Trevor Stasik - About Me

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Monetizing The Blog With Google

Okay, I know it's not a lot of money, but I've decided to add a Google search function and a few ads to the blog. I hope you don't mind too much. None of these ads are endorsed by me, but if you see an ad you like, feel free to click on it. I'm using google's adsense program. I figure that every dollar can help. This is the graphic I've photoshopped and uploaded to use with the Google Search Page:



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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Medallion Signature Guarantee

An important tool in the financial industry, especially for the transfer agents, is the Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp. The picture above is a generic example of one I found online. You can get the stamp at most banks or financial institutions. These stamps are typically a light yellow/green stamp that is put onto forms and documents verifying that the person signing the document is the person that they say they are. This signature stamp verifies that the signature is authentic and legally binding.

The stamp is specific to the securities industry and acts a guarantee by the bank that the person is able to sign in the capacity that they are signing in. As an example, if a bank officer affixes a Medallion Signature Guarantee stamp to a letter signed by a person as the executor of an estate, that bank has now accepted liability if the person's identity is revealed to be fraudulent. This may vary depending on a person's specific situation, but generally, the bank providing the stamp will want to see documentation and proof of identification.

The MSG stamp is traceable because it has numbers on it that identify each stamp. This is an excellent tool for verifying that the person signing a document is who they say they are. Transfer agents such as myself can use the complete, clear and unsmudged stamp to ensure a person's identity and authority prior to performing any actions on an account. To learn more about this tool, visit the SEC's website HERE.


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Argentina's 2001 Economic Collapse

I have been watching a documentary video about the collapse of Argentina's economy in 2001 in an effort to better understand the potential direction that my own country may face in the near future. The film is called "Memoria Del Saqueo". You need to understand that the video does have its own strong socialist editorial perspective and it does seem very one sided. Despite this, its bleak clarity and retrospection of economic chaos is useful in seeing that crazy things are possible in modern societies. I don't know if any of this is making sense.

I remember years ago when I first saw image on the news of supermarket riots where thousands of people were looting for bread and water. I remember the term "hyperinflation" being bandied about by the news. Since Argentina is half a world away, I never learned much about it. However, recently as Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner fired up the dollar printing presses, I've heard the term "hyperinflation" used in conjunction with our own economy. This has led me to begin to look into what happened in Argentina and how to prepare in case it happens here.

The situation became dire long before the complete economic collapse. The 1980's brought hyperinflation and debt. Policy after policy were enacted, none having the long term effect of bringing the economy into a stronger position. This was then followed in the early 1990's with the President Carlos Menem's privatization of the national oil company YPF along with a number of other national industries. From what I can tell, the privatization was done in an effort to get money to pay off Agentina's debts. The privatization also provided billions of dollars in kickbacks and bonuses to politicians and business executives that pushed through the sale of the public industries.

The movie "Memoria Del Saqueo" is very visual in its economic critique. There are images of blocks and blocks filled with unemployed people taking to the streets. There are shots of doctors talking about how 80% of the children they see are malnourished and underfed. There are lots of accusatory shots of shanty towns and garbage piles. The film does a good job of showing the symptoms of a collapsed economic situation. Unfortunately, I think the film lacks any real detail about how it happened and fails to offer any workable solutions. In the end, the film itself collapsed into little more than an emotional socialist plea. Argentina faced a tailspin collapse; I was looking for a more detailed analysis of how the hyperinflation happened and what could have been done. Instead, the video showed angry people marching, upset that the government was raising taxes, cutting programs, and wasn't giving them jobs. I wish that I had been able to find more information in the video. Crazy things can happen in modern societies and I will need to continue to search for answers.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

En Passant - Reducing Debt

I had a whole blog post typed about reducing credit card debt, student loan debt, and all kinds of other debt. However, I just deleted it. This is a difficult environment and I know you are trying as hard as you can. I'm just going to wish you luck. I hope that things turn out okay for all of you.
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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Excel Drop-Down List

I was practicing with Excel this evening and thought that I would do a short post on it. Excel is a useful spreadsheet tool in finance and it has many different functions. One function that I've been practicing tonight is the Drop-Down list. This a like a multiple choice test where you get to choose the answer you want to fill in the blank.

