GARP (Growth at a Reasonable Price) investors try and build their portfolios with two types of securities: 1) those that are trading at a discount to the market or their peers yet are expected to grow at higher than the market average or their peers, and 2) those whose forward PE ratio is less than, equal to, or only slightly above the long-term projected growth of the company. Stated another common way, GARP investors will often say they are either looking at large cap stocks whose PEG ratio (forward PE divided by five-year projected growth) is less than the S&P 500 or at any sized company whose PEG ratio is less than 1. This is a more conservative investment style in comparison to an outright growth-oriented strategy. In addition, dividend yield is generally not a concern of most GARP investors.
Broker-Dealers are usually trading facilitators rather than investors. Included in this group are sell-side research firms with broker operations, NYSE and Nasdaq trading desk positions of investment banks, investment banking client desks that execute buyback programs on behalf of corporations, private client firms that essentially act as custodians for high net worth individuals, and brokers that sell unit investment trusts or exchange traded products.
Hedge Fund investors have the majority of their funds invested in some sort of market neutral strategy. Notably, the term 'hedge fund' is both a legal structure (as opposed to a mutual fund) and an investment style. Nearly every firm that uses a hedge fund or market neutral style is legally organized as a hedge fund (and thus only open to accredited investors). Many are offshore funds that are unregistered, have no investment limitations, and are not subject to disclosure regulations. The common element is that any long position taken in a specific equity is offset by a short position in either a merger partner (risk arbitrage), an 'overvalued' member of the same sector (long/short paired trading), a convertible bond (convertible arbitrage), a futures contract (index arbitrage) or an option contract (volatility arbitrage). Because of the idiosyncratic nature of these investors, the fundamentals of their portfolios are not indicative of their investment styles. Thomson Financial categorizes these portfolios based on its specific knowledge of the their historical investment behavior.
Sector Specific investors have the majority of their assets in a single major industry category. Many times these investors are "forced" to own most if not all of the stocks in a given sector whether or not they are deemed appropriately valued. Since their portfolio exposure is linked to a single sector, their performance is usually measured against an index that is pertinent only to that industry. As such, tweaking the relative exposure to the companies that constitute a given sector will determine these firms' investment decisions.
This category encompasses a range of styles that are not based on the financial fundamentals of the stocks in the portfolio relative to the overall market. Examples include investors that hold a particularly high concentration of a single stock or a very small set of stocks, or specialize in convertible securities. This category is also reserved for any institution or mutual fund that does not meet the criteria for any of the other investment styles. Thomson Financial categorizes these portfolios based on its specific knowledge of their historical investment behavior.
VC Private Equity
Venture Capital and Private Equity investors are usually owners of public companies only when they have participated in a round of financing prior to an IPO and subsequently retained ownership after the transition from a private company to a public company. Other investors often consider positions held by venture capitalists as an "overhang" on the stock of a publicly traded company since VCs will typically dispose of their holdings of public companies during the first few years following an IPO.
This style refers to those money managers investing the majority of their equity assets in stocks of companies domiciled outside of North America. In most cases, the North American portion of the portfolio is either too small or does not exist, precluding Thomson Financial from determining an accurate investment style based on the fundamentals of these companies. For "Global" investors that have more significant North American holdings, a specific style may be given which will apply primarily to the North American portion of the portfolio.
Income Value investors are similar to those in the Core Value category except they are as interested in the dividend yield as they are in the low valuation ratios of the stocks they purchase. As a result, Income Value portfolios typically exhibit above-average current income and low PE ratios.
Yield investors typically focus on buying companies with indicated dividend yields that are comfortably above the S&P 500 average and that are perceived to be able to continue making or increasing dividend payments over time. Investors that fall into this category tend to focus on income and safety more than on capital appreciation, and many have a dividend yield "hurdle rate" below which they will be either unlikely to consider owning a particular stock or forced to pare back a current position.
Core Value investors focus on buying companies at relatively low valuations on an absolute basis, in relation to the market or its peers, or in comparison to an individual stock's historical levels. These portfolios typically exhibit price-to-earnings, price-to-book and price-to-cash flow multiples below the S&P 500. In addition, secular revenue growth rates of the companies in these portfolios are frequently below market averages and their earnings tend to be more cyclical.
Deep Value investors employ a more extreme version of value investing that is characterized by holding the stocks of companies with extremely low valuation measures. Often these companies are particularly out of favor or in industries that are out of favor. Some investors in this category are known for agitating for changes such as new management, a merger or the spin-off of a subsidiary.
Core Growth managers typically invest in mid or large capitalization, blue chip companies that have historically performed near the top of their sector or the S&P 500 in terms of profitability, earnings growth, and revenue growth. These investors are often willing to pay premium PE multiples for highly sustainable businesses, strong management and consistent growth over the long term.
Growth investors bridge the gap between the Aggressive Growth and Core Growth investment styles. They tend to be slightly more aggressive than Core Growth investors, willing to pay slightly higher multiples for stocks and trade at a slightly more active pace. In general, they are looking for companies growing at superior rates than the general marketplace, but are unwilling to pay the extremely high multiples associated with the hyper-growth stocks.
Aggressive Growth investors employ an extreme version of the growth style. This can be seen by their propensity to hold the stocks of companies that are growing their revenue and EPS extremely quickly, are in an early stage of their life cycle, or have minimal or no current earnings.