About

George Spritzer is a registered investment advisor at Southland Investments that specializes in managing no-load mutual funds, closed-end funds and exchange traded funds for individuals, IRA’s and 401(k)s. Southland manages portfolios designed for each client on a flat fee basis through the client’s own accounts at Schwab. George retired early from Citigroup/Salomon Brothers in 2006 after enjoying a substantial measure of consistent success in growing his retirement accounts . In 2007, he enrolled in the CFA program and was recently awarded the CFA designation.

George specializes in three investment strategies:

  1. Opportunistic Closed-end fund investing: Buy CEFs at larger than normal discounts to NAV and sell them when the discounts narrow. Exploit special situations: tender offers, fund terminations, fund activism, rights offerings etc.
  2. Trend Tracking: Sector Rotation strategies
  3. Trend Tracking: Broadly diversified global tactical asset allocation strategy

Any articles posted on the Quant Investor blog, or republished by any other site, are for informational purposes only, and are not personal investment advice to any specific person for any particular purpose. All opinions and disclosed positions are as of the publication date of the article on the blog (not the republication date on any other website). Opinions and portfolio positions may change as conditions vary. We utilize information sources believed to be reliable, but do not warrant the accuracy of these sources or our analysis.
Past performance is no guarantee of future performance, and there is no guarantee that any forecast will be accurate. Do not rely solely on articles on this blog or any other site when making an investment decision. Any investment involves the risk of loss of capital. Consider seeking professional advice before implementing your portfolio ideas.

30 responses to “About

  1. Picked up your analysis of the CEFs’ bubble with a search of the words “income only yield”. I am having trouble locating a free site that presents that info without me having to dig for it.

  2. You can get the income only yield for a closed-end fund at http://www.cefa.com

  3. Thanks alot!

  4. Proposal…..why don’t you show a portfolio with your positions ?

    • David- There are a few reasons why I don’t show a portfolio-
      1) Too much effort. I have six brokerage accounts and many different positions using several
      different strategies.
      2) Some holdings are affected by tax considerations which would be different for each investor.
      3) The main purpose of the blog is to discuss ideas and investment concepts. People should not
      just follow my recommendations blindly because prices and market conditions can change shortly
      after the blog article is written.

  5. Hey Mr. Spritzer,

    I am a Master of Finance student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and I am doing research about behavior finance and value investing. My focus is CEF arbitrage and I want to talk to senior people such as you in this field to gain more exposure. Could you please reply email me so I can ask some questions?

    Thanks!

    Kevin

  6. I am the founder of a mutual fund analysis and advisory site called Fund Mojo: http://www.fundmojo.com. I stumbled onto your site and enjoy reading it. Keep up the good work.

  7. William Collins

    When interest rates go up in the future ,where should we put the money we have in stocks? What will be the sign that will signal us to get out of the market?

  8. quantinvestor

    William- Depending on the instrument, you can use a trailing stop loss, a fall below a moving average or some other exit strategy. For every system I use, I always have an exit strategy in place beforehand. But getting out of the market is not all or nothing. There are some sectors or asset classes that do well even though others may be dropping.

  9. William Collins

    Thanks for response. I will work on my strategy.

  10. I just read your comments for the 1st time on this site and am impressed with your analysis. I have a lot of money sitting in my IRA account @ Fidelity collecting .008 % (pretty soon I’ll have to pay them to keep my money for me!) Anyway, do you have a good aternative for short term money?

    • Tom Q-
      I agree that investing short term money is a problem now. At Fidelity, I have recently been using FFRHX for some of my cash, but I watch it like a hawk. For low volatility funds like FFRHX, I like to use a mental trailing stop loss of 1% once it has passed the exit redemption fee period. I also use GNMA funds, strategic income funds or high yield funds. Depending on the fund, I like to use trailing stop losses of anywhere from 1% TO 3%. You can also buy AGG (yield=3.8%) at Fidelity for zero commission. Again I recommend using a trailing stop loss of about 2%. AGG is usually pretty steady, but took a big dip in October 2008.
      I have also used floating rate closed-end funds when they are available at a discount to nav. Unfortunately, most of them are selling at premiums now.

  11. I’ve been reading your insights through Seeking Alpha and I was curious about your thoughts on action such a DUC yesterday (3/25). One sees the pattern with some regularity in numerous CEFs. Is it just a clueless seller or forced sale? It is so heavy-handed it seems to frighten away any fish tempted to bite. Or are there factors a fisherman might want to consider.