Okay, so say that you are creating a log of the S&P Credit Ratings for your investments and rather than have to type in the rating every time, you would like to be able to choose that rating from a list. Here's how you could do that:
1) Open up a new spreadsheet page and label the page something like "Menu Items"
2) Type down in the column what you'd like to have in the list. In this example, AAA, AA, A, BBB and so forth...
3) Next you will want to name the list. Select all of the items in the list. Then go to the top left hand corner of the formula bar and type in what you would like to name it. You can use the name "Ratings" or something similar. Be sure to press Enter.
4) Go back to the spreadsheet page where you would like the drop down list to appear, and select the cell where you want to put that list. In the menu at the top, click on Data and select Validation.
5) A little box will appear. You will want to choose to allow "List" and then use an equal sign with the name of your list at the bottom. In this example, I'll use "=Ratings". Press OK or hit enter.
6) You now have a handy dandy drop down menu for your excel file. Click and drag the right hand bottom corner of the cell to populate additional cells with your list.

You now have a drop down list in your excel spreadsheet. There are more options of what you can do with your drop down list, check out Microsoft's help center HERE. I hope that this has been helpful for you.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

We Surround Them, You Are Not Alone

I just finished watching the Glenn Beck "We Surround Them, You Are Not Alone" special on YouTube. Okay, I am interested in Glenn Beck's 9.12 project. Some people think he's crazy, but some think that his insanity is perfectly rational for the times. If you saw the video and feel like leaving me a message, go ahead. Looking at the 9 values listed on The 9.12 Project Website, I'd say I agree with 8 of them. As a topic of conversation, I've placed the 9 values below with a short comment about each.


1. America Is Good.
Agree. Generally speaking, I think that our nation always seeks out and thrives upon the betterment of all mankind. We may not always do the right thing, but I do feel that our nation has the best of intentions.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
Disagree. I do not believe in God, but I understand that the nation was founded with many principles that were derived from religion. I disagree with this principle, but I think I understand the importance of it to those that have religious beliefs.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
Agree Absolutely. I'm not perfect, but I've always tried to be an honest man.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
Agree. Once I have kids, I don't want the government telling me how to raise or educate them. Keep them out of my family decisions.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Agree. If we applied the same standards to Bernie Madoff as we do to those that don't have rich lawyers, people might not feel so upset.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Agree. We should all have the same liberty to pursue our dreams, but there are no guarantees that we will get it. Just because you have the desire to be a rock star, the raw talent to be a rock star, and you've practiced to be a rock star, doesn't guarantee that you are going to make it through the first round of American Idol. It also doesn't guarantee to a bailout if you didn't get selected.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Agree. You should be able to choose who you give your hard earned money to. I disagree with the government taxing us just so those tax dollars can go to charities I otherwise would not support.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
Agree. I disagreed with Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr. and Obama on a number of issues. For the record, I also agreed with them on a number of issues too. I should be able to speak my mind more freely on these issues without fear of reprisal or attack.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Agree. The Constitution says "We The People... of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America". We the people give to power to the government. Read the Constitution HERE.

Glenn Beck's show was a great way to start the conversation. Feel free to comment.




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I've used many different labels for this post because I think that these principles can affect people in many areas of their lives.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chess.com

I just signed up for an account on Chess.com. I'm looking for people to play with and I think that might be a good place to start. The account is free to set-up. I tried playing a game against the computer on the easiest level and didn't last long. I need more practice. The next game I play will be against will be a human. Anyway, check out the site HERE.

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Trevor Stasik: Updated and Expanded Resume

It's been a while since I've updated my resume and thought that now would be a good time. I just like to keep things up to date.

This is a pretty exhaustive list. If anybody wants a shorter, more targeted resume formatted for printing, please contact me directly.


