• Alan B. Lancz & Associates, Inc. is a nationally recognized investment advisory firm that custom designs personalized portfolios for each client’s specific goals, objectives and risk tolerance.
  • ABL Asset Allocation utilizes a more active asset allocation methodology rather than the typical passive rebalancing approach. Same risk adverse, low cost strategy as our Money Management, with a focus on risk management.
  • LanczGlobal, LLC is an independent research entity that offers daily proprietary insights and reports on an exclusive basis to institutions, individuals and non-profits via LanczGlobal.com.

Our Services

Professional Money Management Services

Seeking consistent returns through reduced risk. A proactive rather than reactive approach.
  • ABL offers personalized investment services for investors seeking low-cost, fee-based, independent advice and analysis
  • Our investment advisory services are disciplined, risk adverse, and sometimes considered contrarian
  • For over 30 years, ABL methodology has been one of anticipating changes in investor perceptions and market trends - rather than (as Wall Street often does) simply reacting to them
  • ABL's reputation and investment success have resulted in a growing and selective list of very successful and satisfied clients in the United States and around the world
  • ABL proudly points to a long-term record of investment performance, seeking consistent after-tax returns on a risk adjusted basis
  • ABL is consistently featured and quoted in the national media, including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, and many others
  • LanczGlobal.com features our proprietary research, investment analysis, strategy and insights, and actual personal and retirement portfolios including activity as it happens in real time. Access is on an exclusive, member's only basis
We would be pleased to provide you with a personal discussion of our fee-based compensation, along with a comprehensive review of your financial situation and investment objectives, plus an objective analysis of your asset program including costs, risks, and performance. Simply write, call, or contact us online.

Money Management

Alan B. Lancz & Associates, Inc. is a nationally recognized money management firm offering personalized portfolios coordinated for each client's specific goals, objectives, and risk tolerance. Included among our select clients are individuals, corporations, retirement plans, trusts, non-profit organizations, and other investors seeking a risk-adverse, disciplined, low-cost, and proactive investment strategy.

Asset Allocation

ABL Asset Allocation was developed for clients looking to engage in a more active asset allocation approach rather than the typical passive rebalancing methodology.

LanczGlobal.com

LanczGlobal.com is a proprietary website available exclusively to members. It is a purely independent investment research website operated by LanczGlobal LLC. Please click above to get connected with LanczGlobal's daily research insights including nationally recognized written publications such as the Lancz Letter, ABL Research Reports, and Sound Investing Basics.

ABL Asset Allocation vs. Strategic Asset Allocation

SOUND Investing

Sound Investing is an exciting concept in professional money management, which continues to gather momentum and evolve since its inception over a decade ago. Our minimums are much lower with Sound Investing and we utilize an advanced approach very suitable for retirement plans and the more passive investor.

Investment management and guidance is provided to the Sound Investing client through a hand-picked custom-tailored portfolio of mutual funds and exchange traded funds selected to meet the investor's personal objectives. Low costs combined with strategic asset allocation and rebalancing makes Sound Investing an ideal platform for 401K and other retirement avenues.

Click here to read more about Sound Investing

ABL asset allocation utilizes a proactive, more tactical approach to capitalize on overvalued & undervalued segments of the global markets.  Typically a range of percentage allocation is coordinated based on goals, objectives, and risk tolerance.  The portfolio is then adjusted based on taking advantage of overvalued areas by profit taking and redeploying assets into lower risk, undervalued areas for the long term.

Target Asset Mix

target asset mix This portfolio is initially targeted at 60% stocks, 30% bonds, and 10% cash.  When
the Portfolio Strategist believes the market is fairly valued, 60% is invested in stocks.

 

Stock Market Undervalued

stock market undervalued In this portfolio, the Portfolio Strategist maintains a 30-70% target range for stocks.  When the stock market is deemed by the Portfolio Strategist to be undervalued, a full 70% is invested in stocks.

 

Stock Market Overvalued

When the Portfolio Strategist believes the stock market is overvalued, exposure is reduced to 30% - the lower limit of the range. stock market overvalued

 

 

Strategic asset allocation rebalances on a regular and systematic basis to avoid improper composition of assets.  This more passive approach reduces risk over time by avoiding too heavy a concentration in outperforming segments.  If investors pay 1% or more for such an automated passive approach, they are significantly offsetting the main long term benefits to this approach.

Target Asset Mix

This portfolio is initially targeted at 60% stocks, 30% bonds, and 10% cash. target asset mix

 

 

Change in Portfolio Over Time

change in portfolio over time As time passes and stocks outperform cash and bonds, the composition of the portfolio changes.

 

 

Rebalanced Portfolio

Periodically, the portfolio is rebalanced to the target mix. rebalanced portfolio

 

 

Sound Investing Services

Seeking consistent returns through reduced risk. A proactive rather than reactive approach.

Sound Investing is an exciting concept in professional money management, which continues to gather momentum and evolve since its inception over a decade ago. It is a concept geared to the smaller investor, or the investor who cannot or wishes not to meet the minimum investment requirements of Alan B. Lancz & Associates. It was created by Alan B. Lancz himself to serve these clients.

