comes with a major catch.  The only investors allowed to invest must be “accredited investors”, and the company raising money has to verify that their investors are truly accredited investors.

A simple questionnaire is no longer sufficient – instead, companies must take further “reasonable steps” to prove their investors are accredited investors.  Failure to comply is a violation of federal laws and may subject the company to enforcement action and the obligation to return money raised.  That’s obviously bad for companies, but it’s also bad for investors who don’t know if the companies they invested in will suddenly have to return a portion of its capital to other disgruntled investors.

What is an “Accredited Investor”?

An “accredited investor” is a type of investor. Generally, sales of securities must be registered with the SEC unless an exemption is found. Some of the exemptions require sales to be made to accredited investors. Our application lists out the various categories of accredited investor.

The Securities and Exchange Commission also has a helpful page on accredited investors here: https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/news-alerts/alerts-bulletins/investor-bulletin-accredited-investors

For more information, please contact Paul McIntyre at pmcintyre@namcoa.com

401(k) and Retirement Plan Limits for the Tax Year 2018

On October 19, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for the tax year of 2018.

Highlights of Changes for 2018

The contribution limit for employees who participate in 401k, 403b, most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is increased from $18,000 to $18,500.

The income ranges for determining eligibility to make deductible contributions to traditional Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), to contribute to Roth IRAs and to claim the saver’s credit all increased for 2018.

Click here to view the  2018_plan_limits