Trevor Stasik
trevor.stasik@gmail.com

1148 Neshaminy Valley Drive
Bensalem, PA 19020
tel: 215-833-6384


EXPERIENCE:
DELAWARE INVESTMENTS, LINCOLN FINANCIAL SUBSIDIARY, June 2008 - Present
Service Consultant / Service Associate
• As a result of exceeding expectations as a service center representative, assisting in several projects including the redesign of the Quality Assurance presentations, and a genuine commitment to helping shareholders and coworkers, I was selected by a team of supervisors as the Employee Of The Month for the month of December 2008.
• My solid job knowledge, systems skill, and empathy for the customer resulted in my promotion to the TOPS Rep call queue, dedicated to servicing the top sales representatives for the firm.
• I competed in a Service Center-wide contest to select a new mission statement and my statement was selected to represent the values of our area. I also volunteered 10 dynamic and unique logos which I designed to represent the Service Center, one of which was selected as a solid representation of who we are.
• I designed the logo for the Quality Assurance department and assisted them with redesigning their monthly presentations.
• Responded to thousands of telephone requests regarding fund and account information, market conditions, fund performance, 403b loan inquiries, tax implications, and general policies and procedures, ensuring that clients were well-informed and pleased with the level of service during calls.
• Performed thousands of financial and maintenance transactions including share redemptions, fund exchanges, share purchases, adjustment of reinvestment options, address changes, and stopping payment of lost checks.
• Assisted the Charity Auction Committee by obtaining ticket donations from the Philadelphia Soul indoor football league and also Temple University, helping to provide financial aid to Philadelphia Futures and the Boy Scouts of America.
• Series 6 and Series 63 Licensed

FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, Student Organization, Sept 2006 - June 2008
Vice-President of Communications, Jan 2007 - Jan 2008
• Lead team of 6 students in upgrading and maintaining organizational website, creating and publishing bi-weekly newsletters, distributing official email communications, creating press releases, and marketing to the student body.
• Received the “Most Valuable Member” Award for FMA.
Newsletter Director, 2006
• Lead team of 2 students in creating newsletter in Microsoft Word, and subsequently publishing bi-weekly newsletters.
• Improved FMA newsletter printing process by evaluating printers and choosing the best vendor.


OFFICEMAX, Fairless Hills, PA (Varied full time and part time) July 2003 - June 2008
Print and Document Services Associate
• Coordinate reprographic, computer graphic design, and other business media services for individuals and small business clients at an office supplies retailer with $5 - 10k in weekly departmental sales.
• Work closely with clients and external vendors on business card and stationary design, operation of 8 printer/scanners, a hydraulic cutter, a folding machine, binding machine, and troubleshooting equipment repairs and maintenance.
• Used Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Publisher to perform graphic design on thousands of unique flyers, signs, business cards, and announcements which provided customer satisfaction and increased sales.
• Placed over a thousand DHL orders manually and via computer, tracking packages, and successfully ensuring that all orders reached their proper destinations.

UNITED STATES NAVY, Carl Vinson CVN-70 July 1996 - July 2002
Nuclear Electrician, Petty Officer 3rd Class
• Maintained and operated the four steam driven electric generators and four motor generators on the Aircraft Carrier Carl Vinson, which provided the power for the ship.
• Maintenance included monthly inspections, extensive log keeping, intricate repairs and laborious carbon brush changes.
• Trained and oriented up to 20 Electrician Mates on control panel operation of the generators, 4160 volt circuit breakers, backup diesel generator operations, and emergency reactor shutdown procedures.
• Monitored and maintained 16 salinity chemistry and salinity safety alarm modules including the Steam Generator High level/Low level alarms resulting in the 100% safe operation of the Nuclear Reactor.
• Participated in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch.

COMPUTER SKILLS:
• RUMBA DST 2000
• AWD Automatic Work Distributor
• TA2000 NT Desktop
• Omnifund
• InfoDisc
• DST Vision
• Microsoft Office Suite
• Microsoft Publisher
• Adobe Photoshop

FILM AND MEDIA EXPERIENCE:
• Wrote and Produced Short Film “Quitting Is For Losers”,
shown at 2005 Coatesville, PA Film Festival.
• Produced corporate video interviews for the Financial Management Association at Temple University featuring Enterprise Rent-A-Car, SEI Investments, and Prudential.
• Worked on numerous student, corporate and independent films while at school.

