Quality Counts

When we at Charter Financial Publishing Network launched Financial Advisor two years ago, we had some definite ideas about creating a new kind of magazine with new voices and new ideas. We also wanted to offer advisors insights from some of their favorite commentators on the profession, people like Nick Murray, Russ Prince, Hannah Grove, Dick Wagner and Tracey Longo.

This issue combines the best of both worlds. You‚ll find articles from all the aforementioned established authors. You‚ll also find contributions from two writers we are particularly proud to have.

Roy Adams, chairman of the trusts and estates department at the giant law firm Kirkland & Ellis, is, according to many, the nation‚s foremost estate-planning attorney. What makes his contribution so valuable to advisors is that he understands the importance of linking clients‚ estate-planning strategies with their investment strategies, and his article in this month‚s issue on page 73 is only one example of that.

Another contributor to this month‚s issue is Clifford Asness. A former managing director of Goldman, Sachs & Co., Cliff runs AQR Capital, an institutional money-management firm in New York, and is highly respected in both academic and institutional circles. He also happens to be a sensational writer, as you‚ll find out when you read his article on page 47 on why equities still aren‚t cheap.

His views are remarkably similar to those of our retirement columnist, Mike Martin, who has become an emerging star since launching his column in Financial Advisor. As Mike, a former director of equity research at T. Rowe Price, will discuss next month, what we‚re really experiencing is a profits recession. While many observers argue this is the mildest recession in 50 years, the decline in corporate profits since 2000 has been as spectacular as the bottom-line explosion of the 1990s.

We have published a surfeit of bearish articles here in the last year, enough to make me start looking for a contrary viewpoint. As senior editor Raymond Fazzi details in this month‚s cover story on page 84, many advisors are scrambling to find alternative investments with much lower correlation to the S&P 500.

Personally, I think the bear case may be as overdone today as the bull argument was three years ago. Except for the Nasdaq market, what we seem to be experiencing is a bear market of time.

For advisors working with clients with a five-year time horizon, that‚s a problem. There‚s another bull market out there somewhere; the big question, particularly for clients over 55 years old, is when?

I have spent 10 years covering a profession consisting of small-business entrepreneurs, but as a partner in this publication over the last two years, I have had an opportunity to see through your lenses. It‚s been an eye-opening experience. On the surface, times like these would appear to be particularly threatening to small companies. But a supreme irony of what is the real new economy is that, whether you are in financial services or publishing, you are not any safer at a giant company than you are at a small one. Many giant firms on Wall Street have jettisoned a much higher percentage of their workforce than small advisory shops have.

Here at Financial Advisor, we‚ve made a concerted effort to expand prudently to deliver more valuable information to readers like you. That‚s why we‚ve launched a new quarterly section on managed accounts, starting on page 61, and enlisted the talented Sydney LeBlanc to edit it. Look for more changes in the coming months as Financial Advisor continues to evolve.

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