Each year, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. hosts a conference for investment advisors that custody assets on its platform. Pam just returned from the 2019 conference. Here are a few themes that were woven throughout the various sessions:
1. ) Remain vigilant: with markets reaching all-time highs during the conference, it’s fair to say that the 6,000+ crowd was certainly in good spirits. However, there was an underlying message to stay vigilant and focused on what may come next. There were varying takes on the markets, with some speakers predicting a recession/slow down and others remaining more bullish. However, across the board, everyone stressed the need to focus on longer-term goals and rebalance during these periods of strength
2.) Prepare for lower returns: quite a few speakers shared their forecasts for future returns by asset classes. As growth and populations slow around the globe, returns will be compressed.
3.) State of the nation: A few speakers were focused on the political environment, commenting both on present day situations as well as the 2020 elections and what impact it may have on the markets. Consensus was it is far too early to call the election one way or the other. Real concern was shared among many speakers about the divided nature of our country and the risks that poses for the US on the global stage. In efforts to remain somewhat positive, speakers did express encouragement around advancements in technology and health initiatives within the US and around the globe
4.) Investors first: Charles Schwab himself took to the stage to discuss the evolution of his firm. It was clear from his remarks how he has been focused on the investor and what is best for him/her every since he opened his doors in 1975. Schwab’s move to lower commissions to zero in recent weeks is another example of this dedication
5.) Go where the puck is going: we’ve used this saying before but it was a clear theme in this year’s conference as well. We have a tendency as investors to retreat to what has worked - to go where the puck is so the speak. There was an emphasis of the various rotations in markets towards “unloved areas” - such as value versus growth, international vs. US only, and large cap vs. small cap. In particular, there was a very bullish stance on certain segments of the Chinese market, a view we have shared for years.
6.) All in: the theme of IMPACT this year was All In. This theme clearly resonates with us. We have always been “all in” when it comes to working with our clients and navigating their financial worlds. We will continue to do so as we enter 2020 and beyond.
Our thanks to Schwab for another excellent year of learning and content!