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1st Quarter 2022 AM Newsletter

April 11, 2022   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on 1st Quarter 2022 AM Newsletter   ·   Posted in Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter

April 11, 2022

War! What is it good for?

“Absolutely nothing!” as the 1960’s protest song goes, and we agree wholeheartedly. However, we live in a world where humankind seems destined to manufacture reasons for conflict. As Fukuyama said, some men “will struggle for the sake of struggle… And if the greater part of the world in which they live is characterized by peaceful and prosperous liberal democracy, then they will struggle against that peace and prosperity,” Hopefully, the group struggling for peace and prosperity will prevail and sanctions that have isolated Putin will work. Of course, we are not military strategists so we do not profess to know how the Ukrainian conflict ends. However, given the small number of pundits that predicted Putin would invade the Ukraine, we tend to think the experts are less informed than Churchill was when he described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. Thus, our inability to foretell the exact outcome of the Ukrainian/Russian War is not novel.  Fortunately, for all of us, long-term investment success is less predicated on Nostradamus-like soothsaying and more upon trend identification, fundamental valuation work, and probabilities.

Thus, what we do think is important for us to do for our clients, is to identify trends that may arise from this conflict and how to position for those probabilities. Most everything else is outside of our control. For instance, the movement towards energy and supply chain independence in Europe appears global in its scope now. NATO also seems to be strengthening along with the European Union. The globalization movement appears as if it is under attack which bodes poorly for commodity prices and supply chain inflation. Couple this with the push towards reduced carbon emissions and you can see why we have been adding commodities. Did we know there would be this big of a move? Not necessarily, but we did think it made sense to tactically add to an area underweighted by many because of the perception the next ten years will be just like the last ten years. Physical assets have been underinvested for years now, so the upside optionality and diversification appeal of commodities is something we felt compelled to own. Throw in the fact that Russia produces around 10% of the world’s oil supply and both Russia and Ukraine together account for about 1/3rd of the global wheat supply, and our addition to commodities seem prescient. However, please know this is more of a reflection of a humble risk management process focused on probabilities in an increasingly byzantine world where energy security remains vital to government interest.

On the subject of valuation, we have alluded to paltry fixed income expected returns for years now and how we didn’t like the risk associated with owning long term bonds. Simply put, the price of fixed income is high and the yields are low. The first quarter of this year has proven this point as the Barclays Aggregate Bond Indexi was down 6%. Only one of our bond funds didn’t outperform the index as we have emphasized reduced risk in the bond funds we have used. The one bond fund that didn’t beat the index this quarter missed by 26 basis points but has beaten the benchmark over the 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, and 20 year time frame. Thus, we are okay with slight short-term underperformance as it is a small part of our bond portfolio in place for when the stock market corrects and money runs back to Treasuries. This strategy worked very well in the first quarter of 2020. Let’s just summarize that in hindsight our tactic to shorten duration, purchase commodities, and build cash in our fixed income allocation over the past several years has served our clients very well this year.         

Fundamentally, equities present different considerations for us than fixed income. Since many equities have provided strong returns for several years their valuations are not necessarily cheap. However, there are many areas in the equity world that are arguably more attractive from a long-term perspective than fixed income. Of course, rising interest rates typically do not help both equity or fixed income valuations. Thus, we continue emphasize being choosy with equites as short-term volatility may occur. As we have alluded to in the past, there are sectors that are arguably a good value such as healthcare, real estate, commodities, energy and international, that interest us. We tend to lean into those areas when the price is low as the upside probabilities can be significant in those areas. Regardless, with our conservative leanings in other areas of the equity and fixed income market we oftentimes can weather a little short-term wiggle in valuations.

Finally, war is among the conditions that moves us out of the quantifiable risk zone and into the domain of freeform uncertainty, i.e., away from probabilities. Thucydides noted that “For war of all things proceeds least upon the definite rules.” It is wisdom such as this that infuses our thought process and impresses upon us the need to build resilient, diversified portfolios with different components that will zig when other parts zag. We choose investments that are not 100% correlated so the probability of a one-for-one lock step move is minimized. Investments are chosen simultaneously for opportunity and ballast. It is also why we very seldom invest entire portfolios in all passive strategies.

Hopefully, this quarterly letter will help forestall any desire to react emotionally to geopolitical headlines. The sights and sounds from the Ukraine will certainly stay with us as the horror of what humankind can and will do to itself is oftentimes jarring to our collective psyche but we can’t just wish it away, unfortunately. We are forced to diagnose and analyze a highly volatile situation with a sober perspective that seems to inadequately capture the depth of emotion present. In other words, investments seem to pale in comparison to the needs of a nation under attack. It seems insensitive to mention that since 1940 the S&P 500i has averaged a positive 5.3% performance one year after the start of a geopolitical conflict and that the returns are even better for crises that start in a bull market but it is something we must note because frankly there is always something to cause worry when it comes to investing. It is our job to identify trends, values, and probabilities as part of your long-term strategy as that is the only way we know to fight inflation against the crosscurrents of change present today.

P.S. Right now there are at least ten other conflicts happening in addition to the Ukrainian conflict. It kind of goes without saying but we should probably always be praying for peace and humming sixties antiwar songs.

4th Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter

October 18, 2021   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on 4th Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter   ·   Posted in Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter

New Years!

                The New Year’s Day meal seems to be an interesting time when customs and superstitions converge. At almost every house in the South there is a lively negotiation that ensues between spouses, one who tries to browbeat the other into eating collard greens as it will purportedly bring wealth, and the other tries to argue that their helping of black-eyed peas will produce luck, which will in turn create wealth. Many of us have been perfecting this argument since we were toddlers and we are not above acting like one if necessary. Of course, we all have traditions that make occasions special, and we would love to hear some of yours, but the reason we highlight the New Year’s Day meal is that somewhere in the strange superstition of black-eyed peas bringing luck is something pragmatic but hopeful; and the struggle between the two is meaningful. Similarly, somewhere amidst the speculative frenzy of a computer-generated currency, Bitcoin, going up over 50% last year, there is something practical, like a currency that has a finite supply that can’t be inflated by government. Our not too subtle parallel is that investing, like New Year’s Day dinner, is almost always full of a smattering of hope, a dollop of provision, and a dash of spice. Truly, to invest in something requires critical analysis amidst optimism sort of like the dynamic of traditions and superstitions. Here’s hoping this year doesn’t disappoint, and we all have enough collard greens and black-eyed peas to fortify us against whatever 2022 brings. At worst, we all had an inexpensive meal to start off the year.

