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Partners in Financial Planning Named to 2017 Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers for Third Consecutive Year

June 22, 2017 – Partners in Financial Planning is pleased to announce it has been named to the 2017 edition of the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers for the third year in a row. The list recognizes top independent RIA firms from across the U.S.

This is the fourth annual FT 300 list, produced independently by the Financial Times in collaboration with Ignites Research, a subsidiary of the FT that provides business intelligence on the investment management industry.

RIA firms applied for consideration, having met a minimum set of criteria. Applicants were then graded on six factors: assets under management (AUM); AUM growth rate; years in existence; advanced industry credentials of the firm’s advisers; online accessibility; and compliance records. There are no fees or other considerations required of RIAs that apply for the FT 300.

The final FT 300 represents an impressive cohort of elite RIA firms, as the “average” practice in this year’s list has been in existence for 24 years and manages $2.7 billion in assets. The FT 300 Top RIAs hail from 37 states and Washington, D.C.

The FT 300 is one in series of rankings of top advisers by the Financial Times, including the FT 401 (DC retirement plan advisers) and the FT 400 (broker-dealer advisers).

Click here to see a list of all the firms included in the FT 300 list. Partners in Financial Planning is the only firm in the SouthWest Virginia area.

Diversified Portfolios and Recent Market Returns

Over the last few years, stocks in the United States have outperformed their international counterparts. Lately, US bonds have lost value as yields have risen. We occasionally get questions from clients about why their portfolio has underperformed compared to the Dow Jones index or S&P 500 index. The reason comes down to diversification. Diversification is basically the idea that you don’t want to “put all of your eggs in one basket”, since diversifying among different asset classes (stocks and bonds, US and international stocks, large and small company stocks) will protect your portfolio from any one asset class performing so poorly that it permanently hurts your portfolio. As Ben Carlson has said:

Diversification is about accepting good enough while missing out on great but avoiding terrible.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes are composed of 100% United States large-cap stocks. This differs significantly from investor portfolios, which are invested across different asset classes and regions. Since their components are so different, we cannot expect for investor portfolios to behave like the S&P 500 or Dow Jones indexes.

While it is difficult to feel that you are being left behind as US large-cap stocks outperform the other asset classes that you own, we know that valuations matter and that all asset classes revert back to the mean. That simply means that an asset class won’t go up forever, but instead will eventually fall out of favor. Similarly, an asset class won’t underperform forever, but instead will eventually outperform. Many investors wanted all tech stocks in the late 1990’s…until the tech bubble burst. At that point, value stocks and bonds didn’t look so bad. There were a lot of investors that thought real estate would rise forever…until the great recession of 2008/2009 reminded them of why they own bonds. And US large-cap stocks will do well….until they don’t. Since international stocks are cheaper than US stocks and since eventually international stocks will outperform US stocks, we want to make sure we are investing part of your portfolio in international stocks. Although yields on bonds are currently rising (which pushes the value of bonds down) we know that long-term, most of a bond’s return comes from the yield and the subsequent interest that is paid. Therefore, we are happy to see higher yields on bonds even though some short-term pain will be incurred.

The bottom line is that there are tried and true basics that we stick with in investing, such as diversification and low cost investing. We also know that it doesn’t feel good when one of the asset classes in your portfolio is outperforming (why don’t I have more of this asset class?) or if one of the asset classes in your portfolio is underperforming (why do I have any of this asset class?). Our thought process on investing is this – in order to accomplish your goals, you need to invest. To invest means taking on some risk. However, diversification helps reduce the risk of having any one asset class blow up and destroy years of savings. Therefore, our advice is to stay the course and stick with your asset allocation (mix of stocks and bonds) consisting of diversified, low cost holdings.

If you would like to read more about the historical performance of US stocks versus foreign stocks, click here for an article by Ben Carlson entitled “Diversification is No Fun”.

As always, we are happy to speak with anyone about their portfolio or particular situation.

Your Partners in Financial Planning investment team.

Welcome to Brexit

Yesterday’s vote by the British electorate to end its 43-year membership in the European Union seems to have taken just about everybody by surprise, but the aftermath could not have been more predictable. The uncertainty of how, exactly, Europe and Britain will manage a complex divorce over the coming decade sent global markets reeling. London’s blue chip index, the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100, lost 4.4% of its value in one day, while Germany’s DAX market lost more than 7%. The British pound sterling is getting crushed (down 14% against the yen, 10% against the dollar).

