'Tis the Season- An Investment Update From Our CIO, Steve Coggins

Quarterly Investment Update Steve Coggins_2019.jpg

‘Tis the Season

What a difference a year makes! This time last year the investment markets were in a freefall with seemingly no end in sight. Despite the economy humming along, the markets took a significant drop in the fourth quarter culminating with the S&P down over 10% in December. Back then, most market prognosticators weren’t very optimistic on 2019. Kyle Bass, a hedge fund manager “famous” for making billions betting against subprime mortgages around 2008, even stated that he was looking for a mostly flat market for this year. Fast forward and 2019 has been one of the best years on record, certainly in the last twenty years!

Also, at this time last year, we were staring down the barrel of three possible interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. What did we get? Three cuts! What changed? Not much really. In fact, the economy has slowed some since then and is looking a little more precarious for next year. That may have led the Fed to cut rates, but who really knows for sure. It’s just how it goes. The past decade has seen pretty much every rule of thumb for the markets thrown out the window. On numerous occasions, I have stated that we have lived in an upside-down world in the investment markets for the better part of ten years. Good news has been taken as bad news and bad news as good news. That’s because the markets (and the economy) have been fueled by cheap money. Once it got just a little more expensive the markets freaked out and the Fed went back to work. When will this end? I have no idea, but it might end badly when it does.

We recently made a few changes to our investment strategies. We got a bit more defensive in most strategies, not by changing the stock/bond ratios, but by tilting a little towards parts of the markets that tend to hold up better during times of market stress. This has been a great year for most areas of the markets, both stocks and bonds, and we felt that sooner than later would make more sense. Of course, the stock market appears poised to continue going higher. But it usually does before it goes down!

‘Tis the Season

The holidays bring about a welcome change for most of us. Slowing down a bit and spending more time with family are at the top of most agendas. At IronGate, it’s also been the season for conferences. Over the past couple of months our team has traveled to Austin, Chicago, Naples, and Las Vegas. We make these trips not because we like to spend hours in cramped airplanes or sleeping in beds not our own. No, it’s because we are passionate about searching for better ideas so that we can improve our advice to our clients. It’s that simple. Going to conferences allows us to stay on top of the trends shaping the advice industry.

As we close out 2019, the entire IronGate family is so grateful for another year helping people like you make good financial decisions. We have been involved in some really complex and challenging situations this year, from stock option planning to helping families prepare for or deal with the death of a loved one. But we’ve also been blessed to see new children and grandchildren born to clients as well as children and grandchildren getting married. From all of us at IronGate, thank you for letting us into your lives. We hope that our relationship means as much to you as it does to us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


IronGate Partners is registered with Hightower Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC, and with Hightower Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Securities are offered through Hightower Securities, LLC; advisory services are offered through Hightower Advisors, LLC.

This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. No investment process is free of risk, and there is no guarantee that the investment process or the investment opportunities referenced herein will be profitable. Past performance is not indicative of current or future performance and is not a guarantee. The investment opportunities referenced herein may not be suitable for all investors.

All data and information reference herein are from sources believed to be reliable. Any opinions, news, research, analyses, prices, or other information contained in this research is provided as general market commentary, it does not constitute investment advice. The team and Hightower shall not in any way be liable for claims, and make no expressed or implied representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of the data and other information, or for statements or errors contained in or omissions from the obtained data and information referenced herein. The data and information are provided as of the date referenced. Such data and information are subject to change without notice.

This document was created for informational purposes only; the opinions expressed are solely those of the team and do not represent those of Hightower Advisors, LLC, or any of its affiliates.