Staying Connected During COVID-19 – Webinar #2

In the second webinar of the Staying Connected series, our Wealth Advisor, Executive Vice President and CCO, Eric Selter, and Wealth Advisor, Celia Meagher addressed the following client questions surrounding the latest developments of COVID-19 and its impact on the market:

  • What does the stimulus package mean for my portfolio?
  • What are some tips on handling my financial emotions during this unsettling time?
  • What is Morton Capital doing behind the scenes?

To register for access to these online events and/or submit any questions you would like our Wealth Advisors to answer for you please email us at

We look forward to you joining us on future webinars!

Staying Connected During COVID-19 – Webinar #1

Led by our Chief Investment Officer, Meghan Pinchuk, and Wealth Advisor, Kevin Rex, our first webinar on Tuesday, March 24 discussed the latest developments of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact on the market. Below are the client questions we addressed:

  • What do all these government policy moves mean for my portfolio and the markets?
  • Should I be looking to buy or sell with everything going on?
  • How will our alternative investments be impacted?

To register for access to these online events and/or submit any questions you would like our Wealth Advisors to answer for you please email us at

We look forward to you joining us on future webinars!

Staying Connected During COVID-19 – Introduction to a new weekly webinar

Given the current global uncertainty, our advisory team will be hosting weekly webinars to share our take on the news, policy changes, the economy and potential opportunities. Our goal is to stay connected, ease some of your fears and ensure you feel informed and empowered with regards to your financial plan. To learn more about the webinar series, please see the below brief video from our CEO, Jeff Sarti by clicking the image below or the following link:

We look forward to seeing you on the webinar and addressing any concerns you have about the market and your investments.


Monitoring the Coronavirus

The coronavirus originated in the city of Wuhan, China, in December, and as of our writing this communication it has infected over 82,000 people resulting in 2,800 deaths. Up until the last week, global stock markets shrugged off concerns about a wider spread of the virus. However, an increase in reported cases outside of China in recent days has raised concerns about the potential for a global pandemic. This has resulted in a stock market correction around the world with the S&P 500 correcting over 10% in the last week.

There are a few main issues that are occupying our minds and that of global markets:

How contagious and dangerous is the virus?

  • While the absolute number of cases outside of China still remains small, the increased pace of reported cases is concerning. Korea, Iran, Italy and Japan are currently hot spots of particular concern. As we write this, the first coronavirus case in the United States that could not be linked to foreign travel was confirmed as well.
  • However, it appears that the growth of reported cases in China has slowed in recent days. If this data can be relied upon and the trend in China continues, this may demonstrate that human behavior (e.g., quarantines) can control transmission of the virus and perhaps the virus is not as contagious as was originally believed.
  • Early estimates of the death rate upon contraction of the virus are roughly 2%. As a point of comparison, the SARS outbreak in 2003 had a fatality rate of 9.6%.
  • To date, there have been no reported deaths in those aged nine years and younger, implying that very young children are not as susceptible to this virus.

How much can the virus hurt global economic growth?

  • Efforts to contain the virus have resulted in numerous factories, public sites and workplaces being closed both in China and now abroad.
  • This has caused and will continue to cause substantial business disruption across the globe. One example is Apple’s recent warning that they expect lower revenue growth due to the outbreak’s impact on iPhone manufacturing (they have numerous factories near the heart of the outbreak).
  • At around 20% of the global gross domestic product (GDP), China is the second-largest economy in the world. Estimates are that growth in China in 2020 will slow from pre-virus forecasts of 5% down to 3%. This should reduce global GDP growth by roughly 0.4% from forecasts of 2.9% to 2.5%. These estimates may be somewhat rosy depending upon how far the virus ultimately spreads.

Historically, financial markets have been somewhat resilient in the face of past epidemics. Short-term corrections in global stock markets have typically been followed by renewed uptrends within a few months. The concern, of course, is that the spread of this virus will be more aggressive than the spread of other viruses in recent decades. The most important question for investors is whether your portfolio is prepared for the potentially challenging environment ahead. While our portfolios are not immune to stock market corrections, our concerned view of the world and heightened exposure to alternatives should provide some insulation against market shocks. We prefer to be prepared in advance of unexpected market events such as this as opposed to reacting after the fact. In the face of short-term volatility, it is important to keep in mind the goals and financial plan that helped build your portfolio for the long term.

