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Investment Strategies

United Asset Strategies is dedicated to consistently advocating for our clients' best interests and financial well-being through prudent and sound investment strategies customized to achieve desired investment and financial goals. At United, our Portfolio Managers can create customized portfolios to meet specific investment objectives, such as the promotion of charitable goals, socially conscious investing or mitigating tax burdens. We want to work with you to solve any financial challenges you may face and we look forward to helping you achieve your financial goals.

  • Equity Strategies

    • In addition to customized portfolios, United Asset Strategies offers five primary equity strategies and three alternate strategies designed to suit our clients' personal preferences and risk tolerances. These models include: Growth and Income, Value Plus, High Dividend, High Dividend Plus, Total Return, Growth, Momentum Plus®, ETF Portfolios,and Mutual Fund Portfolios.

       

      Growth and Income

      • A diversified portfolio of 40-50 individual stocks and ETFs across various sectors
      • Recommended for clients seeking growth with income while minimizing risk
      • Designed to be less volatile than the markets and to outperform in falling markets, while being more defensive in nature
      • Security selection driven by both technical and funamental analyses
      • Disciplined Sell Strategy including the use of losses to mitigate downside risk

       

      Value Plus

      • A diversified portfolio of roughly 25-30 individual stocks and ETFs across various sectors
      • Recommended for clients seeking a value-based equity strategy with a beta below that of the overall market
      • Designed to be less volatile than the markets and seeks to invest in mispriced stocks with attractive fundamentals
      • Security selection driven by applying a fair value screen across the investable universe
      • A sale will be initiated if the stock is no longer attractive from a fundamental standpoint or if the stock's valuation is no longer attractive based on a cash-flow based measure of fair value

       

      High Dividend

      • A portfolio consisting primarily of individual stocks and some ETFs, all of which are dividend growers
      • Recommended for clients seeking a steady stream of income with a modest amount of trading activity
      • Designed to generate a yield that is 200% greater than the inflation rate and is greater than that of the broader equity market
      • Diversifed across the majority of sectors to avoid the risk of concentration in any one industry thereby reducing volatility and minimizing risk
      • An active hedging strategy will be employed if the market becomes overvalued

       

      Total Return

      • A diversified portfolio with more concentrated and larger positions where we have convictions that certain stocks or sectors will outperform
      • Recommended for clients seeking a growth-oriented equity strategy focused on outperforming the broader equity markets
      • Utilizes both fundamental and technical analysis while incorporating short-term trends and long-term themes that have been observed in the market
      • Automatic stop orders are employed which can be trailed up as stocks move up

       

      Growth

      • A portfolio which invests in stocks that are not traditional growth stocks but have characteristics of intermediate-term outperformance and strong fundamentals
      • Recommended for clients seeking a growth-based equity strategy with a beta above that of the overall market
      • We do not have a mandate as to what the sector weightings should be, rather we allow the process to dictate sector allocation enabling us to overweight for the best opportunities

       

      Momentum Plus®

      • Portfolio including 50%  S&P 500 exposure via a position in SPY a SPDR ETF
      • Recommended for clients interested in enhancing their returns by investing in sectors and subsectors that show relative strength and momentum and are outperforming the market
      • Each sector will represent approximately 10% of the portfolio
      • At a minimum, the portfolios will have at least two positions, one of which would be cash. There will never be more than seven positions in the Momentum portfolio or ten positions in the Momentum Plus.
      • All positions, except SPY, will have a trailing protective Stop/Sell order.  Therefore, in the event of a significant market decline, as much as 50% cash would be raised

       

      ETF Portfolios

      Our three risk based ETF models consist of long-term strategies designed to generate consistent risk-adjusted returns.

      • Conservative portfolios generally consist of 50% equities and 50% fixed income and are structured to achieve growth with stability.
      • Moderate portfolios are 70% equities and 30% fixed income.
      • Aggressive portfolios are 90% equities and 10% fixed income and are designed to generate returns that may outperform the stock market on a risk-adjusted basis.

      We optimize both the equity and the fixed income portions of the portfolio using Mean Variation Optimization. We select ETFs trading on non-commission platforms, looking for those that have high liquidity and low operating costs. These ETFs will fall into one of the following categories: large cap, mid cap, small cap, international, emerging markets, and REITs. We also invest in bond ETFs, which can be long-term, intermediate, or short-term in duration.

       

      Mutual Fund Portfolios

      We offer three different models for mutual fund portfolios depending on our clients’ risk tolerances.

      • Conservative portfolios generally consist of 50% equities and 50% fixed income and are structured to achieve growth with stability.
      • Moderate portfolios generally consist of 70% equities and 30% fixed income and are meant to perform on par with the stock market while minimizing risk.
      • Aggressive portfolios generally consist of 100% equities and are designed to outperform the stock market.

       

      Our disciplined selection process allows us to choose mutual funds which will best serve the interests of our clients. Although performance is a primary factor in deciding which funds to offer, our dynamic screening technique compels us to also look at the annual management and marketing fees charged by the fund to its investors and whether or not a fund has changed management recently. We favor funds which show positive capture ratios and returns on a consistent basis and funds with lower turnover, which minimizes taxation.

      To maximize performance, we may consider funds with new or undiscovered managers as well as smaller funds if we believe they will add value to our clients’ portfolios. By applying a combination of top-down and bottom-up research, we build models that will help us select ideal funds for each portfolio. Additionally, we review and test the integrity of our funds on a quarterly basis; if a fund underperforms its peers, the fund is flagged for heightened review and will be replaced if underperformance continues. We also monitor fund performance and rebalance our portfolios based on valuations when necessary. Finally, all of our portfolios may contain hedges to protect against market decline, with the conservative portfolio usually maintaining a constant hedge.

