Investment Philosophy

Navigating the risks and rewards of the markets.

Our investment philosophy and how we invest for you is what makes Pring Turner unique. Similar to the layers of risk protection built into your car, we too build many layers of risk protection into your investment portfolio. Our conservative “All-Season” approach is designed to adapt to the ever-changing economy and financial markets. With two distinct game plans; one to grow wealth in favorable periods and another to protect during bear markets. Our goal is to make sure you’re protected and prepared for all market environments.

Business Cycle Roadmap

> Our GPS Navigation

Over the last century, three out of every four major stock market declines (-20% or more) have occurred during economic recessions. Our proprietary business cycle barometers act like a GPS and help us navigate the major ups and downs of the markets. As the economy changes, we make important investment adjustments to better prepare for the road ahead.

Quality, Value, and Income

> Seat-belts, Airbags, and Shock Absorbers

Financial research shows the higher the quality of an investment, the better the performance on a risk adjusted basis. We emphasize investments in high quality stocks and bonds, so you can rest assured knowing there is a quality seat-belt in place to protect your valuable nest egg.

Like an airbag supplying an added safety cushion for the driver, purchasing high quality companies at attractive prices provides a similar margin of safety for investors. This disciplined, safety-first approach provides another layer of protection. In the long run studies show value investing outperforms growth investing with significantly less risk.

Many investors tend to focus on capital appreciation as income gets relegated to the backseat. However, since 1975, over 70% of the S&P 500 total return has come from dividends.  Markets move up and down but consistent dividend income serves as a valuable and rewarding shock absorber for your investment portfolio.

If you remember only one thing, remember this…
You will come across an occasional pothole on your investment journey.  Our job is to steer you clear of those hazards, so you arrive safely and smoothly to your desired financial destination.

How Has Our All-Season Strategy Performed?

“How have you performed” is only half the question! “How much risk did you take to generate that return?” is an equally important question. One of the best ways to judge risk-adjusted returns is to examine how well an advisor handles difficult market environments. Since 2000, the markets have experienced two vicious declines of greater than 50%, providing an excellent benchmark to gauge risk-adjusted performance. During this challenging time our “All-Season” strategy has provided steady growth while taking roughly half the risk of the S&P 500.

Industry Gold Standard

We adhere to the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®), the industry gold-standard for performance reporting. To examine our performance click on the PDF reports above.

Frequently Asked Investment Advisor Questions

Some of the most frequent and most important questions we get asked are listed here, click on the question  or + sign to read the answers below..

What key questions should you ask when interviewing an investment advisor?

The first question should be: Are you a fee-only investment advisor? This arrangement eliminates conflicts of interest between you and your investment advisor. These next sets of questions are a very good starting point for learning if a particular fee-only investment advisor is a suitable match for you.

  1. What is your investment strategy? Is the strategy easily understood?  Does it make sense to you?
  2. How long have you been investment advising using this strategy? How much experience does the investment advisor team have
  3. What is their investment performance? Not only what are the returns but more important, how much risk was taken? Is the performance history documented and does it adhere to Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS)? GIPS is the investment industry’s gold standard used to measure investment performance and can also be used to easily compare managers. How has risk been quantified?
  4. What are the worst percentage drawdowns during the bad periods?  How much time did it take for the investment portfolio to get back to new highs?
  5. Does the investment advisor communicate what you own and why? Do they communicate when performance slides and things are not going as well?
Why should I hire Pring Turner to manage my investment portfolio?

Our four managing partners at Pring Turner headquartered in Walnut Creek, Ca. (Martin, Joe, Tom and Jim) have more than 135 years of combined experience in the investment advisory business. We provide a professional, disciplined approach to investment management. Working individually with you, we develop a set of personalized investment guidelines designed to meet your unique goals. Based on those guidelines we continuously monitor and adjust your investments to protect and steadily grow your valuable nest egg. Our clients appreciate the peace of mind knowing their wealth is being carefully invested by a team of seasoned investment professionals.

Are you a Fee-only investment advisor or commission-based?

Our fee-only incentive based compensation structure is designed to align our interests with yours. We do not receive compensation from commissions and strive to keep transaction costs low. The flat annual percentage fee is personalized for you based upon your investments under management.

What will you do to protect my wealth in the next major market decline?

As your investment advisor we continually “stress test” your portfolio to help protect you through major declines. Stress testing means thinking a step ahead to protect your portfolio and better shield yourself from a bear market decline. Active asset allocation shifts to reduce stock exposure during hazardous market conditions is a decades long hallmark of our investment process. Secondly, only holding higher quality stocks with above average dividend income further should protect your investment portfolio from large declines. We believe the end result is a much more favorable and tolerable path to protect and grow your wealth over the long run.

How have the investment portfolios you manage performed?

In order to judge performance properly investors should not only ask an investment advisor, “What is your performance?”–that is only half of the question. “How much risk did you take to generate that return?” is the most important question. Over several decades, through both good and bad market cycles, we have delivered what we believe are attractive and steady returns with low risk. Click here to view our investment performance history that adhere to the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) .

What is the difference between active investment strategies and passive investments?

Academics and investors have debated over the superiority of a passive investment strategy versus an active investment approach for years. First, let’s clear up the confusion surrounding active investing. As fee-only investment advisors we believe “active” is best defined as meaning active risk-management. With nearly 50 years of observing investors, we believe active risk management is the superior approach due to the inability of investors to suffer through the psychological stress or emotional aspects associated with the steep price declines associated with passive investing. Continue reading Active vs. Passive Investment Strategies; Which is Right for You? to learn more about these two investment approaches.

Are you giving up control when you work with a fee-only investment advisor?

Absolutely not. By taking the time to clearly define your investment goals, you are actually taking control of your investment future. You control the investment process through well-defined guidelines established with your investment advisor. We work right alongside with you and your other trusted professional network (Lawyer, Accountant, etc…) to successfully meet your long term goals.   

How can you protect yourself from unscrupulous investment fraudsters like Bernie Madoff?

The Madoff case was the largest fraud and Ponzi scheme ever and much can be learned from the fiasco. The single biggest step you can take to protect yourself from something similar is to be sure to have your investments held by a large, well-recognized third party custodian (like Charles Schwab). Be wary of investment advisors that ask you to add your money to a pooled account rather than establishing an account in your individual name.  A third party custodian safeguards your investments and allows for online viewing of your individual account balance.  And finally as a general rule of thumb, if the investment program sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Are investment portfolios managed exactly alike?

No! Everyone has their own special circumstances and goals. We personalize a suitable strategy to meet your own long-term needs. We manage to your investment objectives taking into consideration multiple factors including your taxes, income, experience, comfort level, and any other relevant issues. Our investment advisory service is highly personalized. The doors to our Walnut Creek, California office are always open. You are encouraged to contact us with any questions or meet with us as often as needed.

What kind of record keeping do Investment Advisors provide?

Besides receiving a monthly investment statement from your custodian, i.e. Charles Schwab, you receive a detailed quarterly statement and performance figures from your investment advisor. At the end of each year, if you have a taxable account you will receive a thorough tax summary that includes capital gain/loss information and breakdown of all income and dividend payments from your custodian. This consolidated 1099 statement is all you will need at tax preparation time. Our goal is to help keep your investment record keeping simple.

What types of accounts can investment advisors manage?

We have the ability to manage all of your typical investment and retirement accounts including: Individual Accounts, Joint Accounts, Trust Accounts, Traditional IRAs, 401(k) Rollovers, Roth IRAs, SEP IRAs,  Retirement plans, and non-profit organizations including foundations and endowments that appreciate a disciplined, conservative investment style.

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