Avoiding Risk: Jerry Wagner, Fund Timer by Thom Hartle
Jerry Wagner, president of Flexible Plan Investments, Ltd., of Bloomfield Hills, MI, currently has approximately $200 million under management. His firm was the top-ranked market timer for the last seven years in the MoniResearch newsletter's 1993 annual survey of market timer performance. He is a founding member of the Society of Asset Allocators and Fund Timers (SAAFTI), a nonprofit trade association of registered investment advisory firms that manage client assets with market timing. Stocks & Commodities Editor Thom Hartle interviewed Wagner on October 27, 1994, via telephone and discussed how market timing can improve investment returns and how he uses the political climate as an indicator.
Q: You've got a unique background for a money manager. Let's start there.
A: I was bit by the stock market bug when I was studying for my master's degree in industrial relations. That was just before I started law school. I really didn't shake it attending law school. In fact, I ran a hedge fund while I was in law school.
Q: When was that?
A: During 1971 to 1973. My early interest was in arbitrae situations, which involved computer analysis of the stock market. I went on to practice law, but I kept working on these hedge and arbitrage strategies on the side. Then the options market opened, and I became fascinated with that market. I found the arbitrage approaches worked with the options.