Sound Investing involves two investment concepts:

  • Education
  • Investment Management and Guidance

Alan B. Lancz believes that sound education is an integral part of the investment process. For a modest percentage-of- assets fee, investors can now benefit from the same advice ABL's wealthiest clients have enjoyed for the past decades. This advice, guidance, and education comes to Sound Investing clients in the form of personal consultations, access to Alan B. Lancz and his staff, and our quarterly publication.

Sound Investing Basics, a quarterly publication, specifically written to help our investors understand the cost, risk, tax implications, and financial success involved with mutual fund investing. Also available is our nationally recognized The Lancz Letter covering all facets of investing success.

Investment management and guidance is provided to the Sound Investing client through a hand-picked custom-tailored portfolio of mutual funds and exchange traded funds selected to meet the investor's personal objectives. Low costs combined with strategic asset allocation and rebalancing makes Sound Investing an ideal platform for 401K and other retirement avenues.

There are many other facets to Sound Investing. A no cost, - or obligation meeting is offered to determine how Sound Investing can make a difference for you. Call our office today at 419-536-5200 to get started.

Strange as it may sound, the concept of Sound Investing goes back to the days when Alan B. Lancz was just ten years old. His father started bringing home publications like Value Line and S&P, and made it clear that he was not at all happy with his personal stock broker. That started young Mr. Lancz with his fascination with investing. Through high school and college, Alan began to realize that the only way to objectively look at and handle anyone's investment portfolio was through an independent fee-only relationship. There was simply no other way to avoid the inherent pitfalls and potential conflicts which arise with commissions and soft-money passages. Upon graduating from the University of Toledo in 1979, Alan began managing money and advising clients professionally, the only thing he ever wanted to do.

Through the next two decades, his concepts gained nationwide attention and attracted some of the wealthiest clientele in America. He has also helped make this clientele some of the most successful, well compensated, and well served clientele in the industry.

Since then, Alan has been featured in the Wall Street Journal as its leading money manager in the entire country. Mr. Lancz, his investment advice, successes have been heralded in a variety of national media, including Barron's, CNN Money Line, USA Today, The New York Times, and many others.

Sound Investing grew out of these sound basic investment concepts and is designed to save the smaller-sized investor in the same manner in which the very largest investors are served by Alan B. Lancz & Associates. ABL always offers a personal no-cost meeting to help determine if Sound Investing meets your personal financial investment needs.

Sound Investing offers the smaller investor, anyone with five to six figure investment funds, a full-service investment alternative.  Personalized service, education, and risk reduction strategies to fit your objectives are all highlights of ABL's Sound Investing services.  Other highlights of our service are listed below.  We offer a comprehensive presentation of our services and fees in a no-obligation personal meeting.  Contact ABL online for your personal and private discussion.

Highlights:

  • Objectivity

     - In an investment age with little or no objectivity, we may be one of the few sources of truly independent and objective information and counsel.

  • Risk Allocation

     - We help determine your risk tolerance and match your specific financial goals with your risk tolerance for each investment.

  • Guidance and Monitoring

     - We offer our knowledge and experience to help you reach your financial goals and help you determine what to buy or sell and when. We are always there to help guide your course of action.

  • Communication

     - We communicate regularly with you in the form of written reports and newsletters and are always available to answer your specific questions or provide consultation on any investment issues.

  • Continual Education and Analysis

     - We inform you of various alternatives and new ideas regarding your investments. We are always seeking ways to enhance returns, reduce costs, or limit tax exposure.

  • Research

     - We provide you with our internal research focusing on the advantages and disadvantages of each investment and explaining our findings to you in a understandable format.  This is the same timely research which helped us take maximum advantage of the bull market in the early 1980's; warned us of the extreme downturns and crash of the late 1980's; helped us avoid much of the damage of the interest bubble of early 2000; and warned us of the energy culprits like Enron, Dynergy, and Calpine well before the sector caved in the subsequent year.
     

The smaller investor has fewer and fewer alternatives today which match the personalized service and continuing balance of portfolio return against investment objectives of ABL's Sound Investing services.  Below are some of the benefits of our Sound Investing service.

  • Personalized and objective portfolio analysis and consultation (including mutual funds, stocks, and bonds)
  • Analysis and consultation on your guaranteed savings accounts
  • Ability to buy certain investment products on a no-load (no commission) and institutional (low cost) basis
  • Direct telephone access to our research/advisory staff
  • SOUND Investing Basics educational newsletter
  • Always a prorated money-back guarantee on ABL quarterly fees, whenever you feel you are not getting your money's worth

Sound Investing has been designed and developed to serve the smaller investor, the investor who does not meet the Alan B. Lancz & Associates minimum investment criteria. Still, individualized professional money management is the key service of Sound Investing. Your personal financial goals and investment objectives are analyzed, then matched to a selection of low-cost mutual funds and exchange traded funds designed to achieve these goals and objectives. This allocation is your Sound Investing portfolio which is then reviewed, managed, and rebalanced as needed to be sure it continues to meet your goals and objectives - particularly as these may change over the years. These funds may come from all sectors with objectives such as short-term growth, long-term growth, income-producing or capital preservation to meet your personal Sound Investing plan.

