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You can find reports from our Investment and Research team, timely and informative financial planning topics from our Wealth Management team, and deeper dives on various important topics in our white papers from any team member. Read online, share with friends, or download for your convenience.

Chart Housing Market Supply
During 2018 the housing market and particularly the new home market began running into headwinds from rising mortgage rates and increased materials costs, causing consumers to exercise a greater deal of caution when considering buying a new home. As we moved through the back half of 2018 and into 2019, input costs and transportation costs remained elevated, leading to sluggish demand and a slowdown in real estate appreciation. However, in late 2018, U.S. interest rates began falling, which was expected to provide some relief to the softening housing market. Unfortunately, the fall of mortgage rates has not been enough to offset housing market softness, particularly in the new home market. As can be seen in the chart above, since the beginning of 2018 the supply (in months) of new and existing homes has risen, and fairly sharply when looking at new homes. If mortgage rates continue to move lower, it could provide the consumer the push they need to get back into the housing market, but that has not been the case thus far. 

Melissa Walsh, CFP®, CFAAPA Walsh 3x4HI RGB, joined Allegiant Private Advisors as a Wealth Advisor with a focus on helping clients define and achieve their financial goals through a comprehensive financial planning process which constantly evolves. After a decade working in the financial services industry in Boston, she decided to return to Sarasota in 2017 to join the Allegiant team, who already knew her quite well! We hope you enjoy getting to know Melissa better through her own words: 

I’ve been at Allegiant Private Advisors for a year and a half now, and feel lucky to say that I’ve reached a stage of my career—and life—where I’ve come home. I recently returned to my hometown of Sarasota after living up in Boston for the last 10 years, and Allegiant was my first choice of employers here. While I’m newer to the team, I’m not new to my colleagues, as I’ve known Marty for 20 years and Ben for 10. In fact, it was Marty who initially put me on an independent financial advisor path when I began my career, introducing me to the people at Commonwealth Financial Network in Massachusetts. I worked in the strategic planning department at Commonwealth, and after earning my Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, I transitioned to a role on the research team, specializing in fixed income manager analysis. After that, I branched out for a few years, working as a portfolio specialist at Pioneer Investments, before returning to Commonwealth as an independent advisor and subsequently earning the CFP credential. 

Scholarship Program Designed to Heighten Awareness of Personal Fiscal Responsibility 

For over two decades, the Allegiant Private Advisors team has had the distinct privilege of awarding an annual scholarship. Giving back to the community in many ways is something we value as a firm and individuals, and programs rooted in financial literacy or supporting deserving students’ future are causes we passionately support.

This year’s recipient of our firm’s $2,500 scholarship is Joseph (Joey) Putnam, grandson of an Allegiant client.

A 2019 graduate of Clermont Northeastern High School in Batavia, Ohio, Joey will be attending the University of Cincinnati to pursue a degree mechanical engineering this fall. His application was selected as most deserving based on his academic record including transcript records and curriculum difficulty, community service, extracurricular activities, work experience and an original essay about financial independence. 

In Joey’s essay exploring the question “What is personal financial responsibility?" submitted as part of the application process, he explained the importance of hard work and budgeting modeled by his parents. Joey detailed his personal early commitment to earning his own money through multiple jobs and dedication to saving with a short-term goal of starting his own portfolio. He shared: 

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce 2019 Frank G. Berlin Sr. Small Business Awards recognized small businesses in the Sarasota area based on contributions to their company, their impact on the business world, and their role in the community. 

Thank you for selecting Allegiant Private Advisors as a finalist in the Professional Services Business of the Year category! 

Click here to read "Honoring small business a Sarasota Chamber tradition" by Heather Kasten, an article published June 17, 2019, in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

APA Jones 3x4HI RGB
Will the Fed Help Sustain the Expansion?


Imagine a world where global economic growth is slowing, trade barriers are impinging economic activity, and equity markets are falling. The pièce de résistance is a precipitous decline in confidence. It’s certainly not a pleasant picture, but that’s exactly the picture Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, painted in his latest speech. The risks are real, but Powell’s assertion that the Fed will “act as appropriate to sustain the expansion” was music to investors’ears, recently sending U.S. stock markets to the strongest day in nearly half a year.

