The amazing bull rally continues to push my Retirement Portfolio higher, and I continue to redeploy gains by diversifying, reducing beta, and striving to broaden the stream of relatively safe dividends.
The portfolio is up a surprising 21% year-to-date. I've sought to "lock in" some of these gains while realizing there are no "locks" in the market. I've trimmed some holdings that have had strong PE ratio expansion, added seven preferred issues and two "baby bonds" to reduce beta, five non-leveraged, option-writing closed-end funds selling at significant discounts to NAV, four ETFs and one non-option writing CEF to add diversity, three Canadian bank stocks, three Bermuda-domiciled Brookfield partnerships, one British stock, and a utility with substantial wind energy exposure.
Boulder Growth and Income Fund
The most recent fund to be added is the closed-end Boulder Growth & Income Fund (NYSE:BIF). I made an initial purchase of 100 shares on July 18 at $8.44. On July 21, I bought 300 additional shares of BIF at $8.36, which brought the holding near my target 1.0% allocation. My cost basis is $8.40.
Why Boulder? In the comments following my July 10, 2016, article about my shopping list, NV_Gary suggested several CEFs for consideration, including BIF. That was my introduction to this fund. George Spritzer is the SA contributor with the most articles about BIF, most recently on March 7, 2016, "BIF: An Attractive Way to Buy Berkshire Hathaway at a Discount."
The title intrigued me because I've never owned Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) shares. I was pleased that the fund was selling at a discount to net asset value and that it has a nice dividend. So, I continued my study, beginning with SA articles and moving to Morningstar, which gives BIF three stars. Morningstar confirmed that BIF indeed trades at a discount to NAV, a 20.23% discount as of July 26. The NAV was $10.53, and the closing price on July 27 was $8.40. The current yield is 4.71%.
Morningstar also confirms that Berkshire Hathaway is the heavyweight in the portfolio. Here are the top five holdings:
|Top Holdings||Weight %|
|Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. A||21.47%|
|Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)||6.66%|
|Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. B||6.04%|
|JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM)||5.95%|
|Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX)||5.69%|
|% Assets in Top 5 Holdings||45.81%|
That kind of portfolio isn't for everyone, but since I own none of the stocks in the top five, it was a way for me to further diversify the portfolio. The concentration is no problem for me because my target allocation for this fund is just 1.0% of my portfolio. Here's a toast to Mr. Buffett (either Warren or Jimmy - your choice).
My initial visit to the Morningstar BIF page revealed a 4.28% leverage. I avoid leveraged CEFs, which usually run in the 20% to 30% range as a way of enhancing the yield. BIF, however, had a low percentage of leverage, so I continued to research the fund.
Morningstar reported that the annual expense ratio is 1.48%, which is high. But, as George Spritzer pointed out, BIF in its present form is the result of a merger with several other funds and it is anticipated that the larger fund will result in a lower expense ratio:
I have previously written several articles about closed-end funds managed by Boulder Investment Advisors, largely controlled by Stewart Horejsi. Last year, a four-way fund merger was completed whereby four of the Horejsi-controlled funds (BIF, BTF, DNY and FOFI) were merged into one survivor fund which is now Boulder Growth and Income.
I then moved to the BIF website, where I learned that BIF's objective is total return, with "a bottom-up, value-driven investment process to identify securities of good-quality businesses trading below estimated intrinsic value." That's consistent with my temperament. The fund's intent "is to identify investment opportunities that will provide attractive returns over a long holding period." The fund "seeks to keep portfolio turnover low, which the Advisers believe helps to minimize associated trading costs."
The Fund is managed by Rocky Mountain Advisers, LLC and Stewart Investment Advisers, "which together utilize the services of Brendon Fischer, CFA, Joel Looney, CFP and Stewart Horejsi (who) serve as the Fund's portfolio managers."
