Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Warren Buffett Turns 87 Today

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

The Oracle of Omaha turns 87 today—an impressive accomplishment for anyone. But all the more impressive that he still runs a “Fortune 5” (yes, that’s a five) company and does so with the energy and wit of a person half his age.

Read on: Warren Buffett Turns 87 Today

Topic: Standards


Monday, July 31, 2017

2017 Semi-Annual Review

by Charlie Haberstroh, CEO & CIO

If someone stood before you on December 31, 2016 and told you that by June 30th, 2017 the S&P 500 Index would be up +9.34% including dividends, you’d likely have assumed that the Trump administration accomplished several key aspects of their “Pro Business” agenda. You might have expected that major tax reforms were passed, regulations were slashed, an infrastructure bill was moving through Congress and a reasonable solution to the Affordable Health Care Act was achieved. You’d be wrong.

In fact, despite the stalemate and dysfunction in Washington, D.C., the S&P 500 Index is up +14.74% since Trump was elected through June 30th 2017. So if the US stock market performance cannot be attributed pro-business legislation, what can we point to?

Read on: 2017 Semi-Annual Review

Topic: The Market


Friday, May 12, 2017

Warren Buffett Responded

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

Back in February, I wrote a piece in reaction to Warren Buffett’s discussion on hedge fund and investment management fees in his latest Annual Letter to Shareholders. The heart of my post was that yes, many hedge fund and investment managers are not worth the fees they charge, but much like how Buffett relies on his Co-Chairman Charlie Munger for financial advice, surely, the average investor can receive value when paying for financial advice and expertise. My final post ended, “So would Buffett be willing to pay his ‘advisor,’ Charlie Munger, 1% per year to help him manage large and impactful investment decisions? I’m willing to wager he’d say ‘yes.’”

Well, at the Berkshire Annual meeting this year, I won my wager ...

Read on: Warren Buffett Responded

Topic: Strategies


Tuesday, May 02, 2017

My Father & I had Breakfast with Meg Whitman this Morning

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

Sure, there were several hundred other people in the room having breakfast with her. But details people, details. I was fortunate to have been invited to a breakfast discussion featuring Meg Whitman this morning by a good friend of mine who is an Estate Planning Attorney at Day Pitney. Her firm was one of the sponsors for this fundraising event which benefits a great non-profit called Family Centers. The discussion at our intimate breakfast centered on Meg’s advice regarding leadership. She covered many aspects of her successful career and gave useful anecdotes and feedback on how to run a world-class organization, regardless of its size.

Read on: My Father & I had Breakfast with Meg Whitman this Morning

Topic: Standards


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Human’s Take on Robo Advice

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

In my world, so-called “Robo Advisors” are a hot topic. So much so several of my non-finance friends have begun to ask me to explain what “Robos” are and how they work. I learned a long time ago that analogies are useful when describing complex subjects. I have also learned that people love movies. So it comes as no surprise that when trying to explain Robo Advisors, I reference the 1987 classic RoboCop.

Read on: A Human’s Take on Robo Advice

Topic: Technology


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Advisor Alpha

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

In our industry, “alpha” is generally defined as an investment fund’s excess return relative to the return of a specific benchmark or index. If an investment fund has a positive alpha, it performed better than a particular benchmark for a specific period of time. For the baseball buff out there, if the average Center Fielder bashed 20 home runs last year but I notched 25, then I generated a home run “alpha” of 5 last year. For the foodies out there, if the average person eats 2 slices of pizza per sitting and I normally eat 6, then ... well, you get the idea.

As you might imagine, it is very difficult to generate alpha consistently over a long period of time (my pizza intake notwithstanding). But alas, alpha exists!

Read on: Advisor Alpha

Topic: Standards


Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Mom’s Million Dollar Gift

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

I recently had lunch with a good friend of mine who is an Estate Planner at a top law firm in Fairfield County. Let’s call her Leah. Her practice deals with ultra-wealthy families so she is well-versed on sophisticated planning strategies when dealing with dynastic wealth.

After ordering food and making our usual pleasantries, we updated each other on the goings-on within our respective professions. I very much look forward to these lunches as she is full of clever ways to think about estate planning. When she said, “a gift during life is cheaper than the same gift at death,” I leaned in, asked for more details and then knew I had to share.

Read on: Mom’s Million Dollar Gift

Topic: Estate Resources


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

My Wager with Warren: A Reaction to Berkshire Hathaway’s 2016 Annual Letter to Shareholders

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

It was another classic. Warren Buffett covered everything from colonoscopy prep to the limitations of GAAP accounting. He took me through a range of emotions. For the hour or so I spent with Buffett (figuratively of course), I experienced curiosity, surprise, frustration, reverence, bewilderment, laughter, and respect. The one thing I did not do was cry although it would not have been the first-time Buffett has made me cry. I challenge you to watch the newly released HBO documentary, Becoming Warren Buffett, and not shed a tear.  ...

Read on: My Wager with Warren: A Reaction to Berkshire Hathaway’s 2016 Annual Letter to Shareholders

Topic: Strategies


Has Your Wirehouse Broker Moved Recently?

by Steve Haberstroh, Partner

If so, ask her why?

A February 27, 2017 Bloomberg article entitled, Shrinking Bonuses Slow the Revolving Door of Wall Street Brokers, tells you what is behind many of these moves.

Read on: Has Your Wirehouse Broker Moved Recently?

Topic: Standards


Friday, January 27, 2017

2016 Market Review

by Charlie Haberstroh, CEO & CIO

2016 was the year of surprises. 

January 2016 started with concerns of de-escalating economic growth in China which triggered an historic sell-off in the first five weeks of the year. Extreme pessimism reigned as global growth worries were paramount. Petroleum prices were weak and bonds rallied. Investors grew more and more concerned. Headlines extrapolated short-term weakness into a prolonged correction which amplified investor anxiety. On February 11th, the S&P 500 Index was down 10.27%. But by mid-March, the S&P 500 Index was trading in positive territory. Surprise! The pundits were wrong.

Read on: 2016 Market Review

Topic: The Market


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