Welcome to Wetherby Asset Management’s Online Newsletter Library. Our newsletters and commentary offer insight into timely news and events that shape our financial world. Please read important disclosures by clicking here.
Q1/18 Impact Investing Digest
Wetherby is pleased to share our Impact Investing Digest for the first quarter of 2018. A number of articles this quarter highlight the performance benefits of diverse executive and fund management teams. In addition, several reports focus on key trends and opportunities in the impact investing and renewable energy industries. Please feel free to reach out to your Wetherby team if you have any questions or are interested in learning more.
Markets: 2018 began with markets experiencing significant volatility. Whereas in 2017 there were only eight days that the S&P 500 experienced daily moves of +/-1%, the S&P 500 witnessed 23 days of similar volatility in the first quarter of 2018 alone. Headlines have been dominated by threats of trade wars, resurfacing Middle East conflict, and domestic political turmoil, and these uncertainties will likely persist in the near-term. We recognize how far along we are in a late-economic cycle environment and we acknowledge that certain risks will likely continue to contribute to near-term market volatility. But given the solid fundamental backdrop and the recent correction in equity valuations, we are maintaining our thematic portfolio positioning – balancing continued investment in risk assets in search of attractive long-term returns with an increased focus on risk mitigation and diversification.
Impact Update: Aperio Group LLC, one of our passive global equity managers, now offers clients the option to have their proxies voted in accordance with Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) policies. This new option provides clients with the opportunity to exercise their shareholder voice to opine on environmental, social and governance topics. In February, members of the Wetherby New York City team spent the afternoon lending a helping hand at the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a safe, temporary home for the families of critically ill children.
Financial Planning: The financial planning section reviews the changes in 529 Plans resulting from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). Prior to the passing of the TCJA, qualifying expenses were limited to higher education or postsecondary expenses. Now up to $10,000 for tuition to K-12 schools is a qualified expense.
Q4/17 Impact Investing Digest
Wetherby is pleased to share our Impact Investing Digest for the fourth quarter of 2017. Several articles this quarter focus on the increasing activism of large asset managers on issues of board diversity, climate change and broad social purpose. In addition, other articles highlight the continued traction of the fossil fuel divestment movement amongst large institutional investors. Please feel free to reach out to your Wetherby team if you have any questions or are interested in learning more.
Markets: Looking forward to 2018, we believe the strengthening of the economy and potential tail winds from tax reform and deregulation could support another year of attractive corporate earnings growth, but with higher valuations and uncertainty around the impact of divergent global monetary policy, we expect higher volatility and increasing challenges in generating attractive risk-adjusted returns for both equities and fixed income. Our portfolio positioning reflects a continuation of the theme of risk diversification and mitigation within and across asset classes.
Impact Investing Update: The Wetherby team participated in a series of service events in our local communities, including helping with Halloween activities at Raphael House of San Francisco; working with the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), weeding and planting in the Tenderloin People’s Garden; and organizing the professional and casual clothing closet for youth at Larkin Street Youth Services. In December, we held an in-office service event benefitting Rise Against Hunger, a non-profit organization that provides food and life-saving aid to the world’s most vulnerable people, working to end global hunger in our lifetime.
Financial Planning: The financial planning section discusses considerations for mortgage debt. Interest rates are still near all-time lows, offering opportunities for new home buyers and those who want to refinance an existing mortgage. Mortgage interest is still tax deductible under the recent federal tax code updates with certain restrictions, although you can no longer deduct interest on home equity debt (e.g., HELOC).
Q3/17 Impact Investing Digest
Wetherby is pleased to share our Impact Investing Digest for the third quarter of 2017. Several articles this quarter highlight the ongoing mainstreaming of the impact investing industry with many traditional market participants making strategic commitments to the sector and launching impact-focused investment funds. Please feel free to reach out to your Wetherby team if you have any questions or are interested in learning more.