QUESTIONS ON INVESTMENT ANALYSIS AND PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Question 1 (25 Marks)
Initial Client Circumstances
Donna Scott, a vice president for Marks Consultancy, is a 42-year-old widow who lives in the United States. She has two children: a daughter, age 21, and a son, age 7. She has a $2.2 million portfolio; half of the portfolio is invested in Marks Consultancy, a publicly traded common stock. Despite a substantial drop in the value of her portfolio over the last two years, her long-term annual total returns have averaged 7 percent before tax. The recent drop in value has caused her great anxiety, and she believes that she can no longer tolerate an annual decline greater than 10 percent.
Scott intends to retire in 20 years, and her goals for the next 20 years, in order of priority, are as follows. The present values given are gross of taxes.
Funding the cost of her daughter’s upcoming final year of college, which has a present value of $26,000, and her son’s future college costs, which have a present value of $130,000.
Increasing the portfolio to a level that will fund her retirement living expenses, which she estimates to be $257,000 for the first year of her retirement.
Building her ‘‘dream house’’ in five years, the cost of which (including land) has a present value of $535,000.
Giving, if possible, each of her children $1 million when they reach age 40.
After subtracting the present value (before tax) of her children’s education costs and her homebuilding costs, the present value of her portfolio is $1,509,000. With returns from income and gains taxable at 30 percent and with continued annual growth of 7 percent before tax (7% × (1 − 0.30) = 4.9% after taxes), the portfolio’s value will be approximately $3,928,000 net of taxes at the end of 20 years.
Scott’s annual salary is $145,000, her annual living expenses are currently $100,000, and both are expected to increase at an inflation rate of 3 percent annually. Taxes on income and short-term capital gains (holding period one year or less) are substantially higher than taxes on long-term capital gains (holding period greater than one year). For planning purposes, however, Scott wants to assume that her average tax rate on all income and gains is 30 percent. The inflation and tax rates are expected to remain constant.
Currently, Scott rents a townhouse, has no debt, and adamantly intends to remain debt free. Marks Consultancy has no pension plan but provides company-paid medical insurance for executives for life and for their children to age 25. After taxes, Scott’s salary just covers her living expenses and thus does not allow her to make further meaningful capital contributions to her portfolio.
Scott’s current investment policy statement has the following elements:
Return requirement. A total return objective of 7 percent before tax is sufficient to meet Donna Scott’s educational, housing, and retirement goals. If the portfolio earns a total return of 7 percent annually, the value at retirement ($3.93 million) should be adequate to meet ongoing spending needs then ($257,000/$ 3, 928, 000 = 6.5% spending rate) and fund all Scott’s extraordinary needs (college and homebuilding costs) in the meantime. The million-dollar gifts to her children are unrealistic goals that she should be encouraged to modify or drop.
Risk tolerance. Scott has explicitly stated her limited (below average) willingness to take risk. Scott appears to have an average ability to take risk. Her portfolio has some flexibility, because her expected return objective of 7 percent will meet her goals of funding her children’s education, building her ‘‘dream house,’’ and funding her retirement. Overall, her risk tolerance is below average.
Time horizon. Her time horizon is multistage. The time horizon could be described as three-stage (the next 5 preretirement years defined by work/housing costs; the subsequent 15 preretirement years defined by work/college costs; and beyond 20 years postretirement).
Liquidity. Scott has only a minor liquidity need ($26,000 in present value terms) to cover education expenses for her daughter next year. After that, she has no liquidity need for the next five years. Only then ($535,000 in present value terms, for home construction) and in Years 11 through 14 ($130,000 in present value terms, for her son’s education) will significant liquidity concerns exist.
Taxes. Taxes are a critical concern because Scott needs to fund outlays with after-tax dollars.
Unique circumstances. A significant unique circumstance is the large concentration (50 percent of her assets) in Marks Consultancy stock. Another factor is her desire to build a new home in five years yet incur no debt. Also, she would ‘‘like’’ to give each child $1 million, but this goal is unrealistic and should not drive portfolio decisions.
Scott indicates that Marks Consultancy has a leading and growing market share. The company has shown steady fundamental growth trends, and Scott intends to hold her Marks Consultancy stock, which is expected to return at least 9 percent annually before tax with a standard deviation of returns of 20 percent.
Changed Client Circumstances
Donna Scott, now 47 years old, has recently married a coworker at Marks Consultancy. Scott and her husband are buying their dream house at a total cost of $700,000, and they have decided to make an immediate down payment of $430,000 and finance the remainder over 15 years. Scott also indicates that her son has contracted a rare disease, requiring major surgery; the disease will prevent him from attending college.
Although Scott and her husband have medical insurance that will pay her son’s ongoing medical expenses, her son’s surgery will cost an additional $214,000 immediately. The cost of medical expenditures is expected to grow at a rate exceeding the general inflation rate for the foreseeable future. Scott has decided to quit work to care for her son, whose remaining life expectancy is 40 years. She also insists on the need to provide care for her son when she and her husband are no longer capable of doing so. Scott’s parents died one year ago, and her daughter is now financially independent. Scott’s husband intends to retire in 25 years.
