The U.S. Alpha Strategy (“the Strategy”) is an unconstrained, concentrated, all-cap equity strategy with a goal to achieve long-term growth of capital. It is benchmark agnostic, seeking to outperform any broad-based market benchmark (e.g., S&P 500 Index, Russell 1000 Index, and Russell 3000 Index) by investing in companies with long-term track records of value creation and attractive valuations. The Strategy invests in high-quality¹ companies in higher-dispersion sectors, employing intensive fundamental and qualitative analysis to identify investment opportunities. The Strategy seeks to provide capital preservation in down markets.
The Strategy invests with the mindset of a business owner who has a long-term perspective. As an outcome, the strategy has low turnover and tax efficiency.
The Strategy invests in U.S. equities with market capitalizations generally greater than $1 billion. The portfolio manager implements the Strategy by focusing on companies that are creating wealth, as defined by earning economic returns above the firm’s cost of capital with substantial reinvestment into the firm. In general, companies owned by the Strategy are currently or have been owned by RMB Asset Management in one or more of our other investment strategies and are considered high-conviction ideas. These companies have been thoroughly researched, which includes extensive analysis of intangible assets. Rather than chasing stocks, our goal is to patiently wait for the stock market to provide an opportunity to buy at a discount to our intrinsic value estimate. The goal is to achieve high risk-adjusted returns.
The Strategy may, from time to time, hold a significant portion of its portfolio in cash or cash-equivalent instruments. If market conditions reduce the availability of securities with acceptable valuations, the Strategy may, for extended periods, hold larger than usual cash reserves until securities with acceptable valuations become available.
Investors in the Strategy can be confident that its stock holdings are the result of these longstanding, strongly held beliefs:
- An economic-return framework minimizes accounting distortions and facilitates analysis of competitive advantage
- Investing with an owner’s mentality equips us to exploit the short-term “renter” mindset that dominates the stock market and to focus on long-term results
- A benchmark-agnostic approach enables us to cultivate a concentrated portfolio of our highest-conviction, alpha investments
Our strategy is to seek excess return (alpha) from owning firms with high managerial skill, a knowledge-building culture, and distinct adaptable capabilities—and from purchasing those firms at favorable prices. These attributes interrelate and are not easily quantified for spreadsheet analysis. At the portfolio level, holding uncorrelated companies drives alpha by reducing risk.
¹ High-quality stocks are those that we believe offer greater reliability and less risk. The quality assessment is made based on a combination of soft (e.g., management credibility) and hard (e.g., balance sheet stability) criteria.