Sound Investing's low costs combined with our independent research selection, makes it ideal for retirement plans and/or personal taxable assets. We would be glad to analyze your financial situation to determine how Sound Investing might best help achieve your goals. A personal meeting will help determine your short and long term financial goals, in context with Sound Investing, and help determine which Sound Investing portfolio might best help achieve these goals.

Comprehensive and focused financial education is an integral part of our Sound Investing service.  Costs, particularly, can effect overall long-term financial success.  Tax exposure can also affect total success and return.  These other aspects are part of the Sound Investing education process, everything that effects investment success.

Sound Investing Basics, our quarterly publication, provides much of this basic and ongoing education.  Personal guidance and information is also provided by Alan B. Lancz & Associates, Inc. as part of our Sound Investing service package.

Sound Investing Has a Four-Pronged Educational Approach:

  • Performance - This segment is covered by everyone in the financial world. It is easy to promote since there have been such successful markets over the past several years.

  • Risk - It is critical that clients understand what they are investing in and why. Too many unsophisticated investors bought global bond funds in 1993, only to lose up to half their assets in 1994. These investors had no idea the risk they were taking, having mistakenly purchased global income mutual funds as an alternative to CD's.   Seven years later most investors were too heavily concentrated in technology funds - not cognizant of the inherent risk they were taking.

  • Cost - Cost is another area not covered by many brokers/advisors, but it is an important aspect of any investment or financial plan. Most investors are not fully aware of their initial costs, annual expenses, or total cost of each investment before investing. Our costs are transparent, as that is part of our education process - no hidden fees and no hidden agendas.

  • Tax Exposure - Once again, most investors are not aware of what the inherent tax liability or future potential tax costs are before they invest. Similar to the cost and risk of a mutual fund, your tax exposure and the fund's tax efficiency are integral components of any long term investment plan.

Sound Investing is a very basic and low cost approach to long-term investment success.
The most frequently asked questions, and answers to these questions, are featured below.

Question: Why don't you advertise Sound Investing like so many other money managers would?

Answer: We are a very discriminating money management firm.  Many firms that advertise are geared to continually add new clients to make up for the ones lost. We would rather build long-term relationships with our clients, and thus, do not need to continuously add new ones indiscriminately. Besides, word of mouth referrals from satisfied clients has been more than enough to fuel our growth over the past more than two decades.

Question: How are you able to keep costs so low?

Answer: We began analyzing mutual funds for the sons/daughters of some of our larger managed clientele. Because of this, most of the work and relationships within the industry were already established and now it is a matter of instituting disciplined analysis to make sure we offer the best, low cost funds available. This, along with the fact of being independent, helps us pass the savings to you.

Question: How much can I actually save by using your Sound Investing program?

Answer: Your specific savings would depend on your current portfolio size, risk tolerance and objectives. Each situation varies depending on what you are currently doing. Most clients not only saved substantial monies the first year but each and every year thereafter with Sound Investing. After the first meeting we will be able to give you details as to your specific savings.

Question: How does your experience and expertise as a money manager help within the Sound Investing program?

Answer: We know many of the money managers that handle mutual funds and this helps us do more than your typical numerical/risk analysis. Personal knowledge and expertise over the past two decades has helped us tremendously in our analysis, allocation strategy and overall investment selection process.

Question: What happens if I am not happy with your Sound Investing program?

Answer: If you are unhappy for whatever reason, you will receive a pro-rata refund of our fees. Other firms actually charge an added termination fee in an attempt to influence you to stay. In contrast, we feel that we should always be proving our worth to you and will never assess additional charges...in fact, Sound Investing is one of a few programs that offers this pro-rata money back guarantee if you are ever dissatisfied.

Question: Why is risk control such an important part of your investment process?

Answer: When it comes to evaluating the success of an investment plan, the average investor focuses on the end result or overall performance. What so often gets lost in the investment process is the risk taken to obtain the performance, as well as the total cost involved. The control of risk is paramount to long term investment success. Despite any investment plan performance, costs and risk levels will always be inextricably linked. At Alan B. Lancz & Associates, Inc. we feel the success of any investment plan depends on prudent strategies for managing risk.

 

We would be pleased to have a personal discussion of our financial situation and investment objectives, simply complete the following form at:
Confidential Risk Tolerance Questionnaire and return it to our office with a copy of your latest portfolio statements.

Investment Philosophy

of Alan B. Lancz & Associates is simply one of matching individual goals with return objectives and we have several means of implementing this philosophy and strategy.  Each is designed to accomplish specific objectives while keeping with our basic investment philosophy.  Briefly, our investment philosophy may be summed up in the following positions and guidelines, all which impact our investment decisions here at ABL:


  • Flexible Approach - We never seek to identify with a single, rigid process or formula for investing or managing capital.
    The investment marketplace is constantly changing and, therefore, requires our flexibility.

  • Discipline to Take Profits - Timing is again key to our investment strategies.  No one can predict equity markets, economic conditions or interest rate futures.  Instead, we attempt to evaluate all present elements of risk, then time the implementation of the investment, and later, take profits.  This strategy has been critical in our long term success as profit taking not only realizes gains but also reduces risk.

