Exactly one year ago, the March brokerage account statements from Acadium had just been published online and were just beginning to arrive in client mailboxes. Many of these statements - perhaps even yours - reported nearly a 20% decline in just the past thirty days, and the country had just witnessed the sharpest decline in stock market prices in history. At the bottom, which we hit just before the statements were produced on March 23rd, 2020, the S&P500 closed at 2237.40, over a thousand points less than it had been only one month before.
At the heart of the decline was a novel coronavirus that had recently arrived in the United States. It had neither cure nor treatment, nobody possessed immune resistance, and the virus had the potential for extreme infectiousness. The highest early calculations placed the estimated death toll above 20,000,000 Americans.
Then followed the government response to the virus. Stay at home orders, lockdowns, closures of "nonessential" businesses and schools, travel restrictions. Empty store shelves, empty parking lots and public transit, even the skies were devoid of planes. Already in the grip of panic, the American and global economies were faced with an existential crisis with no end in sight.
I am writing this during the first week of April, 2021. As I write, the S&P500 is at 4011.45. From that grim time one year ago to today, it feels like much longer than a year has passed. It certainly appears that way by the account balances on the statements that are arriving in our client's mailboxes this week. 100% of our clients have long since recovered from last year's decline and many will see 12-month gains approaching 50%.
During the depths of March and April 2020, many people wanted to sell their investment portfolios, and many of them did. I know that many of my clients wanted to, and few could fault you for giving in to fear at a time like that.
Despite that, not one of my clients did. You remained confident and committed to your long-term financial plan, and together we turned a catastrophic March into an enormously good year for your portfolio. This is no small feat. Who would have believed that your financial plan would be even stronger in 2021, if we had predicted it one year ago? We have counseled that challenges and opportunities are in fact the same thing to an investor, and we have seen that faith rewarded together.
Even with the progress made in treating and vaccinating against COVID-19, there is no shortage of uncertainty. Unemployment and economic recovery, inflation and the Fed's response, changes to the virus itself: we are not out of the woods. Nor do we ever expect to be out of the woods; as one variable recedes, another will rise. That's the way it is.
One year ago, I wrote a letter to you, and I have attached the full text. In it, I wrote:
"I will continue to manage your family's assets in the same way as I manage my own family's assets. You will sell when I sell and you will buy when I buy. Within your portfolio, we will continually take advantage of opportunities that the market presents to us, consistent with our investment beliefs and with your financial plan. Lindsey, Tom, Dawna and I remain wholeheartedly committed to the Fiduciary Standard, and we will not hesitate to make recommendations to you to ensure that your long-term priorities remain on track.
More than ever, we are here for you.
We are watching the developments around the coronavirus and contraction very closely, and Acadium is processing an immense amount of information regarding navigation through the crisis. If there is anything on your mind that you would like to discuss, or any news that you would like me to help you interpret, please let me know.
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement over the years. We will get through this together."
One year later, my message today is simpler. I wish to recognize the triumph of your faith, patience, and discipline over even the most extreme uncertainty. And, I wish to thank you for the honor of being your advisor and your friend during the unusual times we have already passed through, and during all of the challenges and opportunities to come.
Your friend and advisor,
Frank Hujsa, CFP®, CLU®
Partner, Acadium Financial Partners
27499 Riverview Center Blvd, 108
Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Any opinions are those of Frank Hujsa are not necessarily those of Raymond James. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA/SIPC. Acadium Financial Partners is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services. Investment Advisory Services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.
The information contained in this report does not purport to be a complete description of the securities, markets, or developments referred to in this material. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor's results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results.