Compared to the global markets, the reaction among traders on U.S. exchanges seems muted; down roughly 3% as you read this, though nobody knows if that’s the extent of the fall or just the beginning.

The important thing to understand is that the current market disruptions represent an emotional roller coaster, an immediate panic reaction to what is likely to be a very long-term, drawn out, ultimately graceful accommodation between the UK and Europe. German companies are certainly not 7% less valuable today than they were before the vote, and the pound sterling is certainly not suddenly a second-rate currency. When the dust settles, people will see that this panicky Brexit aftermath was a buying opportunity, rather than a time to sell. People who sell will realize they were suckered once again by panic masquerading as an assessment of real damage to the companies they’ve invested in.

What happens next for Britain and its former partners on the continent? Let’s start with what will NOT happen. Unlike other European nations, Britain will not have to start printing a new currency. When the UK entered the EU, it chose to retain the British pound—that, of course, will continue. Stores and businesses will continue accepting euros.

On the trade and regulatory side, the actual split is still years away. One of the things you might not be hearing in the breathless coverage in the press is that the British electorate’s vote is actually not legally binding. It will not be until and unless the British government formally notifies the European Union of its intention to leave under Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon—known as the “exit clause.” If that happens, Article 50 sets forth a two-year period of negotiations between the exiting country and the remaining union. Since British Prime Minister David Cameron has officially resigned his post and called for a new election, that clock probably won’t start ticking until the British people decide on their next leader. For the foreseeable future, despite what you read, the UK is still part of the Eurozone.

After notification, attorneys in Whitehall and Brussels would begin negotiating, piece by piece, a new trade relationship, including tariffs, how open the UK borders will be for travel, and a variety of hot button immigration issues. Estimates vary, but nobody seems to think the process will take less than five years to complete, and current arrangements will stay in place until new ones are agreed upon.

An alternative that is being widely discussed is a temporary acceptance of an established model—similar to Norway’s. Norway is not an EU member, but it pays EU dues, and has full access to the single market as if it was a member. However, that would require the British to continue paying EU budget dues and accept free movement of workers—which were exactly the provisions that voters rejected in the referendum.

Meanwhile, since the Brexit vote is not legally binding, it’s possible that the new government might decide to delay invoking Article 50. Or Parliament could instruct the prime minister not to invoke Article 50 until the government has had a chance to study further the implications. There could even be a second referendum to undo the first.

The important thing for everybody to remember is that the quick-twitch traders and speculators on Wall Street are chasing sentiment, not underlying value, and the markets right now are being driven by emotion to what is perceived as an event, but is really a long process that will be managed by reasonable people who aren’t interested in damaging their nation’s economic fortunes. Nobody knows exactly how the long-term prospects of Britain, the EU or American companies doing business across the Atlantic will be impacted by Brexit, but it would be unwise to assume the worst so quickly after the vote.

But you can bet that, long-term, everybody will find a way to move past this interesting, unexpected event without suffering—or imposing—too much damage. Meanwhile, hang on, because the market roller coaster seems to have entered one of those wild rides that we all experience periodically.

Your Partners in Financial Planning Team

Partners in Financial Planning – Financial Times Top 300 Firms – Again

We are proud to announce that Partners in Financial Planning has been named to the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisors (RIA) for the second year in a row. The list recognizes top independent RIAs from across the United States. We join financial advisory firms from 34 different states and Washington, D.C. The criteria for consideration for the list include advisor assets under management (AUM), asset growth, the company’s age, industry certifications of key employees, SEC compliance record, and online accessibility. For more details and the full list of firms, visit the following link:

We are pleased to have received this honor and are thankful for our clients, who continue to partner with us to reach their financial goals.

Sincerely, The Partners in Financial Planning Team

Pam Poldiak Elected to Board of NAPFA

Co-founder of Partners in Financial Planning, Pam Poldiak, has been elected to the Board of Directors for The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) for the 2016-19 term.  The Partners in Financial Planning Firm would like to recognize this achievement as Pam was competing with a number of highly qualified candidates and completed an in-depth interview process.  She will now serve in this leadership role to help in guiding NAPFA towards fulfilling their mission.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve.  The association provides support and education for over 2400 members all over the country.  NAPFA’s mission is to “provide networking opportunities, education, business development, and advocacy to promote the professional success of fee-only, comprehensive financial advisors”.

To read NAPFA’s official news release, click on the link below