We’re TRADEMARK. Like-minded individuals, united under a common vision: Adamant protection of investments during inevitable periods of risk.
At Trademark, we have a long history of offering tactical investment solutions – each designed to participate in up markets while staunchly protecting capital in down markets.
People are emotional. Investing shouldn’t be.
TRADEMARK seeks protection of your assets during rough times in the market, while keeping you on track towards achieving your goals.
Successful investors do not avoid risk. They manage it.
TRADEMARK: Steady guidance from Don Beasley, an innovator in tactical risk management since 1991.
TRADEMARK provides a suite of separate managed account strategies designed to help individuals achieve their investment goals with as little emotional stress as possible. Each of our strategies have varying primary objectives but all have an equal emphasis on the most important aspect of successful investing – avoiding large losses.
Our flagship, tactical unconstrained, portfolio seeks to participate in equity markets during lower-risk, constructive market environments and staunchly protect our investors’ capital in down markets. We utilize exchange traded funds (ETFs) to create and tactically adjust a diversified and balanced portfolio according to current market conditions.
We use a proprietary quantitative model to measure current market risk conditions. This helps us identify if the market is in a constructive environment or a higher-risk environment. Based on our risk model’s assessment we can tactically adjust our portfolio between a diversified allocation with a heavy equity bias all the way down to a fully cash or cash equivalent allocation during the highest risk environments.
Assess Market Risk, Build Portfolio of ETFs according to risk, Manage Portfolio
The Tactical Risk and Income Strategy is a balanced portfolio of equity, fixed income and non-traditional ETFs whose objective is to provide capital appreciation and income over time. However, like all Trademark Capital investment products, we maintain an overriding emphasis of capital preservation during periods of market unrest. We tactically manage our exposure to both the equity and fixed income positions to avoid unnecessary risks during down markets.
Trademark’s Tactical Risk and Income is different than other “Income” funds or investment strategies. Other income products are benchmark driven or tied to a primary objective of providing recurring yield even if following that objective means incurring large losses of capital during bear markets. We will not leave our clients exposed to unnecessary risk in either equity or fixed income during their respective (and inevitable) bear markets.
The TRIS investment process starts with a macro view of risk in both the equity and fixed income market. When risk is appropriate we invest in a balanced combination of dividend-producing equity and fixed income ETFs. This allocation is made in order to provide competitive levels of income and capital appreciation as markets rise. As market risk increases we will shift that balance to protect the capital of the portfolio as much as necessary. This could include moving the portfolio to a 100% short-term/cash position when appropriate.
We have a long tradition of helping retirement plan sponsors and plan participants invest for their retirement goals and objectives. Our innovative tactical risk managed solutions are designed to help our clients by mitigating their exposure to destructive market losses.
Plan sponsors today are faced with the challenge of choosing the right target-date solution for their participants. While it is important to take into account a TDF’s investment objective and glidepath methodology, it is also important to understand the fund’s ability to protect participants’ retirement savings during times of market volatility.
What makes Trademarks’ retirement series unique is our Tactical Risk Overlay – an allocation within each fund designed to provide significant downside protection. While dynamic, the percentage allocated to the Tactical Risk Overlay increases as an investor approaches their retirement age and throughout their golden years.
WHAT IS A COLLECTIVE TRUST FUND (CTF)?
Collective trust funds, also known as collective investment trusts (CITs), are pooled investment vehicles maintained by a bank or trust company. Like mutual funds, CITs combine the assets of various organizations to create a large, well-diversified portfolio, and their investors own shares of the CIT. Unlike mutual funds, CITs are available exclusively to qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) and certain government, pension, and profit sharing plans.
The defined contribution market has shown increasing interest in CITs because of their ability to satisfy plan sponsor demand for institutional-quality investment management, while potentially offering lower participant costs.
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF INVESTING IN A CIT?
CITs may have a lower fee structure than mutual funds because mutual funds typically charge shareholders for regulatory and administrative expenses as well as marketing and distribution costs.
CIT Trustees are held to ERISA fiduciary standards, meaning that the bank must act solely in the best interest of the plan participants and beneficiaries.
Fee Structure Flexibility:
CITs are not limited by the retail mutual funds share class structure, which allows for greater pricing flexibility for both the advisor and plan sponsor.
HOW DOES A CIT DIFFER FROM A MUTUAL FUND?
