there a man with brain so dead
Who never to himself hath said,
“Social Security looks like a Ponzi Scheme?”
- With apologies to Sir Walter Scott
Today we look at Social Security. In the US, Texas Governor Perry touched the third rail of Social Security and called it a Ponzi scheme, which of course immediately made him the leading candidate in the “shoot the messenger” category. Behind the rhetoric, we look at some actual numbers. No, not the unfunded liabilities, that’s too easy. Let’s look at what a heartless, uncompassionate man President Roosevelt was when he started Social Security (and that’s what many will call me after reading this!). Behind the tongue in cheek, there are some very real issues that do not get addressed when we talk about Social Security, but that need to be part of the discussion. And of course, we must start off with the results of the FOMC meeting, which has me feeling not at all amused. What are they thinking? Apparently, they are seeing the results from another, alternative universe. There is a lot to cover as I head off to London, where I will finish this letter.
But first a very important announcement. I am very excited to be able to introduce my readers to a new mutual fund offered by my friends Altegris Investments. This fund is a blend of five commodity trading advisors or CTAs. Normally, to access a CTA you be to be an accredited investor, with all the net-worth requirements and limited liquidity. But Altegris has figured out how to wrap a mutual fund around CTAs and create a fund of commodity traders with all the usual aspects of a mutual fund (daily pricing, liquidity, etc.).
I have long been involved in the commodity-trading advisor space (some 20 years) and am a proponent of CTAs as a way to diversify portfolio risk. I have written a detailed report on this fascinating sector in relation to the fund, and it is available for free at http://www.altegrismutualfunds.com/landing/mauldinreports1.aspx, along with more information on the fund (including the offering memorandum and important risk disclosures, which are also included at the end of this letter).
The fund has been very well received since its launch and has grown rapidly to over $1 billion. There has been very active interest in the professional community, as advisors and brokers are looking for simple and realistic ways to diversify their clients’ portfolio risk, as well as a way that is truly noncorrelated to typical stock funds and many other asset classes. Whether you are a professional or individual, you really should take the time to research what I think is a very solid fund. My partners at Altegris have decades of experience in the CTA space, with the largest database of CTAs and long-term relationships with many of the managers (I actually started my investment career in the commodity fund space, so have more than a passing knowledge of the arena). Given the potential for volatility in the global markets, I think it makes sense to have some exposure to funds that can go both long and short (depending on their models). I urge you to read my report.
My mother used to tell me, “John, if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.” So let’s see if I can find something to nice to say about the FOMC announcement. How about: “At least they didn’t cause TOO much damage”? As Rich Yamarone tweeted immediately after, they announced they would buy 400 billion white aspirins and sell 400 billion yellow aspirins. This was not…