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Anton Gneupel: “Income investors don’t mind fluctuations much”.

As an income investor, Anton Gneupel does not want to be dependent on price fluctuations, but wants to generate a monthly income. His asset of choice is closed-end funds (CEFs). Anton explains in an interview how his portfolio is structured, what CEFs are and where the advantages and disadvantages lie.

Anton Gneupel in an interview

I spoke with

Luis Pazos at length last year in episode 185 about his investments as an income investor. Luis’ goal is to generate an ongoing income during the year that is as constant as possible. To do this, he uses REITs, preferred shares, and BDCs, among other investments. Last year’s episode with Luis was one of the most popular episodes on the Financial Rockers podcast.

At the time, however, we didn’t talk about closed-end funds, which also contribute a portion of Luis’ current income. Together with his podcast partner Anton Gneupel, Luis has now written the book “Understanding and Valuing Closed-end Funds” and published it through Finanzbuchverlag. I really liked the book, so for this podcast episode I invited Anton Gneupel to talk to me about CEFs in detail.

I talk to Anton not only about the book, of course, but also about his evolution into an income investor. Why does Anton rely entirely on high-dividend collective investments in his portfolio? How did he come across CEFs? What criteria does he use to select them? And where the pitfalls lie with CEFs.

Shownotes

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Listen to the interview with Anton Gneupel right now

Summary of the interview

What is important to you when investing?

There are many aspects that are important such as liquidity, risk diversification, expense or taxes.

The most important thing to me is to generate regular income streams and to protect the capital stock. The capital stock should be maintained in nominal terms and include inflation protection.

So I am an “income investor,” so to speak.

When did you start investing?

My grandpa inspired me to go into the stock market and showed me that stocks are a very safe investment over a long investment horizon. I didn’t realize until then that the stock market could be a big part of wealth creation and protection in retirement.

At the age of 17, I made my first stock purchases. Gradually, those around me approached me and wanted to know what could be done apart from well-known insurance constructs for income in old age.

And that’s how the income-focused investment strategy developed, where you focus exclusively on dividend stocks.

What I like about it is that the focus moves away from price fluctuations, to regular payouts on the invested capital. With a high investment amount, a 5-7% return already adds up to a high ongoing cash flow.

Why do you invest in high-dividend stocks in your early 20s?

We once compared a classic payout plan of an ETF savings plan with the distributing strategy on the invested capital. So in one case you pay out your assets, in the other you leave them invested. It makes in the end a mini

mal difference of no more than 10%.

Compared to the classic ETF strategy, distributing stocks have a certain tax disadvantage. In addition, taxes cannot be deferred as they are with the savings plan, but are due immediately upon payout.

For me, this was a trade-off between the psychological advantage of enjoying distributions rather than worrying about price fluctuations and the slight tax disadvantage. The psychological advantage is more important to me.

How do you invest specifically? What key figures do you pay attention to when selecting stocks?

I don’t just invest in high dividend stocks – those make up about 50% of my portfolio. Overall, I have a classic 70-30 portfolio that I try to use to represent the entire world. This includes collective investments, mutual funds and 80% so-called closed-end funds (CEF) (see below).

ETFs are not built into my strategy because collective investments are simply better suited. However, for the classic savings plan strategy (which I do not use) I find ETFs optimal.

That means you invest more in high dividend stocks like Luis Pazos. You also do the income investor podcast together with him. How did it come about that you started?

At first, I had started a YouTube channel on my own. I met Luis in a Facebook group and later at Invest in Stuttgart. We wanted to start something together and that’s how we came up with the podcast for income-oriented investors. Since about 3 years a new episode is released every month and although it is such a special topic, we are happy about many listeners.

With Luis, you also wrote the book “Closed-End Funds – Understanding and Valuing” which is well worth reading. What are CEFs?

CEFs are the oldest and a distinct type of fund (since 1868), just like active funds or ETFs. Just like ETFs, they are listed and traded on the stock exchange. There are about 1300 CEFs worldwide.

The difference with ETFs is that the number of shares is limited. When setting up a CEF, a fixed sum is invested. Unlike ETFs, no new units can be created or destroyed later.

In practice, this means that there is usually quite a large difference between the intrinsic value of the CEF and the fund price at which it is traded on the stock exchange.