CITs are regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) or state banking laws and are subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). CITs are not available to retail investors, and therefore are exempt from some of the regulatory requirements that apply to mutual funds, including registration with the SEC under the Investment Company Act of 1940.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO USE A CIT?
CITs are designed exclusively for tax-exempt, qualified retirement plans.
Trademark’s innovative Cash Balance Investment Solution (CBIS) has been developed to address the very specific requirements of a cash balance plan – to target the interest crediting rate of the 30 year Treasury bond yield.
Few products are available in the industry for these specific needs and of those the primary strategy has been to employ a heavy or exclusive allocation to fixed income investments. In the current low yield environment for fixed income this makes achieving the investment objective of cash balance plans difficult while increasing potential risk of loss should interest rates rise.
At Trademark, we believe a balanced approach INCLUDING an allocation to equity is important to achieve the return requirements for cash balance plans – but we also understand the consequences of losses. That is why we are well positioned to provide this need. Our philosophy is to protect from large losses by having the flexibility to tactically reduce (or remove) exposure to high risk market environments – and our portfolio managers have been doing it for clients since 1991.
The CBIS portfolio was developed to address the specific needs of cash balance pension plans. Most cash balance pension plans need a steady return equal to the 30-year Treasury bond yield, or slightly in excess of that benchmark, with low volatility. Our portfolio is constructed to target this benchmark and benefits from Trademark’s overriding emphasis of capital preservation during periods of market unrest. We tactically manage our exposure to both the equity and fixed income positions to avoid unnecessary risks during down markets.
The CBIS strategy is innovative in that it also protects returns when the benchmark rate is achieved during the year. This is monitored on a calendar year basis. No matter when the benchmark return is achieved during the year, once it has been reached the strategic allocation is moved to more fixed income to protect the gains.
TRADEMARK is a boutique investment management firm consisting of like-minded individuals who’ve come together under a common purpose: adamantly protecting investments during inevitable periods of risk. We manage tactical investment strategies designed to achieve whatever growth the market can realistically bear, but we see it as our mission – our responsibility – to minimize our investor’s exposure to avoidable catastrophic loss.
For over two decades, TRADEMARK has been steadfast in holding true to its core principles: delivering quality investment solutions focused on a balance of safety and return. While tactical risk management strategies have become very popular since the financial crisis we are one of a very few having been around long enough to successfully side-stepped previous market downturns.
Don Beasley is a Principal & Managing Director at Trademark Capital. Don began his professional money management career in 1988 and has been a nationally featured speaker on topics including technical market analysis and quantitative criteria for mutual fund selection and management.
Throughout Don’s career, he has been a pioneer in the industry and instrumental in creating and improving a technology-driven, actively managed investment model that continues to be an integral part of Trademark’s investment management philosophy today. Don’s unwavering belief that missing down markets is the most important part of capital preservation has allowed him to help improve the investment experience for clients. He continues to balance the quantitative model with a distinct need to protect every dollar he manages.
Prior to working at Trademark, Don co-founded Personal Mutual Fund Management (PMFM), Inc. in 1991 (presently Stadion Money Management).
Don received two Bachelor of Science degrees in Math and Physical Education and a Masters in Administration from Northwestern State University. He also holds the Series 65 license (Uniform Investment Advisor).
Don lives in Athens, Georgia with his wife. A former NCAA basketball coach, Don is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys deer hunting and spending time with his nieces and nephews.
Joe Ezernack is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of TRADEMARK. He has a passion for investing assets in a way that recognizes that the term “investors” is not an abstract idea; investors are real people with real wealth goals. With over seventeen years of portfolio management experience, including managing through two bear markets, Joe knows that the most important aspect in investing is the human aspect. His view is that as investors mature they become less concerned with vanity returns and seek realistic growth without exposure to emotional wealth-destroying events.
Previous to joining TRADEMARK, Joe was the co-founder of Athens Capital Group and the Senior Portfolio Manager at PMFM/401kToolbox. Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.
Joe lives in Athens, Georgia. Above all else, he enjoys spending time with his wonderful wife and their two ‘knucklehead’ young boys.
Katherine joined TRADEMARK in November 2010 as a member of the Client Services and Advisor Support Team. Since joining the firm she has excelled in every position she has been assigned and has become an integral part of TRADEMARK’s daily business and operations. Her intellect, diligence and personality have made her the favored TRADEMARK team member for just about every advisor and client that has worked with her. In 2014 Katherine was added to the senior management team and named the Director of Operations.