  • Thorough Independent Research - Research is key to our investment selection and management process. We acquire and evaluate information on an intense and continuous basis. Our independent research capabilities have grown to the point where other advisors pay to see our research through LanczGlobal.com.

  • Continuous Focus - Our aim is always for long-term results.  This is achieved by consistently meeting and regularly evaluating predetermined objectives, over a continuous period of years.

  • Defensive positioning -  We do not mind being out of the market at appropriate times. Nor do we mind fixed income, cash positions or other investments at similar times.  We will alter our position to fully participate when the situation calls for it - and, upon request, we will selectively use short strategies should certain investments become severely overvalued.

  • Emphasis on the Long Term - We believe short-term performance should never be emphasized to the sacrifice of long-term goals.  We will never seek to match or exceed the existing equity market to the detriment of long-term total return.

  • Independent, Unbiased Management - We consider ourselves unbiased, independent managers of money rather than equity brokers, investment bankers or counselors.  We constantly keep each individual's investment objectives before us when making each investment decision.

  • No Bundled or Packaged Products - Above all, each client is served on an individual basis, with day-to-day attention and day-to-day management applied to each portfolio and individual account.  There is no general matching of objectives against large pools of mutual funds, bundled products or packaged asset allocation programs, as many advisors practice.

Finally, as our clients' objectives change over the years, so too must our investment strategies change in service to them. This type of flexibility is part of our specific day-to-day management process. There are numerous other facets to our total financial approach. Still, our primary pursuit remains the same, that of long-term total return while minimizing risk as much as possible.

Investment Discipline

Our first priority in all of our investment decisions is the preservation of capital - and this is not easily achieved if the right disciplines are not in place.

  • Identify Losses Quickly
    We attempt to identify losses as quickly as possible, thus minimizing them. When we recognize the reversal of events, when we foresee a negative corporate event, or when we perceive a change in the positive reason for our being in an investment, we eliminate it from our portfolio.

  • Full Disclosure Combined With Low Costs
    ABL was one of the first investment managers in the country to fully disclose personal retirement and corporate holdings to its investors. In the further pursuit of our "client first" philosophy, we have kept our trading costs and fee structures among the most competitive in the industry, and we have saved our clients literally thousands of dollars in hidden fees and excess commissions over the years.

  • Selective Timing of Each Sale
    When, in our judgment, an investment has risen to or above its potential, we likewise eliminate it from our portfolio - even though it may go higher. Our reasoning is straightforward: as a stock rises in value, we continually re-assess its risk-to-reward ratio, and eliminate the position when it becomes no longer favorable. In the case of special situations or corporate event investments, we eliminate the investment from our holdings when the event has taken place or the situation no longer exists. Again, we are continually monitoring the risk-to-reward ratio in order to control risk.

  • Avoid The "Favored" Issues
    We tend to stay away from the "favored" issues or industries. This also is the contrarian view. At ABL, we are seeking long-term capital appreciation rather than the fickle variance of current return. Following the herd, by investing in highly favored issues, results in mediocre performance and increased risk. Most investors have already purchased and, expecting good news, have driven the stock to its upper limits. Favored issues often become a standard case of too little, too late.

At ABL, we steadfastly adhere to three disciplines that comprise this concept:

  • The patience to seek out long-term asset growth
  • The resolve to avoid the "hot" technical chart
  • The courage to take a loss

At ABL, we are not afraid to admit we made a mistake. But we make our strongest attempt to keep our mistakes, as well as our losses, to an absolute minimum. With these disciplines in place, we can more closely - and safely - meet the investment objectives of our clientele. The end result is a customized approach to innovative investment solutions, full disclosure, comprehensive reporting and the reassuring peace of mind that comes from long-term investment results.

Investment Selection

Comprehensive, independent and objective research is the key to our investment selection process.  Our research can be broken down into two main categories:

  • ABL maintains long-term relationships with some of the best informed and brightest minds in the financial arena. It started in the 1980's with our good fortune in establishing a rewarding friendship with legendary investor, Sir John Templeton. Some of these exclusive information channels have become keys to our successful proprietary research and management record.

  • The investment selection process described here blends the psychological aspects of investing with an underlying fundamental basis of analysis. While virtually every sophisticated investor has access to similar statistics, trends and forecasts, we stress an additional yardstick of performance: the "quality" of corporate management. We believe that this personal evaluation of a company's decision makers distinguishes solid investment opportunities from the merely ordinary.

The first stage in our selection process, beyond comprehensive economic and general market research, is one of fundamental industry analysis. Specific companies are then selected that offer the most potential (with limited risk) from industries that currently represent the best values. These companies are rigorously analyzed by performing extensive fundamental research, plus forensic accounting and investigative corporate study, which may include discussions with:

  • Corporate officers and other decision makers
  • The company's competitors, suppliers, bankers and pertinent advisors
  • Exclusive research channels and industry leaders

Our final decision is predicated on the question: Would we like this company and its potential enough to be willing to "own" it outright if that were possible? If, after all of our research, the answer turns out to be "yes" - then we recommend the company, but only when its market price becomes, or is, undervalued in our opinion.

