What’s the value of tax-managed investing?
It’s funny, because it’s something we adopted and have been doing for our clients since 2002, but we still get this question a lot. The answer is simple: Tax-managed investing can be of immense value to high-profile clients in arts, entertainment and professional sports. In fact, thanks to relatively high capital gain rates, investment taxes can represent a larger drag on investment returns than fees or trading costs. The timing of cash flows and the gains or losses embedded in the portfolio can also affect the amount in taxes investors owe.
Developed-market stocks crept higher in July, while emerging markets slid amid continued signs of slowing global economic growth. Regionally, the Middle East delivered some of the best country-level returns—Turkey and the United Arab Emirates were the month’s top performers; Israel and Qatar also registered among the best returns—while Europe and Asia lagged the rest of the world.
Second-quarter earnings for companies in the S&P 500 Index appeared on track for the second consecutive quarter of year-over-year declines, which hasn’t happened since early 2016.
July marks the tenth anniversary of the U.S. economic expansion. The bull market in U.S. equities (as measured by the S&P 500 Index) reached its tenth birthday in March. The S&P 500 Index seemed to celebrate these achievements just a few weeks ago by moving into new-high territory—but there now seems to be more fear than cheer on Wall Street. What is the basis for the fear?
There are many in the financial community who believe taxes shouldn’t drive investment decisions. Fund managers pursuing active strategies, for example. For many of them, the primary objective is to generate pretax alpha, giving less thought to the after-tax consequences. Maybe this works for them. After all, there are trillions of dollars invested in actively managed funds, so clearly people are buying what they’re selling. “We never let the tax tail wag the investment dog,” one of those managers told Barron’s earlier this year.
Recently, Parametric Portfolio Associates published a Research Commentary entitled, “Investment Taxes: Don’t Ignore the Tail,” which we thought would be of interest.