Katherine holds a Master of Finance degree from Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communications.
Katherine attended Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia as a Division I Scholarship recipient in the sport of volleyball. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and enjoys college football (Go dawgs!), golf and traveling.
Clay Alliston joined Trademark Capital Management, Inc. in 2014 as the Executive Vice President in charge of business development. In that role, he is responsible for the implementation and distribution of investment products for the firm including new product development, platform distribution, marketing and sales.
Prior to joining Trademark, Clay was employed with Stadion Money Management, Inc. From 2010 to 2013, he was the Senior Vice President in charge of national and key accounts. Prior to 2010, he was the Vice President of Sales for Stadion’s retirement plan division.
Clay studied economics and architecture at Yale University. During his time at Yale, he also played on the varsity basketball team. In 2001, he transferred to his hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia to attend Georgia College and State University and complete his degree in economics.
Ray Zittlow is the Vice President, Investment & Retirement Plan Services, with Trademark Capital where he is responsible for working with advisors, financial institutions, and plan sponsors to improve overall health of retirement plans and ensure good participant outcomes.
His work in the financial services industry includes both retail and institutional experience. Ray’s background includes wealth management and financial planning as well as roles in both sales and sales management for two national retirement plan providers. He has extensive background in retirement plan investments including separate accounts, mutual funds, and collective investment trusts. His work includes plan design, trustee meetings, and highly engaging enrollment meetings.
Ray holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary, or AIF® designation from the Center of Fiduciary Studies offered through the Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. He also holds the Series 65 license (Uniform Investment Advisor). Ray is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. His passion for northern Minnesota is well known to friends and colleagues and he enjoys time with his family at their lake home in “God’s Country”.
John Frisvold is a Senior Consultant, Investment & Retirement Plan Services, with Trademark Capital where he is responsible for working with advisors, consultants and plan sponsors to improve retirement plans.
During his career John has consulted on ERISA plans of all types and sizes. This depth of knowledge has allowed him to gain a great understanding for what business owners hope to accomplish when sponsoring a retirement plan and bring solutions that can both meet and exceed their expectations.
John received his Bachelor of Science and Business Administration degree in Actuarial Science and his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from Drake University. John has achieved the QPA (Qualified Pension Administrator) and QKA (Qualified 401(k) Administrator) designations from ASPPA (American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries).
Gregg has over twenty-five years experience providing actuarial services for defined benefit pension plans. He has extensive experience consulting with plan sponsors on current status of plan, potential plan changes and effect of asset allocation on plan funding. For the last ten years, Gregg has worked extensively in the assets allocation of for pension plans, completing more than 100 Asset-Liability Modeling (ALM) studies.
He has been involved in many plan design aspects, including incorporating and comparing defined benefit and defined contribution values and presenting these results using varied and innovative techniques. These analyses have assisted sponsors in modifying benefits to deliver more appropriate levels and to save costs.
Gregg is a published author and frequent presenter at industry conferences. His most recent articles on Risk Management Trends in Pension Plans were published in the Investment Management Consulting Association’s Investment & Wealth Monitor magazine and in the American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries Plan Conusltant magazine.
Gregg is an Enrolled Actuary (EA), a Member of the American Academy of Actuaries (MAAA), a Certified Investment Management Analyst® (CIMA®), an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) and a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®). He graduated with Honors from the University of Texas with a BBA in Actuarial Science and from Georgia State University with a Masters in Finance, specialization in investments, receiving the Atlanta Society of Financial Analysts Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement.
Mike joined TRADEMARK as the CFO in August of 2013. His primary focus is managing the financial and related matters. Prior to joining TRADEMARK, Mike spent 29 years at Ernst & Young, 21 of those years as a partner. During that time, he specialized in helping manufacturing and consumer products companies develop tax optimization strategies that integrate state, federal, and international planning, acting as the lead partner for companies such as Home Depot, Royal Ahold (Dutch), Michelin North America, Delhaize/Food Lion and Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company.
Mike holds Bachelor of Business Administration (Summa Cum Laude) and Master of Accountancy degrees from the University of Georgia. Upon graduation, Mike sat for the CPA exam and scored the highest in the state of Georgia. He is a licensed CPA in the state of Georgia
Mike and his wife Debra live in Athens, Georgia and have two children. He enjoys Golf, and is passionate about family and church. He serves as the chairman of the board for Compassion World Outreach (CWO), which provides training for pastors and church leaders in countries in East Africa.