Joe LeRoy

Joe LeRoy Joins Fenimore Asset Management

Joe LeRoy Joins Fenimore Asset Management

Joe LeRoy, CFP®, has joined Fenimore Asset Management’s growing team as an Investor Relations professional. Fenimore is an independent, Capital Region-based investment management firm and manager of the FAM Funds family of mutual funds.

Mr. LeRoy works alongside investors sharing Fenimore’s distinctive and understandable investment approach and helping them achieve their long-term financial goals. Previously, he was Vice President of Workplace Solutions at Goldman Sachs Ayco Personal Financial Management leading business development for financial wellness services to Fortune 500 clients. Mr. LeRoy has more than 18 years of financial services experience, holds the CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM) designation, and earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Government from Saint Lawrence University.

“Joe’s knowledge, experience, and commitment to service and building relationships will benefit our investors,” said Liza Baran, Director of Shareholder Services. “He is an excellent and valued addition to our team.”

Founded in 1974, Fenimore Asset Management is an independent, nationally recognized investment manager with more than $4.2 billion in assets under management (as of March 31, 2022) through its Cobleskill and Albany offices. Fenimore offers both individually managed portfolios and a family of mutual funds (FAM Funds) that can be used for retirement and other long-term investment planning. The firm’s team focuses on investing in carefully selected quality businesses and providing its investors with highly personalized investment services.

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Joe LeRoy, CFP®


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Investor Update — June 2022

INVESTOR UPDATE — JUNE 2022

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    On Friday, June 10, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed inflation accelerated to a 40-year high in May, with the CPI increasing 8.6% year-over-year.1 This was an increase from April and halted any hope that the U.S. economy had reached “peak” inflation.

    Impact of Oil Prices

    One of the biggest contributors to surging inflation is the price of oil. At approximately $115, the price of a barrel of WTI oil is up 60% year-over-year and more than 20% since the start of the Russia-Ukraine War in late February.2 (WTI stands for West Texas Intermediate, which is a pricing benchmark commonly used for the oil industry.)

    The impact of rising oil prices is most evident to consumers at the gas pump. In the May CPI report, gas prices were up 49% year-over-year, representing roughly one-quarter of the total increase in the CPI!3 Of course, higher gas prices also drive up shipping costs and airfare.

  • William Preston, Portfolio Manager - FAM Dividend Focus Fund

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    William Preston, CFA
    Portfolio Manager,
    FAM Dividend Focus Fund

But transportation isn’t the only way higher oil prices reverberate throughout the economy. Oil has derivatives that are inputs for thousands of products ranging from plastic and packaging to clothing and medicine. This can lead to broad-based increased costs for consumers.

Impact of Inflation

Higher-than-expected and persistent inflation has forced the Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) to step-up how aggressively it fights inflation. The Fed combats inflation by raising interest rates in hopes of slowing consumer demand.

Last Wednesday (June 15), we saw this aggressiveness in action when the Fed announced its largest rate hike since 1994 (0.75 percentage points). While good for fighting long-term inflation expectations, in the short term, higher interest rates have led to lower stock valuation multiples and increased the probability of an economic recession and the potential for a reset in corporate earnings. This has pushed the market returns into bear market territory with the S&P 500 declining -24% since its all-time high on January 3, 2022.4

No one knows how much longer the bear market will last or if/when the U.S. economy will enter into a recession as a result of inflation and higher interest rates. What we do know is that recessions and bear markets do not go on forever and they have often presented us with opportunities to invest with better long-term return prospects.

Firsthand Research Gives Us Confidence

At Fenimore, we never try to avoid an economic slowdown. Instead, our research team spends its energy on finding and owning what we believe are quality companies that can weather economic turbulence and emerge from volatile periods even stronger. This includes businesses with strong, sustainable cash generation, sound balance sheets with little financial leverage, and capable management teams.

Over recent weeks, our research team has been busy on the road meeting with management teams face to face. It’s these in-person meetings — a longtime tenet of Fenimore’s research process — that help us gain a better understanding of the current macro challenges facing companies while reinforcing our confidence in our holdings’ abilities to persevere and potentially thrive during a variety of economic environments.

Looking Ahead

During these uncertain times, we’d like to reiterate what we stated in our May Investor Update. Our team tells you with certainty that we remain committed to Fenimore’s investment philosophy and principles that have successfully guided us through difficult times since 1974. We believe that our holdings will partake in future growth because their management teams are focused on shareholder interests and they possess strong financial footings to help them endure the current decline and prosper when the markets recover.