                On that note, the start of the year always brings about the dizzying desire to prognosticate. It’s enough to make one feel as if they have had two helpings of collard greens and no cornbread. Of course, we always say it is folly to forecast, especially about the future, but we do take note of things. For instance, the Federal Reserve has committed to tightening monetary policy, margin debt is near all-time highs, market valuations are not cheap on a historical basis, and the market just had two years of fabulous returns in a bull market that started many years ago. From a mean reversion standpoint, one certainly understands the hesitation to plow money into the stock market. Of course, with a bond market offering negative real rates of return one can’t get much more excited there. Areas that appear cheap from a relative standpoint are similar to collard greens on the stove in that they have a little “stench” to them. However, according to some, you can be richly rewarded for wading into stinky areas. Global equity, emerging markets, energy, China, healthcare and biotech are areas one might sniff around if one had the intestinal fortitude. Of course, we could have another year where big tech and growth stocks could come out smelling rosy and while it certainly doesn’t pay to wager against them, we do think prudence is warranted and diversification has value this far into a bull market.          

                Stinky metaphors aside, one wonders what is actionable in today’s market. We have continued to add to healthcare over the past six months as anything not related to Covid has done poorly and there is definitely pent-up demand for healthcare procedures that have been put on hold.  In addition, we have tactically added to our positions in commodities and global securities. Finally, we have been reducing positions in areas of the market that have performed extremely well. However, we were able to make smaller moves in these areas and minimize taxes as many of our managers were already trimming winners. A good example of this would be a small cap value fund we use, that was up 45.29% last year. Yes, the performance is a good story, but their internal activity may be even more important. For instance, they purchased a company, Upstart, that ran up 676% from late 2020 to September of 2021. Per their discipline they reduced the size of the position in their portfolio (at one point it was as high as 10% of the portfolio due to the run-up). To their credit, they achieved great returns with this name but possibly more importantly they reduced it in September before it fell 51% through the end of the year. They mentioned still liking the name but a 676% gain in less than twelve months probably warrants reduction, in our opinion, and we welcome tactical moves like this within our client holdings. One might say we enjoy a little activity, variety, and spice in our life.                  

                Hopefully, all of the New Year’s Day meal talk interspersed with investment jargon has not made you hungry and has instead inspired you to share some of your family customs with us, whether it is New Year’s Day or other holidays. We also accept recipes. In particular, if anyone has any recipes that will improve the taste of collard greens we will move those to the front of the line. Also, please know  your portfolio managers and advisors made sure we ate our fair share of black- eyed peas and choked down a few collard greens as we can’t always count on others to increase their share of collards to make up for us. We realize we are in this together.

                Also, we didn’t really mention pork, ham, or cornbread in this discussion as it doesn’t elicit as many humorous debates between spouses. Depending on where you grew up the ham/pork symbolizes moving forward with good health as pigs root for food moving forward. On that note, we wish you all good health in 2022. Hopefully, we all ate enough pork/ham to keep Covid at bay.

P.S – For those who love a spirited debate we will let them delve into the sweet versus unsweet cornbread debate. Some things we leave unresolved as ours is not to question why.   

2nd Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter

July 12, 2021   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on 2nd Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter   ·   Posted in Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter

“Old Glory”

In an era where many are turning their backs away from “Old Glory” we think it’s highly important to celebrate the union our founding fathers created on Independence Day. Of course, this freedom of expression that so disheartens some, if not many, is part of what makes this country so great. By contrast, in Hong Kong critics are jailed and newspapers are shut down that disagree with the Chinese Communist Party. Worse, if you are an Uighur Muslim in China, you risk being detained with one million of your friends in reeducation camps as an adherence to national ideology. Hopefully, we can agree the promise of liberty and justice established many years ago, while not without blemishes, has provided a pretty high standard of performance for many years. In fact, one might say the pursuit of happiness within our constitutional republic has proven very prosperous for its constituents and the world. We realize some may disagree with this statement, and to that, we would say that the ability to disagree with this point, and not be locked up, may actually prove our point.

Political rabbit holes aside, we think it’s important to bring up nationalism because it relates to inflation, a fear on many people’s mind lately. With the global supply chain interrupted and populism growing it seems normal to expect some inflation. The question on many minds is how transitory is this inflation? Many hearken back to the 1970’s as a frame of reference and while we see the parallels, history doesn’t always follow the same pattern. Some argue the 1940’s are a better comparison, and if so, it is important to note equities did quite well in that era. The seventies, by comparison, were not a great period for equities, but nothing else did much better except gold and oil that increased more than 19%.

Thus, against the backdrop of rising debt and decreasing globalism, one certainly understands the question about inflation strategy and positioning. Conversely, one could say we have had those questions for a while now and inflation hasn’t impacted the market in a significant way. From our perspective, we would argue we have been preparing for inflation for years by keeping duration low on our fixed income, minimizing exposure to long duration assets like growth stocks and making sure we had exposure to cheap sectors of the market like financials, energy, and small caps that typically perform well in a cyclical recovery. In addition, we have recently added commodities to portfolios to help protect against inflation risk.

Is there more that we could do? Possibly. However, to significantly position beyond what we have already implemented for possible increased inflationary pressures would imply we have a crystal ball that clearly showed a material dose of inflation was here to stay. Unfortunately, we do not own a crystal ball and indicators are never that clear. Additionally, if you find someone who says they know for certain how bad inflation is going to be in the near term, we think you will find they are one of those people who are often wrong but never in doubt. Strangely, these people always find an audience no matter their track record. We find markets are more complex than most figureheads can encapsulate in a brief sound bite.

Putting the inflation talk to bed, as we feel we have proactively positioned as well as we can at this point, we move onto the rest of the market. Many have asked us about current levels of the market. To this, we say as long as liquidity flows via central banks and earnings trend higher without significant inflation, we can continue higher. There are pockets of the market that appear stretched but there are other areas of the market that could run for a good while longer. Active management has outperformed since November of 2020 and may very well continue in a market like this. Of course, we will continue to treat this market as a complex adaptive system that requires disciplined, long-term risk adjusted strategies. To govern assets in any other way would be a disservice to the trust you have placed in us, a trust we treat with great honor and dignity.

