Newsletters

Market-View 1st Quarter 2014

Portfolio Recap As the 1st quarter of 2014 came to a close and the 2nd quarter began, the US stock market remained near record highs.  Talk by the Federal Reserve of ending (tapering) their quantitative easing program sooner, questions around whether corporate earnings can support valuations and recent geopolitical events in the Ukraine, all contributed to increased volatility and concerns over how much longer the current 6 year bull market will continue.  Through all of this, your portfolios showed resiliency and experienced steady, positive performance. Our diversified approach to managing investments continued to focus on limiting downside equity risk through a bias for value-oriented, dividend paying domestic and international equities.  In the short term, volatility and potential for loss has been further mitigated by allocating fewer investment dollars to small cap and emerging international, both of which carry more risk than other areas in the equity markets.  Small cap has also experienced significant gains over the past several years further motivating a reduction because we believe the prospect for significant future appreciation has diminished.  Hybrid investments, led by preferred stock, Read on! →

How well do you know your financial adviser?

Assuming you wouldn’t hand over your house key to a stranger on the street, why turn over critical financial decisions to someone you don’t know very well?  If you decide to hire a financial adviser based solely on “feel,” rather than their experience, expertise, and disciplinary background, you might as well have handed over the key to the next passerby. While personality, style and overall “fit” should play a role in choosing a financial adviser, make sure and do your research using a few key documents to fully understand the adviser’s business practices and avoid the regret that comes with making the wrong decision. Every year at this time, advisers across the country are reviewing and revising their Firm Brochure Part 2A Form ADV, Firm Brochure Supplement Part 2B Form ADV, Privacy, Confidentiality and Proxy Voting Disclosures.  These documents describe the firm’s business practices, its key employees and their credentials.  They also serve as annual updates to the various regulatory agencies that oversee the financial services industry. For individuals seeking an adviser or considering a change to a current relationship, Read on! →

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) – February 2014 Newsletter

Enrollment period for 2014 has come and gone. If you are like many workers in the U.S. you probably noticed changes in your health care benefit offerings. For the first time in a long time, many workers are weighing their options for health care coverage as high deductible health plans with health savings accounts are becoming more the “norm” for health care benefits. As health care continues to evolve and take shape, employers and employees are adapting to keep pace. In an effort to reduce costs in response to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increase employees’ engagement in their own health care decision making, employers across the country are beginning to shift their focus from the traditional health care plans (HMO/PPO) to high deductible health plans (HDHP) coupled with health savings accounts (HSA). According to a 2013 survey[1] on the ACA’s impact on employer sponsored health care, one in four organizations (24.5%) is increasing their emphasis on an HDHP with an HSA, while an additional 14.3% are assessing the feasibility of adding one. If you have not yet been Read on! →

MARKET-VIEW 4TH QUARTER 2013 – January 2014 Newsletter

After a great year for the equity market in 2013, investors are looking to 2014 and wondering what to expect in the year ahead.  The economy appears to be gaining momentum as we head into 2014 and may soon enter “escape velocity” – meaning our recovery moves into expansion and does not require excess monetary stimulus (no quantitative easing) which could bring the expectations of tighter monetary policy into investors’ minds.  A secular bull market is likely intact but the risk of a 5-10% correction this year is elevated. These gains came in the face of ongoing macro challenges, illustrating again that stocks often like to climb a “wall of worry”.  The past year started with a government crisis and an agreement regarding the fiscal cliff.  Throughout the following months we saw political problems in Europe, an international crisis in Syria, another US government shutdown, a botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act and the word “taper” entering our investment lexicon.  Stocks kept powering higher however, with only brief pauses along the way. This bull market is now the 6th Read on! →

Year-end Reflections and a Look Ahead

As 2013 comes to a close, it is a good time to reflect on the many things that have transpired.  For us, the year brought the start of a new firm and the opportunity to place new emphasis on our clients and the comprehensive nature of our work.  We are grateful to our clients and to the professionals who showed support during the year.  We look forward to providing many years of dedicated service and working together to navigate the numerous financial needs that will arise throughout the course of our relationship. Equity markets continued to show strength in 2013 and portfolios benefited as a result.  We remained diligent, yet cautious throughout the year.  Diligence came in the form of keeping fixed income and hybrid investments at targets.  Caution was exhibited by seeking quality, valued oriented equity investments and by keeping higher than normal levels of cash.  The result was moderate, yet steady growth in portfolios with reasonable downside protection when markets retreated.  Growth is more uncertain in 2014.  Interest rates remain low, but tapering by the Federal Reserve seems Read on! →