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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.

Chinese Slowing GDP Growth

In its latest quarterly report, China posted its slowest GDP growth figure in the last 27 years. Growth came in at 6.2% which is quite strong compared to other global economies, but a significant slowdown from the growth experienced in recent years. The slowdown is a clear sign that trade tensions with the U.S. are beginning to weigh on the Chinese economy. The Chinese government has been quick to try and counteract the negative trade impact, by cutting taxes and enacting pro-growth policies. However, it appears for now that those measures are coming up short. Chinese growth is very important to watch due to the tremendous impact it has on the global economy. A sharper slowdown would almost certainly spillover to other economies. We are keeping a close eye on the Chinese economy as well as developments from the U.S.-China trade dispute, as a resolution on trade has the potential to alleviate a good portion of Chinese growth concerns. 

APA Jones 3x4HI RGBSlowing economic growth, mild inflation, housing moderation, and a weakening manufacturing sector. You may think I’m talking about today’s economy. I’m not. I’m describing the economic factors prevalent during the 1995-1996 economic slowdown. Why is this an important comparison to today? Faced with these economic conditions the Federal Reserve Board, under the leadership of Chairman Greenspan, reversed course on interest rate policy. After doubling interest rates over the prior year, the Fed reduced rates by 0.75% over the span of 6 months. This led to a rebound in activity and laid the groundwork for the late-90s bull market (and subsequent tech bubble). Could this be 1995 all over again?

APA Walsh 3x4HI RGBBy Melissa Walsh, CFA, CFP®
Wealth Advisor 

Part of my role as a Wealth Advisor is to have meaningful conversations with my clients about their financial lives. These are often focused on goal setting and celebrating milestones -- but in some circumstances, we need to talk through more difficult subjects. 

One of the hardest conversations to have concerns the surviving heirs. I don’t mean discussing the death of a family member; while tragic, we prepare years ahead of time for that inevitability. I am specifically referring to when a client’s heirs are not prepared for their inheritance, have not heeded our counsel, and have spent through their bequeathment. We work hard to avoid this, but I have encountered the scenario too often after the passing of a client. 

It is for this reason that I am an advocate for utilizing carefully constructed trusts to safeguard your legacy. For the benefit of those you leave behind, I’d like to explain the advantages of restricting assets from being entirely and immediately accessed by your heirs. 

Allegiant Private Advisors has been recognized on Accounting Today’s “Wealth Magnets” annual list as a Top Firm by Assets Under Management for 2019. Our independent firm offering fiduciary-level financial planning and investment advisory services earned a spot on the 2019 list based on Allegiant’s $750 million in assets under management. For the 13th annual ranking, Accounting Today received submissions from firms across the country with a wide diversity in practice structure. Allegiant is the only Sarasota-based firm included and one of four in Florida recognized.

“Our fiduciary financial advisory firm’s growth has been rooted in our team’s acute ability to collaborate with our clients’ accountants, attorneys and other trusted professionals dedicated to protecting assets,” explained Allegiant Private Advisors President Benjamin W. Jones, CFP®, AIF®. “Our tax-sensitive, collaborative approach helps ensure that Allegiant clients receive the best integrated financial expertise possible.”

Ben was also quoted in an accompanying Accounting Today article, Wealth Magnets: Technology and its discontents. He stated, “Controlling client risk levels will be an important theme for 2019. Late in the economic cycle, with stock markets at all-time highs, investors stretch for risk, hoping to capture rear-view mirror gains. However, prudent financial planners remain vigilant, understanding embedded risk levels are higher later in the cycle.”

Allegiant Private Advisors was founded in 1997 by the partners of Kerkering Barberio, CPA, PA. Martin J. Kossoff, CFP®, AIF®, took over as President in 1998 and relaunched the company as an independent advisor offering fiduciary investment advice and related services. In January 2015, the firm rebranded as Allegiant Private Advisors as part of a renewed corporate investment and growth strategy, doubling in size since. Today, Allegiant manages $750 million dollars in assets for individuals, nonprofits, foundations, and businesses.

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.