FMD Capital Management

“Closed-end fund (CEF) investing is still a corner of the market where a manager has the opportunity to add alpha over an index, by way of their efforts in research and analysis.” – Michael Fabian, Managing Partner

Key Points:

  • Designed for moderate to aggressive income investors.
  • Unique and exclusive combination of closed-end funds.
  • Portfolio changes governed by fundamental premium/discount analysis.
  • Targets high yield, liquidity, and unconventional returns.

FMD Capital Management has designed its Dynamic CEF Income Portfolio to take advantage of the inefficiencies that commonly occur in the CEF marketplace.  Investors should remember that CEFs should not be viewed as a single asset class, but as a unique vehicle with specific set of goals and objectives.

Premium/Discount Analysis

The backbone of our CEF strategy starts with monitoring a fund’s market price vs. its net asset value (NAV).  CEFs can trade at discounts or premiums for their entire life depending on a multitude of factors.  Some important characteristics include: management team, leverage ratio, asset class, corporate actions, expenses, yield, size, and investor demand.  So when formulating our overarching investment thesis, we weight the factors to decipher the attractiveness of a particular fund’s market price in relation to its NAV.

FMD Capital’s selection profile includes funds managed by well-respected teams trading near their NAVs, or at modest discounts, and that offer an alpha-seeking strategy that can’t reasonably be recreated using low-cost ETFs. We seek to increase exposure to funds that are trading below their trailing twelve-month average premium or discount, and reduce exposure to funds trading above their trailing twelve-month average premium or discount.  We can use this inherent feature of CEFs to our advantage, by not selling during times of distress or buying during times of euphoria, as both can occur quite often in response to interest rate or equity market volatility.

We also favor funds that have a positive UNII and NII, otherwise known as undistributed net investment income and net-investment income.  This means their portfolio generates more cash flow than what the board has elected to distribute to shareholders.

Another critical consideration is a fund’s use of leverage, since the leverage ratio will both amplify positive and negative returns. We lean towards funds that employ a responsible amount of leverage that is borrowed at attractive rates, making for a more meaningful spread from the cost of borrowing and potential return of the CEF’s portfolio.

Watch List

To pass the ultimate test for a CEF to be admitted into our portfolio, we typically monitor every prospective fund for at least 90-180 days.  This is particularly important for CEFs that are newly issued to the public markets, since limited trading history can lead to erratic market price movement.  This time also gives us the ability to wait for semi-annual or annual reports to be made available, which allows us to glean portfolio composition and earnings to decipher exactly what the managers prevailing strategy is in relation to the board’s distribution rate.  Watching a CEF’s price movement over time is of vital importance to establish a baseline for trading activity and portfolio turnover.


Entering and exiting CEFs can be tricky because of liquidity constraints.  At FMD Capital Management, we monitor the average daily volume of every fund within our portfolio; that way we know the reasonable number of shares we can move in a single day. If we decide to begin building a position in a particular CEF, we set a target on how large the position should ultimately be, then break it into several purchases; that way we can spread our capital out over time.  Reductions to existing positions are typically handled in the same fashion to mitigate liquidity risks.

Through our relationship with TD Ameritrade Institutional, we have several algorithm-based trading programs at our disposal.  This allows us to make purchases throughout the day based on factors such as volume or time, and not rely exclusively on limit orders to enter or exit positions.  We are very mindful of expanding or reducing holdings without meaningfully affecting the market price on a single day.  In addition, when we do make a change to the portfolio as a whole, all of our CEF clients get the same average price for the entire trade execution.

Asset Allocation

Composing a well-balanced mix of high yield securities is the ultimate goal of our CEF portfolio.  This includes a diversified mix of stocks, bonds, and alternative income producing CEFs that are sized and adjusted according to ongoing market dynamics.  We regularly evaluate the trends in interest rates, credit, and equity indexes to source an appropriate ratio of risk given prevailing conditions.  Furthermore, we clearly communicate this strategy to clients through our exclusive monthly memo and ongoing emails whenever a trade is made.

The right mix of income-generating CEFs and the expertise to navigate through any market condition are the two critical components of the Dynamic CEF Income Portfolio.

To learn more about our Dynamic CEF Income Portfolio strategy and fees simply Contact Us online or download our special report: The Leveraged Income and Alpha Strategy.  Our minimums for this portfolio start at just $250,000.

In addition, we invite you to compare our comprehensive suite of investment management services by visiting The Wealth Matrix.