Annual Letter From The Chairman – 2019
January 29, 2019
January 16, 2019
Allow me to extend to you our cumulative wishes for a happy and healthy 2019.
If you recall my letter of last year, my theme was from Dust on the Bottle by country artist David Lee Murphy. I am also a fan of classical music – to the point that few are willing to enter my office during the day. Sadly, what culminated in a volatile 2018 did not lend itself to the sage commentary of Bach, Beethoven, nor Brahms. As a result, I decided to go to my fall back in the country genre – a visit with Kenny Chesney. After all, who knows? Two centuries from now, he may be considered “classic”, along with the likes of Snoop Doggy Dog, (if I have that correct?).
Nonetheless – getting back to Kenny, he has a wonderful song titled Don’t Blink. Perhaps as the years roll on, I am becoming more sensitive to his message. All of us in excess of an age beginning with the number “6” can identify. I encourage you to look up its lyrics. Here is the beginning:
“I turned on the evening news
Saw an old man being interviewed
Turning a hundred and two today
Asked him what’s the secret to life
He looked up from his old pipe
Laughed and said: All I can say is Don’t Blink”…
Don’t Blink: Time Moves Faster and Faster
As we enter 2019, I am beginning my 49th year in an advisory capacity. Although shocking, at least to me, what is almost as significant is that this year we will already be celebrating our 5th anniversary as an independent firm, and our 2nd anniversary in our new “World Headquarters”. Our advisory staff’s cumulative experience now numbers 103 years. Augmented by the experience of our support team, “in-house” QPW experience now exceeds 167 years. One of the most flattering comments I received during the year – which actually came from multiple sources – has little to do with me. It came in the form of a question: How have you been able to gather such a talented yet youthful group of individuals to become part of QPW? My normal response is: My good looks and charming personality! The obvious response back then is: No, seriously? Our team evolved and continues to evolve with diligent patience. Along that line, there was a new addition to our support team this year, Jason Doughtry. No, not the hard rock musician “Daughtry”, but a talented person, nonetheless. However, let me assure you his addition has filled our quota of “Jasons”. We will continue to add to our team opportunistically as we find individuals that have the skill sets necessary to allow us to continue to do the best we can for you, the essence of our business.
Don’t Blink: We Are Late in The Economic Cycle
We may be ending the longest economic expansion in US history. We are not yet there, but by July, that will have been accomplished. Whether there is recession in 2019, 2020, or 2021 is debatable, but it is clear that growth is slowing globally. With many equity indices around the world flirting with 20% declines from 2018 highs, the US bull market is also showing signs of old age. It is important to remember that cycles are normal and necessary for long-term prosperity. Economic expansions and contractions and bull and bear markets will always be with us.
Don’t Blink: Closing Your Eyes and Hoping Things Get Better Is Not A Strategy
According to a recent research report by Deutsche Bank, calendar year 2018 represented the worst year on record since 1901 by measure of the highest percentage of assets with a negative total return. Based on the universe of major financial assets Deutsche Bank tracks globally, approximately 93% were negative in 2018.
The good news is that we believe our investment strategies are well positioned to deal with the difficulties – AND opportunities – ahead. We continue to broaden and deepen our investment matrix in order to confidently create value in what could be trying times to come.
During our weekly Investment Committee meetings, we are constantly challenging what we are doing, why are we doing so, and searching for the best solutions to improve upon the delivery of what is most important – the successful accomplishment of your desired goals and objectives. The key message we want to deliver in that regard: At QPW, we do not believe in “models and cookie cutter approaches” for our clients. We manage your portfolios to meet your individual needs. We promise to keep treating you as unique clients who deserve unique solutions. The rules of the markets will never dissolve. Return is a function of risk. Our focus has been, and will always be, to seek out the very best risk-adjusted returns based on your specific circumstances.
Don’t Blink: The January 2020 Letter Will Be Here Before We Know It
Our heartfelt thanks for your faith and confidence. Our eternal goal is to reward you with our unyielding collective effort to help you accomplish your personal goals. May we all have much to look back on with gratitude and satisfaction after another inevitable blink of the eye.
“Trust me friend, a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don’t blink
Naw, don’t blink
Life goes faster than you think…”
Herman L. Rij, CIMA®