       

    Robo-Digital Advice Offering

      • United Asset Strategies’ institutional Robo Advisor platform offers a low cost, fully automated investment management tool without losing the human touch.

      • With a minimum investment of $5,000, individual investors gain access to the active investment strategy of a proven investment manager.
      • Our dynamic portfolios are continually modified to meet the ever changing economic landscape.

      • The foundation of our model creation and modification criteria is a proprietary rules-based system that evaluates macroeconomic, fundamental and technical indicators.

      • Once our baseline model is created, these changes are incorporated into the 30 different portfolio allocations.

        Read more here.

    Fixed Income

    • United Asset Strategies takes an active role in developing, implementing, monitoring and trading our clients’ fixed income portfolios. Simply establishing quality standards and building a laddered maturity will not protect against principal fluctuation, hedge against inflation, meet income needs and compliment equity positions. After an in-depth data session wherein we determine the clients’ risk tolerances and financial goals, we implement tailored solutions with a mix of fixed income securities. As market conditions warrant, United will actively trade bonds, basing our decisions on changes in interest rates, issuer credit quality, current tax laws and pricing inefficiencies. Being independent, having access to a variety of issues, and having multiple sources for trading execution is very important to our tactical approach.

      • Interest Rate Awareness: If rates are likely to decline, it is appropriate to extend the maturity of fixed income holdings and increase call protection. This reduces reinvestment risk of principal and positions the bonds for appreciation as rates trend downward. If we think rates may increase, we purchase less interest rate sensitive securities, shorter maturities and bonds that perform well in rising interest rate environment. If we suspect economic conditions may deteoriate, we may shift our bond portfolios to higher quality issues, as they retain their value better than lower quality bonds in this environment.
      • Total Return: The bond market is an inefficient market. We assess after tax returns to determine a proper mix of taxable and tax-free secuties within client portfolios. We will adjust the portfolios as economic events dictate.
      • Tax Selling: Bonds can be sold, if at a loss, to offset capital gains from stocks, real estate and other income. Due to an availability of a myriad of bond issues, we can purchase a replacement that matches your parameters for maturity, credit quality and price and not be negatively affected by the 30 day Wash Rule.

      United Asset Strategies provides its clients with Prime Broker Services, an important resource which allows us to execute bond trades with multiple bond trading desks rather than being limited to the specific dealer associated with the custody of each client's account. The Prime Broker Service is effective in offering multiple sources to work with and reducing the hidden cost associated with buying and selling bonds. Our use of proven-successful strategies when actively trading bonds helps our clients increase their portfolios' total return and helps protect against the price fluctuations consistent with interest rate moves.

      Investors might be surprised to find that the hidden costs linked with purchasing bonds can be significantly higher than trading stocks. Bonds are traded in an over-the-counter market where dealers trade with each other and keep an inventory of bonds. Reasonable markups are considered fair compensation for this risk of holding an inventory. Each firm establishes its own markup, which varies depending upon a number of factors. Dealers are free to tack on hidden charges to a bond whose buyer is unaware of the accurate price and markup. Since United does not take possession of the bonds, we do not participate in “markups” and have the advantage of shopping around to other dealers to get the best execution. United bids on bonds to attract the best offers.

       

    Options and Alternatives

    • Portfolio Managers will use option strategies in various circumstances to create income or as a hedge. Selling covered calls and puts to generate income with known results is a common strategy at UASI. We employ different combinations of calls and puts to maximize returns and minimize risk.

      • Covered Calls

      By writing covered calls, United is able to generate income in the form of an option premium received. This effectively reduces the risk of a long stock position when its price is falling, as the premium will offset some or all of the loss. Covered call writing also allows us to increase returns (think of the premiums as income) during intervals when the market is flat. During a bull market, the option may be exercised and the stock called away. While some upside is negated, the position is still sold at the set higher price, and the option premium received adds to any gain.

      • Put Writing

      United will sell a put option on a stock we or you are willing to purchase but at a price lower than the present valuation. By selling a put, we agree to buy the shares at a discount to the current cost. For taking on this obligation, our clients receive cash in the form of an option premium. A stagnant or rising price is not a concern, as we would not have bought the stock in the first place due to its rich valuation, allowing our clients to keep the premium.

      • Long Straddle

      A long straddle is an option strategy in which, during a period of market volatility, both a call and a put are purchased at the same strike price and expiration. By identifying opportunities in a volatile market, we can employ the long straddle to profit on a movement in either direction. With only a put, should the market go up, there is a loss, and with a call, should the market go down, there is a loss; but with a long straddle, you are prepared for any movement. When executed, the benefits of one outweigh the cost of the other.

      • Protective Put

      The protective put is essentially insurance on an investment. If a protective put is in place and the market goes up, you can move with the market and profit from gains. However, if the market takes a sudden drop, the protective put ensures you maintain some profitability by keeping a minimum sell price. Should you want to keep the shares in a company, you can also sell your put, which increases in value when the market drops, offsetting some of the loss of the share’s value.

      • Collar

      A collar is combining a protective put and a covered call at the start of an investment to hedge against market volatility. This creates a bracket, setting a maximum and minimum exiting price for your investment. The profit from the call feeds into the put, making sure your money is protected.

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