Once again, this looks like a case of bad news being good news. In other words, weaker economic growth is okay because the Fed is there to backstop the economy. Frankly, the short-term impact is just noise (although strong days in the market do feel good!). However, the long-term implication of a flexible Federal Reserve is significant. As such, Chairman Powell’s recent comments warrant further attention. After all, history shows the Federal Reserve usually acts too late to bring the punch bowl back to the party. Why would this time be any different?

KBFS Bio WatkinsIn his role as Wealth Advisor Director at Allegiant Private Advisors, Carl Watkins, CFP®, CDFA™, AIF®, works with clients to define, implement, and manage their goals and investment strategies. We hope you enjoy learning more about Carl personally as well as his path to Allegiant, in his own words:

It seems like yesterday when I joined the firm, but the past four+ years with Allegiant have flown by.  It’s been a privilege to come to the office each and every day with my work family and with our clients, who are also just like family.  I feel very lucky to be able to work with such great individuals that entrust us with their financial futures, and each day is both a joy and an adventure.  This is how I got here.

Chart Changing Strength of the Dollar

The fluctuating values of global currencies contribute to corporate earnings volatility as well as the attractiveness of a country’s goods in the global trade market. In the past few years, the U.S. dollar has moved sharply upward and downward in relation to other global currencies, and its movements have been felt across financial markets. From the beginning of 2017 to the beginning of 2018 the dollar weakened substantially against global currencies, providing a tailwind to corporate earnings and making U.S. goods relatively cheaper on the global trading market. In early 2018 the dollar shifted gears and began appreciating against global currencies, which has continued in the early part of 2019. The appreciating dollar has presented U.S. multinational companies with headwinds to earnings growth, as earnings from foreign subsidiaries are worth less when converted back to dollars. While a strong dollar is not the only factor causing a slowing of growth in U.S. corporate earnings, it is certainly contributing to the much slower earnings growth that we saw in Q1.

APA Rivot 3x4HI RGBThe Allegiant Private Advisors team is pleased to announce that Karen Rivot, CFP®, has joined our team as a Senior Operations Specialist. 

“Our clients enjoy the strength and stability of a committed team with long-term vision, deep expertise in all phases of their financial lives, and a philosophy that all our relationships should feel like family,” said Allegiant Private Advisors President Benjamin W. Jones, CFP®, AIF®. “We’re thrilled to welcome Karen to the Allegiant family in a key role on our Customer Service team. Allegiant’s concierge-level service provides the utmost level of reliability and responsiveness supporting our firm’s focus on delivering the highest caliber comprehensive wealth management.” 

In her new position, Rivot is responsible for assisting clients with account maintenance, client requests, money movements as well as collaborating with the Wealth Advisor Team on Financial Planning initiatives.  Prior to joining Allegiant, she worked at Merrill Lynch and Suntrust Investment Services as an Investment Associate and most recently as a Client Service Manager at High Tower Advisors. Rivot received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the State University of New York at Oneonta and holds her CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification.

Please join us in welcoming Karen to the Allegiant family! 

Chart Divergence in the Global Economy

One of the best ways to keep your hand on the pulse of the global economy is to look at the Global Manufacturing & Services PMI reports. The reports compile survey data from executives around the world in both goods-producing & non-goods producing industries. As you can see in the chart above, after both reports surged in 2017, there has been a strong divergence between the two over the last year and a half. While the service sector of the global economy has held up quite well, manufacturing growth has ground to a halt. The slowdown in global manufacturing has been driven by an overall slowdown in global demand and has been exacerbated by trade conflicts. While this is certainly something that we are keeping our eye on, the good news is that manufacturing only makes up a fourth of global economic activity, with services making up the difference. Therefore, although manufacturing will likely struggle moving forward, the global economy should be able to maintain a decent, albeit slower pace of growth.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily up and down minutia of the never-ending news cycle. However, examining the economy with the bigger picture in mind, not much has really changed. This economic expansion has consisted of very slow, somewhat anemic, growth. Stronger economic growth in 2018 was the exception, not the rule. However, it appears last year’s strength was only a pulling forward of economic activity, rather than a real expansion of demand. The current slowdown of activity is proof positive that the economy has not fundamentally shifted toward stronger growth.