Outsourced research shop SpringTide Partners is making strides to grow its manager research team, following a growth in business.
Launched on March 1 2017, the firm was founded by Paul Courtney and Aaron Dirlam, formerly gatekeepers at Chicago-based RIA Altair Advisors, to cater to advisors who outsource investment research and portfolio construction.
Initially Courtney and Dirlam had run manager research and due diligence themselves, but in November 2017 they hired a new research analyst, Jared Schreiber, and are in the process of filling a fourth position on the team.
According to his LinkedIn, prior to joining SpringTide, Schreiber had been a junior account executive at The Hill Group, focused on project management and client services.
‘We’re structured to work as generalists… we value the perspective that comes from cross-asset experience,' Courtney said.
The group launched two model portfolios in May 2017, which were fully rolled out in November 2017.
These are the SpringTide Composite portfolio, comprised of the team’s best ideas, and the SpringTide Liquid Composite portfolio, which is a low-cost index version of the strategy, made up solely of passive ETFs and mutual funds.
According to Courtney, the group is in the process of launching an income composite and a tactical composite portfolio to be used as diversifiers to core long-only 60/40 allocations.
Courtney and Dirlam run a high-conviction recommended list of 19 strategies for their clients, which consist of home offices and RIAs.
Around this time last year, SpringTide had been working with two RIAs in Illinois and Florida, with a combined $1.1 billion in assets. According to Courtney, the firm has since expanded its number of clients to around a dozen RIAs and home offices and total assets have surpassed $2 billion.
Courtney and Dirlam have been looking to add more alternatives to their portfolios in recent months.
‘We believe nine years of negative real interest rates have squeezed all of the juice out of traditional 60/40 portfolios for this cycle,’ Courtney said. ‘In response, we are both reducing risk to core 60/40 and seeking ways to differentiate portfolios in inefficient asset classes.’
The gatekeepers have added seven strategies to their recommended list over the last six-months, most notably in the alternative space, adding a dedicated short seller strategy on February 15 and a long/short equity strategy at the end of January.
Other strategies added cover frontier markets stocks and bonds, energy partnerships, direct lending and short duration bonds.
‘We are barbelling risks. One on side of the barbell, we are reducing exposure to core developed market stocks and bonds,’ Courtney said. ‘On that side, we are instead moving to an overweight in very conservative short duration bonds, which we view as an allocation to "patience", and the other side of the barbell are these differentiated strategies.’