New Year’s Wishes

As 2019—and this decade—comes to an end, we at Morton Capital would like to thank you for allowing us to continue to be part of your story. And for those of you who just joined our community this year, we are excited to start our story together. As we look forward to the year ahead, we would like to take a moment to share with you some highlights of what we’ve been working on over the past year.


In 2019, we continued to focus on making our team even better through initiatives around hiring, team structure, and firm growth.

  • We were named one of the Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors by Investment News. This list highlights the top 75 firms nationwide in the financial advice industry. We were chosen 2nd among firms our size and 16th overall.
  • We hired talented new people across several teams, including the advisory, financial planning, investment research and operations teams. New hires included:
    • Brian Standing, Esq. (Wealth Planner); Patrice Bening (Client Service Associate); Olivia Payne (Client Service Associate); Adam Bartkoski (Finance and HR Manager); Milan Pfeisinger (Research Analyst); Elana Yaffe (Paraplanner); Amber McBride (Paraplanner); Edward Garcia (Client Service Administrator); Chris Wahl (Client Service Administrator); Clarence Welton (Client Service Administrator); Austin Overholt (Private Investments Administrator); Benjamin Markman (Private Investments Administrator); and Kierstan Lewis (Administrative Assistant)
  • Two of our Wealth Advisors, Kevin Rex and Wade Calvert, became new partners in the firm.
  • We built out our internal team structure to create additional client support and to create new opportunities for team member career growth.
  • Through the hard work and dedication of our team, we were able to add just under 40 new client households to the MC community.
  • Two team members have welcomed beautiful baby girls Audriana (Kevin Rex) and Harlowe (Sarah Ellis) this year. Since sourcing young talent is always important, stay tuned for our 2041 year-end letter, as these girls’ names may appear amongst those hired!


Continuing to cultivate our team’s passion for education and to enhance our offering through technology, security, and leadership initiatives was also a focus over the past year.

  • Team members attended multiple conferences to stay at the forefront of our industry, network with thought leaders and enhance our financial planning and technological capabilities.
  • Our COO, Stacey McKinnon, spoke at 5 events this year, including at such leading conferences as Bob Veres’s Insider’s Forum in Nashville in September.

  • We worked to make our internal processes more efficient by introducing new CRM and workflow systems to improve your client experience
  • We continue to utilize multiple fraud prevention measures, such as verbal confirmations and dual-factor authentication when available, to protect our clients from increasingly sophisticated fraud attempts.
  • In August, we introduced our popular Financial Bites lunch series for clients in our downstairs suite, where advisors spoke about the basics of a number of financial planning topics to educate and empower attendees.

  • This year, Wealth Advisor and Senior Vice President Joe Seetoo earned his CEPA (Certified Exit Planning AdvisorTM) designation, and Associate Wealth Advisor Sarah Ellis passed her Series 65 exam.
    • As part of our focus on education, many other team members are in the process of obtaining additional certifications in such areas as financial planning, investment research, private wealth management, and insurance.


We work diligently behind the scenes to source great investment opportunities for our clients. To give you a peek behind the curtain, this year:

  • We screened hundreds of new investment opportunities and performed nearly 90 more in-depth reviews, which included meetings and/or phone calls with fund managers.
  • Out of those 90 opportunities, we introduced 6 new strategies for client portfolios.
  • In addition to numerous site visits around Southern California, we also performed due diligence on various groups in New York, Texas and Kentucky.
  • We made three new additions (see above) to our investment research and operations teams.
  • We continued to augment our internal research with outsourced research, both from larger, more institutional groups (e.g., Capital Economics, Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Dimensional Funds, GMO, Elliott Management, Litman Gregory) and from more niche authors as well.