I phoned Rocky Mountain Advisers to ask about its philosophy regarding leverage. Brendon Fischer explained that the fund uses leverage "opportunistically" when attractive acquisitions appear, such as the recent merger with the other funds. The fund then moves quickly to reduce leverage. I was pleased to learn that the fund does not maintain a high leverage ratio on an ongoing basis to enhance the yield. Brendon Fischer directed me to Note 14 of the fund's 2015 Annual Report, which describes its recent use of leverage:
On March 19, 2013, the Fund entered into a financing package that includes a ... Credit Agreement ... with BNP Paribas ... that allowed the Fund to borrow up to $50,000,000.... On March 20, 2015, pursuant to the Reorganization, BIF amended the Credit Agreement with BNP Paribas to borrow up to a limit of $172,000,000. The Credit Agreement was amended again on August 1, 2015, reducing the maximum borrowing amount to $55,000,000. ... Interest on the borrowing (is) one month LIBOR plus 0.85%. Under the terms of the August 1, 2015 amendment to the Credit Agreement, the Fund must pay a commitment fee of 0.60% on the excess unused financing which exceeds 90% of the maximum borrowing amount.
Stewart R. Horejsi serves as the Chief Investment Officer and a Portfolio Manager for Rocky Mountain Advisers, LLC and Stewart Investment Advisers. In these roles, Mr. Horejsi is responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management of the Boulder Growth & Income Fund.
Prior to founding the Advisers, Mr. Horejsi spent most of his life managing his family's businesses and investments. Since the early 1990s, his primary focus has been directing and managing the investments of the "Horejsi Affiliates", which consist of a number of trusts and business entities associated with Mr. Horejsi's family. From 1982 through 1999, Mr. Horejsi was General Manager of Brown Welding Supply. Mr. Horejsi formerly served as a director of the Boulder Total Return Fund and its predecessor, Preferred Income Management Fund. Mr. Horejsi is also president and a director of the Horejsi Charitable Foundation, Inc., a South Dakota non-profit corporation. Mr. Horejsi also serves as the financial consultant with respect to assets held by certain family trusts which are included in the Horejsi Affiliates, for which he is personally paid a quarterly consulting fee.
Brendon Fischer is responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management of the Boulder Growth & Income Fund. Prior to joining RMA in 2012, Mr. Fischer was an Associate and Senior Analyst with H.I.G. WhiteHorse in Dallas, Texas, from 2005 until 2012. Prior to joining H.I.G. WhiteHorse, he was a senior analyst with Ulland Investment Advisors in Minneapolis, MN, from 2000 to 2003. Mr. Fischer is also a volunteer firefighter with the Four Mile Fire Department.
Two More Canadian Banks
For several years, I've followed the progress of the large Canadian banks. In 2011 and 2012, I owned shares of the Bank of Nova Scotia (NYSE:BNS). On May 6, 2016, I made an initial purchase of 100 shares of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (NYSE:CM).
I've been helped by numerous SA articles, including those by John Lawlor ("Royal Bank of Canada: A Jewel of an Investment," "Toronto- Dominion Bank: Tops Among the Big 5 Canadian Banks") and Dirk Leach ("Canadian Bank Stocks: The Time is Nigh," "Canadian Banks: The Time to Invest is Now"). Since both of Dirk's titles include the word "time," please note that his articles were published several months ago.
In a market with generally high price/earnings ratios, the PE ratio for Royal Bank of Canada is 11.9. The current payout ratio is 39%, and the current price of $60.11 is 5% off its 52-week high price of $63.43.
I'm using the ADR data for RY's NYSE shares. On my spread sheet, I keep a formula, which translates the dividend from Canadian dollars to US dollars. For example, the current RY quarterly dividend is C$.81. I multiply this by the current exchange rate of .76, so that the quarterly dividend equals US$.616. The annual dividend is C$3.24, or US$2.46. RY has a AA- credit rating from Standard & Poor's. RY has raised the dividend for five consecutive years. Royal Bank of Canada was founded in 1864 in Halifax and it has paid a dividend every year since 1870. The current yield is 4.1%.
