2nd Quarter 2020


There and Back Again...

“Go back? No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
- Bilbo Baggins; Riddles In The Dark

Perhaps much like the “memoir” recounting his other-worldly adventures that became the basis for Tolkien’s The Hobbit, Bilbo’s approach to cave navigation could be an apt description of how prudent investors may want to approach the globe’s Covid-impacted capital markets going forward. The precipice that was the image of the equity markets in Q1 was nearly reversed with the vertical ascent of Q2 – although the return ride was anything but smooth, with volatility re-emerging as a fixture of the overall investing landscape.

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Domestic and Global Market Recap...  FRANCIS J. DAVIES, III

The second quarter combined a mature economic cycle, trade wars, political division, and a global pandemic to produce the best US stock market performance in over 20 years. That is some alchemy.

The bounce back from the lows of March, when the market hit bottom during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, was as fierce as the decline had been. The S&P 500 gained 20% in the quarter to cut its loss for 2020 to 4%. The Nasdaq Composite rose over 30% with an increase of 12% for the year, its best quarter since 2001.

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Richard “Chip” Harlow

US stocks rebounded during the quarter as investors came to terms with the reality of living with COVID-19. Businesses have been slowly reopening, albeit not at capacity and with new social distancing guidelines. The true economic impact is still uncertain, but it appears the impacts will not be a worst-case scenario. As the quarter ended, there was a resurgence of cases, particularly in the South and in California. It remains to be seen how this resurgence will play out. The large dispersion between individual sector performance continued, as investors positioned themselves for potential winners and losers to this new normal.

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The Overshadowed SECURE Act…  STEPHEN L. EDDY

Neglected. Overlooked. Both of those words describe the SECURE Act which was passed into law in December 2019. A relatively sweeping reform for retirement plans, it was generally designed to make retirement plan savings vehicles available to as many people as possible. It was immediately overshadowed by COVID-19 and the CARES Act.

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Planning for Uncertainties in Retirement

The uncertainties we face in retirement can erode our sense of confidence, potentially undermining our outlook during those years.

Indeed, according to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, only 18% of retirees say they are “very confident” about having enough assets to live comfortably in retirement. Almost 40% were either “not too confident” or “not at all confident.”

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OPA & Another “New Normal” Perspective:

As mentioned last quarter, this space is usually filled with the event calendars for a variety of the non-profit and cultural organizations that we as a firm, our employees, clients or colleagues are involved with. It’s through these events, annual or otherwise, that they further their fundraising efforts and support the ongoing delivery of their missions.

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