Over the past year, we have refined and expanded our financial planning offering by:

  • Adding wealth and legacy planning as an additional component of our financial planning service. This additional service has been spearheaded by Wealth Planner Brian Standing, who has 12 years of estate planning and wealth transfer experience.
  • Making three new additions (see above) to our financial planning and wealth and legacy planning teams.
  • Completing 180 financial plans for our clients.
  • Holding 50 education sessions for our advisors, with the goal of enhancing our ability to provide you with advice in estate planning, insurance, tax strategies, and retirement planning.
  • Collaborating with clients’ other professional advisors, including estate attorneys, CPAs and insurance agents.


Looking back on all that we’ve accomplished over the last year, we are excited to see how our constant pursuit of knowledge and growth has been better able to help you, our clients, get the most life out of your wealth. We truly appreciate your continued confidence and wish you and your family a very happy new year.

See you in 2020!

-Your Morton Team

White Paper – Multiple Advisors vs. One Advisor

Working in finance, it’s become clear to me that decisions surrounding money are commonly influenced by feelings. Those feelings can range from happiness and comfort to fear and greed—the list goes on and on. A natural result of these varied emotions is that people are often hesitant to use one advisor because they are concerned about “putting all of their eggs in one basket.” The choice to have one advisor or multiple advisors is very personal, but it shouldn’t be emotional.

Mid Quarter Newsletter March 2019

Why Cash Flow Planning Is Important for Everyone

According to a Fidelity eAdvisor study, clients who have a formal financial plan are 7 times happier than those without one. Yes, you read that right—7 times happier! But, according to Charles Schwab’s 2018 Modern Wealth Index study, only one in four Americans actually has a written financial plan. If having a formal, written financial plan could make you 7 times happier, why is it that only a quarter of Americans have one?

People may think that either they don’t have enough money for a cash flow plan or they have more than enough to retire so they don’t need to do one. However, a cash flow plan is not about how much money you have—it’s about providing you with clarity and context when it comes to your finances.


At its heart, a financial plan is about helping you use your resources to achieve your goals. But in order to achieve your goals, you need to spend some time clearly defining what they are. Understanding what is important to you can help you make decisions about what you want to do with your money, especially if you need to prioritize your goals. Defining your goals as part of the cash flow planning process will also help your financial professional identify the possible risks to those goals and help you plan for them. The sense of organization and control that a plan can give you has an enormous impact not just on how you feel about your financial life, but about your overall life as well.


Rather than making financial decisions in a vacuum, a cash flow plan provides context for those decisions. Do you need to save more in order to retire when you want to? Should you hold off on selling your business to lessen your tax bill in a high-income year? How will refinancing your mortgage affect your budget? Having a cash flow plan will allow you to see the impact of your decisions before you make them and whether there’s a better alternative that is more in line with your goals.

A plan that provides clarity and context for your financial future is something from which everyone can benefit, regardless of net worth. Going through the process of creating a cash flow plan can seem like an arduous task, but what you’re ultimately working toward is peace of mind.


Welcome Patrice and Moriah

Patrice Bening started her career in banking at Bank of America while earning her degree in business administration and finance at California State University, Northridge. During the 10 years she spent at Bank of America, she held a variety of positions – from business banker, to relationship client manager, to branch manager, working in diverse markets across the Westside, beach communities and Conejo Valley. Patrice’s latest role was as the Vice President and Branch Manager of the Santa Monica branch for OneWest Bank, a locally based California bank. Patrice is an avid runner and hiker, and last year summited Mt. Whitney and completed her first marathon. Patrice and her husband have two boys and a mischievous border collie named Loki.

Moriah Twombley graduated with a degree in patisserie and baking from Le Cordon Bleu in 2011. After graduating, she worked in retail management before joining Morton Capital in November 2018. As an Account Servicing Associate, Moriah plays an integral role in our operations team by providing administrative support between our client service team and Morton Capital’s various custodians. She still enjoys baking for friends and family.