    • Mike- I didn’t see any news, so DUC probably dropped because of a large institutional sale. Or a large advisor sold it out of many smaller managed accounts. DUC is selling at a premium over NAV even after the price drop, so I don’t find it particularly attractive.

  12. What analytic tools do you rely on in your investing?

  13. Mark-
    I mainly use Excel and Yahoo Finance for data. I have been evaluating Amibroker and Dynamic Investor Pro and may purchase one or both.
    I use many sites on the internet- a few are listed as links on my blog.

  14. No comments yet. But …. I like the Bio …. short and sweet.

    Here’s mine: 65 year old investor full time. Brown U Engineering; Harvard – Government and Economics. Know just enough about CEFs, BDCs, MLPs, stocks, bonds, CDOs, economics, discounted cash flow quants, etc. to be dangerous (to myself).

  15. nice to see a quant oriented trading blog, good work, I especially enjoy your writing style, explain finance in a plain language, thanks.

  16. I melded your recommended collection of CEFs with a number of international funds including GF, MAY, KF, SGF, IF, CH, etc. i think this reduces volatility. Do you agree?

    • Stephen- Sure, adding more funds reduces volatility and risk somewhat. The only downside is additional commission expense and the extra time it takes to monitor your portfolio. But for a decent sized portfolio in a discount brokerage account, it makes a lot of sense. You can also look at Latin america funds like LAQ and LDF.

  17. George, What do you make of JOF’s rights offering, selling activity, and price performance? I have been in this position for a while as a value play, have a widening loss, and worry about dilution…forcing me into exercising my rights as a way to avoid dilution. I think of Nomura as an above average entity, but this is more a feeling than based on solid research.
    I hope to hear from you, Bill

    • Bill-

      I don’t own JOF. The rights are selling for 0.27 and are fairly valued, so I probably won’t buy any unless they drop in price.

      If I did have the rights, I would exercise and oversubscribe, and decide later whether to keep the stock once the dust settled after the offering.

  18. George,
    Wow, the rights were not even priced a day or so ago. Thanks for checking.
    How do you gauge that price of 0.27 in terms of high or low to fair value? At this point are you saying that one pays a premium for it? If I do not wish to have to sell other equities to oversubcribe, is there merit in just selling my rights? The sec filing indicates that there is sales load of 3.8 percent to purchase new shares via the rights offering. Is this kosher? Sure would eat into the discount intended. At some point I would like to talk to you. Your approach to investing is similar to my own and I am thinking about handing it off. Thanks,Bill

  19. quantinvestor

    Bill- I think the rights are fairly priced at $0.27. It takes three rights to buy one share ar $7.00, and JOF last traded at $7.90. This assumes there is no cost in exercising the rights. (Some brokers tack on a big fee which takes away the incentive to participate in a rights offering).

    Fair Value= (7.90 – 7.00) /3= $0.30, but after commissions and the bid-asked spread, $0.27 is right around fair value. For a new purchase, I would want to get the rights below $0.20 to make it worthwhile.

    But one advantage you have is that you can oversubscribe for more shares at $7.00 so the rights have more value for you than for a new investor who buys the rights now.

    The bottom line is if you have a small position and want to exit JOF, just sell the rights and move on. But If you do exercise the rights, make sure to take advantage of the oversubscription privilege which is like free money.

  20. How come you’re not posting much anymore?

  21. SS: I’ve been busy with some other activities, and also write articles for Seeking Alpha. But I will try to post more often. Thanks for reminding me.

  22. Well George, where are the updates? It’s been more than a year!

  23. Hi George, 14 months ago, you wrote about First Opportunity Fund as a way to invest in hedge funds. I have owned shares in this company since it was First Financial (an ETA that shrewdly invested in financial institutions). From all that I can tell, the new FOFI management is connected at the hip with their hedge fund advisors and pay huge fees to them to trade in these hedge funds, i.e., FOFI is really just a piggy bank for the advisors. Can you look into this and let me know what you think? Thanks.

    • quantinvestor

      Yes, the fund management is connected to the hedge funds. But after my article massive insider buying has continued, including millions of dollars by Nick Adams who manages the hedge funds. It is quite possible that at some point the 20% discount will be eliminated by management once they have accumulated enough shares.

      Since my article, the performance of FOFI has been reasonably good for a conservative low volatility fund, but the discount is still above 20%.

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