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Rating:Value Line's Mitch Appel Steps Up Equity Shop Hunt  Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, May 08, 2014

Value Line's Mitch Appel Steps Up Equity Shop Hunt

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

Value Line chief executive Mitch Appel has been hungering for a few good firms since February.

Now he's stepping up that search a bit, meeting more people and canvassing the industry for some decent value or income-orientated shops that his $2.3 billion firm can acquire. He's also plans to step up his firm's initiatives amongst RIAs and the platforms as well.

He described his plans for the year in this way:
We are positioning ourselves for a very productive 2014 and 2015. Over the last few years, we pruned the tree of the product lineup, putting together a lineup that appeals to today's RIAs and investors. At this point, we are now looking to the future. We are developing some new product, in the form of some new funds, as well as looking to make some smaller acquisitions to complement our fund lineup.

Steady Eddies
What kinds of firms is he looking for. Appel likes to describe them as "Steady Eddies," firms with long-term stable growth with low risk.

Our funds tend to be, according to Morningstar, lower risk profile funds with above average returns. I think investors and RIAs that come to the Value Line funds, look for Steady Eddy investing. We have been very successful over the long term of the markets, we have gone through many bull and bear cycles. Anything I would bring to the table in terms of acquisitions and new product would need to meet that criteria.

Reaching out to RIAs
Appel told MFWire that "we continue to build out a marketing and distribution platform which has 4 internal wholesalers and a national accounts person. Whereas five years ago, we did not have any of that."

"We are committed to putting resources into marketing and distribution to get the exposure our funds deserve," he said.

The fund supermarkets, Appel said, "are a very important aspect of any fund company that wants to reach a broader audience."

He described his firm's plans with the market in this way:

We have done a lot of selling agreements with Schwab, Fido, TD. Schwab is our biggest platform to date. We have seen assets grow 30 percent of the last two years.

With Schwab in particular, we plan to attend more RIA and investor events and educational opportunities supporting the advisor network. We have also launched a strong marketing initiative on the retail side.

This year, we are expanding our conference attendance. We are expanding it to additional shows.

We have attended Schwab over the past few years. We are expanding it to additional shows. Pershing and potentially one other show in the Fall.

We will also roll out an RIA portal of our website in the upcoming quarter to continue to expand our materials and white-papers and our presence to the RIA community.

There is a tremendous opportunity, not just on the RIA business, but on the retail side of the platforms.

Appel said the firm's wholesaling team brought in 500 new RIAs last year.

"Our funds are taking hold within the RIA community. As the number of RIAs in this community grows, eventually so will the AUM," he said.
Value Line's 80-plus year-old publishing house has no day-to-day interaction with the asset manager, Appel said. "That gives us the opportunity to focus on our asset management business," he said.

"The research is an important differentiating part of our fund family. We use the research, but the publishing executives are not involved," he said.

The firm currently has three PMs and one analyst. Appel said they are currently interviewing to bring in two new PMs. 

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