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FA Creates Free Site to Track Fund Distributions

By Murray Coleman November 19, 2014

An advisor in California has done the financial-advice industry a favor, and he doesn’t want anything in return — not for himself, anyway.

About this time every year, asset managers start posting estimates of how much their funds will have distributed to investors in terms of capital gains, dividends and interest for the calendar year. The data help financial advisors give clients a rough sense of their tax bill.

But if there’s a central repository for the information, it has escaped the watchful eye of Mark Wilson of wealth-management firm Tarbox Group in Newport Beach, Calif. As far as he knows, advisors have to wade through asset-manager websites to access the data, just as he’s done for years.

But now that’s over. Wilson, who is Tarbox Group’s chief investment officer, has built a free site called CapGainsValet.com, unaffiliated with his employer, that tracks fund managers’ capital-gains numbers as they become available.

Though he says it’s not uncommon for firms like Lipper and Morningstar to report once distributions take place, Wilson tells FA-IQ he had “trouble finding a good source for getting projected numbers as they’re reported by each fund.”

These reports are sometimes no more than ballpark figures. Still, Wilson says they can jump-start year-end tax planning discussions. “It’s a big help to be able to give your clients these estimates in advance,” he says. “It really helps us to prevent some people from making some costly mistakes.”

Like? Well, for instance, buying a fund right before it makes a distribution. For example, just now CapGainsValet.com lists more than 50 funds projecting 20% or more in distributions. “So we warn our clients that buying these funds in a taxable account before distributions are made could wind up costing them a lot,” Wilson says.

Though CapGainsValet.com is a free site, Wilson asks visitors who find it useful to consider donating to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a charity he has long supported.