A Letter to Our Clients & Our Community

A Letter to Our Clients & Our Community

Dear Neighbors, Friends, and Fellow Citizens of Harford County:

Please allow me to offer reassuring words during difficult times. I am blessed to be in dual stewardship positions that offer a bird’s eye view of the battles being waged against the coronavirus in both the medical and financial fields. As the current Chairman of the Board of the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Systems (UM UCH), and as managing partner of The Kelly Group–a Bel Air-based, community-oriented wealth management firm–I am confident that our future is bright on both fronts.

From a medical perspective, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation for the hard work, dedication, and unparalleled skill of our first responders, medical practitioners, technicians, and UM UCH management. As a witness to their proactive, professional, and downright heroic efforts to fight this pernicious virus, I have no doubt we will not only beat this thing but come out the other end a medically safer and hardier community.

I am also confident that we will weather the financial storm and be the better for it. I started investing clients’ money more than 30 years ago amid another fear-inducing crisis, the Savings & Loan scandal. And since The Kelly Group began in 1997, as fiduciaries we have helped shepherd our clients through a broad array of “end-of-the-world” type crises of various shapes and sizes that temporarily rocked the markets. (Think Y2K, the dot com bubble, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, the 2008-09 Great Recession…not to mention the various health crises such as SARS, Avian Bird Flu, swine flu, Ebola, the Zika virus.)

These crises generally share two traits. First, at the time of the particular crisis, there was a sense that it was an insurmountable problem, that the investment damage from the resulting market turmoil would be irrevocable, that 401(k)s would turn into 201(k)s and stay that way, and that—unlike past crises that had come and gone—“This Time Is Different”.

And, second, it turned out from an investment perspective that the particular crisis was not fundamentally different, that the equity markets did recover and continue their long-term upward climb, and another four-word phrase would have been more appropriate: “This too shall pass.”

Markets need healthy corrections, and incidents like this coronavirus often trigger them. This is not the first or last time we will go through something like this. Even with the temporary shutdowns and dislocations, once normalcy has returned so will the vibrancy of our businesses, financial markets, and economy.  During this crisis, the best approach to protect your financial well-being and investments is to exercise patience, maintain a long-term perspective, stick diligently to your financial plan, and consult with your financial advisor if you have questions or concerns—or just need a little hand holding.

In troubled times like these, the long-term resilience of our country and its businesses and economy—as well as the stalwartness, creativity, and diligence of our medical community–should offer us all a great source of comfort and peace of mind. And we at The Kelly Group are here as a resource. Feel free to visit our website (www.kellygrouponline.com) for more commentary on the coronavirus, and check these pages in the coming days and weeks for our further perspectives on the ongoing situation.

We will get through this together. I refer you to the words of Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of UMBC (my alma mater): “We are defined by our actions and our thoughts and our words. And we are acting in a way that ensures that our destiny will be great.” On behalf of our entire Kelly Group Team, Stay Safe and Healthy, and May God Bless You All.

Bryan E. Kelly, CFP®

Managing Partner
And The Kelly Group Team:

48 East Gordon Street, Bel Air, MD 21014. 410-893-0560. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a broker dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisor, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. The Kelly Group and Cambridge are not affiliated.

Additional Related Kelly Group Articles:

Coronavirus: Panic 2020

Working Remote

The Coronavirus and Your Planning

Working Remote

Working Remote

Dear Clients and Friends of The Kelly Group:

Under the current circumstances created by the coronavirus, The Kelly Group is focusing on two primary goals:

  • To protect the physical welfare of our clients, our Team members, and our community, and
  • To continue to provide high quality service and full access to our clients without interruption.

In order to meet these goals, and comply with government and CDC guidelines, we have decided to implement steps that allow us to minimize physical contact while maintaining our client service.

In fact, we have been working quite a while with our IT professionals to establish the cloud-based technological infrastructure to allow us to work remotely in a safe and seamless fashion. For example, our technology allows us to continue working during a major snowstorm, to accommodate a client’s preference to meet with us from the comfort of their own home—and to address such unforeseen circumstances like the current crisis.

Thus, beginning today, we have implemented the following temporary changes:

  • Client meetings by telephone/screen share. Until further notice we will schedule all meetings to be held remotely. For those clients with computers and access to Internet, we will be able to share graphics and run through our financial planning software and other programs just as we do in person. Otherwise, we can simply talk by phone.
  • Limited in-office staff. Our Team members will work, and communicate with clients, from home. Our cloud-based platform and phone system allows us to safely access our database and to forward phone calls from our office to our home. We will continue to be reachable by our office phone—410-893-0560—and our usual email addresses.
  • Electronic paperwork. Our current technology allows us to process most paperwork—including obtaining signatures—electronically. Paperwork that cannot be done electronically and is not urgent can be processed by snail mail.

As you know, this is a fluid situation. We will continue to communicate with you about any new developments. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, or just want to talk, we are here for you and will continue to be here for you.

Be Healthy and Safe. And continue to remember, together we will get to the other side of this!