Sort of like the experiment that started two hundred and forty-five years ago when our government was derived from the consent of the governed. We, too, find a symbiotic strength and stability in the management of your wealth with your agreement. To paraphrase the Federalist papers, we are nourished in your freedom. We will continue to monitor markets in a careful and deliberate manner because we truly respect the consent you have given us and wish to protect our clients with every tactic and tool available. It may sound corny, but we will never turn our back on you, and we want to grow old and glorious with you. Please call with any questions.

1st Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter.

April 16, 2021   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on 1st Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter.   ·   Posted in Asset Management Letter Archive


“Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, Capped, Diced, Topped and Peppered”

One of our portfolio managers recently stopped at a Waffle House with his family after a weekend getaway and couldn’t help but think we need a Waffle House Economic Index. The Yogi Berra quote “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded” came to mind as he saddled his way to the counter with one of his kids and dispatched the rest of the family to an open booth. If Waffle Houses in Georgia are any indicator, then we are returning to normalcy. Of course, the true indicator of normalcy will be when they remove the lone seat by the register that is reserved to preserve social distancing. Oh, how far we have come since this time last year.

Why do we drift to Waffle House as a backdrop for our letter this quarter, you might ask? Are we trying to distract you with sweet memories of buttered waffles and sizzling bacon? All temptations aside, we simply felt the need to emphasize normalcy and what it means. As the economy starts to thaw from its “dark winter” to borrow a phrase, what are we seeing? To our credit, a lot of what we hoped for is coming to fruition. The early cycle winners such as financials, energy, value, and small cap are doing very well. Through the first quarter, energy was up 30.83%, financials +16.02%, small cap value +16.84% and large cap value +10.99% whereas large cap, middle cap and small cap growth were up at best 2.56% and at worst 1.25%. To say we knew for certain the reopening trade would play out this positively would be a hubristic statement, one not welcomed at the Waffle House counter since hubris is not something you can scatter, smother, or dice on your hash browns. However, we did feel the upside optionality was so significant in the “value” and smaller capitalization sector versus mega cap and growth stocks, that if we just trended towards normal levels then we should see a significant spike in value as the price differential dissipated. The natural question from here, is if this “value” trade can last and, if history is any indicator, then it certainly can. Of course, growth has outperformed for the ten years before the recent cycle, so it could continue but there have also been significant time periods in the past when value has outperformed (2000-2010 for a short cycle, and 1926 to present for a longer cycle).   

Another area we drifted into last quarter was the inflation discussion. If you remember correctly last quarter, we alluded to the market and Federal Reserve almost inviting inflation at all costs. Well, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, as inflation reared its head in the first quarter. Thus, our call to keep duration short on our fixed income was prescient. Staying humble, though, it is not too hard to predict rising inflation when monetary stimulus is at levels not seen since WWII and debt levels reside over 100% of GDP before an infrastructure bill even gets passed. That being said, there are probably many investors who, unlike our clients, are unhappy with their -3.37% performance in their Bloomberg’s Barclays Aggregate Bond Index or worse than that if they held a long term bond fund like Vanguard Long Term Bond Index fund that was down 9.30% for the quarter. Our actively managed bond funds didn’t sniff levels like that with only one being down for the quarter and that one, Pimco Total Return, more than made up for it by being up 8.88% the previous year. Conversely, though, our gold investment didn’t work for the first quarter with gold being down 8.25% for the quarter. As we mentioned when we put this trade on last year, gold is more volatile than fixed income, but given the level of global monetary stimulus we felt this was a long term hedge against government malfeasance with a fiat currency and the resultant consequences. Gold has a far longer history as a currency than fiat currency and cryptocurrency. In addition, the majority of gold is not mined in China, like cryptocurrencies are. Thus, we continue to feel comfortable holding gold as a small percentage in client accounts.

Truly, the level of debt creation and government intervention makes one want to run back to Waffle House for a side of normalcy. Hopefully, once we work through vaccines, viruses and votes, the order of the day will not be so scrambled we can’t find our way forward. Of course, it’s our belief that we can always find a way to improve our lot in life and it usually starts with a good foundation whether it be eggs, bacon, or waffles. To that end, we will keep scrambling to find opportunities for you while keeping an eye on the tab (Trust us, if inflation starts creeping into the price of eggs and bacon, we will notice it). 

P.S. – There actually is a Waffle House Index but it is used by FEMA. It is an informal metric used to determine the effect of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery. The index is based on the reputation of Waffle House for having good disaster preparedness and staying open during extreme weather, or reopening quickly afterwards. As Craig Fugate, former head of FEMA, said about a disaster area “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed. That’s really bad…”

P.P.S – For those intrigued by the type of hash brown toppings listed at the beginning of the letter we have included them below. Admittedly, we were not aware of them all either and are considering stepping up our “hash brown” game next time we visit Waffle House. Scattered is the standard, smothered is sauteed with onions, covered is with melted cheese, chunked is with ham, diced is with tomatoes, peppered is with jalapeno peppers, capped is with mushrooms, and topped is with chili.

1st Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter.

April 16, 2021   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on 1st Quarter 2021 AM Newsletter.   ·   Posted in Asset Management Letter

“Scattered, Smothered, Covered, Chunked, Capped, Diced, Topped and Peppered”

One of our portfolio managers recently stopped at a Waffle House with his family after a weekend getaway and couldn’t help but think we need a Waffle House Economic Index. The Yogi Berra quote “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded” came to mind as he saddled his way to the counter with one of his kids and dispatched the rest of the family to an open booth. If Waffle Houses in Georgia are any indicator, then we are returning to normalcy. Of course, the true indicator of normalcy will be when they remove the lone seat by the register that is reserved to preserve social distancing. Oh, how far we have come since this time last year.