We prefer to see a three or four-times greater upside potential than downside risk before we commit to an investment. If a company shows this type of risk-to-reward ratio, then its current price is attractive in our opinion.

We also look for alternative or special situation investment opportunities. This may be an acquisition, change in earnings, change in corporate structure, divestiture of an unprofitable division, consolidation of divisions, tender offer for its own stock - or any of hundreds of other happenings. We are on the lookout for companies with unusual earnings and asset growth, significantly higher than Wall Street generally anticipates, whose market prices do not yet reflect these changes.

Unconventional Concepts

Over the past three decades, Alan B. Lancz & Associates has been innovative in creating and implementing growth and investment concepts for our clients. These have been the results of incorporating their individual needs with our customized solutions.

  • Custom Designed Portfolio Management
    Our accounts range from guaranteed to long term growth - with nearly every combination of these, and more, in between. As a result, we have established the practice of customizing each account to the client's individual needs and objectives. There is no pooling of assets. No carbon-copy asset allocation programs.
  • Fully Disclosed Fee Based Compensation
    From our start, we have served our clients exclusively on a fee-based compensation basis. There are no soft-dollar compensation programs with other advisors, brokers or equity distributors. There are no hidden fees, charges or other compensation programs whatsoever. This assures maximum investment objectivity, and helps avoid potential conflicts of interest and pitfalls associated with so many of these other arrangements.
  • Tax Efficient Investing
    Tax efficiency seems to have come to the forefront with investment advisors in recent years. The fact is, tax efficiency and after-tax returns have been a focus of our service to our clients from the very beginning - and we would be pleased to show you some actual experience in this area at your request.
  • Preservation Of Capital
    This has always been our first priority. And ABL investment strategies include this major objective, so that even portfolios with the highest percentage of aggressive growth stocks are managed with control of risk and volatility foremost in mind.
  • Flexible Investment Alternatives
    ABL has created a number of unique approaches to the implementation of individual investment objectives over the years. We have created a number of guideline portfolios designed to meet the most demanding needs of our clients. Some of these are outlined here:
  • Aggressive Growth Portfolio
    A portfolio of common stocks, currently undervalued, offering outstanding long-term appreciation potential.
  • Quality "Blue Chip" Portfolio
    Targets preferred and common stocks or bonds that provide a minimum 3-6% annual income in addition to up to 10% annual appreciation potential.
  • Special Situation "High Income" Portfolio
    A combination of securities seeking a greater yield over current money market rates - plus modest appreciation potential.
  • Standard & Poor's 500 "Alternate" Portfolio
    An alternate portfolio to our Quality "Blue Chip" Portfolio of "widely held" securities which still offers alluring opportunities - and whose selection is designed to outperform this broader index.
  • Long/Short Portfolio
    For institutions and wealthy investors seeking a more market "neutral" strategy in declining or sideways (trading range) type markets. It is not a pure hedge strategy, but rather an alternative to selectively "short" situations when such opportunities arise, and used in combination with our "long" recommendations ($5 million minimum).
  • International Portfolio
    Seeks long-term total return from the most attractively priced bargains on a global basis - and can be utilized to work in combination with one or more of our other portfolios.
  • Long Term Bargain Portfolio
    Buying quality when out of favor is emphasized here, especially when there is a potential catalyst to eventually re-establish favor.
  • Balanced Portfolio
    A combination of all above portfolios designed to meet your specific objectives and matched to existing market conditions. Your Balanced Portfolio may specify a "conservative" or "aggressive" stance, limit percentages in certain sectors or restrict specific investments.
  • Sound Investing
    This is a particular innovative investment concept of Alan B. Lancz & Associates, allowing us to serve clients who may not meet our standard minimum investment requirements - or who would rather own a portfolio of low-cost, no-load mutual funds, exchange traded funds or closed-end funds which appropriately meet their financial objectives.  Our Sound Investing services also include a regular publication which provides investment advice, guidelines and specific recommendations which help in meeting specific investment objectives.

Unconventional Performance
Our investment objective is consistent performance - no matter what the prevailing market conditions.  Significant cash positions are always maintained whenever risk-to-reward positions are deemed unfavorable.  Our consistent performances over the years, particularly our prevention of "down" years in our own investment experiences attest to the strength of our investment disciplines and our performance strategies.

One Of The Nation's Top Performing Investment Advisory Services
Alan B. Lancz & Associates, and our performance, has been consistently cited as one of the nation's top money management firms.  Each account is individually managed and as a result, performance is ususally predicated by the goals, objectives, and risk tolerance.  Even though past performances cannot guarantee future success, ABL's flexible approach to investment management adapts quickly to highly volatile markets and has proven successful in some of the past decades' most challenging markets. 

Additional Services

Alan B. Lancz & Associates offers comprehensive financial services for any wealth management need - whether it be individual or organizational.

