By Alex Klingelhoeffer, CFA, CFP, Wealth Advisor
When it comes to market declines, one of the foremost jobs of an advisor is to keep a level head in times like this. At Exencial, a chief part of our value proposition is to ensure disciplined execution of a calculated investment strategy in both good and challenging markets. In short, our role is to execute on the things that we and our clients can control.
This is not the first time the market has approached a 20% decline within the current bull market. Nor is it the first time the market has pulled back due to an unforeseen health shock. In the past two decades, we have seen SARS, Avian Flu, Dengue Fever, Swine flu, Cholera, MERS, Ebola, and Zika all come, and in time, all pass through the market, and the economy.
After reaching a record high on February 19, the S&P 500 index has now retrenched 19% in the span of as many days. Fundamentally, it’s important to realize that downturns are not rare events. All markets, across all time periods, have entered periods of sustained decline. Even knowing this, it can be difficult for an investor approaching retirement to wake up today and see their portfolio so significantly affected by events outside their own control. The natural response is to do something, anything, to stem the pain of market declines. To combat these impulses, Exencial provides clients what we think are three powerful tools:
1) An investment strategy founded in academic research and tailored to your individual needs as an investor.
2) A war chest of fixed income to fund spending needs while waiting for equity prices to recover.
3) An experienced advisor to guide clients through the near-term uncertainty.
As an investor it is important to utilize these tools to help steward family assets through these times of uncertainty. We believe those who avoid selling assets at poor prices are more likely to reach their goals over the long term.
Many of our clients will remember the Christmas Eve low of 2018 where peak-to-trough, the broader US stock markets declined 19% on fears of a lingering trade war with China. Those who exited the market at that time did so to the detriment of their portfolios.
We don’t claim to know how bad this market downturn will be. However, using history as our guide, the ability of companies retain and grow their earnings over time is the driver of long term investing success. Our opinion is that short term headwinds will impact the revenues of the larger economy over the next 6-12 months, but that the long term fundamentals of the broader economy remain intact.
To sum, our advice during this time of repricing may ring familiar:
1) Re-evaluate your cash flow needs and discuss with your advisor if your needs have materially changed since you last met.
2) Remain diversified and resist the urge to sell assets at discount prices.
3) Wash your hands frequently.
Alex Klingelhoeffer, CFA, joined Exencial Wealth Advisors in 2019. Before joining Exencial, Alex worked for Charles Schwab in Austin, TX as a Sr. Financial consultant where he worked in the retirement planning, active trading, and portfolio analysis fields Alex graduated from the University of Missouri with dual degrees; a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Bachelor of Journalism degree. Alex is a CFA® charterholder and a member of the CFA Society of Oklahoma.
The S&P 500® is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large-cap U.S. equities. There is over USD 9.9 trillion indexed or benchmarked to the index, with indexed assets comprising approximately USD 3.4 trillion of this total. The index includes 500 leading companies and covers approximately 80% of available market capitalization.
The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index, is an index used by bond traders, mutual funds, and ETFs as a benchmark to measure their relative performance. The index includes government securities, mortgage-backed securities (MBS), asset-backed securities (ABS), and corporate securities to simulate the universe of bonds in the market.
The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Float Adjusted Index is a broad-based benchmark that measures the investment grade, US dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market.
The CRSP US Total Market Index includes 4,000 constituents across mega, large, small and micro capitalizations, representing nearly 100% of the U.S. investable equity market, comprise the CRSP US Total Market Index.
The FTSE Global All Cap ex US Index is a free-float, [note 1] market-capitalization weighted index representing the performance of around 5350 large, mid and small cap companies in 46 developed and emerging markets worldwide, excluding the USA.
The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate ex-USD Float Adjusted RIC Capped Index is composed of non-US dollar denominated investment-grade bonds. Employs hedging strategies to protect against uncertainty in exchange rates.
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