Three Things to Know from the Earnings of U.S. Global Investors
Reported by Tommy Fernandez
A perfect storm in investing led to a rough quarter for boutique shop U.S. Global Investors.
The firm, which specializes in gold, natural resources and emerging markets, saw its net income drop over in the first quarter to $41,167.00, a decrease of over 90 percent from a year ago. Its earnings-per-share fell to 0 (zero) cents per share, compared to 3 cents a year ago.
AUM dropped 21 percent from a year ago to $1.56 billion.
Three important themes to note include: POINT 1: Them Markets Are Disrupted POINT 2: Gold Ain't So Shiny, but Europe and America is Still Pretty Cool POINT 3: U.S. Global Is Pulling Out Every Stop it's Got
Now to drill down on these points. (Apologies for the typos in the transcription)
POINT 1: Them Markets Are Disrupted
Chief executive and chief investment officer Frank Homes, had this say about how the markets are changing.
So that is how the formation of capital has more often changed and its the capacity to understand and comprehend this gives a long move. Now how does US mobile participate in this change of arena. Well we are subject to lots of change and the ETS is another part of this incredible clear process that comes out of America and how growth formation of capital models is changing and fund flows. And I feel what we really do is sort of a flat footed in grasping the significance and having our own ETS space, because ETS in the past four years have grown 151% whereas mutual funds have only grown 36% which has been dominantly been bond funds and which is predominantly been dividend payingmutual funds. Funds that will pay once a year are not gathering the assets as those funds that are paying quarterly or monthly.
So this is important to recognize this formation of capital is changing and there are several reasons for it. Some are external such as record low interest rates, coupled with the attractors of ETS, the way the tax structure of them, the liquidity, they bided (inaudible) investors from around the world to come into your market. You can't sell your mutualfunds. We can't sell ours in Europe or Canada with complete massive legal registration and marketing partnership that costs millions and millions of dollars. However people from other jurisdictions could buy ETS. So that's how these market capital markets have more often changed and so that's one reason why we are going to change with it and the next visual is showing you sort of the fact behind us making those statements is investor sold domestic equity mutual funds at a faster pace November-December once again government policies are precursor to change, a lot of redemptions took place because of taxes and the ability to crystallize on that, and what important is that money is flowing back into equity so a lot of itís gone into this ETF space or those mutual funds which are paying dividends.
The next visual showing bond mutual funds flows continue to remain strong and also bond ETFs remain strong. We are just shocked to seeing a new Bond ETF come out and itís got twice the management fee of our near term tax rate, but in two weeks they collect more assets than what we do in five years. They It just shocked us. Our yield is more attractive. Our yield is tax efficient. It doesn't matter. It is just now. I spoke of product, function to people, this is the trend that's taking place. So we call this in the capital markets creative disruption. Itís a disruptive model and disruptive technology and that's what's taking place and we have to adapt to it faster than we've ever done before and that leads to the next visual.
POINT 2: Gold Ain't So Shiny, but Europe and America is Still Pretty Cool
U.S. Global Investors specializes in gold, energy and emerging markets. Homes had this to say on how well the firm did in these areas:
Now when it comes to gold, we have two demand drivers, the fear trade and the love trade, and it's very important to understand that the love trade is 50% of all the buying of gold, I repeat the love trade is 50% of the simple mathematical equation. However, 90% of the media coverage is on the fear trade. Now what we have seen in the past six months is that the fear trade and the reason for particular past three months is that fear trade has remain strong as for gold demand, a rational reason for owning gold, but the love trade which is highly correlated and tied to culture and GDP per capita in emerging markets.
Europe is very important because Europe and trade between China and Europe is greater China and America. Itís hard to believe that but itís true. So any stability or economic expansion in Europe has a very profound impact in China which then has a very big impact on commodities. I'm trying to share with you is that these asset classes are underloved, under appreciated and the dividend yield is higher than 10-year government note and they have been rising. So the growth in this asset price when you look at energy has been MLPs. MLPs have had spectacular growth as an asset class because it is building out all the infrastructure necessary for the great energy discoveries due to our modern technology and who doesn't, who is a country that allows the sort of innovation to find a solution to a problem, the energy.