Stay Connected

If you have any questions about your investments, please connect with us at 800-721-5391, through our website’s contact us section, or via info@fenimoreasset.com. Our team also welcomes you to meet with us in either our Albany or Cobleskill location or virtually.

Thank you for your ongoing trust and we hope you have a safe and enjoyable summer.

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1 bls.gov

2 FactSet, as of 6/16/2022

3 bls.gov, as of 6/10/2022

4 FactSet, as of 6/16/2022

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Celebrating Shannon Almy

Celebrating Shannon Almy

We applaud Shannon for receiving the “Georgia Van Dyke Award” from the Schoharie County Chamber of Commerce! She was recognized for generously dedicating her time and talent to the chamber and community over many years. It is no surprise to her Fenimore teammates that Shannon’s strong personal character was also a factor that the judges considered.

Congratulations Shannon!

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Veterans & Community Housing Coalition, INC.

VETERANS & COMMUNITY HOUSING COALITION, INC.

The Veterans & Community Housing Coalition, Inc assists and supports veterans in our 7 surrounding counties by providing temporary and permanent housing as well as a food pantry. These housing options include The Guardian House, which is the only supportive housing program for homeless female veterans in New York State.

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, we asked Michelle Viola-Straight, Director of Community Relations, one question: “How can we help our veterans?”

 The answer: Help make their new house a home.

The Fenimore team worked to provide 10 ‘Welcome Home to a Hero’ baskets for veterans that are transitioning into permanent housing. Each basket was filled with pots and pans, baking sheets, oven mitts, comforter sets, sheets, pillows, cleaning supplies, shower curtains, towels and more.  Our hope was to make ‘Home Sweet Home’ a little sweeter by allowing these veterans to spend more time enjoying this milestone and less time worrying about purchasing items they need.

The Fenimore team dropped off the baskets and was able to visit and tour the Guardian House and see the incredible impact that the Veterans & Community Housing Coalition has made across our community. As this month draws to a close, we want to extend a thank you to the Veterans & Community Housing Coalition for their continued work and a sincere thank you to all veterans for their service.

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Research on The Road: Face-to-Face Meetings

RESEARCH ON THE ROAD: FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS

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    By John Fox, CFA®
    CEO

    After two years of limited travel, Fenimore’s investment research analysts are back in full swing meeting with management teams in person at their headquarters, conferences, and industry events. During the last month, we met with a couple dozen companies. While there are certainly challenges, executives are not pessimistic.

    Insights from Our Travels

    • Banks: Banks seem encouraged by the financial strength of their customers and the expected increases in short-term rates by the Federal Reserve. Banks expect they’ll be able to increase net interest margins — the difference between interest paid and received — as a result.
  • Andrew Boord, Portfolio Manager - Fenimore Small Cap Strategy

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  • Insurers: Insurance premium rates continue to increase which is good for the profits of our insurance holdings. With increasing inflation and a war in Europe, it is widely appreciated that it is a risky world which increases demand for insurance.
  • HVAC Companies: The industry is undergoing regulatory changes over the next three years that will lead to significant redesigns of product lines. This will be an enormous engineering challenge, but historically this has led to higher prices on AC units as well as higher profits. We believe this should be a tailwind while customers should receive increased energy savings due to technological advancements.
  • Software Firms: We met with a handful of software companies that sell to financial institutions. The outlook for the year continues to be mid to high single-digit growth in revenue and we are confident in the ability of our holdings’ leaders to navigate current challenges.
  • Earnings Growth: It is clear that the global supply chain problems and elevated transportation prices will be with us the rest of the year. At this point, we continue to expect companies to grow earnings over 2021 levels, but at a slower rate than we anticipated at the beginning of the year. We also expect our holdings to generate cash profits to invest in growth and return to shareholders through stock buybacks and increased dividends. A skilled management team is often crucial to a good investment experience.

Fenimore’s firsthand, in-depth research helps us know our holdings well and this gives us confidence as we seek to protect and grow your capital over the long term. We hope our research insights from these face-to-face meetings give you assurance too.

Please call us at 800-721-5391 if we can assist you. Thank you for your ongoing trust.