Why do we drift to Waffle House as a backdrop for our letter this quarter, you might ask? Are we trying to distract you with sweet memories of buttered waffles and sizzling bacon? All temptations aside, we simply felt the need to emphasize normalcy and what it means. As the economy starts to thaw from its “dark winter” to borrow a phrase, what are we seeing? To our credit, a lot of what we hoped for is coming to fruition. The early cycle winners such as financials, energy, value, and small cap are doing very well. Through the first quarter, energy was up 30.83%, financials +16.02%, small cap value +16.84% and large cap value +10.99% whereas large cap, middle cap and small cap growth were up at best 2.56% and at worst 1.25%. To say we knew for certain the reopening trade would play out this positively would be a hubristic statement, one not welcomed at the Waffle House counter since hubris is not something you can scatter, smother, or dice on your hash browns. However, we did feel the upside optionality was so significant in the “value” and smaller capitalization sector versus mega cap and growth stocks, that if we just trended towards normal levels then we should see a significant spike in value as the price differential dissipated. The natural question from here, is if this “value” trade can last and, if history is any indicator, then it certainly can. Of course, growth has outperformed for the ten years before the recent cycle, so it could continue but there have also been significant time periods in the past when value has outperformed (2000-2010 for a short cycle, and 1926 to present for a longer cycle).   

Another area we drifted into last quarter was the inflation discussion. If you remember correctly last quarter, we alluded to the market and Federal Reserve almost inviting inflation at all costs. Well, as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, as inflation reared its head in the first quarter. Thus, our call to keep duration short on our fixed income was prescient. Staying humble, though, it is not too hard to predict rising inflation when monetary stimulus is at levels not seen since WWII and debt levels reside over 100% of GDP before an infrastructure bill even gets passed. That being said, there are probably many investors who, unlike our clients, are unhappy with their -3.37% performance in their Bloomberg’s Barclays Aggregate Bond Index or worse than that if they held a long term bond fund like Vanguard Long Term Bond Index fund that was down 9.30% for the quarter. Our actively managed bond funds didn’t sniff levels like that with only one being down for the quarter and that one, Pimco Total Return, more than made up for it by being up 8.88% the previous year. Conversely, though, our gold investment didn’t work for the first quarter with gold being down 8.25% for the quarter. As we mentioned when we put this trade on last year, gold is more volatile than fixed income, but given the level of global monetary stimulus we felt this was a long term hedge against government malfeasance with a fiat currency and the resultant consequences. Gold has a far longer history as a currency than fiat currency and cryptocurrency. In addition, the majority of gold is not mined in China, like cryptocurrencies are. Thus, we continue to feel comfortable holding gold as a small percentage in client accounts.

Truly, the level of debt creation and government intervention makes one want to run back to Waffle House for a side of normalcy. Hopefully, once we work through vaccines, viruses and votes, the order of the day will not be so scrambled we can’t find our way forward. Of course, it’s our belief that we can always find a way to improve our lot in life and it usually starts with a good foundation whether it be eggs, bacon, or waffles. To that end, we will keep scrambling to find opportunities for you while keeping an eye on the tab (Trust us, if inflation starts creeping into the price of eggs and bacon, we will notice it). 

P.S. – There actually is a Waffle House Index but it is used by FEMA. It is an informal metric used to determine the effect of a storm and the likely scale of assistance required for disaster recovery. The index is based on the reputation of Waffle House for having good disaster preparedness and staying open during extreme weather, or reopening quickly afterwards. As Craig Fugate, former head of FEMA, said about a disaster area “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed. That’s really bad…”

P.P.S – For those intrigued by the type of hash brown toppings listed at the beginning of the letter we have included them below. Admittedly, we were not aware of them all either and are considering stepping up our “hash brown” game next time we visit Waffle House. Scattered is the standard, smothered is sauteed with onions, covered is with melted cheese, chunked is with ham, diced is with tomatoes, peppered is with jalapeno peppers, capped is with mushrooms, and topped is with chili.

Q4 2020 Creative Newsletter

January 20, 2021   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on Q4 2020 Creative Newsletter   ·   Posted in Asset Management Letter Archive

E Pluribus Unum

E Pluribus Unum, or “Out of many, one” has such strong meaning to residents of the United States that it is printed on our coins (among other things). Being students of history, we find it a little interesting that coins with our national motto (until 1956) on them are being rationed and pennies are scheduled to be phased out of production by 2022. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is hitting new highs and the Federal Reserve has begun working on a digital dollar. At the same time, modern monetary proponents keep grabbing more and more headlines as if they are the smartest guys in the room. For instance, there is a popular book called “The Deficit Myth” that argues, since the dollar is the reserve currency, deficit spending is a self-propagated myth created and maintained by politicians. If we just spent more money on all of our problem’s, things will likely turn out fine. Why are we going down this road? Certainly not because we want to talk about political issues any more this year. We mention this because we fear the ramifications of losing our heritage and credibility on the global stage. We bring this up because political instability and greater government spending lead to something we hope to have a handle on in retirement, inflation. (Political instability may also lead to devaluation of our currency but for now, we are going to put that under the heading of inflation as both destroy the wealth of their citizenry.)

Of course, what are some of the tools under our care that we can use to fight the threat of inflation? Stocks, commodities, and to a lesser degree, short duration fixed income. As an aside, fixed income is a better diversifier against stock volatility, but it is far safer after inflation risk is reflected in its price and not before. Thus, we continue to recommend an appropriate weighting in equities, fixed income and gold. Many have entertained adding cash to portfolios this year and while we certainly have it in accounts as dry powder for buying opportunities, we do not recommend a cash overweighting. Especially if there is a concerted effort by our Federal Reserve to “allow inflation to run hotter than normal”. On that note, forgive us for being the guy in the car asking if we should be worried about the temperature gauge blinking on the dash and the smoke coming from the engine. It truly feels as if we are so desensitized to the threat of rising prices now that we are inviting it at all costs. 

Not to be incendiary in any way, but what could also add fuel to the flame and burn out of control? An incoming government with a penchant for spending? A pent-up populace cooped up and ready for travel once a vaccine works? Maybe aggressive centrists calling out polarization on both sides and leading a great political moderation? All of these are big ifs (some positive and some negative) that could lead to greater inflation from current levels. Thus, we must stay vigilant and flexible in our investing. To that end, how else can we prepare for rising prices? Do we get inflation protection from equities that are up significantly over the past ten years or do we get that from equities that were pummeled due to pandemic concerns? We would argue that we certainly need representation in these beaten up areas. Many, of which, remind one of the setup for value stocks circa 2000 to 2008. Do we know that sectors like small cap, international, value and emerging markets will outperform? To say so would be arrogant, but to humbly admit that throughout history assets revert to their mean seems a very prudent tactic to protect your wealth, in our opinion. Additionally, we think you can get “One, out of many” to play on our earlier quote by having diversification across many asset classes such as gold and short duration multi-sector income funds. Just like our country has produced many great returns from the melting pot of many, stellar returns do not solely reside in the headline mega cap stocks. They also live in visions of entrepreneurs forging into new areas of growth. Sometimes they even come together in a program like “Operation Warp Speed” and create a vaccine in less than 12 months that normally takes 10 to 15 years. Truly, the teams of people and companies working together today are what give us confidence we can surmount whatever comes our way.