FOMO and the Market

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, was the dominant theme for the first nine months of last year and has become an increasingly influential emotion in our daily lives. According to Wikipedia, FOMO is defined as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent.” A fear of missing out has always been a part of life, but it has become even more prevalent with the advent of technology and the emergence of social media. The impact on investment strategies has been especially pronounced. For most of 2018, we were constantly reminded how well FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) or other mega-cap growth stocks—which dominate the S&P 500 Index—were doing and why everyone needed to abandon their diversified portfolios and get more exposure to those stocks. Unfortunately, FOMO is frequently a counterproductive emotion that leads to bad decision-making, as it became apparent with the sharp drawdown in the equity markets in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Investment fads are nothing new. A look back over the past few decades can demonstrate how many of these investment strategies have come and gone. In the late 1990s, growing belief in the emergence of a “new economy” led to the rise of the information technology sector and the ensuing speculation in “dot-com” stocks. In the 2000s, much was made about the potential growth opportunities in the emerging economies and the importance of the so-called “BRIC” countries of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. The meteoric rise and subsequent crash of Bitcoin and other so-called cryptocurrencies was the most recent example of irrational FOMO behavior that punished many investors and speculators. While some of these ideas had merit at the time, over-allocating to the hottest and newest investment strategy has rarely paid off in the long run. At Morton Capital, we take a different path when evaluating new investment strategies. Rather than following the crowd, we try to stay disciplined and adhere to our three core beliefs of risk management, true diversification and cash flow. After all, if our clients can sleep peacefully at night knowing their portfolio is working towards their financial goals, while others may take unnecessary risks to participate in a hot trend, who’s really missing out?


Important Reports for Tax Planning

It’s that time of the year again – tax planning season! To help you and your CPA get the information you need in a timely manner, we’ve created a few tax planning reports on the portal:

  • Realized Gain/Losses – for this year and last year
  • K-1 estimated timing document
  • Estimated income report (under “Transactions”)

We will upload your Schwab or Fidelity 1099 reports in mid-March as well. Please reach out to your MC wealth advisory team for any questions about our portal or to set up your CPA with their own.



Fourth Quarter 2018 Commentary

What a Difference a Year Makes

While the stock market correction in the fourth quarter dominated headlines, the real news in 2018 was that the vast majority of asset classes produced negative returns. According to a Deutsche Bank study, 90% of the 70 asset classes they track delivered negative returns for 2018—the highest percentage as far back as 1901, when they began tracking the data. This is in stark contrast to the prior year when almost all asset classes had positive returns.

While these extremes in performance are dramatic, the most important takeaway, in our opinion, is that most traditional asset classes moved in the same direction in both years. We have often talked about the ineffective diversification that traditional (i.e., stock and bond only) portfolios have provided in recent years and may potentially provide going forward. This lack of diversification benefit is welcomed by investors in years like 2017, when everything is up, but less so in years like 2018, where everything is down without there really being anywhere to hide.

The Dual Narratives of 2018

Looking more closely at 2018’s performance, two polar opposite narratives dominated the beginning and the end of the year. The U.S. markets began 2018 with high hopes that tax reform and deregulation would drive an acceleration in the rate of capital investment, thus improving productivity and bolstering economic growth and corporate earnings outlooks. According to Bloomberg, while tax reform has been positive on the margin for capital spending, a large share of the tax windfall has been allocated to corporate share repurchases (i.e., financial engineering). While tax cuts contributed to the rally in the first nine months of the year, it was short-lived as earnings slowed as a result of the lack of investment in productivity. Most indices severely corrected in the fourth quarter and ended the year down or flat. The one bright spot for in the quarter was gold, which acted as an effective hedge during this period of market stress. The table below summarizes the fourth quarter and year-to-date (YTD) performance for selected indices.

