2011 3rd Quarter Commentary

Overview Instability, uncertainty, and overall headline risk drove stock prices for the last three months. While many of the concerns we have written about earlier this year persist, the drama in Europe supersedes everything right now. On the whispers of agreements or dissensions between the deal makers/politicians in France and Germany, equity markets have moved hundreds of points upward or downward. Sentiment is quite negative these days and sentiment is driving the fluctuations we’ve witnessed this quarter. At the end of the day we still believe the fundamentals of [...]

2011 2nd Quarter Commentary

Overview The second quarter of 2011 had an all too familiar feel. After a strong start to the year, investors “sold in May and went away.” However, this time rather than an oil spill and the ensuing disaster, it was global supply chain issues caused by the Japanese tsunami, massive flooding in the US, a slowing growth rate in China and continued European debt concerns that caused investors to pull back. Added to that backdrop was heated debate and grandstanding by both political parties over the need to raise [...]

2011 1st Quarter Commentary

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” Benjamin Franklin Overview The first quarter of 2011 closed with an upward trend in stock prices. A rally that began in December continued through March with the final day of trading in the quarter testing the highs set on February 5th. This type of behavior shows the extreme resilience of investors; that despite the prevalence of intense “noise,” the fundamentals that drive investing currently rule the Street. The following paragraphs detail our observations on the overall economy and financial [...]

2010 4th Quarter Commentary

“Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.” Arthur Schopenhauer Last quarter we discussed our take on the future of the economy, noting that economics is a dismal science and thus we are required to take a less apocalyptic and more measured approach to our forecasts than the soothsayers in the media. We noted that economic forecasts over the last 12 months have been anything but consistent or accurate and that caution is therefore warranted. While 2011 looks to be different and somewhat [...]

2010 3rd Quarter Commentary

“The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.” John Milton A recent story we read captures the idea of how many people think in linear ways that can lead us to underestimate the future – be careful how you think: “In 1898, the first international urban-planning conference convened in New York. It was abandoned after three days because none of the delegates could see any solution to the growing crisis caused by urban horses and their output. In [...]

2010 2nd Quarter Commentary

The second quarter marked a pause in the 18 month rally in the equity markets. International markets performed substantially worse than domestic ones, particularly when translated into U.S. Dollar terms. Much of this correction stemmed from the uncertainties in Europe and lackluster domestic indicators of economic activity. The last three months have brought market participants to a point where many feel we are evenly balanced between economic decline and growth. That viewpoint is reflected in asset prices in both the stock and bond markets. We hold to our belief [...]

Time to Panic? (or Why you Need an Advisor)

by H. Brian May Last week we experienced a selloff reminiscent of the days of Lehman Brothers’ failure in 2008. While some claim a trading error may have been responsible for a portion of the massive decline on Thursday, we know that fears of a European collapse and Greek contagion gave speculators and traders a reason to sell. It’s clear the markets have risen substantially from the March 2009 lows, but we continue to live by the belief that it is valuations that drive markets in the long term [...]

2010 1st Quarter Commentary

During the last month, we passed the one year anniversary of the stock market’s most recent crisis low. We remember quite clearly that ugly Monday in March (3/9/09), 3 days after the S&P 500 hit an intraday low of 666, then closed at 676.53, reflecting a point where in the wake of the credit crisis, panic selling appeared to capitulate. At that point the S&P 500 traded at the same level it first crossed in 1996, 13 years earlier.

Experience the SS&A Difference

Today's financial landscape can be confusing. We believe both the regulatory structure and Wall Street have made it this way. In our opinion, looking at recent history, Wall Street is not in the advice business, as most investors think. Instead, Wall Street is in the business of manufacturing and selling products. In our minds there are two types of financial professionals, those who have a fiduciary obligation and those who do not. Let us explain further. To separate the various types of advisors, the easiest approach is to investigate [...]

Investing for the Benefits

Our clients decide what they’d rather be doing than worrying about their money. Their choices are wide ranging, they include everything from unwinding to working to transform their world, in big ways and small ways. Here is a short list of ways our clients now invest their most valuable asset, time: Build their business                                   Travel Join a nonprofit board                            Build a house Start a new business                                Volunteer  to tutor Run for office                                           Invent something new Invest in an African orphanage      [...]