  • Retirement Plan Services
    These services have been a specialty of Alan B. Lancz & Associates for quite a number of years. We have assisted clients with basic decisions concerning type of plan, from defined benefit plans to 401(k), 403(b), employee stock ownership and profit sharing plans, as well as plan administration options. Investment options and fund selection are key to the success of your plan - and the full resources of ABL are at your disposal in this regard. Our goal is to assist you in fully meeting your fiduciary responsibilities while promoting plan participation, identifying and reducing expenses, and optimizing the mix and return of investment options for each participant.

  • Professional Athlete/Celebrity Management
    ABL has been working with some of the world's top athletes/celebrities for nearly two decades. Our goal is to provide investment direction to help minimize taxes and maximize investment return both during and after peak earning years. These relationships are usually established through word of mouth by satisfied clients or via an agent, attorney and/or accounting firm - and the benefits of our educational approach and our long-term tax efficient wealth building strategies are regularly showcased to the leaders in the sports and entertainment industries in this manner.

  • Nonprofit Organizations
    Service to nonprofit and tax exempt organizations is an additional specialty of Alan B. Lancz & Associates. We provide both investment counsel and full management services to these organizations. We offer a pure fiduciary role - looking out for the nonprofit's best interests and offering both proven strategies and their various alternatives to meet the organization's investment goals. We assure that assets are being professionally invested in accordance with the Investment Policy Statement, and provide detailed performance reporting and regular communication directly with the Board of Directors and/or Investment Committee.

  • Sound Investing
    This is another innovative investment concept of Alan B. Lancz & Associates, allowing us to serve clients who may not meet our standard minimum investment requirements. It is also attractive to those who would rather own a portfolio of low cost mutual funds, including exchange-traded and closed-end funds, to help meet their financial objectives. Our Sound Investing service includes our proprietary publication, Sound Investing Basics, which covers our Honor Roll of some of the best low cost, no load mutual funds and exchange traded funds. Our Sound Investing services have proven especially beneficial in retirement plans. Employers benefit by understanding cost and fiduciary risk, while employees benefit from a better understanding of their overall retirement plan and its alternatives, with proper guidance to help them make better decisions.

  • Consistent, Proven Performance
    Our investment objective is consistent performance - no matter what the prevailing market conditions. Significant cash positions are always maintained whenever risk-to-reward positions are deemed unfavorable. Our performance history over the years, particularly our limitation of "down" years in our own investment experiences, attest to the strength of our investment disciplines and our performance strategies.

  • A Flexible Cost Approach to Investment Advisory Services
    Even though past performances cannot guarantee future success, ABL's flexible approach to investment management adapts quickly to highly volatile markets and has proven successful in some of the past decades' most challenging markets.

  • Growth Through Performance
    Alan B. Lancz & Associates has enjoyed consistent growth, both in clientele and reputation, over the past three decades.  Recent client additions have come from all reaches of the United States and Canada, including a number of overseas clients, as well as a few of the wealthiest individuals in America.  But perhaps the finest testimony to the quality of our service is the strong and growing network of professionals - accountants, bankers, attorneys and sports agents - who continue to recommend our company to potential clients without remuneration or compensation of any kind.  Please contact us and we would be pleased to provide you with the names of selected advisors and actual clients upon request.

 

Our Final Interview with Sir John Templeton

Alan and Sir John TempletonSomething must have caught the eye, and imagination, of Sir John Marks Templeton some 20 years ago.  Because, following our first visit to him way back then as part of a larger group of money managers, he has continued to invite us back for one-on-one visits to both his home and his offices in Lyford Cay ever since.  He seemed to show a special interest in a fledgling ABL, Inc., even though we were managing barely $10 million at the time, and Sir John was responsible for well over $10 billion. 

He has welcomed ABL clients, business associates, even our family members, into his tropical confines.  Guests have included John Hatsopoulos, Sir John's neighbor in Lyford Cay, who with his brother was the architect behind the Thermo Electron group of companies; and Dr. Bill Hightower, well known Alabama surgeon, whose roots, like Sir John's, are Tennessean.  During our last visit, we were joined by Garo Armen, Chairman of the Irish pharmaceutical firm, Elan Corp.  In all our visits, Sir John has been nothing but gracious, exceedingly generous with his time and exceptionally inspirational with his wisdom and principles.  In fact, on the eve of his 92nd birthday, he cautioned us about occasional lapses in his short term memory. 

However, for the next several hours, this man did nothing but amaze us with his spark, his ideas and his financial strategies.  He didn't miss a beat.  Most importantly, over the years, two of his driving principles have helped build the foundation of our financial organization.  The first, that managing other people's money should be considered a sacred trust, something many money managers seemed to have forgotten over the past two decades.  Secondly, and this has been integral to our success, always take profits when expectations and valuations are high, no matter what the "herd" may be saying or doing at the time.  This, especially, guided us to start selling many of our technology holdings in the late 90's, as well as the reason we are currently locking in profits on some of our major energy issues.  Sir John has not only been one of the world's most distinguished financial advisors, he is easily one of the world's most distinguished gentlemen.  We owe him a special debt of gratitude, and we feel especially honored with our continued close association with an exceptional man like Sir John.