We have frequently been asked to comment on what caused the U.S. market’s swoon in the fourth quarter. There was certainly no shortage of potential problem areas: the Fed raised interest rates by 25 basis points (0.25%) for the fourth time in the year, trade tensions with China continued, global economies started showing signs of slowing down, the Democrats took control of the House but the Republicans maintained their majority in the Senate, the White House experienced continued personnel turnover, and there was even a partial government shutdown late in December. None of these events, in our opinion, were significant enough to be considered a catalyst for the market downturn, however. Interest rates have been on the rise for the better part of three years, trade tensions dominated headlines for much of the year, and political uncertainty has been evident almost on a daily basis. Rather than pointing to any one event as the cause of the downturn, it seems most likely to us that markets simply got ahead of themselves in 2017 and the first nine months of 2018. Looking forward, we anticipate that there could be further volatility as the stimulus from tax cuts and government spending wanes and both economic and corporate profit growth rates decelerate.

Morton Capital’s Approach

In our year-end communication regarding the recent market volatility, we emphasized our core beliefs as it pertains to developing long-term plans and managing our clients’ portfolios. Undoubtedly, the markets become more difficult to navigate late in the business cycle, as markets search for new equilibrium and more rational valuation levels. Our core beliefs have helped guide us through challenging markets in the past, and we believe will do so again going forward. Our core beliefs encompass the following:

    • Risk Management

    Investors have to take risk to make money, but deciding what type of risk and how much to take given certain environments can be key to long-term success. In the current environment, where we believe valuations are elevated, the key is finding investments where we have conviction that the return potential justifies the risk being taken. Over the last few years, we have been reducing our exposure to traditional asset classes as euphoric investors have bid up prices and chased yields. These allocations have typically gone to more lending-related strategies, where we believe investors can make relatively attractive returns without having to suffer through stock-like volatility. Where appropriate, we have also increased our allocations to private alternative investments, where there can be a premium for taking on illiquidity.

    • True Diversification

    We define a truly diversified portfolio as one with multiple drivers of return. If stocks and bonds have the potential to move in lockstep during a downturn, then a broader and more dynamic alternative approach to diversification is necessary to be effective. While lack of access and due diligence expertise may keep other firms from investing in alternatives, Morton Capital has been at the forefront of incorporating innovative asset classes such as real estate equity, private lending and reinsurance into our clients’ portfolios. These asset classes should not move in lockstep with the market and should better manage risk if we encounter a sustained correction.

    • Cash Flow

    In designing our client portfolios, we have always shown a preference for investments that can generate immediate or reasonably fast cash flow. While long-term buy-and-hold strategies can be successful, we prefer to be paid while we wait. In the current low-interest-rate environment, we have tilted our public stock portfolio to more dividend-paying stocks and have sought higher levels of cash flow in the private lending space as a replacement for traditional low-yielding bonds. We believe these cash flow-focused assets, especially in the private lending space, will generate more attractive and consistent outcomes for our clients while simultaneously supporting their lifestyles.

Follow Your Plan—Reacting Can Hurt Performance

At some point or another, we have all experienced the frustrating gridlock on the 405 or 101 freeways during rush hour. While traffic is slow for everyone, some drivers keep changing lanes hoping to get ahead. We, on the other hand, stay in our lane and end up passing them a little down the road. Given the heightened levels of volatility and the associated uncertainty, it is understandable that emotions may run high, causing investors to make changes to their portfolios. It is widely studied that one of the costliest mistakes investors make is to sell some of their riskier holdings and hope to buy them back later when things get “better.” Dimensional Fund Advisors has performed a study on the returns of the S&P 500 Index from 1990 to the end of 2017 to prove that market timing is a futile practice. As illustrated in the graph below, if investors missed the 25 single best days in the market during this timeframe, their annualized return would have dropped from 9.81% to 4.53%. Such underperformance will undoubtedly have a major adverse impact on an investor’s financial plan.

Forecasting the future path of the markets or the economy is never easy, and we are not in the business of predictions. As your partner and advisor, we can, however, encourage you to stay disciplined and not overreact to short-term volatility in the markets. In developing a plan to meet your financial goals, we have considered your objectives, income, cash flow requirements, and tolerance to assume risk. Maintaining a diversified portfolio and target asset allocations consistent with our philosophy is an important discipline. While there is an urge to want to be active and make changes, the reality is that every decision is an active decision, including a decision not to make changes.

Please do not hesitate to contact your Morton Capital wealth advisory team if you have any questions or would like to review your portfolio or plan in more detail. As always, we appreciate your continued confidence and trust.

