Next year we will be celebrating our 20th year in business. During that time, we have grown from basement dwellers, (our first office was in the basement of my house) to the Chambers award winners three years in a row. The Chambers is an international award given to the best trust companies in the world. Of course, we could not have accomplished it without the support of clients, the tremendous intellect, compassion and dedication of our staff as well as the referrals from clients and friends like you. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all of it.
We were excited to launch our new website at the end of last year and hope you are finding it easy to navigate. Other changes of note are the new name of this newsletter and our new logo. We went with Viewpoints to not only continue to pass along some tidbits on investments but also other views that affect your trust portfolios planning and tax implications. Hopefully, you can use it to get a glimpse into how we operate and to see how all of our various skills complement each other to further your financial goals.
Lately, we have heard from many of our clients about their anxieties over wealth transfer. They need help managing the tricky balance of providing a substantial inheritance to the next generation, while keeping their heirs’ work ethic intact. They also want to adequately prepare their children and grandchildren to be good stewards of this wealth, and pass along values they hold dear. We work hard to help our clients with these challenges.
This past year we have fine tuned our service offerings along with some new titles. We have named Andreas Steven as our Chief Operations Officer, Allison Grebe Lee as our Director of Financial Planning and Julie Bryan as our Chief Investment Officer. Their roles will largely remain the same but are more descriptive of their leadership roles within our company. We are also pleased to announce that our CPA, Stephen Paul, recently achieved his Certified Financial Planner designation CFP®.
When you see them, please offer congratulations. They are all vital to the success of our company.
Also fundamental to our success are our board members;
· Terry Pancoast, Senior Counsel at Stoel Rives LLP – Now mostly retired, Terry practiced in the areas of estate planning, tax-exempt organizations, trusts, and family and closely-held businesses. His clients included high net worth individuals and families, grant-making foundations, colleges and other operating charities, trustees of trusts, and various business entities.
· Sheryl Manning, CPA – Sheryl is a Certified Public Accountant, with more than 20 years of experience in former Big 8 public accounting firms as well as private practice, and she has served on a number of corporate, non-profit, community and governmental boards.
· Kerry Tymchuk, Executive Director of the Oregon Historical Society – Kerry enjoys a reputation as one of Oregon’s most respected public servants. His career includes service as a Marion County Deputy District Attorney, Director of Speechwriting and Legal Counsel
to U.S. Senator Bob Dole, and Oregon Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Gordon Smith.
· Vern Cameron – Vern worked for 46 years in the investment industry, retiring in 2005. He started in 1959 at Merrill Lynch and concluded his career as Vice President & Senior Portfolio Manager of the U.S. Bank Trust Department. There he determined asset allocation for trusts and made investment decisions on fixed income, equity, and mutual fund securities. Vern supervised the Bank’s investment employees in Portland, Eugene, and Vancouver.
For the rest of us, it’s business as usual – managing our clients’ financial affairs. Our best prospects come to us the old-fashioned way: by direct referral from existing relationships. This method is especially successful because when our clients and professional colleagues provide introductions, they are clearly communicating that we are meeting or exceeding their needs. Referrals allow us to spend more time with current clients and less time on new business development. Most importantly, we understand that your credibility is on the line when you refer someone to our firm. We acknowledge the trust you place in our company and we strive every day to continue increasing our service levels. We will not let you down.
Please keep our firm in mind as you talk with people who you feel might benefit from our services. Our target market is defined as follows:
Ideal Client Profile
People who appreciate the value of integrating one’s financial, estate, tax, investment and philanthropic plans into one holistic approach;
Investors seeking a customized investment portfolio which follows a personal, pre-determined risk profile;
Investors who desire a fee-only and not commission-based relationship;
Clients looking for professional assistance in setting financial goals, providing guidance and options to achieve them, and monitoring of actions implemented to meet or exceed those goals;
Clients needing a fiduciary able to handle the complexities and time commitment required in administering a trust;
Assets exceeding $1 million.
A quick word on the markets
Year-to-date the markets remain in a repeat pattern of “Risk-on’ and “Risk off” and this has added to financial asset volatility. The change in direction of equity returns from the fourth quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019 reflected evolving investor perceptions of the impact of slowing economic growth. Whereas the S&P 500 Index declined (13.5%) in the fourth quarter of 2018 on recession concerns, the S&P 500 Index rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 by 13.7%. During both 4Q2018 and 1Q2019, interest rates eased downward as it appears that the Fed is likely on hold.
Amid this construct of slow economic growth and relatively low interest rates, our long-term thesis of owning investments in companies with durable competitive advantages, balance sheet flexibility, and healthy free cash flow generation capabilities remains intact. Our approach keeps us invested as appropriate and focused on risk diversification through strategic asset allocation across equities, fixed income, and cash.
If you have any questions about your personal portfolio or want to hear more about the market, please don’t hesitate to contact our investment team, Julie Bryan and Julio Quinteros, at 503.292.1041.
What’s new in my world
I continue to serve as President of the Association of Trust Organizations (ATO). ATO is comprised of mainly independent trust companies from all over the country. I also serve as board member of the Estate Planning Section of the Oregon State Bar. We are involved with various estate planning issue. I testified twice this past legislative session on bills that affected tax and estate planning.
On a personal note, I was honored and surprised to receive the Hal Hart award from Lincoln High School for ongoing service in a number of areas including volunteerism and leadership.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and our staff, I thank you for your continued support of our firm. Although the markets will continue to have both good times and bad, we are proud to be a strong team with a proven ability to weather the storms. We come to work every day dedicated to being the best at serving our clients and the community. We’re honored that we get to serve you.
Very truly yours,
Stuart B. Allen, JD, CTFA
President and CEO