Yes, we know it sounds kind of hokey to talk about what we can accomplish with a unified approach against a backdrop of cynicism present in most modern day societies, along with an admittedly challenging year. However, in our opinion, the greatness of the United States, and for that matter, the human spirit, is when we work together. One of our recently deceased hometown heroes, Phil Niekro, comes to mind when we think of the type of “greatness” needed right now. As Phil said in his Hall of Fame speech “I have never met a player or an owner who can honestly stand up and say ‘I own this game. It belongs to me.’ This is America. America is baseball. This game is home and it belongs to you, the fan. Cherish it and take care of it.” As long as we cherish our gifts and work together, we can defeat most anything that comes our way.

P.S. – For those of you that don’t know Phil Niekro, we recommend spending some free time learning about him. The quote “Heroes get remembered. Legends never die” comes to mind. He may have been a better person than he was a baseball player and that is saying a lot. Also, his signature pitch, the knuckleball, may be the most appropriate metaphor we can imagine for 2020. If you have ever had a knuckleball make you look silly at home plate, then you know what we mean.

General Compliance Disclosures

Statements made via this letter are the opinions of Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) and its advisors, and are not to be construed as guarantees, warranties or predictions of future events, portfolio allocations, portfolio results, investment returns, or other outcomes. None of the information contained is intended as a solicitation or offer to purchase or sell a specific security, mutual fund, bond, or any other investment. Readers should not assume that the considerations, suggestions, or recommendations will be profitable, suitable to their circumstances or that future investment and/or portfolio performance will be profitable or favorable. Past performance of indices, mutual funds, or actual portfolios does not guarantee future results. Future results may differ significantly from the past due to materially different economic and market conditions; investments in securities or other financial products involve risk and the possibility of loss, including a permanent loss of principal. Investments are not FDIC insured and have no bank guarantee.

Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) is a division of Synovus Securities, Inc (“SSI”), member FINRA/SIPC. Prior to

January 1, 2011, CFG was a separate registered investment adviser affiliate of SSI. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank.

Investment products and services provided by Synovus are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. (“SSI”), Synovus Trust Company, N.A. (“STC”), GLOBALT, a separately identifiable division of STC and Creative Financial Group, a division of SSI. Trust services for Synovus are provided by Synovus Trust Company, N.A. The registered broker-dealer offering brokerage products for Synovus is Synovus Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank and Synovus Trust.  Synovus Trust Company, N.A. is a subsidiary of Synovus Bank.

Pursuant to rules adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission governing federally registered investment advisors, we request that you take time to compare your account balances and statements issued by National Financial Services, who acts as the custodian for your account(s).  We request you contact us immediately if you do not receive these statements or if the values reflected are materially different.

Cost basis reporting

If you buy and sell a security in a taxable account on or after the effective date, NFS will report cost basis for the sold security to you and the IRS on Form 1099-B. If you have a mix of covered and uncovered positions in the same security, NFS will report cost basis to you and the IRS for any covered position that is sold. NFS will apply the FIFO (First In, First Out) default method unless you inform us of a different method. Your cost basis method for all transactions must be final by settlement date. If you choose to change the default method, you can do so by notifying your Financial Consultant.

Use of Indexes

iThe investment return and style information and comparisons employ a variety of popular indices, and the index contents and strategies are the property of their respective companies (e.g., Dow Jones, Standard & Poor’s, Morningstar, Barclay Capital, Russell). Although the data is believed to be reliable, CFG makes no warranty with respect to the contents, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or reliability of the information, which is represented here for informational use only and should not be considered investment advice or recommendation. None of the indices can be invested directly, and the return figures for these various securities indices are reported without management fees, trading costs, or other expenses subtracted from the returns, and are shown on a total return basis that assumes reinvestment of applicable capital gains and dividends. Components of indices may change over time. Small capitalization stocks are represented by the Russell 2000 Index. Mid Capitalization stocks are represented by the S&P Mid Cap 400 Index. Foreign stocks are represented by the MSCI EAFE Index and emerging markets are represented by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Q4 2020 Creative Newsletter

January 20, 2021   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on Q4 2020 Creative Newsletter   ·   Posted in Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter

E Pluribus Unum

E Pluribus Unum, or “Out of many, one” has such strong meaning to residents of the United States that it is printed on our coins (among other things). Being students of history, we find it a little interesting that coins with our national motto (until 1956) on them are being rationed and pennies are scheduled to be phased out of production by 2022. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is hitting new highs and the Federal Reserve has begun working on a digital dollar. At the same time, modern monetary proponents keep grabbing more and more headlines as if they are the smartest guys in the room. For instance, there is a popular book called “The Deficit Myth” that argues, since the dollar is the reserve currency, deficit spending is a self-propagated myth created and maintained by politicians. If we just spent more money on all of our problem’s, things will likely turn out fine. Why are we going down this road? Certainly not because we want to talk about political issues any more this year. We mention this because we fear the ramifications of losing our heritage and credibility on the global stage. We bring this up because political instability and greater government spending lead to something we hope to have a handle on in retirement, inflation. (Political instability may also lead to devaluation of our currency but for now, we are going to put that under the heading of inflation as both destroy the wealth of their citizenry.)

Of course, what are some of the tools under our care that we can use to fight the threat of inflation? Stocks, commodities, and to a lesser degree, short duration fixed income. As an aside, fixed income is a better diversifier against stock volatility, but it is far safer after inflation risk is reflected in its price and not before. Thus, we continue to recommend an appropriate weighting in equities, fixed income and gold. Many have entertained adding cash to portfolios this year and while we certainly have it in accounts as dry powder for buying opportunities, we do not recommend a cash overweighting. Especially if there is a concerted effort by our Federal Reserve to “allow inflation to run hotter than normal”. On that note, forgive us for being the guy in the car asking if we should be worried about the temperature gauge blinking on the dash and the smoke coming from the engine. It truly feels as if we are so desensitized to the threat of rising prices now that we are inviting it at all costs. 