Why is the name “closed-end fund” misleading here?

This is the literal translation. In fact, the “German-type closed-end fund” and the CEF are quite different. The only similarity is that the number of shares is limited.

CEFs are highly liquid and listed on the stock exchange. German-type closed-end funds are barely regulated and over-the-counter.

Historical returns also vary widely, being market-rate for CEFs and quite low for closed-end funds.

How can I actually trade CEFs in Germany?

Some CEFs can be traded on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, for example the commodity CEF “Black Rock World Mining Trust”. Overall, however, not so many CEFs can be traded on German exchanges.

The highest liquidity and therefore the lowest spreads (fees) are available on the home markets of the respective CEFs – especially USA, UK, Canada, Australia.

Particularly favorableTherefore, it is best to work with brokers that are well connected to the stock exchanges of the CEF home countries, for example the broker Captrader*.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of CEFs?

The expense ratios are usually higher than ETFs because there is active management. But the price range for CEFs is very wide, from 0.1% (hardly any ETF is that cheap) to 8% for over-the-counter CEFs. I don’t think the costs are always justified either, and that’s where you should look carefully.

A big advantage of CEFs is the said difference between the “intrinsic fund value” and the fund price on the stock exchange. If the fund price is lower than the actual value, you effectively get a discount and still get the full distribution on the full “intrinsic fund value”. So, in practice, this is a yield enhancement.

From my point of view, you should definitely avoid markups, that is, paying more than the actual fund value. The current fund prices of popular CEFs can be viewed on a daily basis on the CEFconnect.com website.

What details should I use to evaluate CEFs? After all, there are completely different approaches to CEFs.

There are three main approaches:

  • The traditional dividend strategy, where dividends are paid to investors on a regular basis.
  • Option strategy: another way CEFs generate income is through warrants on other funds or ETFs. This is how I am invested through a CEF on the NASDAQ -ETF which yields 6%.
  • Investing in interest rate instruments like loans or bonds.

How are you doing with taxes?

The tax issue should not be a reason to be discouraged. Once you do it is a matter of a few minutes.

The brokers already provide all the important information to correctly declare the distributions in the tax return, such as the dividend income or the account statements.

How much would you have to invest to get about 1000 euros net through your dividend strategy?

Of course, this depends strongly on the respective taxes one has to pay. Roughly, this is achievable with 150,000 euros of invested capital.

That sounds a lot at first. For many people, however, this strategy only comes into question after a long savings phase or after selling a company or property. Then it can be achieved very well even with an average income.

What goals have you set yourself for the future?

My overall goal is to make the topic of CEFs better known in Germany. I believe that CEFs can solve many social problems. Of course, especially for those who have been able to save assets that they can maintain their standard of living in old age through an additional income.

Finally, I’ll do the obligatory word shuffle with you again. I name terms and you say what comes to your mind.

Dresden

I associate Dresden with my home country because I grew up there. Since I am in Magdeburg, I miss the beautiful nature in Dresden and appreciate it very much.

Luis Pazos

A good friendship, good partnership, fruitful exchange and joint successes.

Financial freedom

From my point of view an overused term. The terms passive income, f

In my view, financial freedom and frugalism contain an aversion to normal work. At the same time, work should be something meaningful that one does not have to escape.

Pension

Pension is on the one hand a payment stream and on the other hand a phase of life. I deal with the pension phase very much. My goal is to be able to maintain my standard of living when I am no longer so fit and can no longer work much.

Rock music

I don’t have a fixed taste in music. I like rock music sometimes, especially Rammstein, because I listened to it a lot as a child.

Self-employment

I’ve always found self-employment exciting and I’ve wondered for a long time whether it’s possible to keep it up over a long period of time. During my business studies I started the YouTube channel and the podcast and everything developed step by step. I’ve now been self-employed for two years and it’s going very well.

I’m ambivalent about the term

courage

.

I am a friend of taking controlled risks. If you are aware of the risks, courage is good. But blind courage is dangerous, both in life and in the stock market.

More exciting interviews

“As an income investor, I don’t just go for dividend stocks” – Interview with Luis Pazos

“I go for dividend growth stocks with continuity” – Listener interview with Clemens

“Financial independence through steady cash flow” – Interview with Vincent from Freaky Finance

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