With Anthony Bavedas, CFP, President & Senior Portfolio Manager of Constitution Investment Advisory & Portfolio Management

Article by Dana Epstein Altman

Photography by Abby Cole Photography

Originally published in Fairfield Lifestyle

Congratulations on celebrating 55 years in business! Can you tell us about the financial services CIAPM provides?

I’ve been a Certified Financial Planner since 1979 (the first in the history of Smith Barney). However, we are a portfolio management firm because that is truly what I enjoy doing. We have a conservative investment philosophy, and we invest in well-established large capitalization companies for our clients. On a long-term basis, we try to be competitive with the S&P 500. Until very recently we have not owned much in the bond market.

What is the overall mission of CIAPM?

To perform as well as we possibly can for our clients which means educating them, so they not only know what they own but why they own the investments they have. We never buy an in-house proprietary product (we don’t have any) for any client or any structured product investment. We also don’t allow the use of any leverage like a margin account.

What makes CIAPM different from other financial planning firms?

We don’t consider our firm to be a financial planning firm but rather a portfolio management firm that manages accounts for a highly competitive flat fee. Most firms charge fees in advance on a quarterly basis, our quarterly fees are billed in arrears. We also put a lot of effort into stock selection where we analyze revenue growth, dividend payout ratio, a stock’s short interest, and many other statistics. We sell covered calls on our clients’ stock positions to obtain extra income and shield against downside risk. This is only done by a small percentage of portfolio managers and financial planning firms because it involves a significant amount of extra work. We do it because we think it is a good long-term strategy that we enjoy offering.

What is CIAPM’s investment philosophy? We are conservative with our clients and generally don’t try to hit home runs in our stock selections. We believe when you tone down your objectives in choosing stocks your performance increases. In fact, sometimes when you are simply trying to hit a single you will hit the ball out of the park.

What should people know before hiring a financial advisor?

Make sure your advisor has a record of complete honesty. One of the many ways to check this is to Google “Finra Broker Check”. Be sure to find out the total fee and if there are any hidden fees. Also, make sure you know in advance which advisor in the hired firm is managing your assets and if that advisor is farming it out to someone else, mutual funds or exchange-traded funds.

What’s the most important piece of information for your clients to know?

That we work very hard and do our very best for them. We do a lot of research on other firms’ research. We have many intelligent, educated, professional clients and a few institutions who have been with us—managing their money—for 30, 40, and 50-plus years.

What are some local charitable organizations CIAPM is involved with to help support the community?

I have supported the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, the National Children’s Cancer Society, and a number of other charities. We also support the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to children where my cousin, Mary Pulido, PhD, is the Executive Director. It is the world’s first child protective agency (founded in 1874) offering support for high-risk and abused children as well as parental skills classes.

Do you invest in any bitcoin for your clients?

No, because we do not consider bitcoin an investment—putting money in bitcoin is like putting money into a crap game. We prefer solid companies with revenue, earnings, and dividends that are profitable enough to have the financial ability to buy back their own stock. An investor cannot obtain any of this when buying bitcoin.

As 2022 comes to an end, can you share some helpful tips for people with IRA’s?

People with IRA’s should thoroughly check out the benefits of selling covered calls on their stock positions. I have written a brochure on the advantages of selling covered calls in IRA accounts as well as taxable accounts. It is available to anyone. We have been doing it for many years and it especially helps IRA clients who have to take a required minimum distribution from their account each year because they are at least 72 ½ years of age. The call option premium money they receive plus their dividends help pay their RMD so that they don’t have to take as much principal from their account each year by selling stock. Mark Cussen wrote a good piece on this strategy in Ivestopedia which can be googled easily. The covered call strategy has helped me to grow my personal IRA very substantially over many years.

Are there any particular stocks you like at this time?

Yes! One we like a lot is Microsoft. It has a very strong balance sheet and is number one in software and number two in its fast-growing cloud business. Another good one is Pepsico. Again, a strong balance sheet and they are number two in beverages worldwide and number two in snack foods worldwide. I personally own stocks in both of these companies.

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