General Obligation and Revenue Bonds

Understanding GOs and RBs

[By Staff Writers]fp-book2

General obligation bonds are secured by the taxing authority and are therefore considered safer than other municipals. The full faith and credit of the municipality ensures prompt payment of principal and interest.

Further more, most municipal bonds, including city, county, and school district issues, are secured by a pledge of unlimited property taxes (known as ad-valorem taxes), which further secures the bonds. If taxes are not paid, the property may be sold at a tax sale, at which the bondholder has a superior position.

Revenue bonds

Revenue bonds are payable from the earnings of a revenue-generating facility, such as water, sewers, or utility systems, toll bridges, or airports. The risk, however, is that the facility will not generate income sufficient to pay the interest, and therefore the yield is somewhat higher than for a general-obligation bond.

Revenue bonds are supported only by the revenue earned, so if the project does not produce revenues sufficient to pay the interest on the bonds, then the bonds go into default. Therefore, it is important to properly evaluate the municipality’s ability to tax and/or the assumptions used to project the facility’s revenue.

Conclusion

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Medicare Customers Say Mental Health Benefits Are Very Important

By Staff Reporters

AN eHEALTH SURVEY

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A eHealth survey of 3,800 Medicare customers aged 65 and older asked “When choosing health coverage, how important are mental health benefits?” The survey found: 
•  38% say mental health benefits are “very important” to them when choosing health insurance.
 •  34% say it’s “somewhat important” to them.
 •  22% say mental health benefits are “not so important” to them.
 •  Only 5% say it’s “not at all important.”
Source: eHealth, “Seniors Speak Out On Mental Health,” March 2022

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Understanding Municipal Bond Underwriting

A Primer for Physician Investors

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

While the underwriting procedures for corporate bonds are almost identical to corporate stock, there are significant differences in the underwriting of municipal securities. Municipal securities – hospitals for example – are exempt from the registration filing requirements or the Securities Act of 1933. A state or local government, in the issuance of municipal securities, is not required to register the offering with the SEC, so there is no filing of a registration statement and there is no prospectus which would otherwise have to be given to investors.

Municipal Underwriting

There are two main methods of financing when it comes to municipal securities. One method is known as negotiated. In the case of a negotiated sale, the municipality looking to borrow money would approach an investment bank and negotiate the terms of the offering directly with the firm. This is really not very different from the equity process.

Competitive Bidding

The other type of municipal underwriting is known as competitive bidding. Under the terms of competitive bidding, an issuer announces that it wishes to borrow money and is looking for syndicates to submit competitive bids. The issue will then be sold to the syndicate which submits the best bid, resulting in the municipality having the lowest net interest cost (lowest expense to the issuer).

If the issue is to be done by a competitive bid, the municipality will use a Notice of Sale to announce that fact. The notice of sale will generally include most or all of the following information.

  • Date, time, and place. This does not mean when the bonds will be sold to the public, but when the issue will be awarded (sold) to the syndicate issuing the bid.
  • Description of the issue and the manner in which the bid is to be made (sealed bid or oral).
  • Type of bond (general obligation, revenue, etc.)
  • Semi-annual interest payment dates and the denominations in which the bonds will be printed.
  • Amount of good faith deposit required, if any.
  • Name of the law firm providing the legal opinion and where to acquire a bid form.
  • The basis upon which the bid will be awarded, generally the lowest net interest cost.

The Bond Attorney

Since municipal securities are not registered with the SEC, the municipality must hire a law firm in order to make sure that they are issuing the securities in compliance with all state, local and federal laws. This is known as the bond attorney, or independent bond counsel. Some functions are included below:

  1. Establishes the exemption from federal income tax by verifying requirements for the exemption.
  2. Determines proper authority for the bond issuance.
  3. Identifies and monitors proper issuance procedures.
  4. Examines the physical bond certificates to make sure that they are proper
  5. Issues the debt and a legal opinion, since municipal bonds are the only securities that require an opinion.
  6. Does not prepare the official statement.

When medical or other investors purchase new issue municipal securities from syndicate or selling group members, there is no prospectus to be delivered to investors, but there is a document which is provided to purchasers very similar in nature to a prospectus. It is known as an Official Statement. The Official Statement contains all of the information an investor needs to make a prudent decision regarding a proposed municipal bond purchase.

