A Dickens Ending

A year-end newsletter is supposed to be one that highlights all that was accomplished, and then shares hopes and aspirations for the New Year. While being conventional has never been my cup of tea, perhaps this year I’ll try it…

I first want to thank my partners and co-workers, who are really my extended family, for all their hard work this past year. And of course, we all owe sincere thanks to our loyal clients, for your support has helped us achieve the most successful year in our company’s history. In my view, our single most significant accomplishment was to unite around a Team Charter outlining our Purpose, Vision and Mission, to create a culture that will drive our company well into the future.


To serve the needs of our clients, teammates and communities…making a positive impact on the lives of those we engage


A servant-leader across the wealth management industry, respected for our wisdom, integrity, exceptional service, financial advice and investment expertise


  • Exceptional Service: Provide outstanding service to our clients; enriching existing relationships and cultivating new ones
  • Superior Execution: Strive to consistently exceed the expectations of our clients and business partners
  • High-Performance TEAM: Attract and retain top talent by continuing to make strategic investments in our #1 asset…our people
  • Leadership: Provide innovative investment solutions; exercising discipline while adapting to the ever-changing economic environment
  • Operational Excellence: Ensure our processes, technology and organizational structure are highly-efficient and productive for our clients and teammates

In a world that seems to have lost its Core Values, we are committed to ours, and pledge to do our best to live them out, each day, in all that we do.

  • Humility: We will put the best interests of our clients, as well as our commitment to our faith, family, and teammates, before ourselves.
  • Integrity: We commit to approach every challenge with the utmost integrity.
  • Client relationships: We will develop and nurture relationships by being dependable, trustworthy, and selfless.
  • Respect: We will create and promote an environment of respectful, open, honest and encouraging communication.
  • Continuous improvement: We will be in constant pursuit of opportunities to improve our performance, both individually, and as a team.
  • Community: We will seek to make a meaningful, lasting impact in the communities we serve.
  • The fruit of the spirit: We will work hard to produce the fruits of the spirit in our daily lives:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

Business success is typically measured by revenues and profits, and while we achieved records in both categories, there are other important measures of success.  This brings me to one of my favorite quotes by Grantland Rice, “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name, He writes – not that you won or lost – but how you played the game.”  The older I get, the more I am inspired by those words.

As I look ahead into 2018, there are some issues that encourage me while others produce trepidation. On the positive side, the ongoing regulatory rollback and recently signed tax reform legislation are two major positives that should produce higher economic growth in the years ahead. I would become increasingly more optimistic about the prospects for the economy and markets if the power and influence of the federal government were to markedly decline, but I’m not sure that is likely.  Nevertheless, corporate profits are projected to advance close to 10% next year, while interest rates and inflation remain historically low. These three important factors support higher stock prices.

The primary cause for concern regarding the prospects for the stock market in 2018 is the fact that the market has advanced for nine straight years. This has only occurred once before from 1991 – 1999.  The overdue market correction is certainly on everyone’s mind, but the market rarely falls when everyone expects it to. So this proverbial wall of worry should also support higher stock prices in 2018.

For the record, I personally don’t own any bitcoin and have no plans to join the craze. Admittedly, I am far from an expert on crypto currencies, which is the reason I am avoiding them, but I am relatively sure that ultimately this isn’t going to end well.

Also, for the record, politics at the national level remains a source of frustration and embarrassment. In my view, our political system is broken, with corruption, uncontrolled power, and a complete lack of integrity throughout. It’s hard for me to envision this sad situation ever changing for the better, and long-term, this is not good for our country.

Nevertheless, onward into the New Year we go.  Hopeful perhaps, but also unsettled, realizing we live in very strange times. Fearful even that we have lost our way, longing for change, but unsure who will lead that effort. So much is uncertain.

My wish for all is that 2018 will see unity, purpose, and honor bursting through to all corners of this great land.  Tiny Tim said it best, “God bless Us, Every One!”


Michael Kayes, CFA