12/02/2014

Observations & Lessons from Joe Mysak and the Muni Meltdown that Wasn’t

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The ever-illuminating (and often entertaining) Joe Mysak knows some things about the municipal bond market.  Mr. Mysak is Municipal Market editor for Bloomberg, and author of the Encyclopedia of Municipal Bonds: A Reference Guide to Market Events, Structures, Dynamics, and Investment Knowledge, and has spent 33 years observing and writing about the municipal bond market.  He was recently inspired to compile some of his observations in an article titled The Muni Meltdown that Wasn’t, published as a Bloomberg Brief in November 2014.

In this article, Mr. Mysak chronicles the “inexpert testimony” regarding the municipal bond market that was...

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11/15/2014

Trustees: The Shareholders’ Watchdogs

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Mutual fund boards are the champions of shareholders. But boards and their trustees are still not well understood by investors or their financial advisors. We spoke with three longstanding trustees of the Aquila Group of Funds—John C. Lucking, Thomas A. Christopher, and James A. Gardner—during the September, 2014 quarterly board meetings to learn more about what they do.

Tom Christopher and James Gardner

What do mutual fund board trustees do—and why should we care?

TC: We oversee the management and operations of each Aquila fund on...

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11/01/2014

Please Log In, Call, or Write in Order to Protect Your Account

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Your State Requires some Demonstration that You’ve been in Contact with Us

“Escheatment “, as described on the SEC web site, is the process by which a state becomes the owner of an account held by a financial institution that is considered to be abandoned or unclaimed under circumstances that may include a period of inactivity.  Generally, activity may be demonstrated by contact with the financial institution holding the account, and in some states, is not demonstrated solely by the existence of an automated investment program.

On a regular basis, to establish contact and maintain the active status...

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07/11/2014

Municipal Bonds for America coalition – educating Congressional policy makers

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The Municipal Bonds for America (MBFA) coalition conducted a “Municipal Bonds 101” seminar on July 2, 2014 for an overflow crowd of US Congressional policy makers and staff.  The seminar is the second such event hosted by MBFA with the purpose of educating policy makers on the benefits provided by the municipal bond market and the problems associated with reducing or eliminating the tax exemption applicable to municipal bond income.  Panelists speaking during the seminar included Ron Bernardi, Principal, President and CEO, Bernardi Securities, Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina, and Kevin Burke, President and CEO, Airports Council International,...

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04/15/2014

Are You Free of Your Tax Bill for the Year?

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As you put the 2013 tax season behind you, think about how much of what you earn is allocated to pay taxes each year. This year, Americans will pay a total of $4.5 trillion, or 30.2% of their income in taxes. Consider how many days of work will be dedicated to paying that bill. Every year the Tax Foundation1 establishes Tax Freedom Day®, which marks the day when the nation has earned enough money collectively to pay its total tax bill. For 2014, Tax Freedom Day® falls on April 21st; three days later than 2013 due to the country’s...

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04/04/2014

One Hundred Years of the Federal Income Tax

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It was 100 years ago this year that the first Form 1040 was sent out to taxpayers as ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution made it possible for the federal government to tax personal incomes.

The new tax started at 1% on personal incomes of more than $3,000 (over $71,000 in today’s dollars) for single filers or $4,000 for couples and included a surtax of 6% on incomes over $500,000. Taxpayers were required to complete the new form and submit it to local tax collectors for review by...

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03/27/2014

Individual Stock Selection

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Individual stock selection and active management are strategies that returned to prominence recently, according to a March 9, 2014 Wall Street Journal article.  “After years of moving in lock step on the back of global economic shocks, individual stocks increasingly have been dancing to their own tune” as evidenced by the steep decline seen in correlations1 between individual stocks in the S&P 500 since the financial crisis.

S&P Dow Jones Indices looks at active management from a different perspective in their S&P Indices Versus Active Funds or SPIVA Scorecard, which evaluates the performance of active versus passive management...

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08/17/2013

Mutual Funds and Yield Calculations

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The rate of income provided by a bond fund is affected by several variables and may be calculated in a number of ways.

Investors looking for an income-producing investment may choose a mutual fund which invests in bonds. There are a number of distinctions between bond funds which should be considered, one of which is the rate of income provided.

Fund Holdings and the Markets Change Daily

A mutual fund is a collection of many individual securities in which a number of individual investors share ownership. The investment manager of a bond fund may continually buy and sell individual securities as money...

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05/25/2013

High Yield – A Different Approach

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Within the high yield corporate bond market, it is feasible to implement a conservative investment strategy.

The high yield corporate bond market consists of bonds issued with a rating below investment grade, and those bonds that have been downgraded to a rating below investment grade.

Aquila Three Peaks High Income Fund pursues the investment objectives of the Fund while implementing a conservative high yield investment strategy. To explain the conservative strategy, and why an investor might find it appealing, let’s first look at characteristics of the high yield asset class relative to other asset classes.

High yield versus equity

Research conducted over...

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