The PE ratio for Toronto-Dominion Bank is 12.9. The payout ratio is 38% and the current price of $43.25 is 5% off its 52-week high price of $45.74.
The current TD quarterly dividend is C$.55. At the current exchange rate, this equals US$.42. The annual dividend is C$2.20 or US$1.67. TD has a AA- credit rating from S&P. TD has raised the dividend for five consecutive years. Toronto-Dominion Bank was founded in 1855 as the Bank of Toronto, opening its doors in 1856. It paid its first dividend in 1857 and it has paid a dividend every year since then. In 1955, the Bank of Toronto merged with the Dominion Bank to become Toronto-Dominion Bank. The current yield is 3.9%
NextEra Preferred Added to Portfolio
As part of my ongoing effort to diversify, reduce the portfolio's beta, and to strengthen the portfolio's income, on July 26, I bought 200 shares of NextEra Energy Capital Holdings' Junior Subordinate Debenture (NEE.K) at $25.34. It pays a 5.25% coupon at the $25 par. The yield at cost was 5.18%. The bond may be called at any time after June 1, 2021. This is the second "baby bond" in the portfolio, along with Entergy New Orleans Incorporated First Mortgage Bond (ENO). Both of these bonds trade like preferred stocks and both are in the utilities sector.
Part of the money used to purchase shares of BIF, RY, TD and NEE.K came from trimming several positions. I sold half my positions in two old favorites, PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) and Wisconsin Energy Corporation (NYSE:WEC), and half my positions in Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) and Dover (NYSE:DOV). I sold 40% of my stake in Union Pacific (NYSE:UNP).
On July 25, I sold 50 shares of PepsiCo at $109.22. My cost basis in the remaining 50 shares is $78.16. PEP was near its 52-week high price of $110.94. The PE ratio was 30.8 compared with PEP's average PE for the past five years of 19.4. The payout ratio is 85%. This partial sale reduced PEP from 3.0% of the portfolio to 1.5%. S&P gives PEP an A credit rating. PEP has raised the dividend annually for the past 44 years. The current yield is 2.8%.
On July 25, I sold 50 shares of WEC at $65.33. This was formerly known as Wisconsin Electric and it is one of my favorite utilities. My cost basis in the remaining 50 shares is $41.24. WEC was near its 52-week high price of $66.10. The PE ratio was 25.2 compared with WEC's average PE for the past five years of 17.4. The payout ratio is 76%. This partial sale reduced WEC from 1.8% of the portfolio to 0.9%. S&P gives WEC an A- credit rating. WEC has raised the dividend annually for the past 13 years. The current yield is 3.0%.
On July 25, I sold 50 shares of Duke Energy at $86.58. I bought 100 shares of DUK on April 20, 2016, at $78.30. DUK was trading near its 52-week high price of $87.31. The PE ratio was 22.0 compared with DUK's average PE for the past five years of 19.5. The payout ratio is 84%. This partial sale reduced DUK from 2.4% of the portfolio to 1.2%. S&P gives DUK an A- credit rating. DUK has raised the dividend annually for the past 11 years. The current yield is 3.8%.
On July 26, I sold 50 of my 100 shares of Dover at $72.24. I bought these shares in January 2016. My cost basis in the remaining 50 shares is $55.21. The current PE ratio is 20.5 compared with the average PE of 13.7 for the past five years. This partial sale reduced DOV from 2.0% of the portfolio to 1.0%. DOV is given an A credit rating by S&P. DOV has raised the dividend annually for the past 60 years. The current yield is 2.4%.
On July 26, I sold 40 of my 100 shares of Union Pacific at $91.91. My cost basis in the remaining 60 shares is $73.71 (from three purchases in December 2015-January 2016 at $76.96, $73.35 and $68.09). The current PE ratio is 18.0 compared with the five-year average PE of 15.9. This partial reduced UNP to 1.5% of the portfolio. UNP is given an A credit rating by S&P. UNP has raised the dividend for the past nine years. The current yield is 2.4%.