Lyford Cay, Bahamas

ABL (Alan B. Lancz)
When we last met you were covering how busy you are with your foundations and we were joined by the Chairman of Elan Corp whom you were kind enough to welcome... by the way that stock did very well for us.  At the time you were discussing how religion has not really advanced like so many other areas over the years and that the spiritual aspect seems to be a matter of looking into the past instead of ahead - in England 1 in 10 go to church, Russia and China 1 in 100.  Why is this the case and what can be done about it?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"I spend seven days a week on my foundations, as we are trying to persuade the leaders, the top 1% of the intellectuals in the world, to devote at least 10% of their money to try to increase their spiritual wealth.  You do this by applying scientific research methods to the information of a spiritual nature not yet known.  I have to clarify that with an example - unlimited love.  Every religion throughout all human history has always advocated unlimited love but there has been almost zero scientific research done on what is the cause of unlimited love, what are the benefits of unlimited love, what are the varieties of unlimited love, and how do you help people feel unlimited love.  So we are approaching scientists to come to us with a proposal of applying the new methods of science in making discoveries of spiritual realities (i.e. unlimited love).  So far we are financing 383 groups of scientists for such research.  One that I will use as an example is that there has never been a university that has taught a course on how to develop your purpose in life.  A person who lives his life with purpose accomplishes 10x as much as one that drifts along.  So all universities should teach courses on how to develop a purpose that is going to make your life most beneficial."

ABL
Another area we covered were your thoughts two years ago that now more than any other time in your life there is no great difference between markets and industries.

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"This is still true today . . . there are no great bargains in terms of countries or industries today, like there have been the majority of time during the past. More so than any other time in my life, I continue to find this to be the case."

ABL
The key investment strategy in this type of environment is to a market neutral approach. You suggested going long on 10 well managed solid stocks and then shorting 10 that are in similar industries that do not possess the qualities of your favorite 10. And if an investor is not comfortable picking stocks to short that going short the S&P 500 would suffice. This has worked well with active managers far out-performing the indices of late. Do you see this continuing?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"You don't want to tell your clients to go out and buy a lot of common stocks because the prices are too high. You don't want them to own bonds because the bonds are stated in Dollars and the U.S. Dollar keeps on going down. So what should they do? The key is still an equally long and short (net neutral) portfolio. I am not predicting this will be true a year or ten years from now but it is the best alternative right now."

ABL
In an adaptation of your suggestion we have focused on high quality, dividend paying companies for 2004, especially after the huge gains in 2003. This combined with a risk hedged strategy of buying select chemicals that should do particularly well if the price of energy declines in combination with the cheapest energy company we could find at this time last year Anadarko. Both areas did well as the basic material cyclical plays did well with the demand from China and energy stocks exploded with record high oil prices. Do you see this as an alternative strategy to those investors fearful of shorting stocks?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Yes that seems like an excellent strategy for the current environment . . . it makes a lot of sense, particularly when investors do not limit themselves to one nation or even only one area of the world. More so than anytime in my long life, there are only minor differences in valuations, as prices are pretty much the same throughout the world. But if you are trying to find the right stocks to be long while others to be short, you will find more of them if you do not limit yourself to one nation . . . you'll find many more by just looking at ten nations. I was just looking at a study from last week on the banking industry in South Korea and it was fascinating as you can buy the best banks in South Korea for only 6x earnings, whereas, American stocks are currently selling at 19x earnings."

ABL
As a follow-up, why is the current environment particularly poor for passive index investing?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Index investing basically will just go up and down like the market. So if the market is too high then the index is too high. Secondly if an investor wants to index invest as opposed to utilize active management, they must consider two key factors. First, what index would you choose? Would you choose an index of just one nation or would you choose an index of all nations? And secondly, if you choose an index - it will be all long as there are no indices that are short, so in effect you are risking your money (all long) at a time when almost all stocks are too high."

ABL
According to last weeks Barron's, nearly one third of newly retired seniors have unpaid balances averaging, $4K on their credit cards. This is up nearly 90% from ten years ago. The fact is households are spending more than they earned in recent years (third quarter alone $342B more spent than earned), which is the most since the third quarter of 1950 after the pent-up demand from WWII. Some blame Alan Greenspan for holding interest rates so low saying he has made saving unattractive. What are your thoughts?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"What you have said explains largely why prices are too high. It is true that people have spent too much, it is true that people buy stock and homes on borrowed money, all of which are dangerous. Now I can't say when it is going to end, it may go on another month, or year or longer, but it's dangerous."

ABL
On November 10th, 2004, The Wall Street Journal wrote that today's real estate investor must have an extremely long term outlook because prices have risen so dramatically. In the past five years prices in California and Washington DC real estate has doubled on average, while much of the northeast is up between 70-90%. What are your current thoughts on real estate prices in general?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Real estate prices are currently the most dangerous I have ever seen. This is a much easier question than stocks because it is more difficult to say what a stock is worth but real estate is worth no more than the cost to reproduce it. You should not pay for that house (pointing toward Lyford Cay) more than it would cost to build that house directly across the street. So you have something to guide you. And residential real estate prices in most cities are too high - as it is easy to build. This forces more and more people to build and that creates a surplus of houses and the prices will go down. Obviously, we are talking in general terms because if you can pick out the right location in real estate your real estate values will still go up even in this current inflated price environment. But so many people are trying to do this that it is extremely difficult to find a place where real estate isn't already up."

