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April 7, 2017
Q1 2017: Quarter in Review

It did not take long for the post-election euphoria to wane. Ostensibly created by the expectations for growth-oriented legislative and regulatory shifts, investor enthusiasm was met with the reality that the outlook for investible markets remains a bit muddy. The world is not as safe as it has ever been, equity markets are not as inexpensive as they ever have been and central bank policy, while suggesting stability going forward, still might be cause for disruption. And yet, while the jubilation may not be as widespread, investors do not seem to have turned to dismay. Indeed, first quarter performance proved rather fruitful and there are reasons to be a bit more positive from a fundamental standpoint as we head further into 2017.

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April 7, 2017
Expect Return? Respect Risk

With investing come no guarantees. Nonetheless, a few reasonably sound principles so far have stood the test of time and form the core of our Investment Approach. The first element of our approach involves the mapping of combinations of broadly diversified global equity, fixed income and other exposures to specific risk-tolerance levels to formulate our range of investment solutions. Reiterating that return and risk are two sides of the same coin, this month we want to demonstrate how this component of our investment approach translates into the asset allocation decision.

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March 3, 2017
Labels Can Be Misleading

We’re never surprised to see several “growth” exposures in prospective client portfolios we review. Naturally, Growth sounds so much more interesting than Value. But these names, which we’ll define shortly, can be deceiving. In fact, the return series for Growth-oriented portfolios generally are not as attractive as those built to emphasize less-expensive stocks. What might seem a more fashionable label often ultimately isn’t so functional when it comes to meeting long-term financial goals. Function is our sole focus when building investment solutions.

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February 3, 2017
One Strategy for All

With changes in weather, we change our clothes. The more wide-ranging and unpredictable the patterns, the bigger our closets. So it goes with our investments. Markets never fail to press for change of fashion and function, as shifts from balmy rally to stormy correction can come swiftly. And our natural response to an abruptly changing environment, depending on the direction, is to duck and run for cover or to drop the coat and umbrella for shorts and sunglasses. But, what if we build our investments with an all-weather attitude in mind? That basic mindset defines our investment approach.

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January 6, 2017
Q4 2016: Quarter in Review

The U.S. election seemed to dominate capital market movement during the fourth quarter of 2016, as investors first withdrew from risk markets leading up to the decision then embraced them after Donald Trump succeeded in defeating Hillary Clinton to become America’s 45th President. While strength in the U.S. dollar masked otherwise robust global equity market returns in the aggregate, our tilts to relatively inexpensive (known as, “value”) and to small-capitalization stocks boosted portfolio returns, versus the broader markets. While equity markets were positively affected by optimism regarding a Trump administration, fixed income markets were adversely affected by concerns regarding potential policy shifts. Investors began to anticipate higher macroeconomic growth mixed with higher inflation and higher domestic government debt, as well as a less accommodative monetary policy stance from the Federal Reserve. Longer-maturity bonds suffered the most, while corporate exposures fared better on account of the potential for faster growth to boost business activity and profit.

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January 6, 2017
Returns Commensurate with Risk

Capital markets may always reflect the aggregate expectations of investors, but those individual expectations can and will change. Sometimes those changes can come quickly with the resulting market impacts at the same time dramatic and confounding. The final months of 2016 brought with them ample reminder of these truths. Market trends after the November Presidential election left many wondering whether their portfolios should adjust to some new realty, particularly on the fixed income side of the ledger. As we wrote in last month’s commentary, we do not presently believe any marked change in expectation or allocation is warranted. Furthermore, for those still worried about the future for their bond investments, we take the opportunity this month to provide some additional perspective on the important role fixed income can play in a portfolio.

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December 2, 2016
Unexpected. Not Surprising

With all matters investment related, we seek to avoid surprise when the unexpected happens. This objective promotes a healthy skepticism of the consensus view and supports a calm demeanor in the presence of market instability. Even more, measured thinking encourages a heavy emphasis on risk measurement and control, a central tenet of our approach to […]

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November 4, 2016
A Signature Discipline

Our approach to investment management seeks pragmatism in concept and efficiency in practice. It is grounded upon more than a century of market history and informed by our collective decades of investment and advisory experience. Executed with cost effectiveness and practicality in mind, our methodology acknowledges the give and take of return and risk inherent […]

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October 1, 2016
Q3 2016 Market Review

Capital markets entered the third quarter of 2016 recovering from the turmoil impelled by the United Kingdom’s surprise vote to depart from the European Union. Nonetheless, equity markets generally saw reasonably strong gains in the third quarter, with fixed income markets generally tracing a path to green as well. Helped that fears of “Brexit” contagion […]

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