Underwriting Syndicate

The formation of a municipal underwriting syndicate is very similar to that for a corporate issue. When there is a negotiated underwriting, an Agreement Among Underwriters (AAU) is used. When the issue is competitive bid, the agreement is known as a Syndicate Letter. In the syndicate letter, the managing underwriter details all of the underwriting agreements among members of the syndicate. Eastern (undivided) and Western (divided) accounts are also used, but there are several different types of orders in a municipal underwriting.

Order Types

The traditional types of orders, in priority order, are:

  • Pre-Sale Order: Made before the syndicate actually offers the bonds. They have first priority over any other order turned in.
  • Syndicate (group net) Order: Made once the offering is under way at the public offering price. The purchase is credited to each syndicate member in proportion to its allotment. An institutional buyer will frequently purchase” group net”, since many of the firms in the syndicate may consider this buyer to be their client and he wishes to please all of them.
  • Designated Order: Sales to medical investors (usually healthcare institutions) at the public offering price where the investor designates which member or members of the syndicate are to be given credit.
  • Member Orders: Purchased by members of the syndicate at the take-down price (spread). The syndicate member keeps the full take-down if the bonds are sold to investors, or earns the take-down less the concession if the sale is made to a member of the selling group. Should the offering be over-subscribed, and the demand for the new bonds exceeds the supply, the first orders to be filled are the pre-sale orders. Those are followed by the syndicate (sometimes called group net) orders, the designated orders, and the last orders filled are the member’s.

Assessment

Finally, be aware that the term bond scale is a listing of coupon rates, maturity dates, and yield or price at which the syndicate is re-offering the bonds to the public. The scale is usually found in the center of a tombstone ad and on the front cover of the official statement. One of the reasons why the word “scale” is used – is that like the scale on a piano – it normally goes up. A regular or positive scale is one in which the yield to maturity is lowest on the near term maturities and highest on the long term maturities. This is also known as a positive yield curve, since the longer the maturity, the higher the yield. In times of very tight money, such as in 1980-81, one might find a bond offering with a negative scale. A negative (sometimes called inverted) scale is just the opposite of a positive one, with, yields on the short term maturities are higher than those on the long term maturities.

http://www.amazon.com/Financial-Planning-Handbook-Physicians-Advisors/dp/0763745790/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1276795609&sr=1-1 

Conclusion

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What is Risk Adjusted Stock Market Performance?

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Update on Some Interesting and Important Financial Calculations

By Timothy J. McIntosh MBA CFP® MPH

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA CMP™

By Jeffery S. Coons PhD CFA

TMDr. Jeff Coons

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-INTRODUCTION-

Performance measurement, like an annual physical, is an important feedback loop to monitor progress towards the goals of the medical professional’s investment program.  Performance comparisons to market indices and/or peer groups are a useful part of this feedback loop, as long as they are considered in the context of the market environment and with the limitations of market index and manager database construction.

Inherent to performance comparisons is the reality that portfolios taking greater risk will tend to out-perform less risky investments during bullish phases of a market cycle, but are also more likely to under-perform during the bearish phase.  The reason for focusing on performance comparisons over a full market cycle is that the phases biasing results in favor of higher risk approaches can be balanced with less favorable environments for aggressive approaches to lessen/eliminate those biases.

So, as physicians and other investors, can we eliminate the biases of the market environment by adjusting performance for the risk assumed by the portfolio?  While several interesting calculations have been developed to measure risk-adjusted performance, the unfortunate answer is that the biases of the market environment still tend to have an impact even after adjusting returns for various measures of risk.

However, medical professionals and their advisors will have many different risk-adjusted return statistics presented to them, so understanding the Sharpe ratio, Treynor ratio, Jensen’s measure or alpha, Morningstar star ratings, etc. and their limitations should help to improve the decisions made from the performance measurement feedback loop.

[a] The Treynor Ratio

The Treynor ratio measures the excess return achieved over the risk free return per unit of systematic risk as identified by beta to the market portfolio.  In practice, the Treynor ratio is often calculated using the T-Bill return for the risk-free return and the S&P 500 for the market portfolio.