EDUCATION:
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, Fox School of Business, Philadelphia, PA
Bachelor of Business Administration, May 2008
Primary Major: Finance
GPA: 3.75, Summa Cum Laude
Secondary Major: Film and Media Arts

EXCELSIOR COLLEGE, (formerly known as Regents College), Albany, NY
Associates Of Applied Science, 2000
Specialization in Nuclear Technology






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Friday, March 6, 2009

Where To Go?


Does anybody really know where the markets are going to go from here? I have a general feeling that the market could have further down to go. However, a number of other people think that we are closer to the bottom than we think. At this point in the market activity, how reliable are technical aspects of trading, financial statements, and market psychology? It seems like these were all good indicators and useful tools in determining market and economic direction in the past. However, how accurate or relevant can these be in a tumultuous time such a this? I'm asking the questions because I don't have a clear answer. Where do we go from here?

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Summary of the Trend Fund Annual Report

I've been hard at work at Delaware Investments. Anyway, I just completed a special project for my supervisor. I think it's mostly a training exercise to get me more familiar with the annual reports for our mutual funds. Essentially, we were told to pick one of our funds and to summarize it. I thought that I should post my summary here, just so you can get an idea of the draft that I'm submitting. This is all public information available on our website, so you do not need to worry that any of this is inside information. Below here is my summary of the Delaware Investments Trend Fund Annual Report dated June 30, 2008.


Downtime Project:
What is in the Annual Report of the Trend Fund?

by Trevor Stasik


Cover Page & Table Of Contents
This is the first introduction to the materials contained within. The cover page includes the name of the company “Delaware Investments” along with the company slogan “Powered by research”. The name of the fund is also clearly shown on the document. In this case, the fund is the Delaware Trend Fund. The date of the report is also shown, and this is important as it lets the reader know how current the information is.

The table of contents is a list of all of the different parts contained within the annual report. The areas included are Portfolio management review, Performance summary, Disclosure of Fund expenses, Sector allocation and top 10 holdings, Statement of net assets, Financial highlights, Notes to financial statements, Report of independent registered public accounting firm, Other fund information, Board of trustees/directors and officers addendum, and About this organization. Finally at the end of the page is the warning that funds are not FDIC insured, funds are not guaranteed, and this document retains a copyright.

Portfolio Management Review: Pages 1-4
The Portfolio management review begins by discussing the financial environment faced by the fund during the past year. The environment has been more challenging than the optimistic year the fund had expected. The macroeconomic environment deteriorated and the number of attractive sectors available for investment declined. Many areas of the economic crisis touched the fund including declining available credit and reduced housing prices. The review then briefly discusses how the crisis spread from Bear Stearn bailout to the rest of Wall Street and then to Main Street. According to the document, employment and wages have “held up fairly well”.

The report expands then to describe how the fund performed during this period. The Trend Fund fell 12.76% at NAV for the A class share. The fund blamed poor stock selection decisions for the fund’s underperformance. Despite that, the fund did not change its time-tested, bottom-up approach in which the fund looked to invest in small companies with strong growth rates in growth industries, using price-to-earnings ratios, estimated growth rates, market caps, and cash flows in determining the selections.

During the last year the fund was underexposed to energy and basic industry, which meant that it was unable to participate in the outperformance of these sectors. The punishment of the financial sector affected the portfolio to a greater degree than the fund’s exposure to the financial sector as this affected and was affected by subprime losses and the credit crunch. The fund believe that bottom was in, and while things would continue to be challenging, that the market situation couldn’t go any lower.

Examining the individual securities which contributed to the performance of the Trend fund, one notable security is that of United Therapeutics, which had several positive data releases for the drug Remodulin. Other companies of note include Bucyrus International and Waddell & Reed Financial, both of which were positive contributors to the fund.

Several securities did not meet the fund’s performance expectations. Of these, retailer Coach was a detractor, with rising energy costs and falling housing prices negatively affecting the consumer. Other firms that detracted from the Trend fund’s performance were Acadia Pharmaceuticals and also Under Armour.

The final page of the Portfolio management review features a snapshot of the fund, providing the fund objective, total fund net assets, and more. The fund objective is that the fund seeks capital appreciation by investing primarily in securities of emerging or other growth oriented companies.

