Investment Company Strategies

Investment Approach

These strategies seek to take advantage of the opportunity for higher yields and discount appreciation in closed-end funds, while managing risk and controlling execution in a low-volume market. The Fiera Capital team has leveraged its extensive fixed income expertise to develop strategies in both municipal and taxable closed-end funds, presenting investors with tax efficient and taxable options.

Core Principles

  • Diversified Exposure to the Municipal or Taxable Closed-End Fund Universes
  • Attractive After-Tax Yield
  • Focus on Securities-Level Credit Research, Risk Management, Liquidity, and Sophisticated Execution

The complex nature of the closed-end fund universe requires a specialized approach and detailed analysis to identify relative value.

 

Closed-end Fund Risk Risk Management
Higher credit risk than core fixed income strategies, with allocations to sub-investment grade and non-rated issues Screening at fund constituent holdings level for size, credit, and sector exposures
Use of leverage to boost yield can result in higher interest rate sensitivity

Interest rate sensitivity analysis to determine what we believe to be true effective duration, optional interest rate hedge strategy

Low average daily trading volumes call for sophisticated trade execution Trade execution strategy designed to source liquidity and minimize market impact

 

Senior Investment Team

Benjamin S. ThompsonBenjamin S. Thompson

President and Chief Executive Officer

Ben leads the U.S. division of Fiera Capital as President and Chief Executive Officer.

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Ben was a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Samson Capital Advisors LLC.  In addition to heading its Management Committee as Chief Executive Officer, he was a portfolio manager and a member of the Investment Committee. Samson was a privately-owned investment management firm that was founded in 2004 by senior investment professionals from OFFITBANK, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan. Prior to its acquisition by Fiera Capital, Samson managed over $7 billion in assets in customized fixed income for affluent families and their foundations, endowments and corporations

Before the founding of Samson, Ben was a Managing Director and Head of Tax Aware fixed Income Investments within JP Morgan Fleming’s U.S. Fixed Income Group. With JP Morgan from 1999 to 2004, he was the investment strategist for the tax aware fixed income sector and responsible for $36 billion in managed bond strategies for US taxpaying investors, including mutual funds, institutional accounts and over $12 billion in private client separate accounts. Ben was a member of both the Global Fixed Income management team and the US Macro investment team.

Prior to joining JP Morgan, Ben was a Vice President and the senior municipal portfolio manager with Goldman Sachs Asset Management from 1992 to 1999. He began his career as an analyst in Chase Manhattan Bank’s Structured Finance Group from 1990 to 1992.

Ben completed a four year term on the Board of Directors of the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board in 2014 and currently serves as a member of the MSRB’s Investor Advisory Group.  The MSRB was established by Congress in 1975 to protect investors and the public interest by promoting a fair and efficient municipal securities market. Ben has appeared on Wall Street Week, and has been a contributor on CNBC’s Strategy Session and related programs, as well as a regular commenter on industry and market subjects in the financial press.

Ben received a B.A. in economics from Colorado College.

Iraj Kani, PhDIraj Kani, PhD

Senior Vice President, Quantitative Strategies

Iraj is involved in the development of new products and modeling of risk potential in various strategies. He is a member of the Fixed Income Investment Committee and the Tactical Asset Allocation Committee. He also serves as co-portfolio manager for the STRONG Nations Currency Fund.

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Prior to its acquisition by Fiera Capital, Iraj was a Principal, Quantitative Strategist and member of the Investment Committee at Samson Capital Advisors LLC.  Samson was a privately-owned investment management firm that was founded in 2004 by senior investment professionals from OFFITBANK, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan.  Samson managed over $7 billion in assets in customized fixed income for affluent families and their foundations, endowments and corporations.  At Fiera Capital, Iraj will continue to serve as a co-portfolio manager for the STRONG Nations Currency fund, and be involved in the development of new products by the modelling of risk potential in various strategies.

Previously, Iraj was the Vice President of the Quantitative Strategies Group at Goldman Sachs from 1991 to 1998, where he was the senior modeler for the equity derivatives division.  In this role, Iraj worked with Emanuel Derman in the development of analytics and risk management tools that informed a variety of Goldman’s equity trading processes. Iraj advised market makers and proprietary traders on Goldman’s equity trading desk on options pricing, hedging strategies, and product development. Before joining Goldman Sachs, he was the member of quantitative modeling in the Fixed Income Derivatives Trading group at Bankers Trust. Prior to that, he was a research fellow at Harvard University.

Iraj has conducted significant research in derivative markets and has made numerous publications in financial and scientific journals worldwide. He is the co-author of fundamental work in Implied Volatility Trees, Static Options Replication and Stochastic Local Volatility, has participated in numerous lectures and conferences, and is the recipient of 1995 and 1996 Graham & Dodd Award.

Iraj received his PhD in theoretical particle physics from the University of Oxford, his MS in particle physics from the University of Michigan, his MS degree in mathematics and his B.S. degrees in both mathematics and physics from the University of Minnesota. He currently serves as an Adjunct Associate Professor of Financial Engineering in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Columbia University, and as fellow of Financial Mathematics at the Courant Institute of New York University.