Every year, I write a letter to our clients. This is one of the most challenging annual letters I have ever written.
If we look at where we were a year ago and where we are now, I feel like I have been in a Twilight Zone episode. Everything that was supposed to go right this time last year evaporated by the middle of March. While this is true, this is old news, and we must look for that light at the end of the tunnel. Yogi has always been more insightful than he gets credit for, and yes, the future will be different.
The effects of Covid-19 will not just evaporate with a shot in the arm. Our culture has changed, our investments have changed, and our priorities have changed. For example, we as a firm are investing in new technology to better serve you and meet your needs. This time last year, I didn't even know what Zoom was, and now I use it regularly. We are modernizing our equipment and conference room so we can provide better quality whether in person or virtually.
We have had some changes in personnel at the firm. After 27 years, Robin has retired, which she rightly deserves. Replacing her is Clarion Hess--who I am very excited about and--who has already impacted the organization. Clarion holds a Master's Degree from MIT and brings a much-needed skill set to our organization. She is anxious to begin her career in the financial services industry and to relieve me of management responsibilities to give me more time to do what I love: working with clients.
We have started two new sister companies. Riley Insurance Designs, will help our clients with annuity, life insurance, Medicare and long-term care needs. The latest and most exciting addition is Riley Private Client, which will offer advanced-planning services.
We have also created some new portfolios for “the future ain’t what it use to be” theme. I will be reviewing your accounts and sending you information as we assess your current allocations. One of the priorities of portfolio changes for the future is stricter risk management. Our goal is to provide the highest return at the lowest risk possible, and a reduction in fees, where possible.
Now, here’s what everyone's been waiting for…where do we go from here in the markets? As you know, I stay away from predictions and pay more attention to observations.
So let's get started:
- History on our side markets should be positive. How positive my observation, if you are correctly allocated, you may be pleasantly surprised.
- Interest rates should go up. Ten-year Treasuries should rise above 1%.
- Taxes may not change this year, but don't hold your breath.
- The price of oil will go up. I will give up my reasons for thinking this later.
- Sectors related to infrastructure will provide safer returns than some of the more volatile ones of last year.
- The stay-at-home sector will still be in vogue.
- Don't forget about foreign and emerging markets. They should make a comeback, and it may have already started.
In conclusion, our future will be different, so we must adapt. However, there will be a lot more positives than negatives. We will experience different lifestyles, and our priorities will change. Productivity will increase, and stress will decrease. Once the Covid-19 crisis is over, I see our future as different, but great.
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