Mortgage Investment Corporations Returns in 2015
The Toronto Stock Exchange lost about 9% last year. But one group of investments that performed well in 2015 were mortgage investment corporations (MIC.) In the beginning of 2015 I held three different MICs. Since I didn’t add any new positions throughout the year it’s easy to calculate my total annual returns from them. Let’s take a look at the results. 🙂
Liquid’s MIC returns in 2015:
- Antrim Mortgage Fund: +4.5% return (on $10,300 invested)
- Atrium Mortgage Investment Corp (AI): +8.2% return (on $2,100 invested)
- Timbercreek Mortgage Investment Corp (TMC): -0.6% return (on $2,600 invested)
Total returns = 461 + 172 + (-16) = $617
Overall Return on investment = $617 ÷ $15,000 = 4.1% return
The chart below shows the unit price of my AI and TMC investments compared to the S&P/TSX index, throughout 2015. It does not include dividends or interest.
My total return for holding $15K in MICs last year earned me 4.1%. This rate of return was lower than the historical average of 5% to 8% one would normally expect from a basket of mortgage based investments. I believe a number of negative factors played into this outcome.
- Our economy in 2015 was weaker than economists had expected. The price of oil lost around half its value. As a result, the Canadian economy fell into a recession because it’s very dependent on strong oil prices to grow.
- Another reason is because the Bank of Canada cut interest rates not once, but twice in 2015. Lower rates are bad for mortgage lenders like MICs because they make less money if borrowers pay less interest on their loans.
- Furthermore the annual account fee I paid to my trustee lowered my Antrim Mortgage Fund return by 1.3%.
- The last reason is because one of my holdings, Timbercreek (TMC) severely under-performed other MICs. I don’t know if 2015 was just a bad year for the stock or if the drop is due to something more substantial.
That being said, I can’t complain. Making 4% isn’t much, but it’s still better than losing 9%. So I’m still glad to have put $15,000 in MICs instead of the general Canadian stock market.
Prudent investing requires us to understand why we own something. The reason I bought MICs in the first place was to have a stable stream of income which provides a return that doesn’t correlate with the conventional financial markets. To that end, I think my MIC investments have done exactly what they were designed to do last year. 😀 Even my worst performing MIC outperformed the TSX index. And Atrium (AI) recently increased its monthly interest payment by 2.4% from $0.07 per unit to $0.0717.
For the two publicly traded MICs I combined their interest payments with unit price changes to obtain the total returns. As for the private MIC, Antrim Balanced Mortgage Fund, I started the year with a portfolio value of roughly $10,300. As we can see from my account statement below, the fund paid out $592 of interest over the course of 2015, net of management fees. However, the trustee has a $131 annual fee so my net earnings turned out to be $461, which is a 4.5% total return.
Planning for 2016
This year I plan to invest at least another $10,000 into a variety of different MICs to continue earning more interest income. I don’t think Canada’s economy will get much worse than it currently is. The price of oil dropped about $30/barrel last year. It would be virtually impossible for it to drop by that much again this year. I plan to mitigate the high fees associated with the Antrim Mortgage Fund by investing more money into the account this year so the cost will drop as a percentage of the portfolio value. I also plan to buy more Atrium (AI) and possibly include Firm Capital (FC) into my portfolio to diversify my mortgage funds so if one of them under-performs again it won’t drag down the performance of my overall MIC portfolio as much as I did last year.
It’s exciting to experiment with unconventional investment ideas. And it’s important to analyze the results after a period of time and tweak the method to make it even better. This is how we ultimately win at the game of investing. 😀
Random Useless Fact:
In June 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is a legal right across the country.