Tracking positions

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Dec 28, 2008 5:37 pm

I may be missing something really obvious, or making it harder than it is--please forgive me if so....

 
Having said that---what do you guys use to track and consolidate individual positions?
As in maybe hundreds?  Does anyone use a spreadsheet or something?
 
I have a client that has +5mill in sma's -- we are going to fire the managers, and manage in-house.  Want/need someway to aggregate mutilple positions and accounts in a single place...
 
I'm on the AGE system if that helps---for the life of me I cant figure out how to get ontrack or any of the other tools to do this..
Dec 28, 2008 6:19 pm

I would ask your tech folks, as surely they must have some resources to help you sort positions from a book - level.  Maybe your quote system also has some tools that allow you to set alerts?  I think there may also be some free tools available on Yahoo Finance.

I use Dorsey Wright, and they give me the ability to set alerts so that when a stock hits a certain price or change in relative strength measurement you get an email as a 'heads-up'.

What exactly are you looking to track?

For what it's worth, Bob Dunwoody has suggested for YEARS that most advisors have too many positions.  I think he's right on when it comes to that.

Dec 28, 2008 6:34 pm
stocksandblondes:

I may be missing something really obvious, or making it harder than it is--please forgive me if so....

 
Having said that---what do you guys use to track and consolidate individual positions?
As in maybe hundreds?  Does anyone use a spreadsheet or something?
 
I have a client that has +5mill in sma's -- we are going to fire the managers, and manage in-house.  Want/need someway to aggregate mutilple positions and accounts in a single place...
 
I'm on the AGE system if that helps---for the life of me I cant figure out how to get ontrack or any of the other tools to do this..



You have multiple accounts for a reason. That being said, each position should be in an account for a reason. As such, aggregation fails to recognize these facts. If you're not cut out for the task, refer the client to someone who is.

You're welcome, in advance.

Dec 29, 2008 12:43 pm

guess I didnt explain clearly---

 
Does anyone have a spreadsheet that they created to consolidate total positions in one place?
 
For example---I may have 500 WMT in one acct, and 500 in another, and 250 in another--just looking for something that can tally all positions across all accounts...not very skilled at excel and didnt want to limp through it.
 
for those that trade across many accounts--how do you track open positions?
 
thanks
Dec 29, 2008 12:50 pm

LPL allows me to enter a ticker and get all accounts and positions owning that ticker, and to be honest, I don't think they're the greatest for program trading by a long stretch, so the AGE system must suck for your purpose.

 
As an aside...I'd think long and hard about doing what you are doing.  You're creating a ton of work for yourself and you may well end up backtesting only to discover that you didn't do a bit better than, or even as good as, your SMA managers.  We, and especially clients, tend to develope very negative opinions about the worth of professional money management when we endure the kind of market conditions we've recently endured.
Dec 29, 2008 2:31 pm

SAB, most here have that capability within their workstation. Enter the ticker/cusip and all accounts holding that position are pulled out of the data base. Information includes account name, share position, cost basis, date of purchase, and dates of reinvested divs. This is basic info that's been available on the workstation for at least 12-15 years. That it is nothing new you should be able to buy a program that will do it for you. My question: Whoever you clear through should have this info available, why aren't they providing it to you?

 
Agree with Dunwoody/Hyman - keep it simple.
 
Dunwoody- 30 positions max. More is too much to effectively manage. Just a very informed opinion on his part, but good advice.
Dec 29, 2008 3:01 pm
Indyone:

LPL allows me to enter a ticker and get all accounts and positions owning that ticker, and to be honest, I don't think they're the greatest for program trading by a long stretch, so the AGE system must suck for your purpose.

 
As an aside...I'd think long and hard about doing what you are doing.  You're creating a ton of work for yourself and you may well end up backtesting only to discover that you didn't do a bit better than, or even as good as, your SMA managers.  We, and especially clients, tend to develope very negative opinions about the worth of professional money management when we endure the kind of market conditions we've recently endured.
 
Indy, considering that PMM is built upon Modern Portfolio Theory, wouldn't you agree that, that ship has sailed? While results will vary from account to account, obviously MPT did nothing to prevent major loses in this market decline. Time will tell, but my thinking is that many investors will question why they paid a fee to be left on the tracks as the 5:05 to financial destruction blew their future to oblivion.
 
Dec 29, 2008 3:55 pm

If you are with AGE you have a team of Thompson programmers in India at your disposal. Have them make a custom spreadsheet using the ILX DDS functions.