Morton Capital Investment Team



Disclosures: This commentary is mailed quarterly to our clients and friends and is for information purposes only. This document should not be taken as a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any individual security or asset class, and should not be considered investment advice. This memorandum expresses the views of the author and are subject to change without notice. All information contained herein is current only as of the earlier of the date hereof and the date on which it is delivered by Morton Capital (MC) to the intended recipient, or such other date indicated with respect to specific information. Certain information contained herein is based on or derived from information provided by independent third-party sources. The author believes that the sources from which such information has been obtained are reliable; however, it cannot guarantee the accuracy of such information. Any performance information contained herein is for illustrative purposes only.

Certain private investment opportunities discussed herein may only be available to eligible clients and can only be made after careful review and completion of applicable offering documents. Private investments are speculative and involve a high degree of risk.

The indices referenced in this document are provided to allow for comparison to well-known and widely recognized asset classes and asset class categories. Q4 returns shown are from 09-28-2018 through 12-31-2018 and the 2018 Year-To-Date returns are from 12-29-2017 through 12-31-2018. Index returns shown do not reflect the deduction of any fees or expenses. The volatility of the benchmarks may be materially different from the performance of MCM. In addition, MCM’s recommendations may differ significantly from the securities that comprise the benchmarks. Indices are unmanaged, and an investment cannot be made directly in an index.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. All investments involve risk including the loss of principal. Details on MCM’s advisory services, fees and investment strategies, including a summary of risks surrounding the strategies, can be found in our Form ADV Part 2A. A copy may be obtained at

Morton Capital Perspective on Recent Market Volatility

“The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to the patient.” – Warren Buffet

The markets have been on a roller coaster ride recently, but now is not the time to get off—it is time to be patient.  While we understand that fear is a natural result of uncertain times, it is important to remember that market corrections, and even recessions, are a natural part of the market cycle.  In this article we answer three key questions that we have been asked in recent weeks, including our thoughts on the economy, the markets and the recent volatility.

What is happening in the markets?

If you’re expecting more volatility, why not sell stocks now?

What is Morton Capital’s approach given this uncertainty?




Disclosure: This communication is for informational purposes only. Any investment strategy involves the risk of loss of capital. Some alternative investment strategies discussed are limited to qualified eligible investors. Past performance does not guarantee future results. 

Senior Vice President, Joe Seetoo, recognized as a finalist in the 2018 Trusted Advisors Awards by San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

Congratulations to Senior Vice President Joe Seetoo, on his becoming a finalist for the San Fernando Valley Business Journal’s Trusted Advisors Awards. This annual event honors attorneys, accountants, business bankers, insurance professionals and wealth managers in the greater San Fernando Valley region for their commitment to high quality client service and overall excellence.

At the award ceremony, hosted on August 9thpublisher Charles Crumpley commented “This event helps to recognize the importance of the relationships they have developed with their clients as they guide them through this complex business environment,” Crumpley said in his opening remarks. “Everyone understands that in these industries, professionals have to help their clients comply with rules and regulations. But it is those rare individuals who do that but also combine market knowledge with superior service to help their clients thrive and achieve. And many of them go way above and make significant contributions to our community.”

We are incredibly proud of Joe and his relentless pursuit of excellence in both client service, and as a leader within our team. In 2017 Joe was also awarded the Wealth Management – Trail Blazer Award by the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

Read more here


San Fernando Valley Business Journal (“SFVBJ”) Trusted Advisors is an independent listing produced annually by the SFVBJ. The award is based on data provided by individual advisors and their firms. Only advisors who submitted information are included for consideration, and investment returns are not a component of the rankings. The award is based upon a recipient’s application and not upon any qualitative and quantitative criteria relating specifically to one’s position as an investment advisor. As such, the award is not representative of any one client’s experience. This award does not evaluate the quality of services provided to clients and is not indicative of the investment advisor’s future performance. Neither the RIA firms nor their employees pay a fee to the SFVBJ in exchange for inclusion in the Trusted Advisors awards.