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Thursday, October 18, 2007

America First Launches its First Two Mutual Funds

News summary by MFWire's editors

America First Capital Management has launched its first two mutual funds. America First, led by president and portfolio manager Rick Gonzalves, just rolled out the firm's flagship product called the Prestige Fund, which will invest in four areas that are minimally or negatively correlated to traditional stocks. The other fund offering is the Strategic Income Fund, which seeks to provide investors a higher rate of current income than most income funds. America First claims to be the first fund firm headquartered in the Sacramento area.

SACRAMENTO, Calif./EWORLDWIRE/Oct. 18, 2007 --- "There are wonderful investment opportunities all over the country," says Rick Gonsalves, president and portfolio manager of America First Capital Management, the Sacramento area's first locally based mutual fund company. "None of them are any better than the opportunities right here in our backyard. Given the opportunity, why wouldn't we want to plow the millions of dollars our mutual funds will raise nationally into the local community?" America First Capital Management has opened its investment products to investors. Gonsalves explains that being Sacramento's first mutual fund company is far from being the only unique thing about the new company.

Initially the company will manage two mutual fund products with a Unit Investment Trust to follow. One of the funds is an income fund and the other is a unique growth fund that helps bridge the gap between institutional and mainstream investors.

"My strategies utilize quantitative methodologies to choose the mutual fund holdings," states Gonsalves. "These methodologies narrow a starting universe of nearly 4,000 stocks down to a sixty stock portfolio. By keeping the investment process strictly unemotional, we are able to avoid the pitfalls many investors face when making decisions based on emotions."

"The process answers the three primary questions plaguing investors - what to buy, when to buy, and when to sell," Gonsalves explains. "Most importantly, the process is repeatable and has shown attractive returns during up and down markets. America First Capital Management strategies are unemotional and ignore all of the ground clutter that is thrown at investors. Unlike most mutual fund companies which 'window dress' their funds with familiar company names to appear more attractive to investors, my approach doesn't care which companies they are. We pick those companies that have the best chance for capital appreciation based on definable and repeatable methods."

America First's flagship product is the Prestige Fund, which strives to reduce risk and improve performance by investing in four areas that are minimally or negatively correlated to traditional stocks. No other fund takes this approach.

A portion of the fund's assets are invested in stocks using time-proven quantitative methods. "The fund's methodologies can be back-tested 20-30 years with amazing results, but the rules of mutual fund advertising prohibit us from publishing them. Even though the fund is new, the strategies I employ have been tested long past the life of most mutual funds," adds Gonsalves. Another portion of the assets are placed in private equity investments involving Sacramento and Northern California-based businesses. "The Private Equity world is generally available only to venture capitalists and accredited investors. Why shouldn't mainstream investors be able to hit the same home runs as the big boys?" Gonsalves cites his own company's success in raising private equity to fund the company's start up. "It took us less than three weeks to raise the necessary capital. We could have easily raised millions more. Investors understand the value of investing in local businesses. There is an appetite for private equity and other alternative investments. Investors want more than just stocks and bonds."

"Our second mutual fund is the America First Strategic Income Fund which seeks to provide investors a higher rate of current income than most income funds. The Income Strategies fund will invest in preferred and high-yield common stocks. The common stocks are chosen by our own proprietary quantitative screen which has outperformed the stock market with considerably less risk the last twelve years." The most unique aspect of this fund will be its exposure to the private commercial mortgage market. "These private mortgage pools are secured by income-producing real estate and have historically been less susceptible to interest rate volatility than other income oriented investments." Gonsalves notes that the fund's exposure to commercial real estate is yet another way the company funds local projects and offers accredited investments to mainstream investors. "Even though the residential real estate market has experienced some troubles, the commercial real estate market has been very secure. We work with private mortgage fund companies that are ultra-conservative in their approach."

America First's objective is to permit investors to earn higher than normal returns and keep a portion of their investments local. "With our nationwide distribution we can direct millions of dollars from investors all over the country into the local economy. None of these dollars would otherwise find their way to our community. Local residents don't have to pay taxes for a bond issue or build an arena to get the benefit of having these dollars flow into our local economy. Our investors can potentially earn a competitive return and the community can benefit, too. That's what I call a win/win."

Mr. Gonsalves is also CEO of Roseville-based Renaissance Investment Services, Inc, an independent company that provides independent investment advisors the facilities and support necessary to do what is best for their clients.

America First Capital Management can be contacted at 916/787-9940 ext 101 or through its Web site at http://www.amfirstcap.com.  

Edited by: Armie Margaret Lee

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