Dec 29, 2008 4:29 pm
BondGuy:
Indyone:

LPL allows me to enter a ticker and get all accounts and positions owning that ticker, and to be honest, I don't think they're the greatest for program trading by a long stretch, so the AGE system must suck for your purpose.

 
As an aside...I'd think long and hard about doing what you are doing.  You're creating a ton of work for yourself and you may well end up backtesting only to discover that you didn't do a bit better than, or even as good as, your SMA managers.  We, and especially clients, tend to develope very negative opinions about the worth of professional money management when we endure the kind of market conditions we've recently endured.
 
Indy, considering that PMM is built upon Modern Portfolio Theory, wouldn't you agree that, that ship has sailed? While results will vary from account to account, obviously MPT did nothing to prevent major loses in this market decline. Time will tell, but my thinking is that many investors will question why they paid a fee to be left on the tracks as the 5:05 to financial destruction blew their future to oblivion.
 
No, I wouldn't necessarily agree that the MPT ship has sailed, and nor would I say that I wholeheartedly endorse it.  If you think having a blended portfolio did nothing to reduce losses, at least in some instances, I'd have to disagree.  One of my core bond funds is PGBOX, which, while nothing spectacular, certainly held it's own in a very tough market and mitigated losses.  True, not all of my bond funds behaved even remotely as well, and true, I don't always use bond funds for that portion of the portfolio...I like individual munis almost as much as you do, particularly now.  At the same time, in smaller accounts and in areas where I lack expertise to select individual bonds (such as high yield bonds), I employ managers.  Every once in awhile, I'll play individual high-yield bonds, but only when I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the situation.  I bought several Ford bonds in 2005 with 2-3 years to maturity and double-digit YTM.  I breathed a sigh of relief when the last one matured in August and reminded myself again why I usually let the professionals pick the securities while I manage the relationship.
 
Just because MPT didn't work exactly as we expected it to in this bear market, doesn't mean that it's any more dead than buy and hold.  Trust me, I'm right there with several of you in poking fun at things that didn't work for my competitors, but I'm not quite ready to say that just because they didn't work out as planned this time, that they're dead forever.  There's some wisdom in asset allocation and holding good investments for long periods of time and I'm not ready to declare them all dead just because they didn't work so well in a pretty unusual bear market.  Short of cash, treasuries, alternatives such as managed futures, or just shorting the market, there weren't many places to hide this time.  That's not always the case, at least in my experience.  This bear looks kind of like a perfect storm where stocks and most bonds get the crap kicked out of them at the same time.  Lesson there is to go to short and high quality when this kind of bear comes back.
 
On the fee issue, I may be premature and I may just be fortunate, but I've gotten pushback on fees from less than 2% of my fee-based clients during this bear.  Perhaps I've done a good job of knowing who would be OK and who would buck at high fees in a down market...I don't know.  Maybe I have a book of clients who are just atypical in that regard.  I've never tried to fit a square peg in a round hole, so I have all kinds...fee-based...annuities...brokerage, etc.  Every great once-in-awhile, I have to move someone, but for the most part, they've stayed with their platform.  Others may well have a different experience.  I have a friend in the business who has indicated that he's had to move many fee-based accounts lately, so obviously, results may vary.  My guess is, it's all in the way the account is sold and maintained.  I've been doing a ton of tax-loss harvesting in my Non-qualified accounts and I think people appreciate the effort.
 
I've rambled on further than I intended to, but I enjoy the discussion and thought-provoking questions.  It's almost like a benevolent Put Trader has re-entered the fray.  Since you put forth the question and I'm always interested in learning, I'd like to hear what your ideas of prudent portfolio management look like these days...
Dec 29, 2008 6:23 pm
Indyone:
BondGuy:
Indyone:

LPL allows me to enter a ticker and get all accounts and positions owning that ticker, and to be honest, I don't think they're the greatest for program trading by a long stretch, so the AGE system must suck for your purpose.

 
As an aside...I'd think long and hard about doing what you are doing.  You're creating a ton of work for yourself and you may well end up backtesting only to discover that you didn't do a bit better than, or even as good as, your SMA managers.  We, and especially clients, tend to develope very negative opinions about the worth of professional money management when we endure the kind of market conditions we've recently endured.
 
Indy, considering that PMM is built upon Modern Portfolio Theory, wouldn't you agree that, that ship has sailed? While results will vary from account to account, obviously MPT did nothing to prevent major loses in this market decline. Time will tell, but my thinking is that many investors will question why they paid a fee to be left on the tracks as the 5:05 to financial destruction blew their future to oblivion.
 