Itís America, itís America that's created fracking, itís America who has done it over and over and that's what make America special and they have the unique formation of capital model called MLPs to build that out and what they are offering yields so itís a much more attractive than 10-year, 30-year government bonds, 30-year government mortgages is you can get a higher yield in owning MLPs. So I think of these asset classes overall are underloved, underappreciated and as I have shown you mathematically it do for a rebound and I think the next rebound is going to be even bigger than we've seen before. And with that we are going to participate differently than we've ever done before because we will have our suite of ETFs, our active ETFs to participate in this sort of shift that's taking place and our mutual funds to be able to come out with a policy of paying dividends. And so as we quickly push here for as we go through the regulatory hurdles that we have to go through and disclosure etcetera and accounting for monthly dividend payment for equity funds. So that's our vision for growth, stay tuned to this movie program and this movie script is not over.
POINT 3: U.S. Global Is Pulling Out Every Stop it's Got
Homes and company taking every move out of the mutual fund playbook they can envision. Here are some of the tricks Homes has up his sleeve, outlined at different points within the earnings call.
Growth strategy for 2013 continuing the process which we are doing to acquire assets, we have looked at small ETF companies, we've looked at valuations and looked is that a faster way to have that space in addition to going through and creating our own ETFs which we are in motion with. And then the other one is reposition our equity funds to be dividend focused, that including making monthly payouts to shareholders, which is just itís not on linear lines, you just don't turn down like you would turn out on water faucets and turn it off. You have to go through a set of legal issues and to resolve etcetera, but itís in motion that U.S. Global to be able to start paying monthly dividends for the majority of our funds and then is to create our own suite of active ETFs and we are in full tilt of doing that. It's interesting because you can create ETFs that are quickly index or you can have your own index which is basically rules based active management or you can have open-ended totally active management, but each as you become more open-ended, again your total flexibility as an active manager with ETF, you have restrictions of where you can go around the world etcetera and which you can do. So we want to make sure that we really truly understand that as we come up with our suite of ETFs.
Our focus on education also has been nationally recognized. Our marketing and investment teams have received numerous awards for excellent in education and we do look at as a goal to inform our investors and advisor universe that are out there. We do think that as Frank mentioned the ETFs will help us to better monetize about thought leadership like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have helped us and other companies to monetize our brand.
Two publications that have received awards here are free weekly e-newsletters. Each Friday our investor alert and advisor alert are emailed to investors and they summarize the previous weekís events on gold, natural resources and emerging markets. We believe that some investors are using our educational materials and are buying ETFs. So we are hoping to that this new project of ours will help our education and branding efforts to drive assets into our funds.
Our institutional sales team is also busy maintaining an active travel schedule these days and they are meeting with clients and prospects across the country each week and we occasionally team up with our portfolio managers and provide in-depth views of their funds throughout the United States. The team also attended key conferences over the quarter including TD Ameritrade which was well attended by 1500 advisors, the FPA Central Florida and Orlando and similar symposiums. Looking ahead, our sales team will be meeting with the clients at the (inaudible) Conference in Florida in June.
The next visual is important is strategic partnership with Galileo; as we mentioned at year end, that we have lowered our dividend, weíll use those proceeds to make strategic relationships and acquisitions of assets to build our asset base and to buyback our stock. So what we have seen and what we have been able to demonstrate is structured yield 50% of the issue, outstanding shares with an option to go up to 65% over the next 12 months; itís a Toronto-based company, worth CAD$320 million under assets; itís been growing; itís accretive to grow, itís a five starfund piece multi-dividends and 2013 Lipper Fund award for the best small mid cap over five years. We have been assisting them with their marketing and their branding and so now itís a full throttle, lets say profitable in the first quarter which is great and they have become more profitable over the next, starting the next three months. So thatís exciting for us and for them.