Modern Investing

Ultra-tailored; Tax-aware


What’s Your Go-To ETF?

The first is the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), which is actively managed but with a reasonable expense ratio and tax efficiency you cannot get from a mutual fund. . .

Whten it comes to investing in megatrends or innovation, it can be easy for fund managers to lose discipline. . .

The second fund is the Freedom 100 Emerging Market ETF (FRDM), an emerging market ETF with a reasonable expense ratio and access to emerging markets while avoiding exposure to China and other countries where lack of freedom and human rights is an added risk, as has become all too clear recently.

The mandate of the fund is. . .adherence to certain principles of human rights and freedom, and a wide range of other ESG criteria. . .

read more:, Sept. 2021

Current Income ETFs: Bond Fund Alternative?

When the underlying bond market is thrown into disarray...Jason Escamilla, CEO of ImpactAdvisor, noted that ultra-short ETFs traded at discounts of as much as 5% off their net asset value during that period.

The risk of acute market stress can make it harder to sell shares at values close to their buy-in levels.

“If it's parking cash that you want to do, it's less work with mutual funds, unless it's a highly liquid ETF where a market order gets you close enough to NAV,” he said., Aug. 2021

Evolution of Indexing | Direct Indexing

For investors in high-tax states with taxable-account holdings, direct investing allows much easier tax-loss harvesting, because he can trim individual stock holdings, rather than a basket of ETFs.

“You open up a wide range of tax opportunities,” he said, including moving appreciated holdings into donor-advised funds.

“The beauty of direct indexing is you can pick what your definition of responsible investing is,” Escamilla added

ETF Report, March 2021: The Indexing Issue

Tax Bombshell: Just One-Fifth of American Workers Pay More Than 80% of All U.S. Income Taxes

The picture becomes more complicated when analysts try to match tax returns to individuals or households.
“Are you talking families or are you talking single people?” said Jason Escamilla

And who earns what levels of income is a shifting measurement.
“The top 1% changes every year”  Escamilla said.  “...people have sold their business because they’re retiring.”

So what appears like a massive income might be the one-time sale of a life-long business.

Forbes, Sept. 2020

Direct Indexing | Advisors & ETFs: A Perfect Match?

There are two benefits to direct indexing: better customization and even greater tax efficiency. Being based in San Francisco with clients in the technology industry and residing in a high-tax state such as California, direct indexing makes a big difference, Escamilla adds.

“Direct indexing is an incredible product for a high net worth person who has professional support from a CPA and an advisor,” he says, noting direct indexing brings a level of complexity. “If you do direct indexing, you start to lose your ability to do your taxes on an iPhone app.”

...another way he mitigates tax hits is to use closed-end municipal bond funds. Escamilla watches for sizable discounts to occur, such as what happened in the March sell-off, which gives him a margin of safety for clients while adding alpha over time., Sept. 2020

We’re in a recession — will the stock market ever act like it?

“Historical valuation fundamentals are less important than the basic laws of supply and demand, which always prevail, however volatile along the way,” says Jason Escamilla, CFA, CEO at ImpactAdvisor, an advisory in San Francisco.

He points out that cash on the sidelines is at all-time highs, as everyone else waits for the dip, too, indicating that investors have been waiting for the pullback for some time. That strategy of waiting, too, may be a crowded trade that ends up offering investors only modest returns.

Bankrate, June 2020

How to write a strong business plan

Escamilla says he looks for the unit economics of a business with a clear breakdown of customer acquisition costs.
a rule of thumb...he looks for a one to three ratio of customer acquisition cost to the lifetime value of the customer.

LGT, May 2020

Will a rise in dark-pool trading impact retail investors?

Jason Escamilla, CEO and chief investment officer at US wealth manager ImpactAdvisor, plays down these concerns.

“...I don’t see dark pools as a problem in and of themselves. The point is, the retail investor is a different animal from someone who needs to move a large number of shares in a dark pool.”

Money Observer, Feb. 2020

Impact Labs Introduces IMPACT Full Stack ('IMPACTx'):

An Integrated ESG/Sustainable Investing and Reporting Solution
Responsible Investing, Redefined

The tech-enabled responsible investing offering is designed for investment professionals ready to graduate beyond traditional investing and incorporate impact, sustainability, and values- or mission-aligned goals

By adding expertise in values-aligned investing, traditional advisors can enhance their relationship with existing clients and expand their addressable market for new clients.