No, I wouldn't necessarily agree that the MPT ship has sailed, and nor would I say that I wholeheartedly endorse it.  If you think having a blended portfolio did nothing to reduce losses, at least in some instances, I'd have to disagree.  One of my core bond funds is PGBOX, which, while nothing spectacular, certainly held it's own in a very tough market and mitigated losses.  True, not all of my bond funds behaved even remotely as well, and true, I don't always use bond funds for that portion of the portfolio...I like individual munis almost as much as you do, particularly now.  At the same time, in smaller accounts and in areas where I lack expertise to select individual bonds (such as high yield bonds), I employ managers.  Every once in awhile, I'll play individual high-yield bonds, but only when I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the situation.  I bought several Ford bonds in 2005 with 2-3 years to maturity and double-digit YTM.  I breathed a sigh of relief when the last one matured in August and reminded myself again why I usually let the professionals pick the securities while I manage the relationship.
 
Just because MPT didn't work exactly as we expected it to in this bear market, doesn't mean that it's any more dead than buy and hold.  Trust me, I'm right there with several of you in poking fun at things that didn't work for my competitors, but I'm not quite ready to say that just because they didn't work out as planned this time, that they're dead forever.  There's some wisdom in asset allocation and holding good investments for long periods of time and I'm not ready to declare them all dead just because they didn't work so well in a pretty unusual bear market.  Short of cash, treasuries, alternatives such as managed futures, or just shorting the market, there weren't many places to hide this time.  That's not always the case, at least in my experience.  This bear looks kind of like a perfect storm where stocks and most bonds get the crap kicked out of them at the same time.  Lesson there is to go to short and high quality when this kind of bear comes back.
 
On the fee issue, I may be premature and I may just be fortunate, but I've gotten pushback on fees from less than 2% of my fee-based clients during this bear.  Perhaps I've done a good job of knowing who would be OK and who would buck at high fees in a down market...I don't know.  Maybe I have a book of clients who are just atypical in that regard.  I've never tried to fit a square peg in a round hole, so I have all kinds...fee-based...annuities...brokerage, etc.  Every great once-in-awhile, I have to move someone, but for the most part, they've stayed with their platform.  Others may well have a different experience.  I have a friend in the business who has indicated that he's had to move many fee-based accounts lately, so obviously, results may vary.  My guess is, it's all in the way the account is sold and maintained.  I've been doing a ton of tax-loss harvesting in my Non-qualified accounts and I think people appreciate the effort.
 
I've rambled on further than I intended to, but I enjoy the discussion and thought-provoking questions.  It's almost like a benevolent Put Trader has re-entered the fray.  Since you put forth the question and I'm always interested in learning, I'd like to hear what your ideas of prudent portfolio management look like these days...
 
First, to SAB, sorry for the thread hijack.
 
Indy, I wasn't pointing my finger at you with my intial response. Just so you you know, nothing personal here. I too defer to managers in areas where i believe I don't have the knowledge to give the client the best investment or when i know i'm not going to get the best execution. High yield is one of those areas. i too have sweated out some Ford Bonds with a piece coming due the first of next month. I still have some GMACs as well. However some of biggests GMAC positions were swap candidates for a client group that needed to offset massive RE gains. I told them "you need loses? You've come to the right effing place!"
 
Regarding PPM and MPT, I do believe that ship has sailed. Not that it couldn't help, but the whole build a portfolio for managing the portfolio risk/standard dev conversation is now out the window. And that's what PPM is built on.
 
Here's the way I see it; MPT is backwards looking. It's based on a boatload of stats that were back tested but never put to a real world test. And imho those stats are tainted. How/why? Because the stats are based on market statistics in a non globalized economy. The world is a changed place, even in the 15 years or so since the the theory was developed. Today if China sneezes we all catch a cold. Where as fifteen years ago it was China? China who?
 
Granted it was us, we ,the USA, who sneezed but the effect has been global. And it has cut across asset classes. There has been a decoupling of traditional relationships within the asset allocation world. This isn't mentioned anywhere as even a possibility. That there wasn't anyplace to hide is because the theory is no longer valid. There are market forces today, powerful market forces at work that were never factored into the oringial work. MPT is about staying fully invested at all times and using diversification as the safety net. That net hasn't worked. The theory is busted because the world has outdated it.
 