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Tax Center

FAM FUNDS 2021 YEAR-END DISTRIBUTIONS

FAM FUNDS 2021 YEAR-END DISTRIBUTIONS

2021 Distribution Details

The following table presents the year-to-date capital gains and income for each fund for 2021.

type Long-Term Capital Gains Short-Term Capital Gains Net Income
FAM Value Fund
Investor Share Class
$4.9129 $0.0363 $0.0215
FAM Value Fund
Institutional Share Class
$4.9129 $0.0363 $0.1966
FAM Dividend Focus Fund
Investor Share Class
$0.6951 $0.0035 $0.0000
FAM Small Cap Fund
Investor Share Class
$1.6346 $0.0000 $0.0000
FAM Small Cap Fund
Institutional Share Class
$1.6346 $0.0000 $0.0000

This is not tax advice. Please await your year-end tax documents for final amounts. Shareholders should contact their tax advisors to review the tax implications of capital gain and income distributions. 

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Tax Center

IRS Form 8937

To view IRS Form 8937 Download PDF


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2022 Stock Market Update

2022 STOCK MARKET UPDATE

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    By John Fox, CFA®
    CEO

    After a terrific 2021, the stock market peaked on the first business day of the new year and has been declining ever since. So far, stocks are down 10% to 20% for the year depending on the index you watch.[1] The stocks of smaller companies have fallen the most.

    While the current headlines are on Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, we believe this is just one of multiple reasons for the drop in stock prices. As long-term stock investors, it’s always helpful to remember that price declines are part of the experience. I mentioned in a recent video we distributed that I have been at Fenimore for 26 years and in every one of those years, but one, the market had a decline of 5% or more during the year. This is a normal part of stock investing.

  • John Fox

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Of course, the reasons for the declines are always different. Today, we see three primary reasons:

1) High Valuations: After great market returns in 2021, stock valuations were at a high level. Because of low interest rates and many years of terrific returns, investors were willing to pay more for a dollar of earnings. This left stock prices at an all-time high and susceptible to a decrease as we turned the calendar. It’s impossible to know when a decline might occur, even if you think prices look high.

2) High Inflation: It’s very clear that inflation is not “transitory” using an often-quoted word from the Federal Reserve Chairman. We believe some parts of inflation will recede over time; other factors are here to stay. As a consequence, the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates this year beginning at their March meeting in a few weeks. Answers to important questions like how high these rate increases will go and how fast they will occur are unknown. Interest rates have already moved up in anticipation of the Fed’s moves. The 30-year mortgage rate has increased from last year’s low of 2.67% to 4% today.[2] We should point out that while the Fed is raising interest rates, they remain low by historical standards.

3) Russia’s Invasion: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine creates a lot of uncertainty around politics and Europe’s state of affairs. From a purely economic point of view, Russia is a major producer of oil and other commodities like wheat. If this conflict continues, it may increase the prices of these commodities which will impact inflation. Higher inflation brings us right back to the previous point about an interest rate increase.

As you can see, there are a number of interrelated issues. However, even if it seems like one storm ends and another surfaces, this is usually the story in economics, politics, and markets. We have been through numerous international events like the Asian financial crisis in 1998 and two wars in Iraq.

Looking Ahead

At this time, we expect companies to grow earnings over 2021 levels and generate cash profits to invest in growth and return to shareholders through stock buybacks and increased dividends. As I stated in our year-end newsletter, “You don’t have to know the future, but you do have to know your companies.”

This gives us the confidence we need to execute our long-term strategy: investing in what we believe are quality businesses that meet our rigorous financial standards with strong leadership teams that can create value for our investors over time.

Please contact us at 800-721-5391 if you have questions or concerns. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.

[1] FactSet as of 2/24/2022

[2] https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MORTGAGE30US

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BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SCHENECTADY

A Safe Place to Learn & Grow

BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SCHENECTADY

Fenimore’s associates are grateful for our longtime partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady. It’s an honor to support their life-changing work and help provide state-of-the-art spaces equipped with technologies designed to protect their children and teens.

“The Mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Schenectady is to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”

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BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SCHENECTADY


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Thomas O. Putnam founded Fenimore in 1974 with two passions: conduct in-depth, firsthand, independent investment research and serve investors with excellence and integrity. Today Fenimore Asset Management, manager of the FAM Funds, is nationally recognized, yet locally rooted and independently owned. Decades have passed, but our approach endures.

Securities offered through Fenimore Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC,
and advisory services offered through Fenimore Asset Management, Inc.

© Fenimore Asset Management. All Rights Reserved.