PR Newswire, Oct. 2019

5 common myths about refinancing your mortgage

When you refinance to a loan with the same term, you reset the payment clock, explains Michele Sine, portfolio manager and senior wealth adviser at ImpactAdvisor.

“It’s an uneven playing field when it comes to payments. In short, the bank always wins, because they get their money first,” Sine says.

Bankrate, Sept. 2019

A vegan ETF just launched. Should you buy?

Jason Escamilla, CEO of investment firm ImpactAdvisor, has a new portfolio simulation website called Vegemize that helps people pick individual stocks and even bonds from companies that match specific social metrics for things like gender equality and CO₂ emissions.

We're looking more at what to include and not necessarily exclude,” Escamilla said about Vegemize, which launched Monday. “We want to build a portfolio from scratch so investors can have their cake and eat it too.

CNN, Sept. 2019

Impact Labs Introduces Vegan-Themed Index-Tracking Portfolio Simulator:

I've yet to meet a vegan who did not care about ingredients, says Jason Escamilla, CFA, Impact Labs' CEO.

But when it comes to 'putting your money where your mouth is,' Vegan or 'green' clients must still demand maximized returns and optimized risk when investing their savings. Our software can deliver on both, while also quantifying the client's impact where it matters most.

PR Newswire, Sept. 2019

New front in trade war thumps US markets

“I am less concerned that the net effect of all this will be higher new tariffs over the longer term.

It’s too easy to cut a mutually beneficial deal as this escalates.
-Jason R. Escamilla

Boston Globe, Aug. 2019

The dollar buys 12% more than it did [before conflict stated],” said Jason Escamilla, CFA, CEO of ImpactAdvisor.

Fortune, Aug. 2019

Understand Your Investing Risk Tolerance

Jason Escamilla, CEO at Impact Labs in San Francisco, describes a two-step plan for tackling client risk:

First, protect the client’s wealth

Second, ensure they can meet their goals.

When approaching risk, Escamilla incorporates both emotion and analytical risk analysis.

U.S. News, July 2019

Seven Best Retirement Stocks to Buy and Hold

“Apple is a well-run growth company that has extraordinary profit margins at a reasonable valuation.”

“It is further de-risked when you consider management's continued preference for buying back shares over pursuing untested and lower margin alternatives,”

-Jason Escamilla

U.S. News, July 2019

Making One Smart Move as a New Grad Can Set You Up for Financial Independence

“Time is a special thing, and you can stack the deck in your favor for retirement by having time on your side,” says Jason Escamilla, chief investment officer of ImpactAdvisor in San Francisco.

“It’s not just the discipline of investing but putting a long time horizon on your investment planning.”

Acorns+CNBC, June 2019

12 Stocks You Should Never Sell

Jason Escamilla, Chief Investment Officer with San Francisco based ImpactAdvisor, says,“With Apple, you get a well-run growth company with extraordinary profit margins at a reasonable valuation.”

“As a long-term investment, it is further de-risked when you consider the company's demonstrated preference for buying back shares over pursuing low-margin and higher-risk growth.”

Kiplinger, Dec. 2018

The 7 Best Podcasts for Investors

Bloomberg Surveillance is for investors with their finger on the pulse of the markets, says Jason R. Escamilla, CEO at ImpactAdvisor in San Francisco

The show’s a perfect combination of the most knowledgeable guests in the industry and smart questions around the day's most interesting issues.

U.S. News, Nov. 2018

How AI Will Change Investing

“Human advisors have a good sense of the value of their client's time and when to make the call," says Jason R. Escamilla, CFA, CEO and chief investment officer at ImpactAdvisor in San Francisco.

U.S. News, Oct. 2018

Road Block: Robo Advisors Can’t Find ‘On-Ramp’ To Help Investors

Jason R. Escamilla, CEO and chief investment officer at ImpactAdvisor LLC, in San Francisco says the most recent tax changes demonstrated the edge humans have over technology in finance.

“When tax reform passed last year, days before year-end, we were able to save our clients thousands of dollars, each, with tax-smart last-minute action items,” he said.

“There was no iPhone app making those calls.”

