Our asset management clients all experienced investment gains during the 3rd quarter, the average being +3.62%. In all cases, we have maintained a substantial portion of the portfolios in low risk investment classes, like TIPS, short duration bonds and cash, because we continue to fear a substantial downturn, even as we have enjoyed a good year so far. The average return for our clients year-to-date is +6.78%. These return amounts are net of all expenses, including our management fees.
Last week I attended a lecture on the investment implications of the rise of political populism. The lecture was presented by the Head of Research and Investment Strategy for a large, global asset management firm. The content of his presentation was excellent, and the presenter was expert and insightful. And, he was speaking to me from London, England, arguably the financial capital of the world for the past several centuries. The reason that I mention this here, however is not to discuss his information, but to invite you, dear reader to consider the profound significance of the free, immediate, and global communication capabilities that are now available to most of Earth’s citizens. Historically speaking this is something brand new, and it creates amazing possibilities for sharing knowledge and gaining new knowledge. Furthermore, there are now available, at no cost, apps which translate between languages in real time. What benefits to humankind might we experience when more and more people from different cultures are able to share their expertise?
In a prior blog post I told you that we would be making a new service available to our clients, a secure, web-based connection point, kind of like Mint.com, but better. Well, that service is here. We are in the process of testing it now, and will be setting it up for our financial planning clients during the coming weeks. It will be yet another case of better living through technology.
Our clients trust us with their private information and we make every reasonable effort to maintain the confidentiality of that information. But, in the early 21st century electronic communication can be subject to interception by parties with evil intent. Therefore, in order to minimize the likelihood of interception we use only email servers that are maintained and encrypted by Microsoft. As a result, our inter office emails are safe because they are encrypted at both ends since the only email servers involved are the Microsoft servers. The problem – thanks to Lalit T. for pointing this out to us – is that not all servers used by our clients are encrypted, and therefore there could be a vulnerability at one end of the communication. So, whenever we send privileged (email) information to our clients we use an additional Microsoft security measure which provides greater protection. If you receive an email from us which includes this text, Encrypted message from Financial Planning Associates, Inc. Secure Messaging System, you will know that it is secure. You should then follow the instructions included to open and view the document. Also, note that we do not “doubly secure” all of our email communications with our clients, because some of the information is not considered to be sensitive. For example, if we are just confirming an appointment we would not typically take the added step to guarantee that the email is encrypted at both ends. If you would like for us to always use double encryption when sending emails to you please let us know.
Note: Some commonly used email servers are also encrypted. Gmail, for example uses encrypted servers. Therefore, if you communicate to us, or we to you using your gmail account our connections are secure.
I took four tires to a friend’s garage sale and was asking $30 apiece. I needed to leave for a few minutes, so I asked him to watch them for me.
“Sure,” he said, “but if someone offers less, how low are you willing to go?”
“Try for more, but I will accept $15,” I said, and left.
When I returned, my tires were gone. “How much did you get for them?” I asked excitedly.
“Fifteen dollars each.”
“Who bought them?”