Not to be incendiary in any way, but what could also add fuel to the flame and burn out of control? An incoming government with a penchant for spending? A pent-up populace cooped up and ready for travel once a vaccine works? Maybe aggressive centrists calling out polarization on both sides and leading a great political moderation? All of these are big ifs (some positive and some negative) that could lead to greater inflation from current levels. Thus, we must stay vigilant and flexible in our investing. To that end, how else can we prepare for rising prices? Do we get inflation protection from equities that are up significantly over the past ten years or do we get that from equities that were pummeled due to pandemic concerns? We would argue that we certainly need representation in these beaten up areas. Many, of which, remind one of the setup for value stocks circa 2000 to 2008. Do we know that sectors like small cap, international, value and emerging markets will outperform? To say so would be arrogant, but to humbly admit that throughout history assets revert to their mean seems a very prudent tactic to protect your wealth, in our opinion. Additionally, we think you can get “One, out of many” to play on our earlier quote by having diversification across many asset classes such as gold and short duration multi-sector income funds. Just like our country has produced many great returns from the melting pot of many, stellar returns do not solely reside in the headline mega cap stocks. They also live in visions of entrepreneurs forging into new areas of growth. Sometimes they even come together in a program like “Operation Warp Speed” and create a vaccine in less than 12 months that normally takes 10 to 15 years. Truly, the teams of people and companies working together today are what give us confidence we can surmount whatever comes our way.

Yes, we know it sounds kind of hokey to talk about what we can accomplish with a unified approach against a backdrop of cynicism present in most modern day societies, along with an admittedly challenging year. However, in our opinion, the greatness of the United States, and for that matter, the human spirit, is when we work together. One of our recently deceased hometown heroes, Phil Niekro, comes to mind when we think of the type of “greatness” needed right now. As Phil said in his Hall of Fame speech “I have never met a player or an owner who can honestly stand up and say ‘I own this game. It belongs to me.’ This is America. America is baseball. This game is home and it belongs to you, the fan. Cherish it and take care of it.” As long as we cherish our gifts and work together, we can defeat most anything that comes our way.

P.S. – For those of you that don’t know Phil Niekro, we recommend spending some free time learning about him. The quote “Heroes get remembered. Legends never die” comes to mind. He may have been a better person than he was a baseball player and that is saying a lot. Also, his signature pitch, the knuckleball, may be the most appropriate metaphor we can imagine for 2020. If you have ever had a knuckleball make you look silly at home plate, then you know what we mean.

General Compliance Disclosures

Statements made via this letter are the opinions of Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) and its advisors, and are not to be construed as guarantees, warranties or predictions of future events, portfolio allocations, portfolio results, investment returns, or other outcomes. None of the information contained is intended as a solicitation or offer to purchase or sell a specific security, mutual fund, bond, or any other investment. Readers should not assume that the considerations, suggestions, or recommendations will be profitable, suitable to their circumstances or that future investment and/or portfolio performance will be profitable or favorable. Past performance of indices, mutual funds, or actual portfolios does not guarantee future results. Future results may differ significantly from the past due to materially different economic and market conditions; investments in securities or other financial products involve risk and the possibility of loss, including a permanent loss of principal. Investments are not FDIC insured and have no bank guarantee.

Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) is a division of Synovus Securities, Inc (“SSI”), member FINRA/SIPC. Prior to

January 1, 2011, CFG was a separate registered investment adviser affiliate of SSI. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank.

Investment products and services provided by Synovus are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. (“SSI”), Synovus Trust Company, N.A. (“STC”), GLOBALT, a separately identifiable division of STC and Creative Financial Group, a division of SSI. Trust services for Synovus are provided by Synovus Trust Company, N.A. The registered broker-dealer offering brokerage products for Synovus is Synovus Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank and Synovus Trust.  Synovus Trust Company, N.A. is a subsidiary of Synovus Bank.

Pursuant to rules adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission governing federally registered investment advisors, we request that you take time to compare your account balances and statements issued by National Financial Services, who acts as the custodian for your account(s).  We request you contact us immediately if you do not receive these statements or if the values reflected are materially different.

Cost basis reporting

If you buy and sell a security in a taxable account on or after the effective date, NFS will report cost basis for the sold security to you and the IRS on Form 1099-B. If you have a mix of covered and uncovered positions in the same security, NFS will report cost basis to you and the IRS for any covered position that is sold. NFS will apply the FIFO (First In, First Out) default method unless you inform us of a different method. Your cost basis method for all transactions must be final by settlement date. If you choose to change the default method, you can do so by notifying your Financial Consultant.

Use of Indexes

iThe investment return and style information and comparisons employ a variety of popular indices, and the index contents and strategies are the property of their respective companies (e.g., Dow Jones, Standard & Poor’s, Morningstar, Barclay Capital, Russell). Although the data is believed to be reliable, CFG makes no warranty with respect to the contents, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or reliability of the information, which is represented here for informational use only and should not be considered investment advice or recommendation. None of the indices can be invested directly, and the return figures for these various securities indices are reported without management fees, trading costs, or other expenses subtracted from the returns, and are shown on a total return basis that assumes reinvestment of applicable capital gains and dividends. Components of indices may change over time. Small capitalization stocks are represented by the Russell 2000 Index. Mid Capitalization stocks are represented by the S&P Mid Cap 400 Index. Foreign stocks are represented by the MSCI EAFE Index and emerging markets are represented by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Congratulations Chris Womack

November 9, 2020   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on Congratulations Chris Womack   ·   Posted in Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter

We congratulate longtime client Chris Womack for being named CEO of GA Power.

African Americans have founded and led sizeable businesses in Georgia. But nationwide, Black CEOs are rare among the largest companies. Only four — less than 1% — were serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to a report last year by consulting firm Korn Ferry. Georgia Power is a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company.