Performance Summary: Pages 5-7
The next part of the annual report is the Performance summary. This part of the document summarizes performance. The first thing covered in this section is the warning that past performance does not guarantee results and that performance can be different than what is quoted. The warning goes further in telling the reader to consider their own situation before investing.

The performance table that follows shows performance over a 1 year, 5 year, 10 year and lifetime timeframe for A, B, and C class shares. Following this table is a description of what is shown in the chart, including descriptions of sales charges, expense limitations, purchase restrictions and fees. Another table appears, providing expense information for A, B, C, R and Institutional class shares. Finally, there is a graph that provides an example of how a $10,000 investment in the Trend fund would have performed over a 10 year period against the Russell 2000 Growth Index. The Russell 2000 Growth Index had a starting value of $10,000 and an ending value of $13,181 over that 10 year period. The Trend fund A class share had a starting value of $9,425 after sales c

Disclosure Of Fund Expenses: Pages 8-9
This section tries to provide transparency to the shareholder of any expenses faced by the fund. There is a description of two kinds of costs: Transaction costs and Ongoing costs. Transaction costs are the costs expended in facilitating transactions. Ongoing costs are costs to the fund for management and sales. There are actual expenses that are discussed in the report, (see page 9 of this section) which are reported as expense ratios that can be used by the shareholder to estimate the expenses you paid on your account during that period.

This Disclosure section also discusses a hypothetical 5% return as a point of comparison with other funds, which also present a hypothetical 5% return in this portion of the annual report.
What follows this section is a table that explores the expense analysis of $1000, looking at the actual fund return for A, B, C, R, and Institution class shares. This shows the beginning account value, ending account value, annualized expense ration, and the expenses that would have been paid by a person during the six month time-frame from 1/1/08 to 6/30/08. Also, as part of the table, there is the hypothetical 5% return for A, B, C, R and Institutional Class shares.

Sector Allocation and Top 10 Holdings: Page 10
This section of the annual report breaks the fund down into its sector and looks at some of it’s larger holdings. The largest sector that the Trend fund was invested in during 2008 was Healthcare at 22.35% of the portfolio, followed by Technology which represented 20.96% of the portfolio. The top 3 holdings during this period were United Therapeutics, OSI Pharmaceuticals and Data Domain.

Statement of Net Assets: Page 11-15
This is a very in-depth list of all of the assets that made up the Trend Fund as of June 30, 2008. Each sector here is broken down into the securities making up the sector, the number of shares held of each security, and the total value held in that sector. Taking a look at each of these sectors, it can be seen what the highest valued security is. The Basic Industry and Capital Goods sector had Bucyrus International Class A shares at $11,785,428. The Business Services sector had Concur Technologies securities at $12,916,501. The Consumer Non-Durables sector had Lululemon Athletica at $9,932,708. Consumer Services had Cenveo at $6,719,806. Energy had Core Laboratories at $12,896,910. Financials had Waddell & Reed Financial Class A shares at $13,429,836. Health Care had United Therapeutics at $21,505,000. Technology had Data Domain at $14,063,324. Transportation only had Hunt Transport Services at $10,905,856. The total common stock held by the Delaware Investments Trend Fund on June 30, 2008 was $538,702,202.

Continuing on through the statement of net assets, we find a Discount Note issued by Federal Home Loan Bank for $19,753,115. Discount notes are short term loans issued at a discount to par. Next we find the Securities Lending Collateral at $149,511,280. Securities Lending Collateral is cash that is held as collateral on securities lending transactions. This brings the total value of securities, including loans, to $707,966,597.

Moving further down along the Statement of net assets, we can find that the total net assets that are applicable to the 37,730,647 outstanding shares is $559,405,020. The last items on the document are a breakdown of the net assets per share per class and a comparison of NAV to the offer price per share.

Statement Of Operations: Pages 16-17
This part of the Annual Report offers a snapshot of expenses, gains, and losses experienced by the Trend fund. This statement shows that investment income from dividends, securities lending income and interest equated to $4,746,640. The next area are the expenses. The expenses include management fees, distribution expenses, reports to shareholders, accounting expenses, administration expenses, and much more. The income less the expenses equated to the net investment loss of $6, 862,410. This is followed on the statement of operations by the net realized gain on investments of$123,572,071 and the unrealized depreciation of investments of $214,176,750. The net realized and unrealized loss for the year ended June 30, 2008 was $90,604,679. Putting it all together, we find that the net decrease in net assets resulting from operations was $97,467,089.