MPT is just that, a theory. Since its wide spread inception it's failed twice to protect investors on the downside. First in 01-03 and now, now. I'm not saying that it is a total failure, just that telling a 60 year old person that they're down only 35% while the market is down 40% is cold comfort to someone who is out of time. How many more failures do we need to experience before we admit that this doesn't work? Yet the majors continue to peddle it for a fee. And of course that's the real story.
 
Indy, I'm your target market. I'm 56 years old with money to invest. I'd be damned if I'd give my money to someone with a mountain chart and a theory. Especially a theory that hasn't worked. If i were 26, I might i might be tempted because i know i've got plenty of time and i do beleive that themarket will come back and go higher. But at 56 i don't have all that time to dig out of this kind of ditch. I would invest, not for a fee, but buy and hold over long time periods.
 
 
Dec 29, 2008 6:39 pm

Hey BG, if I could show you a way to invest for the long-term with no downside risk GUARANTEED, how much would you be willing to commit to invest with me?  $500k?  $1mm?

 
Dec 29, 2008 7:08 pm

OK DK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 
Dec 29, 2008 7:28 pm

Load all accounts into On Track, run a morningstar snapshot under the reports key.  Done.  Five minutes tops.

Dec 29, 2008 7:29 pm
deekay:

Hey BG, if I could show you a way to invest for the long-term with no downside risk GUARANTEED, how much would you be willing to commit to invest with me?  $500k?  $1mm?

 
 
No downside!  That sounds great!  Tell me more!
Dec 29, 2008 7:50 pm
Sam Houston:
deekay:

Hey BG, if I could show you a way to invest for the long-term with no downside risk GUARANTEED, how much would you be willing to commit to invest with me?  $500k?  $1mm?

 
 
No downside!  That sounds great!  Tell me more!
 
Transfer the $ first.  I don't do unpaid consulting.
Dec 29, 2008 7:54 pm

And I don't go on blind dates.

Dec 29, 2008 10:12 pm

BG, Indy,
Curious to know - Regading the discussion of MPT dead or alive?, ....is this something that came up in your mind(s) as a result of whats happened this year? Did you use MPT to run client portfolios in the past, till this disaster?
And if you did, what are you saying to clients in terms of why you are changing your approach?

Dec 30, 2008 12:46 pm
Sportsfreakbob:

BG, Indy,
Curious to know - Regading the discussion of MPT dead or alive?, ....is this something that came up in your mind(s) as a result of whats happened this year? Did you use MPT to run client portfolios in the past, till this disaster?
And if you did, what are you saying to clients in terms of why you are changing your approach?

 
The entire fee complex is built upon MPT. 'Let us run the money staying fully invested at all times. We'll manage the risk through asset diversification giving the money to the best mangers money can buy. And we'll do it all for a non conflict of interest annual fee."
 
To answer your question 01-03 was proof enough for me that as theories go, MPT wasn't up there with other theories, like gravity for instance, in staying power. So, no I don't use it to manage anything.
 
There is nothing anyone who uses MPT can say to their clients. Well, except for sorry it didn't work, we need another theory.
Dec 30, 2008 8:03 pm

I agree with BG, anything that did not work this year should be shunned forever!  Cash and T-bills for all!

Dec 30, 2008 8:22 pm
BondGuy:
Sportsfreakbob:

BG, Indy,
Curious to know - Regading the discussion of MPT dead or alive?, ....is this something that came up in your mind(s) as a result of whats happened this year? Did you use MPT to run client portfolios in the past, till this disaster?
And if you did, what are you saying to clients in terms of why you are changing your approach?

 
The entire fee complex is built upon MPT. 'Let us run the money staying fully invested at all times. We'll manage the risk through asset diversification giving the money to the best mangers money can buy. And we'll do it all for a non conflict of interest annual fee."
 
To answer your question 01-03 was proof enough for me that as theories go, MPT wasn't up there with other theories, like gravity for instance, in staying power. So, no I don't use it to manage anything.
 
There is nothing anyone who uses MPT can say to their clients. Well, except for sorry it didn't work, we need another theory.



I don't agree with this.  MPT and fee-based portfolios are mutually exclusive.  You don't have to be a Rep to subscribe to MPT.  I think MPT "didn't work" this year because: 1) it didn't take all types of securities available (i.e. alternative investments anyone??); 2) people got stuck in a rut selling pre-packaged-cookie-cutter asset allocation models that and forgot about asset correlation and risk.