The Role of CEFs in the Portfolio
In a May 22, 2016, article, I described the addition of four non-leveraged, option-writing closed-end funds to the portfolio: BlackRock Utility & Infrastructure Trust (NYSE:BUI), Cohen & Steers Total Return Realty Fund (NYSE:RFI), Tekla World Healthcare Fund (NYSE:THW) and BlackRock International Growth & Income Trust (NYSE:BGY). On June 27, I added a fifth CEF: 200 shares of the Eaton Vance Tax Managed Dividend Equity Income Closed-End Fund (NYSE:ETY) at $9.97.
My purpose in adding these five CEFs is to further diversify the portfolio, to take advantage of funds selling at discounts to NAV, and to enhance yield. The target is for each of the five funds to represent about 1.0% of the portfolio. To take advantage of these discounts, my initial purchases overweighted BUI, RFI and THW. I still have an overweight position in THW, but on July 18, I sold 100 shares of BUI at $20.047. 300 shares were brought on May 12 at $18.96, and this partial sale reduced the holding from 1.6% to 1.1% of the portfolio. I sold 200 shares of RFI at $13.80. 500 shares were bought on May 17 at $13.00, and this partial sale reduced the holding from 1.9% to 1.1% of the portfolio.
The Role of ETFs in the Portfolio
In a March 30, 2016, article I described my decision to introduce 10 or so exchange traded funds to the portfolio. While this will add some diversification to the portfolio, my primary motive was to lay the groundwork for the possible eventual transition to an all-ETF portfolio. That could be an option if at some point in the future I no longer enjoy managing the portfolio, or if I if I became incapacitated. An all-ETF portfolio would be easier for my heirs to manage.
So far, I have added four ETFs: the Vanguard REIT ETF (NYSEARCA:VNQ), the Vanguard Long-Term Corporate Bond Index Fund (NASDAQ:VCLT), the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEARCA:VWO), and the WisdomTree Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund (NYSEARCA:DEM). I bought 100 shares of each of these four ETFs. The VWO and DEM purchases each represented about 1.0% of the portfolio, but the VNQ and VCLT purchases were a much heavier weight. I bought VNQ on April 13, 2016, at $83.11 and VCLT on May 5, 2016, at $91.36. On June 30, I sold 50 shares of VNQ at $87.69 and another 10 shares on July 21 at $90.97. On June 30, I sold 50 shares of VCLT a $94.73 and another 10 shares on July 21 $95.51. So, each of the four ETFs now represents 1.0% of the portfolio.
I haven't made a decision about the other six ETFs to add to the portfolio.
There are now 56 holdings in the portfolio. The 37 individual corporations or partnerships are listed in descending order by value, followed by five option-writing CEFs, four ETFs, and one "regular" CEF. The final group consists of seven preferred stocks and two "baby bonds." The prices below are as of the market close on July 27, 2016. CCC refers to the number of consecutive years of dividend/distribution increases as maintained by David Fish of the DRIP Investing Resource Center, where one can find a link to Michael Weber's Canadian All-Star List and Trevor Witten's list of UK Dividend Champions. Credit ratings are from Standard & Poor's. For preferred stocks and bonds, the company or partnership rating is listed first, then the rating of the particular issue. Funds reflect the Morningstar rating, where available.