Statements of Changes In Net Assets: Pages 18-19
This portion of the Annual Report offers investors the opportunity to see changes year to year. This report for the Trend fund examines the years ended on 6/30/07 and 6/30/08. The statement looks at the increase or decrease in net assets from operations, dividends and distributions to shareholders, capital share transactions (proceeds from shares sold), and NAV of shares issued upon reinvestment of dividends and distributions. It may be of interest that for 2008, the total dividends and distributions paid out to shareholders was $198,272,697. The final calculation in this statement resulted in the net assets at the end of the year of $559,405,020.

Financial Highlights: Pages 20-30
This is a deep and complex part of the Annual Report, with many layers representing different share classes. Each class of share is presented in a fairly similar manner. As such, only the A class share will be presented as a representation of the financial highlights of all share classes. This data looks at a per share basis.

The financial highlights show financial data over a five year period, with data from 6/30/04 to 6/30/08. The first line in the financial highlights begins with the Net asset value at the beginning of the period. For the A class share during that 5 year period, the values were as follows: $16.220, $19.940, $20.180, $22.430, $22.320. The net asset value at the beginning of the period is an important value to use as a useful reference point when compare against the value at the end of the period. The second line is whether there was any income or loss from investment operations. As part of this section, there are lines on net investment lost, net realized and unrealized gain or loss on investments and the total from investment operations. The realized gain or loss are those gains and losses that have been actualized by the actions of selling. The unrealized gains or losses are those that have not been actualized by selling the security. In other words, the security has had an increase in value that has not been collected by selling the security. For the five year period, the totals from investment operations were as follows: $3.720, $0.240, $2.250, $3.217, and a loss of $2.340.

The next line in the financial highlights section of the annual report is the deduction of dividends and distributions from the net realized gain on investments. These dividends and distributions are important to account for as they are, unless reinvested, no longer a part of the funds net asset values. Therefore, they can directly affect the per share price of the fund. For the Trend fund for the five year period, the total dividends and distributions were zero for 2004, 2005 and 2006. For 2007, the dividends and distributions were -$3.327 and for 2008, the dividends and distributions were -$4.720. The net asset value at the beginning of the period minus the loss from investment operations minus the dividends and distributions, equals the next line in the financial highlights, the Net Asset Value at the end of the period. For the five year period, the net asset value at the end of the period is as follows: $19.94 , $20.180, $22.430, $22.320, $15.260.

The Financial highlights section of the annual report next features the total investment return, with is based on the change in NAV with the assumption that all dividends and distributions are reinvested at NAV. The total return varied quite significantly from period to period. It ranged from a low in 2008 of 13.76% to a high return of 17.15% in 2007. The total return was also affected by a waiver by the fund manager, but no further information about that is shown. The last section of the financial highlights is that of the Ratios and Supplemental Data. In this part there is a list of financial data that an investor might find useful when determining which fund is right for them. The net assets of the Trend fund appear again here. This is followed by the ratio of expenses to average net assets, which is a good ratio for seeing the trend of how much the fund is spending over time. From 2005 to 2008, the Trend fund expenses have remained in a tight range from 1.40% to 1.43%. Prior to that, in 2004, the fund had a ratio of expenses to average net assets of 1.50%. The next line in the financial highlights is the Ratio of expenses to average net assets prior to fees waived and expenses paid indirectly.

The next line in the ratios area of the financial highlights is the Ratio of net investment loss to average net assets. This is a useful ratio in that it provides visibility on the losses of the fund when compared to the average assets held on a per share basis. This ratio was the same as for the expenses for the period covered. From 2005 to 2008, the Trend fund ratio regarding investment losses has remained in a tight range from 1.40% to 1.43%. Prior to that, in 2004, the fund had a ratio of 1.50%. That line is followed by a line which details the ratio of net investment loss to average net assets prior to fees waived and expenses paid indirectly. The final line in the financial highlights section is the portfolio turnover. The portfolio turnover can be important to an investor because the more a fund turns over, the more likely it is to generate expenses. For the Trend fund for the five year period, the portfolio turnover at the end of the period is as follows: 59%, 44%, 71%, 58%, and 74%.

