Press Room

March 28, 2017

Conversations with Bel Air in Utah

Earlier this month, Bel Air Investment Advisors (Bel Air) hosted events at Sundance and in Salt Lake City for a group of Senior Vice President Jake Halladay’s growing network of entrepreneurs and intermediaries in the tech, automotive, real estate, and venture capital industries. Bel Air’s representatives included both wealth advisors and senior investment managers, including Reed Halladay (Senior Managing Director), Jake Halladay (Senior Vice President), Tomas Garibaldi (Vice President), Arun Bharath (Chief Investment Strategist) and Craig Brothers (Senior Portfolio Manager & Co-Head, Fixed Income).

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Bel Air’s investment team provided their insight on a variety of topics, including global economic expansion, asset allocation, equities, and investor risk.

Global Economic Expansion. Bel Air’s investment team is optimistic of continued global economic expansion for several reasons. First, Global Purchasing Manager Indexes (indicators of economic health) are in synchronized uptrends both in developed and emerging markets, showing that business conditions are in a healthy state around the globe. Second, in the US, the Small Business Optimism Index recently reached levels not seen since the early 2000s, or even the 1980s, as market participants weighed the probability of tax reform and deregulation. Finally, heightened US consumer confidence readings and multiyear lows in debt service ratios also support an optimistic economic outlook.

Asset Allocation. In terms of portfolio positioning and asset allocation, Bel Air believes that portfolios should overweight equities and underweight fixed income. The pivot from monetary to fiscal policy as a growth engine for global economies may be a headwind for fixed income, as rates move higher to adjust to the new environment. Yields will likely face other pressures such as higher wages, reduced buyers in the US Treasury market, and possible deleveraging from the Federal Reserve. Equities, on the other hand, have anticipated tailwinds such as fiscal reform, as well as a reduced business regulation focus from the new administration.

Equities. Within equities, Bel Air is optimistic about prospects for Emerging Markets vis-à-vis Developed Markets. Increasing global trade provides an opportunity for EM earnings expectations to improve. Also, International Developed markets are compelling given wide valuation discounts relative to the US. However, political events could destabilize the upward movement abroad in the interim. Our relative underweight to US equities primarily is based on peak operating margins and lofty valuations.

Investor Risks. The Investment Teams’ concluding thoughts touched on the ever-present risks that investors face, from policy uncertainty to Black Swan events. They recommended that diversified portfolios should be built to help weather the unknown.

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Bel Air hosts these discussions to provide marketplace education, a projected overview for the year, and network opportunities.