[b] The Sharpe Ratio

The Sharpe ratio, named after CAPM pioneer William F. Sharpe, was originally formulated by substituting the standard deviation of portfolio returns (i.e., systematic plus unsystematic risk) in the place of beta of the Treynor ratio.  Thus, a fully diversified portfolio with no unsystematic risk will have a Sharpe ratio equal to its Treynor ratio, while a less diversified portfolio may have significantly different Sharpe and Treynor ratios.

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8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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[c] The Jensen Alpha Measure

The Jensen measure, named after CAPM research Michael C. Jensen, takes advantage of the CAPM equation discussed in the Portfolio Management section to identify a statistically significant excess return or alpha of a portfolio.  The essential idea is that to investigate the performance of an investment manager you must look not only at the overall return of a portfolio, but also at the risk of that portfolio.

For instance, if there are two mutual funds that both have a 12 percent return, a lucid investor will want the fund that is less risky. Jensen’s gauge is one of the ways to help decide if a portfolio is earning the appropriate return for its level of risk. If the value is positive, then the portfolio is earning excess returns. In other words, a positive value for Jensen’s alpha means a fund manager has “beat the market” with his or her stock picking skills compared with the risk the manager has taken.

[d] Database Ratings

The ratings given to mutual funds by databases, such as Morningstar, and various financial magazines are another attempt to develop risk-adjusted return measures.  These ratings are generally based on a ranking system for funds calculated from return and risk statistics.

A popular example is Morningstar’s star ratings, representing a weighting of three, five and ten year risk/return ratings.  This measure uses a return score from cumulative excess monthly fund returns above T-Bills and a risk score derived from the cumulative monthly return below T-Bills, both of which are normalized by the average for the fund’s asset class.  These scores are then subtracted from each other and funds in the asset class are ranked on the difference.  The top 10 percent receive five stars, the next 22.5 percent get four stars, the subsequent 35 percent receive three stars, the next 22.5 percent receive two stars, and the remaining 10 percent get one star.

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Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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Assessment

Unfortunately, these ratings systems tend to have the same problems of consistency and environmental bias seen in both non-risk adjusted comparisons over 3 and 5 year time periods and the other risk-adjusted return measures discussed above.  The bottom line on performance measurement is that the medical professional should not take the easy way out and accept independent comparisons, no matter how sophisticated, at face value.  Returning to our original rules-of-thumb, understanding the limitations of performance statistics is the key to using those statistics to monitor progress towards one’s goals.

This requires an understanding of performance numbers and comparisons in the context of the market environment and the composition/construction of the indices and peer group universes used as benchmarks.

Another important rule-of-thumb is to avoid projecting forward historical average returns, especially when it comes to strong performance in a bull market environment.  Much of an investment or manager’s performance may be environment-driven, and environments can change dramatically.

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ABOUT

Timothy J. McIntosh is Chief Investment Officer and founder of SIPCO.  As chairman of the firm’s investment committee, he oversees all aspects of major client accounts and serves as lead portfolio manager for the firm’s equity and bond portfolios. Mr. McIntosh was a Professor of Finance at Eckerd College from 1998 to 2008. He is the author of The Bear Market Survival Guide and the The Sector Strategist.  He is featured in publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Investment Advisor, Fortune, MD News, Tampa Doctor’s Life, and The St. Petersburg Times.  He has been recognized as a Five Star Wealth Manager in Texas Monthly magazine; and continuously named as Medical Economics’ “Best Financial Advisors for Physicians since 2004.  And, he is a contributor to SeekingAlpha.com., a premier website of investment opinion. Mr. McIntosh earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Florida State University; Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) degree from the University of Sarasota; Master of Public Health Degree (M.P.H) from the University of South Florida and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® practitioner. His previous experience includes employment with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, Enterprise Leasing Company, and the United States Army Military Intelligence.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Coons is the Co-Director of Research at Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc. with primary responsibilities focusing on the measurement and management of portfolio risk and return relative to client objectives.  This includes providing analysis across every aspect of the investment process, from objectives setting and asset allocation to on-going monitoring of portfolio risk and return.  Dr. Coons is also member of the Investment Policy Group, which establishes and monitors secular investment trends, macroeconomic overviews, and the investment disciplines of the firm. Dr. Coons holds a doctoral degree in economics from Temple University, graduated with distinction from the University of Rochester with a B.A. in Economics, holds the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst, and is one of the employee-owners of Manning and Napier.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

Risk Management, Liability Insurance, and Asset Protection Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™8Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners™

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