To see more information on Chris and his accomplishments Please visit the follow links

https://www.ajc.com/neighborhoods/gwinnett/southern-exec-to-become-new-georgia-power-ceo/SEM3T3UGDBHB5KI5JUFCLD5MSI/

http://athensceo.com/features/2020/10/georgia-powers-paul-bowers-retire-succession-plan-announced/

Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter

October 14, 2020   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on Q3 2020 Creative Newsletter   ·   Posted in Asset Management Letter Archive

Dad Jokes
One of our portfolio managers was talking to his daughter recently when she remarked about how much anxiety she had given everything going on in the world. Being a master of homespun wisdom and humor, he quipped “I deal with my anxiety by not worrying about it.” Like most dad jokes, this fell flat until his wife responded with “Maybe because you lost your dad at 19 years old, had to work your way through college, and then came out on the other side in a pretty good position, you have a perspective that things will work out?” He quickly admitted she had made a very good point in hopes the vestige of his bad joke had dissipated into his wife’s searing epiphany. We share this vignette to drive home how important perspective is when it comes to dealing with the news of the day. The 24-hour news cycle seems to constantly shade the events of the day with a negative hue. Certainly, with items like Covid-19, wildfires, unemployment, and violent protests continuing we definitely understand anxiety and worry. However, as history buffs we realize there is always something to fear as one tries to move in a positive direction.
On that note, please forgive our bias, but we are strong believers in the power of humankind to improve its collective destiny. Sure, societies will make mistakes, but as we work together over the long term we can achieve a lot. For instance, 100 years ago the death rate in children under 5 was 32% and now it is under 4%. Air quality in major cities has improved by 30% since 1977. Some may say this isn’t enough, and we get that, but others may argue modern society also suffers from “prevalence induced concept change” which boils down to “The more progress we observe, the greater the remaining injustices appear.” We certainly understand these individual points of view, but there is a collective trend we must also weigh. Improvements like life expectancy increasing by 30 years since the 1900’s or the fatality rate at work dropping by 30% are significant in our opinion. In other words, life is still pretty decent even against a backdrop of Covid-19 and through adversity we oftentimes come out with vast improvements.
To the end, we have noticed some very significant and positive trends recently in healthcare and technology. For instance, teleworking and telemedicine has accelerated to the point we think there is no turning back. Further, the push to use digital technology for monitoring, diagnosis, and alerts has increased and should continue with additional support via artificial intelligence and personal care management. All of this should also increase proactive well-care and ease of access to healthcare versus the model of reactive sick-care with less access. Of course, gene and cell therapy and Crispr technology had already started the movement towards precision medicine years earlier, speaking of proactive well-care. Finally, the easing of regulations and the sharing of technology between private and public entities seems to be creating a new normal within the medical industry. All of this cooperation and change may create stress in the short run, but over the long haul we are encouraged by the progress.
All of the positive trends aside, we realize words on a piece of paper do not remove worry and fears about current events. Know that we are here to chat about anything on your mind whether it is a fear or a hope. Given where the stock market was earlier this year, we are encouraged with returns. They could always be better, but given the level of risk we encountered in March we haven’t felt the need to ratchet risk higher. It is also part of the reason you have seen us take gains, raise cash, and introduce gold to portfolios. The areas of the market that are cheap carry secular risks such as energy and finance, typical “value” areas of the market, so not many want to add that “value” risk to their portfolios. Of course, as Warren Buffett always said “You can’t buy what is popular and do well”. We are here to help discern what is a positive long
term trend versus a passing fancy and to do well for you. Please call with any questions and to let
us know what we can do better to continue doing “well” by you.
P.S – We know that many have asked questions about the election and we get those every
four years. Oftentimes, every four years we encounter the most important election of all time and
while we encourage all to vote as it is vitally important to our country, it typically doesn’t impact
the markets as dramatically as one would think. We have shared stats in our “Wisdom
Wednesday” calls that show the differential in returns between a Democrat and a Republican are
historically minimal. To that end we found a new statistic the other day we felt was worth
sharing, from 1933 to 2019 the average annual return of the S&P 500 during Democratic
presidents was 10.2% and during Republican presidents was 6.9%. Nearly all of the Democratic
average outperformance advantage can be explained by the boom years under Clinton and the
subsequent dotcom bust and Global financial crisis under Bush. If you exclude those two
presidencies the difference in returns is practically zero. We share this to try and help keep
perspective on this year’s election.
P.S.S – Hopefully, we don’t have to explain the concept of “Dad Jokes” (hint, it rhymes
with bad). However, if you need us to explain, we have several experts on site that can help.

Q2 2020 Creative Newsletter

October 14, 2020   ·   By   ·   Comments Off on Q2 2020 Creative Newsletter   ·   Posted in Asset Management Letter Archive

Risky Business

We alluded to risk in the last quarterly letter and how “This too shall pass”. The good news is that the bleak uncertainty in March seems to have passed, but the bad news is that risk still remains. The point that we didn’t emphasize last quarter is that risk is always present. Of course, with risk also comes opportunity, but it is critical that we all distinguish between fear and danger when it comes to risk. Fear is an emotion; it’s the risk we perceive. As an emotion, it’s often blind to the facts. For example, you are more likely to die from a vending machine falling on you than a shark attack in the United States. However, you never hear anyone yell “Vending Machine” on the way to get a snack in the office. Danger, on the other hand, is measurable and is therefore the part of risk we focus on. For instance, there were 273 Covid-19 deaths on June 28th, 2020 which was down 84% from the peak of 1,733 on April 19th, 2020. On average 2,353 people die of heart disease every day. We are in no way diminishing the fear present in a virus with no herd immunity or vaccine. We are instead trying to drive home the point that life presents us with risk every day and how we handle it defines us.

                For instance, in the 1918 flu pandemic that killed between 17 and 50 million people, the use of the telephone rose significantly as people adapted to a world full of new risks but still needed to communicate. Keeping perspective, imagine the dangers experienced during a time period including a pandemic and the First World War. Prior to 1918 phones were considered a convenience of the well-to-do. Similarly, many businesses such as Creative Financial Group, are using video conferencing more to keep in close contact with clients and to telecommute. Telemedicine has finally taken off, as well, so you can see a doctor without sitting in a lobby surrounded by a bunch of sick people. Curbside pickup has also grown to the delight of some and the detriment of others. It seems that some companies with the ability to adapt will exit this pandemic stronger, while others may weaken and even disappear. Unfortunately, life is filled with stories like that. We learned this the first time we heard an adult say “Life isn’t fair all the time”. As adults, we know this and must act accordingly. It is why we save and invest instead of hiding underneath our beds and living from paycheck-to-paycheck. It is also why we can swim at the beach without high levels of anxiety. Certainly macro concerns enter the economic picture as we are all intelligent people who pay attention to the world around us. However, in today’s 24-hour news cycle, we realize it can be difficult to not get caught up in our emotions. Facts can help with this.   

