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Vector likes its niche

Vector Money Management’s niche as portfolio managers has been recognized worldwide. But often, the five-pro team at the Jackson-based company is mistaken as financial planners.

“We are portfolio managers – that’s our niche,” said Ashby Foote, founder and president of Vector Money Management. “We are not financial planners. We don’t act as brokers. We manage portfolios including stocks of all publicly-traded securities for individuals and institutions.”

Established in 1988, the registered investment advisory firm was ranked by Nelson Publications as the “World’s Best Money Manager” for U.S. Active Duration Fixed Income for the 10-year period ending Dec. 31, 1997. Since then, Vector Money Management has enjoyed a growth spurt that propelled the company to top the $200 million mark – “a significant benchmark,” Foote said – in managed stocks and bonds.

“Our investment philosophy is based on the premise that superior investment opportunities are the result of change,” said Foote. “Four agents of change that we focus on are demographics, technology, government policy and lifestyles. Our goal is to identify sectors or industries that will have improving business dynamics for an extended period of time. In fixed-income investments, our model incorporates the Fed Funds rate, long-term Treasuries, the commodity price of gold and the inflation indices as inputs in the duration decision process. Our equity research efforts are instrumental in the bond credit evaluation process and in the identification of attractive convertible securities.”

Vector Money Management no longer has the Mississippi Opportunity Fund, which was “a great idea, but we could never get it up to the critical mass that was needed to be self-sustaining and economically viable,” Foote said.

“Mississippi has been a microcosm for the upside and the challenging part of the economy over the last two years,” he said. “It’s been great for the technology-oriented parts of the economy, like MCI WorldCom, but it’s been extremely challenging for the agricultural section of the economy. We’re just a few miles away from the Mississippi Delta where farmers grow soybean, corn and cotton, and raise hogs in difficult times. Yet, right at the foot of the Delta, the most successful business story of the century in Mississippi and one of the great business stories of the 1990s in the nation has unfolded with MCI WorldCom.”

Agricultural commodities have been down across the board over the last two years, making it difficult for companies operating in the agricultural sector to do well in a difficult pricing environment, Foote said.

“All the companies that service the farm sector have suffered accordingly because of the difficult time the farmers have had with falling prices,” he said. “On the other side, MCI WorldCom has seen extraordinary success, which has vaulted itself into the top tier of telecommunications firms and, a year from now, could very well be the biggest telecommunications firm in the world should they successfully complete the merger with Sprint.”

Vector’s five employees – Foote, Allen Tye, John Scanlan, Brien Craig and Shelba Griffin – provide services that include asset allocation and portfolio management of fixed income, equity and balanced portfolios. The client list includes foundations, institutions and individuals.

“All portfolios managed are with individual stocks and bonds,” Foote said. “We do not utilize mutual funds. It’s a characteristic that helps us differentiate ourselves from some of the other folks out there.”

Vector’s Web site at www.vectormm.com includes up-to-date, interesting reads that include addressing trends, providing market commentaries or tackling issues such as “The Latest on Y2K’s Effects on Industry and Politics” or “Deflation and the Mississippi Economy.”

“Because of structural changes going on in the economy, we’re really optimistic about inflation remaining very, very low for the next several years,” Foote said. “We think interest rates will probably fall by the year’s end to even lower levels than it is now. It’s extremely positive for the financial markets. The economy should continue to do well, and the markets should do well in this environment.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne Wilbanks Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com or mbj@msbusiness.com.


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About Lynne W. Jeter

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