Additional Related Kelly Group Articles:

Coronavirus: Panic 2020

The Coronavirus and Your Planning

A Letter to Our Clients & Our Community

A Letter to Our Clients & Our Community

Coronavirus: Panic 2020

Just a quick follow up to the commentary we sent you a few days ago.

Today – March 9 – is the eleventh anniversary of the crescendo of global panic that marked the bottom of the bear market of 2007-09.

It is to me a thing of the most wonderful irony that the world has elected to celebrate this iconic anniversary with – you guessed it – another epic global panic attack.

At this morning’s opening level of 2,764, the S&P 500 is down over 18% from its all-time high, recorded on February 19. Declines of that magnitude are fairly common occurrences – indeed the average annual drawdown from a peak to a trough since 1980 is close to 14%.* But such a decline in barely a month is noteworthy, not for its depth but for its suddenness.

As we all know by now, the precipitants of this decline have been (a) the outbreak of a new strain of virus, the extent of which can’t be predicted, (b) the economic impact of that outbreak, which is equally unknown, and (c) most recently, the onset of a price war in oil. (That last one is surely a problem for everyone involved in the production of oil, but it’s a boon to those of us who consume it.)

The common thread here is unknowability: we simply don’t know where, when or how these phenomena will play out. And in my experience, the thing in this world that markets hate and fear the most is uncertainty. We have no control over the uncertainty; we can and should have perfect control over how we respond to it.

Or, ideally, how we don’t respond. Because the last thing in the world that long-term, goal-focused investors like us do when the whole world is selling is – you guessed it again – sell. Indeed, I welcome your inquiries around the issue of putting cash to work.

On March 3, the erudite billionaire investor Howard Marks wrote, “It would be a lot to accept that the US business world – and the cash flows it will produce in the future – are worth 13% less today than they were on February 19.” How much more true this observation must be a week later, when they’re down 18%.

Be of good cheer. This too shall pass

*JP Morgan Asset Management’s Guide to the Markets, page 13

Best Regards, Bryan E. Kelly, CFP®

Managing Partner

Additional Related Kelly Group Articles:

Working Remote

The Coronavirus and Your Portfolio

A Letter to Our Clients & Our Community

Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. a Broker/Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services through Cambridge Investment Research Advisor, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. The Kelly Groupand Cambridge are not affiliated. Diversification and asset allocation strategies do not assure profit or protect against loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk. Depending on the types of investments, there may be varying degrees of risk. Investors should be prepared to bear loss, including total loss of principal.

 

 

Working Remote

The Coronavirus and Your Portfolio

At a time when we are being inundated with information about the Wuhan coronavirus and its effects on world economies and markets, I thought you might be curious about The Kelly Group’s take on all of this from an investment standpoint. Actually, if you’re a long-time client, you can probably already guess what I’m basically going to say. But occasionally when we’re being faced with an onslaught of 24/7 scary headlines, it doesn’t hurt to take time out to remind ourselves of some basic verities of investing.

I do want to emphasize that my comments below are in no way meant to diminish the effect this illness may have on many people’s lives. We are all learning about this new and unpredictable disease together and its eventual trajectory is still very much unknown.

Nevertheless, from a purely investing standpoint, I feel quite confident that, barring a change in your own financial circumstances, the wise course is to stick with your plan. We have found that those investors who react to the movement of the markets, rather than stick with the wisdom of their carefully constructed personal financial plan, invariably fail. On the other hand, the long-term strength of wisely constructed, diversified investment portfolios based on such a plan and patiently adhered to is well proven.

I started investing more than 30 years ago in the midst of another fear-inducing crisis, the Savings & Loan scandal. Since then there has been a broad array of “end-of-the-world” type crises of various shapes and sizes that temporarily rocked the markets. Just a partial list in the last 30 years includes: The Persian Gulf War and the later Iraq War, the ongoing Afghan War, the Los Angeles Riots, the bombing of the World Trade Center, Y2K, the dot com bubble, Hurricane Katrina, government shutdowns, 9/11, the housing crash, the 2008-09 Great Recession, Brexit, etc. The crises based on health scares alone make quite a list: SARS, Avian Bird Flu, swine flu, Ebola, the Zika virus.

These crises generally share two traits. First, at the time of the particular crisis, there was a sense that it was an insurmountable problem, that the investment damage from the resulting market turmoil would be irrevocable, that 401(k)s would turn into 201(k)s and stay that way, and that—unlike past crises that had come and gone—“This Time Is Different.”

And, second, it turned out that from an investment perspective the particular crisis was not fundamentally different, that the equity markets did recover and continue their long-term upward swing, and another four-word phrase would have been more appropriate: “This Too Shall Pass.” In fact, those investors most damaged were those who sold in the heart of the crisis and did not reenter the market until well after it had passed—when everyone was feeling more optimistic and a substantial market recovery was already well under way—thereby locking in their losses.

To be sure, at The Kelly Group we are routinely monitoring the markets and our strategists. During major market corrections we evaluate the situation and use the opportunity to rebalance your portfolio and take advantage of buying opportunities.

For those of you receiving distributions, we may take a higher proportion from the fixed income side and from those equity holdings that have not been as affected by sell offs as other holdings. Meanwhile, for those of you in the growth phase of your plan, remember that a crisis like this often presents buying opportunities for our strategists.

