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.
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
Our three risk based ETF models consist of long-term strategies designed to generate consistent risk-adjusted returns.
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.
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.
United Asset Strategies’ institutional Robo Advisor platform offers a low cost, fully automated investment management tool without losing the human touch.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.