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Thread: Invest In Lobbying - Huge Winner

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    Banned b381l's Avatar
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    Default Invest In Lobbying - Huge Winner

    http://www.economist.com/node/21531014

    So you want to make some money, why not invest in the companies that stand to gain the most based on lobbying efforts. This fund beats the S&P 500 by 11% per year since 2002. You can thank me later

    MUCH as some businesses whine about government intrusion, others do pretty well out of it. An index based on the amount of lobbying that American firms do has outperformed the broader market since its creation in 2008; data going back to 1998 show that it has done better over the longer term, too.

    The index is produced by Strategas, an investment-research firm. A first effort, to rank firms on the amount they spend on lobbying, was no use: it just corresponded with the largest firms. Strategas now looks at the intensity of lobbying—expenditure as a percentage of assets—to create an index of 50 firms that is revised quarterly.

    In aggregate the results have been stunning, comparable to the returns of the most blistering hedge fund. The index has outperformed the S&P500 by 11% a year since 2002 (see chart). There have been bumps along the way: the index fell sharply in 2008 and again this summer, when debt-ceiling brinkmanship raised the prospect of government austerity. But at other times, it seems remarkable that companies would do anything but lobby. A particularly vivid example was in 2004, when an aggressive corporate campaign prompted Congress to grant a one-off tax holiday for American companies to repatriate foreign earnings. The outright return on lobbying costs, according to one of the various studies that served as inspiration for the Strategas index, was $220 for each $1 spent.

    Firms that qualify for the index tend to be under the government's cosh. Tobacco companies are routinely threatened with every tax and sales restriction going, and are perennial fixtures on the list. So too are defence contractors. This year witnessed the entry into the index of several private-education providers, an area that has been under scrutiny by the administration of Barack Obama, as well as medical firms worried about the myriad loose ends to be tied up in Mr Obama's health-care plan.

    Banks do not make the list because their balance-sheets are so leveraged that lobbying expenditures are small as a percentage of assets. That omission probably flatters the index in recent years but harms it in earlier ones. Finance still makes an appearance, most recently through Federated Investors (a provider of money-market funds) and the two ratings agencies (Moody's and McGraw-Hill, the parent of Standard & Poor's). Other index members include Monster Worldwide, a jobs website; Brown-Forman, maker of Jack Daniel's whiskey; and CBS, a broadcaster.

    Various laws have been proposed or enacted to curtail lobbying, with limited success. The most effective answer may be the most straightforward: cut government spending. Strategas has just developed an index for that unlikely eventuality, allowing investors to short firms that derive the greatest proportion of their sales from federal-government contracts.

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    Banned b381l's Avatar
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    Default Re: Invest In Lobbying - Huge Winner

    Here's another article.....basically the same thing.

    Mods, this is not a political article.

    Trump is right: paying politicians pays.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/17/donal...ians-pays.html

    "As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do," Trump told The Wall Street Journal. "As a businessman, I need that."

    Maybe Trump is right: Perhaps paying politicians is the best way to generate returns. That's a lesson from investment research firm Strategas, which maintains a fund that has outperformed the S&P 500 for almost two decades. Developed in the wake of the financial crisis, its so-called "Real-Time Lobbying Index" is meant to capitalize on the increased regulation of the financial system. The thinking is that as politicians have more oversight of the markets, they could be in a position to help companies that had been generous.

    The makeup of Strategas' Real-Time Lobbying Index is proprietary, and the firm's managing partner, Jason Trennert, declined to comment for this story. So we can only guess at the makeup of the Index—which could be a major shelter from the storm if the Fed raises rates this year and the markets react strongly. Here's our best educated guess for what companies might be in there.

    The index is updated quarterly, as company earnings and updated lobbying numbers are announced, according to previous reports. And it's made up of the top 50 companies in terms of lobbying spending. Of course, looking at the gross spending would just give you a rundown of the country's biggest companies—General Electric, NBCUniversal parent Comcast and AT&T spent the most on lobbying since 2009, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). The lobbying figures are normalized as a percentage of the company's total assets.

    The lobbying index assumes a small company that bets big on a lobbying campaign will benefit in the market. Indeed, a number of academic studies have shown that lobbying has a significant positive effect on the stock price of companies. A 2010 study found that "portfolios of firms with the highest lobbying intensities significantly outperform their benchmarks in the three years following portfolio formation."

    Here are some of the companies that could be on Strategas' index, based on a Big Crunch analysis of 2015 lobbying records from the CRP and total assets as reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission in the company's most recent annual filing.

    It's important to note that these stocks aren't definitely on the list. Strategas keeps the constituents private and close to the chest. But these are a few companies—some of them small players in the larger scheme—who have devoted a portion of their resources to push for their own improvements and (if Strategas's formula continues to be correct) could be in line for some major alpha in the coming months.

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