Markets need healthy corrections, and incidents like this coronavirus often trigger them. This is not the first or last time we will go through something like this. Yet solid companies will continue to provide services and products and to adapt to the world around them. In the long term the markets generally reflect that adaptability. Indeed, in troubled times like these, the long-term resilience of our markets (and our free market economy) should be a source of comfort to us, as ballast in an often-stormy sea.

I take great pride in the fact that the bulk of my wealth is invested in a portfolio much like the portfolios we build for our clients. I understand the emotions investors feel when the markets are roiled. So if you do have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. That is why we’re here. And have a wonderful weekend.

Best Regards,

Bryan E. Kelly, CFP®

Managing Partner

Additional Related Kelly Group Articles:

Working Remote

Coronavirus: Panic 2020

A Letter to Our Clients & Our Community

The Kelly Group’s Women Professionals: Lessons in Teamwork

The Kelly Group’s Women Professionals: Lessons in Teamwork

From left: Nicole Bengel, Jodi Davis, Kathi Morlock, Kaleigh Parks, Michele Wolbert, and Carrie Anderson. Christine M. Sullivan Photography.

We at The Kelly Group pride ourselves on the strength and effectiveness of our Team. As a firm of financial planners, we use a team approach that helps us provide the highest level of service to our clients.

What makes for an effective team? In an issue celebrating the achievements of women in business, it is fitting to answer this question by recognizing the particular traits of teamwork exemplified by our women professionals. An effective team requires talented and dedicated individuals who are:

 

 Given the opportunity to grow professionally,

• Treated as peers,

• Committed to a common vision,

• Provided with autonomy and flexibility,

• Supportive of other team members,

• Able to mentor and train new team members.

You can see these traits in The Kelly Group women professionals: Michele Wolbert, Jodi Davis, Nicole Bengel, Carrie Anderson and intern Kaleigh Parks.

No one exemplifies the opportunity for professional growth at The Kelly Group more than Michele, who serves as Vice President of Administration, and as such manages the office and its people. She joined the firm in 1999 as a bookkeeper for the firm’s accounting clients but over the years has grown into her manager role. “Initially, they just relied on me for anything that needed to be done,” she says. Her responsibilities grew over time. “As we had more people, it just seemed natural that I manage them.” And from the moment she started here, she was struck by how Bryan Kelly, the founding partner, always treated her as an equal. “He was and still is my mentor,” Michele says, setting an example for her and other team members who all do their best to help each other succeed.

Effective teamwork also requires a common vision. Jodi Davis, Principal and financial advisor, personifies The Kelly Group vision of a holistic and relational approach to financial planning. Jodi came to The Kelly Group in January 2009 when she was an executive in the banking industry. As an advisor, her biggest strength is listening. “I let clients talk about family and what’s most important to them, and weave what they say into their goals and overall planning discussion.”

Another vision of The Kelly Group is to serve as a community asset, in part by providing financial literacy and education. Jodi is a standard bearer in that regard. On top of her busy schedule providing advice to clients, Jodi speaks and teaches widely on financial issues, and conducts a popular “Savvy Woman” series at Harford Community College.

Nicole, our Director of Client Services, sets an excellent example of responding steadily and effectively to a multitude of issues and tasks. As a member of The Kelly Group since July 2008, Nicole calls herself a “Joan of all trades”. She provides support for client service staff and the operations area, plans the complex logistics for client events, helps address compliance issues, monitors correspondence coming in and out, assists with licensing and travel plans – and fields anything else that comes along. To be good at her job, Nicole says, she needs to be able to switch gears quickly, which “keeps it new and exciting.” “There’s never a dull moment,” she says.

And good teamwork requires the ability and willingness to bring on new team members and seamlessly incorporate them into the operations. Carrie’s first day as a client service administrator with The Kelly Group was just this past Nov. 11. And she already handles her job like she’s been doing it for years, quickly grasping The Kelly Group’s culture of excellent client service. For example, Carrie’s motto is: Answer the phone with a smile. “You don’t know what you’re going to hear on the other end,” she says. “You could make them happier just by listening.”

As our latest intern, Kaleigh is impressed with The Kelly Group team. Kaleigh, who has taken to the many responsibilities of her four-month internship like a natural, is upbeat about the future for women professionals. In fact, she encourages her 7-year-old daughter, Lorelei, to feel that “the sky’s the limit.” That’s appropriate advice for Lorelei, who wants to be an astronaut.

Passing of Sandra Reardon, former employee and dear friend.

Passing of Sandra Reardon, former employee and dear friend.

It is with great sadness that The Kelly Group learned on Sunday of the passing of a valued former employee and dear friend of the firm, Sandra Reardon. Sandra, age 80, was an employee of The Kelly Group family for 14 years, from 2001-15, and remained a cherished member of The Kelly Group family even after her retirement. From the day she joined the Kelly Group,  Sandra took our client-first culture to heart, quickly becoming a tremendous asset for our firm. Unfailingly reliable and diligent, she was always an enthusiastic and inspiring presence. Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers.