May 30, 2016

Myself and other members of the Mainspring team recently returned from the 2016 Raymond James National Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. This year’s conference was timely. We’ve been through some very volatile markets in the last year as we’ve dealt with (or are currently dealing with) issues in China, wild swings in oil prices, the Fed and "will she/won’t she raise rates" and, of course, the current sitcom (or horror movie) that is our Presidential election.

Throughout the week we heard from many different economists and market experts, and heard a resounding message of, "we think things are going to be okay, but don’t have very high expectations." This is something we’ve been talking about with our clients for a while now due to an environment filled with uncertainty. With that being said, we continued to hear about a strong economy here in the U.S. (relative to what people think), and some potential surprises across the globe when it comes to growth. Also reinforced was the view that we have a fairly valued market in the U.S. and that corporate profits need to increase before the market can move up much.

What we’ve learned over all these years is that the short term is almost always filled with this uncertainty , which is why you must have patience, prudent diversification, and a plan. And it may sound like a broken record, but typically over the long term a carefully crafted plan works! Not too surprising to hear from us though, as that’s the same thing we say when the markets are climbing, as well.

Beyond the market and economy, we all had a chance to hear from experts on changes to Social Security, concerns related to aging, tax-planning strategies, and many others. We’ll be sure to share what we learned in the areas that apply to you. Unfortunately, they left out the line dancing and guitar lessons, so I guess we’ll have to go to YouTube for that.

Additionally, we learned more about a number of technological advances that Raymond James has recently made. Last year we updated you on some exciting additions such as aggregating your outside accounts (banks, 401k, etc.) so they’d show up online with your other Raymond James accounts and financial plan. We are looking forward to discussing many improvements such as the "vault" that was just added to your Investor Access site. This will be a place where we can securely share, and store, your important financial documents (wills/trusts, tax returns, budgets, etc.). The financial planning and investment tools we have at our disposal are being upgraded even further, which we are certain will impact your experience working with us. More to come.

And. as usual, this trip gave us a chance to connect with many respected financial advisors and independent firms from across the country. All of our conversations reinforced what we hold so true…take care of your clients and community, and the rest takes care of itself. That comes with a lot of responsibility though, so we will continue to work diligently here at Mainspring to always improve our service and advice platform.

Although it’s hard to be away from our families for the week and, I have to admit, also hard to sit in meeting rooms for as many hours as we do, we remain steadfastly committed to being at the top of our craft. Much like the musicians we saw, we must always be sharpening our skills and enhancing our knowledge. This isn’t a business that, once you learn how to do something, you’re done. The markets and economy continue to change, as do our clients’ feelings about their goals, time horizons and risk. Our focus on comprehensive advice means we keep very busy on the education front, but luckily we love it!

We look forward to seeing you all soon and sharing more details.

Jeremy

Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Diversification does not ensure a profit or guarantee against a loss. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. Past performance may not be indicative of future results.