We just finished up our Executive Strategic Investment Planning Committee meeting and as promised, I wanted give you with a summary and notes from the meeting.
On Friday, November 9, 2018, Ron and the Empower Wealth Management Team met for our semi-annual Executive Strategic Investment Planning Committee meeting. The 3- hour meeting covered the analysis and results from the teams’ outlook in May 2018, and what is going on in the current environment within our fixed and equity strategies. They did extensive analysis breaking out all of the asset classes inside the portfolio with a detailed outlook for each area of the allocation moving out to late spring 2019. By the conclusion of the meeting, the team had agreed that there are some short-term opportunities that need to be analyzed, and some longer-term strategies that need to be watched. In this meeting were investment specialists from Prudential, PIMCO, JP Morgan, and Fidelity.
Highlights from this meeting included:
- Overall, the outlook from May 2018 until now proved to be generally what we expected and no major changes are needed in the portfolio to match what we see for the near future. One area that did move faster than expected was the strengthening of the dollar. That lead to some headwinds in certain areas of fixed as well as in our international equity holdings.
- In the immediate short term, we are doing some more extensive analysis into our large cap value strategy, our capitalization allocation (large, mid, small) for international and our high yield strategy for the fixed portfolio. The results of this analysis may have us make a few fine- tuning moves to capture and prepare for upcoming opportunities.
- There was a discussion and general analysis for active vs. passive investment manager styles in all asset classes of our portfolio. With the outlook from now, it was our consensus that we want to have full active management style 100% in both the fixed and equity portfolios.
- Members shared their observation that there has been a shift or capitulation lately from other advisors to reduce international equities inside client portfolios, which is not the recommendation of the members. Also, many advisors have a much higher allocation of equity growth tilt in large, mid, and small equities than we do, which is also something they feel should be reduced. It was stressed that our current allocation to international equity is sound as well as our lower growth tilt in large caps.
- Talking over some of the technical aspects of the portfolio segments, how cyclical stimulus has been met by secular headwinds in general along with the strengthening dollar that goes along with raising interest rates, the committee formulated the strategy moving into 2019 as well as some short- term analysis we should do to possibly tighten up large cap value, international, and high yield fixed.
One theme that was constantly stated in the meeting was that with our fixed and equity portfolio positioned as it is, we are doing all of the work today from a position of strength and opportunity versus a frantic need to make changes. At the conclusion, all the members had their “marching orders” and are to contact Ron and the Empower Team if they see any changes that are contrary to our current six-month outlook.
Ron: “It was a great meeting with vital information, comprehensive analysis, and opinions from the people and companies we trust the most. These semi-annual meetings have become the most important part of our investment selection process. I feel that the time invested to run these meetings is so well spent, mainly because it allows us to come together with our strategies moving forward, and a laser focus on the issues we need to address and when. I also feel the value this process provides helps me give advice to our clients that is also a part of my fiduciary duty, which I take very seriously.”
Thank you for your continued trust and confidence.