Invest like the "Super Rich"

11/19/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: STRATEGIES

Tony Sagami

Editor, Weiss Ratings LLC's Weiss Ultimate Portfolio

Study after study has shown that private-equity funds — as well as venture capital and hedge funds — have delivered some of the fattest returns on the planet. In fact, the returns are much better than index funds and the most popular mutual funds and ETFs, notes Tony Sagami, contributing editor to Weiss Ratings' Daily Briefing.

I recently received an invitation to invest in a private-equity fund. I asked my friend to send me the details, and after reviewing it, I was ready to invest. But getting invested was going to require more paperwork than getting a mortgage. And it was all so complex that I could tell I'd need help from my lawyer and accountant.

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No wonder the super-wealthy invest almost one-third of their money into private equity, venture capital and hedge funds. But getting invested require more paperwork than getting a mortgage. It is often so complex that one needs  help from a lawyer and accountant.

That's a shame. One of the biggest and least-talked-about reasons for income inequality is access to the best money managers.

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For a moment, forget about the large investment minimums and focus on the bureaucrats who make up the investment laws. They have those laws set it up to restrict everyday investors from participating in private equity, venture capital and hedge funds.

The barriers to entry are too high for 99% of investors. The result is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. And for that, we can largely blame policies of envy that increasingly restrict investors' access to wealth-building instruments.

At the same time, the accounting/auditing cost of running a public mutual fund or ETF has doubled since 2016. One of the reasons is that publicly traded firms are facing tougher and costlier regulations.

At the same time, the fees for private funds has stayed the same. As a result, the best money managers are closing their public funds and opening new private funds instead. It simply isn't fair that only zillionaires can invest in private equity, venture capital and hedge funds.

But what can you do to change that? Well, one option is to write to your Congressmen/women and Senators. It will take a lot of letters to change the mind of the entrenched swamp rats in Washington, D.C., so please do your part.

While we wait for large-scale change, you can invest in Business Development Companies, or BDCs. They are also known as closed-end funds. These are publicly available funds that are similar to private funds.

Congress created BDCs in 1980 as a job growth program designed to help small and mid-sized businesses raise capital. BDCs make investments in private companies and receive a generous participate in the companies' growth and profits.

Some of the largest BDCs include Ares Capital Corp. (ARCC), Main Street Capital (MAIN), Owl Rock Capital (ORCC), Golub Capital (GBDC), Bain Capital Specialty Finance (BSCF) and Triple Point Venture Growth (TPVG).

As always, you need to do your homework and make sure a BDC is right for your situation and needs. But if you want to invest like the ultra-rich, BDCs are worth considering.

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