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Mark Biller

Mark Biller

Executive Editor

Mark joined SMI in 2000. He leads SMI newsletter’s overall content strategy, managing the editorial direction and writing many articles. He led the company’s efforts to create its first web site, helped develop several of SMI’s investment strategies, and has been a contributing author to the Sound Mind Investing Handbook. 

In addition, Mark helped design and launch the three Sound Mind Investing mutual funds. He has served as the Senior Portfolio Manager since the original SMI Fund was launched in 2005. Mark also serves as Senior Portfolio Manager to SMI Advisory Service’s Private Client managed account program.

Mark earned his undergraduate degree in Finance from Oral Roberts University.   

Mark and his wife, Cindy, have three children.

Most Recent Articles

Investing in an Over-Extended Bull Market

It's a classic dilemma and one that investors spend a surprisingly large amount of time dealing with: how to invest when the data seem to suggest the market is "late" in a bull market cycle?

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DAA – August 2018 Update

There are no changes to the DAA lineup for August. Read on for the full details.

DAA is a core portfolio strategy that is designed to help SMI readers share in some of a bull market’s gains while minimizing (or even preventing) losses during bear markets. The strategy involves using exchange-traded funds to rotate among six asset classes, holding three at any one time. DAA is a defensive strategy that nonetheless has generated impressive back-tested results, demonstrating the power of "winning by not losing."

The recommended categories/ETFs for August remain (in order of current momentum):

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Sector Rotation – August 2018 Update

There is no change being made to the official SR recommendation for August. Read on for the details.

Sector Rotation is a high-risk/high-volatility strategy. While its peaks and valleys have been more extreme than SMI's other strategies, it has generated especially impressive long-term returns, as discussed in Sector Rotation is Risky, But Highly Rewarding.

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Stock Upgrading – New Fund Recommendations for August 2018

Our most aggressive core strategy, Stock Upgrading is a “momentum” strategy premised on the idea that recent past performance tends to persist. The strategy has you diversify your portfolio across five stock fund “risk categories” (along with up to three bond fund categories). You then buy the funds SMI objectively determines to have the highest momentum, occasionally replacing lagging funds with those showing stronger momentum. With only monthly maintenance, Fund Upgrading has generated better long-term returns than the overall market. This article explains the changes to put in place for the coming month.
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2nd Quarter Report: Stocks Climb the Wall of Worry

After spending the first quarter of 2018 worrying about the return of inflation and volatility, investors found a new concern to obsess over in the second quarter: the possibility of a global trade war.

But unlike February, when the stock market responded to those earlier investor concerns with its first -10% correction in two years, stocks largely shrugged off these new worries and moved higher in the second quarter, with the Wilshire 5000 index gaining +3.8%. Volatility has retreated back to historically low levels and from all appearances, the bull market seems to be back on the march.

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An Upgrading Overview: Easy as 1-2-3

Why Upgrade?

SMI offers two primary investing strategies for “basic” members. They are different in philosophy, the amount of attention they require, and the rate of return expected from each. Our preferred investing strategy is called Fund Upgrading, and is based on the idea that if you are willing to regularly monitor your mutual-fund holdings and replace laggards periodically, you can improve your returns. While Upgrading is relatively low-maintenance, it does require you to check your fund holdings each month and replace funds occasionally. If you don’t wish to do this yourself, a professionally-managed version of Upgrading is available.

SMI also offers an investing strategy based on index funds called Just-the-Basics (JtB). JtB requires attention only once per year. The returns expected from JtB are lower over time than what we expect (and have received) from Upgrading. JtB makes the most sense for those in 401(k) plans that lack a sufficient number of quality fund options to make successful Upgrading within the plan possible. Here are the funds and percentage allocations we recommend for our Just-the-Basics indexing strategy.

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Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!

I'm not a soccer fan, but I'm also not one to miss the opportunity to work a sports reference into an SMI article. So in light of this weekend's World Cup finale, which France won by defeating Croatia 4-2, I'm reminded of a soccer study with implications for investors that came out a dozen years or so ago.

In “Action Bias Among Elite Soccer Goalkeepers: The Case of Penalty Kicks,” a study done at the Ben Gurion University in Israel, researcher Michael Bari-Eli studied the behavior of goalies trying to stop penalty kicks. For the non-fans among us, here's the setup. Penalty kicks in soccer are taken from 12 yards away, and the kicks reach speeds of nearly 100mph. So there's essentially no time for the goalie to react to the kick — he has to decide to jump to the right or left before the kick is taken.

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DAA – New Recommendation for July 2018

There is one change to the DAA lineup for July. Read on for the full details.

DAA is a core portfolio strategy that is designed to help SMI readers share in some of a bull market’s gains, while minimizing (or even preventing) losses during bear markets. The strategy involves using exchange-traded funds to rotate among six asset classes, holding three at any one time. DAA is a defensive, low-volatility strategy that nonetheless has generated impressive back-tested results when evaluated over full market cycles, demonstrating the power of "winning by not losing."

The recommended categories/ETFs for July are (in order of current momentum):

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Sector Rotation – July 2018 Update

There is no change being made to the official SR recommendation for July. Read on for the details.

Sector Rotation is a high-risk/high-volatility strategy. While its peaks and valleys have been more extreme than SMI's other strategies, it has generated especially impressive long-term returns, as discussed in Sector Rotation is Risky, But Highly Rewarding.

Continue Reading

Stock Upgrading – New Fund Recommendations for July 2018

Our most aggressive core strategy, Stock Upgrading is a “momentum” strategy premised on the idea that recent past performance tends to persist. The strategy has you diversify your portfolio across five stock fund “risk categories” (along with up to three bond fund categories). You then buy the funds SMI objectively determines to have the highest momentum, occasionally replacing lagging funds with those showing stronger momentum. With only monthly maintenance, Fund Upgrading has generated better long-term returns than the overall market. This article explains the changes to put in place for the coming month.
Continue Reading