Happy New Year
Financial advisors, like many other Americans, may emerge from 2001 stronger, wiser and more aware of all the things for which they have to be thankful. Character building aside, few will be sad to see 2001 end.

As we at Charter Financial Publishing Network (CFPN) enter our third year as a publishing company, we‚re excited about the new year. Over the next few months, you‚ll see several new sections and features in Financial Advisor. For starters, I‚m happy to report that you will be seeing an expanded column from Nick Murray beginning next month.

The guess here is that 2002 not only will be a better year than 2001; it also will be just as interesting, with perhaps as many surprises–and a lot less pain. As of early December, some top economists were predicting the second recession of the last 20 years already may be over, only weeks after it was declared official.

If things continue on course, 2001 should be the first time in which major market indexes produced back-to-back negative returns since 1973-74. Ever since Harold Evensky addressed the subject in this magazine last April, leading practitioners have been debating the issue of the shrinking equity risk premium and its implications. What many folks have failed to notice is that five- and ten-year stock markets no longer are as outrageous or far off the charts as they were two years ago. Consequently, the problem of lofty valuations may not be as extreme as many of us, including our gifted columnist Mike Martin, believe.

While advisors prepare their practices for the next bull market, 2002 could bring us a few wild cards. Rumors are starting to circulate that the new Securities and Exchange Commission chairman, Harvey Pitt, is considering an overhaul of the nation‚s securities laws. After 70 years, a facelift is needed to reflect the changing dynamics of the business and the markets themselves.

One thing I‚ve come to like about this business is that there is rarely a dull moment. Another is the quality and integrity of the people in this profession. So it is with sincere humility that I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season and new year.

But I‚d be remiss if I didn‚t mention another group of people. That‚s the staff here at CFPN. As a principal of the company, I take special pleasure in saying I‚ve never worked with a nicer group of individuals in my life. Our art director, Alison Stanzione, and her assistant, Jennifer Bartoli, aren‚t just talented; they are fun to work with. Aimee Palumbo, our production manager, is a great coordinator and organizer. Our circulation director, Susanna Marra, and national subscription manager, Steve Kimball, don‚t simply produce remarkable results; they infuse the office with personality and character. Special thanks to Seth Michaels, who not only got our Web site up and running, but also helped us launch MyFinancialAdvisor.com, a meeting place for advisors and investors.

Our controller, Lori Chadwick, isn‚t just quick with numbers; she has the kind of sense of humor needed in a young company‚s office. In the face of the worst national advertising slump in decades, our ad staff has performed remarkably well. My partners, Charlie Stroller and David Smith, have been uncommonly supportive of our editorial efforts. They were the ones to cheer loudest when an independent research group, the Tiburon Group, ranked us second out of 13 financial publications.

But the editorial staff is particularly special to me. Senior Editor Ray Fazzi, Washington Editor Tracey Longo, Editor-at-Large Richard Wagner and Copy Editor Peggy Ackermann never cease to amaze me with their imagination, originality and resourcefulness, as do our cadre of free-lancers. Most of all, Managing Editor Dorothy Hinchcliff has learned more about the profession in a short time period and holds everything together while always retaining a sunny disposition. So I‚m very thankful to all of them and eager to wish all the best in 2002. Again we‚ve had it so good for so long, I hope we don‚t forget the fall of 2001.