Given these circumstances, the investment portfolio held by Scott and her husband will need to provide an amount equal to $1,713,000 (present value) to meet their living expenses until his retirement. They also want their portfolio to grow enough to cover their living expenses at retirement, which they estimate to be $400,000 annually. They believe they will need a before-tax portfolio growth rate of approximately 8 to 10 percent annually to achieve this goal. Based on a retirement spending goal of $400,000, their corresponding effective postretirement spending rate will be approximately 6 to 7 percent annually before tax.
Scott summarizes her new financial information in Table 1. She indicates that her portfolio and her husband’s portfolio should be considered as one. She further states that her husband has taken well above-average risk in the past, but he is now willing to leave the investment management decisions to her.
Table 1: New Financial Information
Scott Husband Combined Portfolio
Indicate how each component of Scott’s investment policy statement should change as a result of Scott’s new circumstances. Justify each of your responses with two reasons based on Scott’s new circumstances. (10 Marks)
Recommend whether the current allocation percentage (given in Table 1) for each of the following assets should be decreased or increased as a result of Scott’s new circumstances. Justify each of your responses with one reason based on Scott’s new circumstances.
Marks Consultancy common stock
Diversified bond fund
Emerging market equities
Undeveloped commercial land (15 Marks)
Question 2 (25 Marks)
James Thomas is an equity analyst working for Tremendous Advisers Inc., a small investment adviser to institutional funds and private clients.
The portfolio managers of Tremendous do not use traditional mean variance optimization (MVO) techniques due to the impractical nature of portfolios produced by the process.
Angela Francis, a portfolio manager, has stated in particular that she doesn’t use MVO techniques because it always recommends short positions. Due to the type of fund that Francis manages, she cannot take a short position and she cannot use leverage in her fund. Thomas resolves to demonstrate how a constrained efficient frontier can be employed to solve this issue. Using Francis’s capital market expectations, Thomas produces the data displayed in Table 2l.
Table 2: Constrained Efficient Frontier Output
Francis currently holds a portfolio with an expected return of 8% and a standard deviation of 20%. For demonstration purposes, Thomas assumes that corner portfolios are perfectly positively correlated, which means that standard deviations can be approximated by averaging using portfolio weights.
For a target return of 8%, calculate the standard deviation of the minimum risk portfolio that Francis could hold using the data in Table 2. Show your calculations
For a target standard deviation of approximately 20%, calculate the weight of the domestic fixed‐income asset class in the portfolio with the maximum return that Francis could hold using the data in Table 2. Show your calculations.
Francis has also heard of an improvement on basic MVO referred to as “Resampling.” She asks Thomas for a brief description of the advantages of using such a method.
State two limitations of basic MVO that are addressed by the resampling
Question 3 (28 Marks)
Doug Herod is a financial analyst for a large asset management firm with international clients. Herod develops baseline forecasts for two asset classes, equities and bonds, relevant to Australian-focused portfolios. Historical data and forward-looking one-year forecasts for several macroeconomic drivers are compiled in Table 3.
Table 3: Australian Economic Data
Herod also takes the actual observations of inflation and economic growth rates in Australia and applies the Taylor rule to estimate what the short-term interest rate level should be as a target for monetary authorities based on targets for inflation and overall economic growth rates. GDP and inflation targets and forecasts are provided in Table 2.
Table 4: Economic Measures
Herod compiles data to estimate the intrinsic value of Australia’s equity index. He notes that Australian companies are currently experiencing annual growth of 8% in earnings and dividends. He expects the growth rate to decline linearly to 3% per year over a 20-year period. The current annual dividend for the index is 46 and the assumed discount rate to perpetuity is 5.5%.
Looking at each economic driver in Table 3 independently, indicate whether the equity market impact would be positive or negative and justify your answer with one reason.
Based on the Taylor rule, calculate the short-term interest rate level as an appropriate target for monetary authorities based on targets for inflation and overall economic growth rate and on actual observations of inflation and economic growth rates. (3 Marks)
Question 4 (22 Marks)
Jim Kalemis is an equity portfolio manager for Acme’s pension plan; the portfolio he manages for Acme is currently invested in 100 percent domestic securities. The Board of Trustees has urged Kalemis to investigate pursuing global investments. Kalemis is deciding whether or not to add international equity securities to the portfolio.
Kalemis has identified an international developed market for possible investment. He has decided to pursue an investment strategy that is invested 50% domestic market and 50% international developed market.
During the annual review of Acme’s pension plan, several Trustees questioned Kalemis about various aspects of performance measurement and risk assessment.
In particular, one Trustee asked about the appropriateness of using each of the following benchmarks:
Benchmark custom portfolio
Median of the manager universe
Explain two different weaknesses of using each of the three benchmarks to measure the performance of a portfolio. Your response must contain a total of six different weaknesses.
Benchmark custom portfolio
Describe three properties that a valid benchmark should have.
Roptimal = Rneutral +[0.5×(GDPgforecast −GDPgtrend)+0.5 ×(Iforecast − Itarget )]
Base on the Taylor rule, calculate the short-term interest rate level as an appropriate target for monetary authorities base on targets for inflation.
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