|Johnson & Johnson||JNJ||100||124.77||12477||3.3||3.20||2.6||58.41||2.1||54||AAA|
|Royal Bank of Canada||RY||200||60.17||12034||3.2||2.46||4.1||60.44||3.2||5||AA-|
|Procter & Gamble||PG||100||84.46||8446||2.3||2.68||3.2||75.88||1.8||60||AA-|
|Int. Business Machines||IBM||50||161.83||8092||2.2||5.60||3.5||137.09||1.8||21||AA-|
|Canadian Imperial Bank||CM||100||75.21||7521||2.0||3.68||4.9||76.24||2.4||5||A+|
Enterprise Products Partners
|Tekla World H||THW||400||14.73||5892||1.6||1.40||9.5||14.01||3.7||NR|
|C&S Tot Return Realty||RFI||300||14.09||4227||1.1||.96||6.8||13.00||1.9||4*|
|BlackRock Util & Infrastructure||BUI||200||20.36||4072||1.1||1.45||7.1||18.46||1.9||3*|
|BlackRock Global G&I||BGY||600||5.86||3516||0.9||.59||10.0||5.72||2.3||NR|
|EV Div Equity Income||ETY||200||10.60||2120||0.6||1.01||9.5||9.97||1.3||3*|
|Vanguard Corp Long T||VCLT||40||96.41||3856||1.0||3.94||4.1||91.36||1.0||5*|
|WisdomTree EM Equity Inc||DEM||100||37.49||3749||1.0||1.65||4.4||35.00||1.1||2*|
|Vanguard REIT ETF||VNQ||40||90.45||3618||1.0||3.12||3.4||83.11||0.8||3*|
|Public Storage Pfd||PSA.B||400||26.93||10772||2.9||1.35||5.0||25.38||3.6||A/BBB+|
|Wells Fargo Pfd||WFC.Q||200||27.93||5586||1.5||1.46||5.2||26.31||1.9||A/BBB|
|Fed Ag Mort Pfd||AGM.C||200||27.75||5550||1.5||1.50||5.4||26.35||2.0||NR/NR|
|State St Pfd||STT.G||200||27.67||5534||1.5||1.34||4.8||26.58||1.8||A/BBB|
|Entergy New Orleans Bond||ENO||200||26.59||5310||1.4||1.38||5.2||26.26||1.8||BBB/A-|
The $11,190 cash position represents 3.0% of the portfolio. The portfolio value as of July 27, 2016, is $373,310, for a year-to-date gain of 21.1%. The average portfolio monthly income is $1263, for a portfolio yield of 4.06%.
The S&P Weight is the market weight of sectors in the S&P 500 as of June 24, 2016, provided by Fidelity.
|Technology||19.89%||5||13.7%||10.3%||QCOM, CSCO, MSFT, IBM, TXN|
|Financials||15.68%||9||15.3%||18.9%||RY, CM, TD, AGM.G, CHSCM, WFC, KKR.A, SCHW.D, STT.G|
|Real Estate||6||9.4%||11.9%||WPC.Q, HASI, BPY, RFI, VNQ, PSA.B|
|Healthcare||14.63%||4||11.0%||10.6%||JNJ, MRK, PFE, THW|
|Consumer Staples||10.49%||4||6.8%||4.9%||PG, WMT, PEP, ADM|
|Industrials||10.18%||6||13.0%||9.3%||GE, CMI, MMM, EMR, UNP, DOV|
|Energy||7.40%||3||3.9%||6.7%||EPD, PEGI, EVA|
|Utilities||3.59%||10||13.7%||15.9%||SO, CNP, DUK, WEC, AGR, BEP, BIP, BUI, ENO, NEE.K|
|Dividend Funds||2||1.5%||2.4%||ETY, BIF|
|International Funds||3||2.9%||4.1%||BGY, DEM, VWO|
I'm not advocating the purchase or sale of any security. I offer this update as the journal of my effort to design and build a retirement portfolio that puts a priority on relative safety, a history of dividend growth and solid future prospects. Your goals and risk tolerance may differ, so please do your own due diligence.
Disclosure: I am/we are long BIF, RY, TD, NEE.K, GE, QCOM, JNJ, CMI, CSCO, RY, MRK, MSFT, PFE, SO, GPC, MMM, PG, IBM, CM, WMT, CNP, TXN, WPC, EMR, UNP, PEP, EPD, PEGI, BPY, HASI, AGR, ADM, EVA, TD, T, DUK, BEP, DOV, WEC, BIP, VOD, RFI, BUI, THW, BGY, ETY, BIF, VWO, DEM, VNQ, VCLT, SCHW.D, CHSCM, ENO, AGM.C, KKR.A, PSA.B, STT.G,WFC.Q.
I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.