At The Foundry Financial Group, Inc., we are continuing to monitor the spread of COVID 19 and the impact of global containment efforts on financial markets. We continue to monitor the situation, and we will take the steps we feel are necessary to stay informed and aware of events as they unfold. Our response to this crisis can be broken into two categories. First, we want to make sure that we are doing what we should to help stem the spread of the disease. Secondly, we will seek to keep our clients on track to accomplish their financial goals during these anxious times.
We are committed to properly balancing our responsibility to serve our clients with the need to help reduce the chances that we will become infected and possibly spread the virus to others. Reducing the rate of infection is a critical goal that will take the effort of our entire community. Failing to do so will only worsen the anticipated wave of patients to our local hospitals in numbers that are expected to far outstrip capacity. In line with the recommendations of the CDC, we are doing the following:
- Actively encouraging sick employees to stay home.
- Sending employees who appear sick home.
- Emphasizing that sick employees should stay at home and exercise proper respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene.
- Performing routine environmental cleaning.
- Cancelling business related trips
Additional measures include:
- Allowing employees to work from home, where viable, and providing equipment and software as needed.
- Offering web conferencing and phone calls, though not our preferred method of meeting, in lieu of face-to-face meetings.
- Foregoing handshakes.
- Providing hand sanitizer throughout the office
- Minimizing meetings in close proximity.
One of the most common investment-related questions we are asked in the midst of a crisis is, “what should I do?” We feel the best way to begin answering this question is by reviewing what steps you/we have already taken to put you in the proper position. The reason we call stocks/equities long-term investments is because they have demonstrated highly volatile and unpredictable performance over short-term periods, but remarkably consistent long-term performance. To the degree that one’s investments are not “long-term” we encourage higher allocations to cash and fixed income investments.
We believe that market timing should not be practiced prospectively. Studies by Dalbar and Morningstar have pointed to the fact that investors on the whole underperform the very funds in which they invest by a wide margin. This strange conclusion is attributed to the practice of market timing. We strongly believe that a sound long-term strategy that you do not abandon during difficult markets will minimize the probability of failure.
This is not to say that portfolio should not be reviewed as markets change. In line with our ongoing commitment to due diligence, we held over 8 hours of meetings over the past week with representatives of the various investment firms in which we have invested our clients’ assets. Much has changed in the past month, and I’m not just referring to the drop in the stock market. The Federal Reserve has lowered the Fed rate nearly to zero, and the government has passed an emergency spending bill while the administration weighs further fiscal stimulus. At an individual account level, falling prices provide an opportunity for tax loss harvesting and portfolio repositioning to more tax-efficient and lower cost options. As always, we welcome the opportunity to discuss our allocations and the decisions made on your behalf. We will continue to make personal calls over the coming weeks to make sure that you are informed and properly invested.
We thank all our clients, and their other key advisors, who continue to place their confidence in us through this difficult period. We remain confident that in time we will look back at this period as a challenge that we were able to overcome together.
The Foundry Team