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How Business Owners Can Find Opportunity in Chaos

While 2020 may seem like a difficult time to be a business owner, there are hidden opportunities to grow in the chaos, especially if you think of opportunity as the ability to make positive changes in your business regardless of what’s going on around you. Below are five things that every business owner should consider in this environment to capitalize on potential opportunities for growth.

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Author:
Wade Calvert, Morton Capital, Wealth Advisor & Partner

Leadership in a New Workplace

As businesses prepare for a return to work in the coming month, one of the most important questions that every leader must be ready to address is: How do we operate differently to ensure that our people are still engaged and motivated? Beyond questions surrounding how to resume regular operations, we must first consider how we’ll successfully lead our teams through the drastic changes in their work environment.

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Author:
Dan Charoenrath, Morton Capital, Direct of Operations

Whitepaper – The New RIA Workplace

Our industry, our country, and the entire world was turned on its head in March as local and federal governments began to institute widespread stay-at-home orders. While some RIAs were caught flat-footed from a technology perspective, the RIA industry has been luckier than many brick-and-mortar establishments that needed to completely shut their doors during this unprecedented time. With most custodial systems, financial planning tools, CRMs, performance reporting technology, and data file servers now in the cloud, many RIAs did not miss a beat when employees fired up their internet-connected computers from home and logged into their typical applications.

Working from home has undoubtedly required our teams to work harder, but at a high level it has been fairly close to “business as usual.” Clients are still being serviced: accounts are still being opened, wires are still being sent, model portfolios are still being implemented and rebalanced. Even those RIA owners who have historically been the staunchest opponents of remote work have had to admit that this forced experiment has gone better than anyone could have imagined. And as the stay-at-home orders have continued from weeks to months, many are questioning if the traditional workday will ever look the same. Much has been written and discussed about the technology advancements not just in our industry but in society at large, but for the first time, we are now examining the physical space we work in and what the physical office of the future will look like.

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Authors:
Stacey McKinnon, Morton Capital, COO
Matt Sonnen, PFI Advisors, CEO

Featuring:
Michael Kossman, Aspiriant, COO
Brandon McKerney, Columbia Pacific Wealth Management, Director of Operations

 

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: https://vimeo.com/399004159

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.