After a difficult year-end in 2018, stock markets have sprung back in the first half of 2019, fully recovering from the decline in the previous year, and then some. As always, stock markets regularly defy the pundits and refuse to follow predictions. More recently, those tempted to “Sell in May and go away” would have missed out on a very healthy month of June. PWL’s director of research, Raymond Kerzerho, provides his thoughts on the first six months of 2019 in the accompanying commentary.

While we cannot predict when the next recession or market decline will happen, it is safe to say that there will be more fluctuations in stock markets in the coming years than there have been in the last few. Stock market volatility has been steadily coming down since the financial crisis of 2008, to reach historical lows at the end of 2017. Last year was a reminder of why we get paid a higher return to own stocks: because they fluctuate unexpectedly!

We’ve been busy reducing risk in portfolios as a result. We are moving out of high-yield bonds in all portfolios to buy high-quality bonds and real estate investment trusts instead. If stock markets continue to rise through 2019, we will take profit on equity again, rebalancing your portfolio if the equity weight grows above the target in your Investment Policy Statement. As you gaze up at the stars on these warm summer nights, it may also be helpful to remember that your portfolio holds about as many companies as stars that you see!

PWL continues to grow at a very healthy pace. The firm now manages in excess of $3 Billion in client assets. Each of our offices has been hiring new staff to ensure that our service remains best in class. For a look at some of these fresh faces, our PWL Perspective newsletter is included in your performance report package.

In the Layton-Guay team, Simona Ivanovska has moved from her role as receptionist in the Montreal office to being an Administrative Assistant in our team. Her attention to detail while working through large volumes of paperwork and data are a great asset to the team! Simona is currently completing her bachelor’s degree in Commerce at Concordia.

Cole Ellicott also joined the team as a Wealth Management Analyst, following positions at the Royal Bank and Fiera Capital. He has a Finance degree from the John Molson school of Business at Concordia. Cole will be joining some client meetings to take notes and ensure efficient follow-up, and will also improve our capacity to produce cash-flow and retirement projections in a timely manner.

We truly appreciate your ongoing trust and your business. It is a pleasure to work with and for you.

Wishing you a fun and enjoyable summer with your family!

Peter & Tony