Notes To Financial Statements: Page 30-38
This part of the Annual Report offers a variety of messages that may relate to the financial statements. The first part is a list of the equity funds that Delaware Investments offers, how each of the share classes is organized, and the sales charges assessed on each class of share.

The first major part of this section of the annual report discusses significant accounting policies and includes the note that Delaware’s policies are in accordance with GAAP. The next part described is an expansion on how securities are valued. Equity securities are traded on the NYSE and NASDAQ, and the closing price is the price used in valuation. Also, in the event that a security does not trade on a given day, then the price used is the average of the ask and bid prices. Short term debt securities with a maturity less than 60 days are priced at an amortized cost, which is considered an approximation of market value. There is a further discussion about valuation of other securities including Securities Lending Collateral and foreign securities.

Other concerns in regards to the significant accounting policies of the fund include that expenses that are used exclusively for the fund are charged directly to the fund. In the event that an expense is common to all of Delaware’s funds, than that expense is charged based on funds’ average net assets. Other fees and charges discussed in this section include management fees, rebates, brokerage commissions, and various other administration fees.

The next section of the notes to financial statements is the Investment management, administration agreements and other transactions with affiliates. This section includes notes ranging from fee calculations, expense limitations, federal income tax interpretation, class accounting, repurchase agreements, and the use of investments. This is a very detailed section. One of the important things to note from this section are that the fund no longer has an expense limitation and does not require a waiver to spend more than 1.11% of average daily net assets on expenses. Another important note is that the fund has adopted a new FASB Interpretation “Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes” which will require that the fund determine whether its positions are likely to have a tax benefit or loss and record it as such. Next, the fund does use some estimates and assumptions in producing financial statements, which can cause actual results to differ from estimates. Finally, the fund employs the Delaware Service Company to provide fund accounting and administration oversight services to the fund. Some of the fees for that service are described in this section.

The second major part of the Notes to financial statements is the Investment management, administration agreements. In this section, there is discussion of commissions paid on selling the fund to DDLP, a distributor and affiliate of the Delaware Service Company. There were $26,029 spent for commissions on sales of the fund’s A Class shares, and the combined CDSC for the A, B, and C class shares was $56,830.

Due to the length of the notes, the remaining parts of the notes to financial statements will not be reviewed in any detail. To find out more about these notes, please refer to the Trend fund’s annual report from June 30, 2008. The titles of the other parts are as follows: Investment Management, Administration Agreements and Other Transactions with Affiliates, Investments, Dividend and Distribution Information, Components of Net Assets on a Tax Basis, Line of Credit, Securities Lending, Capital Shares, Tax Information, Credit and Market Risk, Contractual Obligations, and In-Kind Redemptions.

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm: Page 39

This part of the annual report is a letter to the shareholders and to the board of trustees signed by Ernst & Young LLP on August 15th, 2008. This is a letter from the accounting firm stating that they have audited our firm for the period ended on June 30, 2008. This audit including examining and testing the documents, assessing accounting principles and estimates and evaluating the statement presentation. In this letter, Ernst & Young states that they believe that all financial information presented in the document is accurate and conforms with the U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

Other Fund Information: Pages 40-45
This is a part of the annual report that looks into areas that were not previously looked at. The first part is the board of trustees consideration of the Delaware Trend Fund investment advisory agreement. This agreement was approved after consideration was taken of the advice of independent trustees and independent counsel. This was merely a renewal of the previous agreement which details and reviews all things relating to the Delaware Management Company and Delaware Investments. The annual report then reveals the nature, extent and the quality of service that Delaware offers its customers. The board reviewed Delaware’s compliance with policies, strategies, and restrictions of the fund. The board also examined services offered, compensations, philosophies and a whole host of other categories.

The annual report then continued by going into further depth about the nature, extent and quality of service for the shareholders of the Trend fund. The board considered the reflection of Delaware’s services through the prism of the Code of Ethics and adherence to the budget. Some consideration was given to maintaining and also increasing resources to the services area of operations. One of the most interesting parts of the entire annual report is that the board notes that the commitment that the service center has to a high level of service and their satisfaction with the nature, extent and quality of the overall services provided by Delaware Investments.

The board also considered the Trend fund’s performance. The board complimented the fund for being above the median of peer funds in it’s Lipper group. The annual report goes into detail about how the quartiles of the Lipper peers are determined. It also described how the fund performed among its peers over time. The Trend fund performed in the 2nd quartile for the one and ten year periods, but it performed in the 3rd quartile for the three year period and in the 4th quartile among peers during the 5 year period. Then the board noted the recent changes in the fund’s management as a new head of the equity department had been settling in since 2007.

The report then went into detail about how the expenses compared to other peers as selected by Lipper. When compared amongst its peers in the expense group for A class sales charges, 12b-1 service fees, and non-12b-1 service fees, the Trend fund was placed in the 2nd highest quartile for total expenses. The board noted that while they were please that the management fees for the Trend fund placed in the 2nd lowest quartile, the higher total expenses did not meet the board’s objectives. However, the board was satisfied with the Management’s efforts to bring expenses back in line.

The next part of the section on other fund information then considered management profitability. The board performed an overall examination of the profitability of funds across the entire Delaware Investments Family Of Funds. The board judged how they could derive additional benefits from the funds and how to drive additional business. This led into the next section of the report, which was economies of scale. The economies of scale is an important concept about how costs can be minimized by increasing the numbers that are service. With the use of breakpoints in conjunction with lower advisory fees, the board considered how economies of scale could be realized while sharing the lower costs with the fund and shareholders.

The final portion of this section are the short biographies of the fund managers. The Chief Investment Officer for the Emerging Growth team, which includes the team managing the Trend Fund portfolio, is Marshall T. Bassett. Mr. Basset graduated from Duke University and also received his MBA from The Fuqua School of Business at Duke. Mr Bassett has worked in a community bank and also for Morgan Stanley’s Asset Management Group. Other members of the management team include Barry Gladstein, Christopher Holland, Steven Lampe, Rudy Torrijos, Michael Tung, and Lori Wachs.

Board Of Trustees/Directors and Officers Addendum: Pages 46-53
This part of the annual report is simply a list of all of the trustees and some information about each of them. This information includes the trustee’s name, address, birthdate, position, length of time served, principal occupation, number of portfolios overseen, and a list of other directorships held by the trustee. Trustees and officers listed include Patrick Coyne, Thomas Bennett, John Fry, Anthony Knerr, Lucinda Landreth, Ann Leven, Thomas Madison, Janet Yeomans, J. Richard Zecher, David Conner, Daniel Geatens, David O’ Connor, and Richard Salus.

About The Organization: Page 54-55
This part of the annual report is a reflection on what the annual report is. This part of the report reiterates that investors should read the prospectus before investing and that past results are not indicative of future results. There is another listing of the trustees and officers indicated previously in the report. Finally, there is small print listing contact information including the phone numbers and the website, and also how proxy voting can be completed.



You can find out more literature about the Trend Fund HERE.

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Places To Find A Financial Statement

There are many places where you can find financial statements for firms that you want to research. The first place you can visit is the SEC's EDGAR database. This is where the 10-K and other financial statements submitted to the government are posted. In order to search their database for a company, follow this link here: http://www.sec.gov/idea/searchidea/companysearch_idea.html. Next, try the company's corporate website to find the financial statements. For example, you can find the reports for the following companies at the linked websites:
Pepsi
http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=78265&p=irol-sec

Intel
http://www.intc.com/financials.cfm

Aqua America
http://ir.aquaamerica.com/annuals.cfm

These are just a few examples. Visit the corporate websites of your favorite companies and have a look around. I'm sure you can locate the financial statements on many of those sites. Finally, you can find out abbreviated and modified versions of the financial statements on sites like Yahoo Finance, Google Finance, and WSJ. The financial statements are important documents in helping to determine the valuation and direction of a company. Best of luck in using these documents in your endeavors.

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