Advisor News, Oct. 2018

Strong Corporate Profits Buoy U.S. Stock Market

“The trade war is real and will continue beyond the election,” said Jason R. Escamilla, CEO, and chief investment officer at ImpactAdvisor

“But the trade war’s effects are a rounding error compared to the huge tailwind created by tax reform. Tax reform alone will continue to drive corporate profits.”

The Epoch Times, Sept. 2018

A Decade After Lehman's Collapse, Some Say It Can Happen Again

Bisnow interview with ImpactAdvisor CEO and Chief Investment Officer Jason Escamilla:

“No doubt (in 2008) I was very bearish on the market, launching a short-fund most of 2008. There was no shortage of news stories, friends and family members accessing easy credit to fuel all sorts of borrowing and spending.”

“Today, our economy and corporations are among the most efficient in the world. The number of blatant signs of excess pales by comparison with 10 years ago.”

“Meanwhile, the social effects from 10 years ago cannot be underestimated. Things like Lehman and Bernie Madoff left individual investors highly skeptical in these 10 years since.”

“The new visceral skepticism today helps keep the industry in check”

Bisnow, Sept. 2018

Booted by the Dow: What Does It Mean?

“The Dow matters and it matters more right now for GE than for Walgreens,” says Jason R. Escamilla, CEO of ImpactAdvisor in San Francisco.

“Why? ...perceptions matter.”

U.S. News, July 2018

When Lump Sum Investing Works to Your Advantage

The benefits of lump sum investing over dollar-cost averaging hold true.

Jason R. Escamilla, CEO and chief investment officer at ImpactAdvisor, calls dollar-cost averaging a market timing strategy. “Dollar-cost averaging should not be used for purposes of enhancing performance."

"Dollar-cost averaging is simply a risk reduction technique: It is easing into a proper long-term investment strategy instead of implementing it immediately.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is much to consider before we will answer this question for any individual client: every new client-relationship comes with a different mix of client(s), advisor(s), portfolio(s), tax situation(s), investment mix, preferences, etc.

U.S. News, Aug. 2018

Leveraged ETFs Are a Loser's Game

With choppy investment markets, you might be tempted to seek higher returns in leveraged ETFs, but they are a loser's game. Even sophisticated investors get burned by them.

In fact, "very few investment professionals understand the risks over time, let alone retail investors and people in the media," says Jason R. Escamilla, CEO of ImpactAdvisor. These risky investments don't work the same way as typical funds and magnify losses exponentially.

"In certain markets they will dramatically underperform [relative to] the expectations of the everyday investor or finance professional," says Escamilla.

U.S. News, April 2018

Should I Invest in Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology?

"We view crypto-investing as driven by the greater fool theory of investing or speculation, and we genuinely mean that in a bullish way for now," says Jason R. Escamilla, CEO of ImpactAdvisor, a wealth management firm in San Francisco

Simply put, there are dozens of investment products on the horizon, many of which will introduce entirely new segments of investors to buy bitcoin: adding liquidity by way of all the marketing into new distribution channels. With those forces in place, it's anyone's guess when and at what level this bubble will peak.

"As an investor, you have to ask yourself, if you are getting into bitcoin today: what's your edge over the person selling to you? Simply looking at a chart showing the price rise is not enough," for bitcoin or any other second-hand good that trades in a marketplace.

U.S. News, Nov. 2017

Beware Of The Bitcoin Bubble: Investment And Financial Advisors Warn

But it is anybody’s guess what inning. It looks to me like we’re well ahead of the 7th-inning stretch,” said Jason R. Escamilla, CEO of ImpactAdvisor, an investment advisory firm in San Francisco. “The price level and energy usage are unsustainable. There is far better technology emerging to meet the same needs.

Forbes, Nov. 2017

The Newest Metric for Financial Success: Customers’ Emotions

"For Jason Escamilla, CEO of ImpactAdvisor, a wealth management firm that focuses on values-based investments, emotions and money are inextricably linked, as values-based investments are often driven by emotional responses to causes. (For example, an investor may choose not to invest in companies that he or she sees engages in practices detrimental to the environment.)

But..."Being emotional is not an edge in investing," he said.

Tearsheet, Aug. 2017

When Social Responsibility Becomes an Investment Strategy

"Social responsibility is the central theme of US-based software provider Impact Labs. In September, it announced the launch of the first algorithmic portfolio software solely for those who actively adopt ESG investing."

Waters: Trading Technologies for Financial-Market Professionals, Dec. 2016 issue

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