                On that note here are some important facts not highlighted in the 24 hour news cycle. The Federal Reserve has increased their balance more in two months than it did in five years of quantitative easing from 2010-15. You can see the correlation between the Fed Balance sheet and the S&P 500i at the following link: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/?g=HfT. Inflation is not a problem now but M2, one of the broadest measures of money supply, has increased 351.9% from a year ago. Inflation impacts assets in different ways, but we know it is negative for fixed income. As a side note, in order for returns in fixed income to be as good as they were the past ten years, rates would have to fall to -3%. Another fact is that the average return in an election year is positive. Time will tell whether or not 2020 ends up being positive, but when the Federal Reserve pumps liquidity into the market, the chances improve. This, by no means, omits the challenges presented with high unemployment, business shutdowns, pandemics and civil unrest. However, once we make it through this period of increased volatility it sure seems as if investors will want assets like, commodities and stocks that historically do well in the face of inflation.    

                On a topical note, we continue to make use of funds that will hold cash and other assets that allow flexibility to be in and out of the market when volatility spikes. Additionally, we have begun adding a commodity, gold, to portfolios as a hedge against inflation and volatility. This is not something we have done in the past, besides choosing a fund that would hold gold as a hedge, but we felt the upside/downside potential was attractive given the level of money printing. If this is an investment you are against, then please let us know as we are working our way through accounts. Additionally, if you see us selling to raise money for the gold purchase, you may notice we are harvesting some gains in large capitalization growth funds as they have significantly outperformed other sectors of the market. We like to say that growth stocks have performed as if Covid-19 never occurred, and value stocks have performed as if we are near the “end times”. Growth has now outperformed value for 13 years and by many metrics has not been this expensive since 1999, and we know how that ended ten years later.

                Of course, we started this quarterly on the topic of risk so it only makes sense for us to end on it. Investing is a business that tries to quantify risk and return and provide an investment with a comfort level commensurate with your desired risk and return. If you feel your risk profile has changed, then please give us a call. On that note, we like to say that we serve our clients best by being consistently good, not just occasionally great. However, this is harder to accomplish if we don’t know how you are thinking. So, again, please call with any questions.

General Compliance Disclosures

Statements made via this letter are the opinions of Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) and its advisors, and are not to be construed as guarantees, warranties or predictions of future events, portfolio allocations, portfolio results, investment returns, or other outcomes. None of the information contained is intended as a solicitation or offer to purchase or sell a specific security, mutual fund, bond, or any other investment. Readers should not assume that the considerations, suggestions, or recommendations will be profitable, suitable to their circumstances or that future investment and/or portfolio performance will be profitable or favorable. Past performance of indices, mutual funds, or actual portfolios does not guarantee future results. Future results may differ significantly from the past due to materially different economic and market conditions; investments in securities or other financial products involve risk and the possibility of loss, including a permanent loss of principal. Investments are not FDIC insured and have no bank guarantee.

Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) is a division of Synovus Securities, Inc (“SSI”), member FINRA/SIPC. Prior to

January 1, 2011, CFG was a separate registered investment adviser affiliate of SSI. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank.

Investment products and services provided by Synovus are offered through Synovus Securities, Inc. (“SSI”), Synovus Trust Company, N.A. (“STC”), GLOBALT, a separately identifiable division of STC and Creative Financial Group, a division of SSI. Trust services for Synovus are provided by Synovus Trust Company, N.A. The registered broker-dealer offering brokerage products for Synovus is Synovus Securities, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested.

Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank and Synovus Trust.  Synovus Trust Company, N.A. is a subsidiary of Synovus Bank.

Pursuant to rules adopted by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission governing federally registered investment advisors, we request that you take time to compare your account balances and statements issued by National Financial Services, who acts as the custodian for your account(s).  We request you contact us immediately if you do not receive these statements or if the values reflected are materially different.

Cost basis reporting

If you buy and sell a security in a taxable account on or after the effective date, NFS will report cost basis for the sold security to you and the IRS on Form 1099-B. If you have a mix of covered and uncovered positions in the same security, NFS will report cost basis to you and the IRS for any covered position that is sold. NFS will apply the FIFO (First In, First Out) default method unless you inform us of a different method. Your cost basis method for all transactions must be final by settlement date. If you choose to change the default method, you can do so by notifying your Financial Consultant.

Use of Indexes

iThe investment return and style information and comparisons employ a variety of popular indices, and the index contents and strategies are the property of their respective companies (e.g., Dow Jones, Standard & Poor’s, Morningstar, Barclay Capital, Russell). Although the data is believed to be reliable, CFG makes no warranty with respect to the contents, accuracy, completeness, timeliness, suitability, or reliability of the information, which is represented here for informational use only and should not be considered investment advice or recommendation. None of the indices can be invested directly, and the return figures for these various securities indices are reported without management fees, trading costs, or other expenses subtracted from the returns, and are shown on a total return basis that assumes reinvestment of applicable capital gains and dividends. Components of indices may change over time. Small capitalization stocks are represented by the Russell 2000 Index. Mid Capitalization stocks are represented by the S&P Mid Cap 400 Index. Foreign stocks are represented by the MSCI EAFE Index and emerging markets are represented by the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.


Copyright © 2011 Creative Financial Group
All rights reserved.

Creative Financial Group (“CFG”) is a division of Synovus Securities, Inc (“SSI”), member FINRA/SIPC. Prior to January 1, 2011, CFG was a separate registered investment adviser affiliate of SSI. Investment products and services are not FDIC insured, are not deposits of or other obligations of Synovus Bank, are not guaranteed by Synovus Bank and involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal amount invested. Synovus Securities, Inc. is a subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp and an affiliate of Synovus Bank. You can obtain more information about Synovus Securities, Inc. and its Registered Representatives by accessing BrokerCheck