ABL
How is the investment world different under a second term of President Bush within the current geopolitical climate?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Prosperity is marvelous. We have never seen a time of such great prosperity and such great peace. The conditions are just the best I have ever seen as these are probably the best that conditions have ever been. But I doubt that the Republicans will get elected four years from now. Because the big problems will be worrying people much more. Such problems like foreign trade - American foreign trade is the worst any nation ever had and that can't go on - it has to end. And so before the next election four years from now that is going to be a big political problem. Same thing with federal deficits - the U.S. federal deficit is the largest any nation had in history. You can't have nations go on and on with bigger and bigger debt. So before the next election that is going to end as well. The great increase in individuals using borrowed money, which we discussed earlier, will lead to many more bankruptcies than we have ever had before. Many individuals should enjoy it while it is here but your clients should be aware of this and play it safe."

ABL
Is the world a safer place now?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Oh yes, now you are on the happy side of this equation. If you collect all the statistics, you will find that despite all the negative headlines there is a smaller fraction of the world population killed in battle in the last fifty years than any 50 year period in world history. It makes for good media sales and ratings so you hear about the negatives all the time but you look at the number of people involved and it is tiny. In health a century ago, people died at an average age of 47 and now they die at 72 on average. Look at communication when President Lincoln was assassinated, nobody in Europe knew about or heard about it for 5 days, now information is instantaneous all over the world. We should be grateful that we are living in the most prosperous, peaceful, most wonderful time in history. I wish people were more joyful as there has been no better time period to live. The problem is there is a common flaw in human nature to be attracted to the negative rather than the positive."

ABL
When we met 20 years ago, you had mentioned an information overload that was on the horizon - did you have in mind the internet and its influence on worldwide communication?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Yes, but I did not know what it would be. I am not smart enough to tell you what exactly the change would be (the internet) but I think things will continue to speed up - the information overload we discussed 15-20 years ago will even be greater 10 years from now."

ABL
I am going to visit Russia in approximately two weeks. What question or strategic comment would you share with President Vladimir Putin if you were going to see him?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"Oh I only wish I was young enough to join you. But the two key points I would convey . . . One is humility, the other diversification. It is very easy once you are the leader of a huge nation to think you are very wise, but everyone makes lots of mistakes and remember that half of what you decide is going to turn out to be a mistake - so humility is critical. And secondly, don't think that monopolies where you give one corporation or industry control of things is a good idea. Because anybody that has such control has no incentive to do better. So you want competition and diversification."

ABL
Even though the headlines are totally focused on the declining dollar from an historical perspective the U.S. Dollar is no where near record lows. What are your current thoughts on the U.S. dollar?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"When I was a student in England the Pound Sterling was regarded as the strongest thing, in the world a century ago gold was the most sought after and the last 50 years it has been the American Dollar. This will never be the same as it will always change. So you must invest in relation to everything, not just in relation to the U.S. Dollar."

ABL
What are your personal thoughts on Modern Portfolio Theory which theorizes that holding an extremely diversified group of assets eliminates the risk in any particular security?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"All such systematic ways to invest in stock do not seem wise to me. I think investors should have an open mind, utilizing wide ranging methodology rather than categorizing oneself in a box and limiting one's outlook."

ABL
Warren Buffet has hit a bit of a snag with Elliot Spitzer's insurance investigation. Is this the start of a bigger phenomenon that you pictured when you anticipated that his star may be shining too brightly (everyone following the herd).

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"I have tremendous admiration for Warren Buffet. The way he's able to run his vast amounts of organizations with a personal staff of only 17 people - that's the right way and that will never go out of style or collapse because it is the right way. But he has gotten so big now that you can't expect him to get ahead of other people. When he was smaller it was much easier for him to have superior results, but now the result of his company would only be slightly better than other companies. Also the price of his stock is above what it could liquidate for, conversely in open ended mutual funds you can always liquidate for the net asset value (NAV). In Berkshire Hathaway you would lose 40% from its current price to its current net asset value. So I don't own any of his stock even though I admire him."

ABL
We have talked quite a bit over the years on how the investment business has changed from the days you started in 1939 or even since you started the Templeton Growth Fund over 50 years ago. Can you give us another way things have changed over and above what we have already discussed over the past two decades.

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"In the days I started, investment counselors were never suppose to have any marketing or sales people and were never suppose to advertise. They were to act like a medical doctor and just get clients one at a time - a very slow process."

ABL
I can relate to those days as we are very selective with each new client and custom design portfolios to match each client's specific goals and objectives. Did you like those days better?

Sir John (Sir John Templeton)
"No Alan I can't say I did. I felt I was doing a lot of good but at that time I was only helping about 200 families. But when it became more respectable to advertise and have salespeople, I eventually served 300,000 investors when I sold to Franklin."

ABL
With that Sir John I want to thank you for your time as I know that in this stage of your life you rarely offer these special visits. It definitely has been a pleasure and, as always, your time is much appreciated.