2019 Q1 Newsletter

Founder’s Message

We enter the new year with new challenges. The strong headwinds coming at us from the global economy and our own government are broad and loud, but through all the noise, the founding principles of Apriem Advisors remain unshaken.

Apriem was built on client service more than two decades ago. We have always prioritized you, our customers, above all concerns. Your needs are unique, and our commitment to satisfying them is paramount – especially during periods of economic uncertainty. Our approach starts at a human level, because each of you reacts with different emotions to market volatility. Our job is to understand your financial goals and protect them in the face of strong emotions. Understanding you and your family is as important as understanding your investments. We can’t effectively achieve one without the other.

Whether you are an industrial retiree, a woman of wisdom, a partner in philanthropy or all three, we are proud to continue this relationship now in the firm’s 21st year of serving clients to the highest degree.

Harmon A Kong, CFP
Founding Principal

Market Update

Not Every Slowdown Is a Recession

By Benjamin Lau, CFA, Chief Investment Officer 
I dislike generalizations like “the market,” but last year deserves an exception. In 2018, every market was down, and the best investment was cash. Stocks at home and abroad were down, as were bonds (high- and low-quality) and commodities. Cash, as they say, was king.

The downturn started off as a rational recalibration by investors in the second half of last year – a transition from the higher-growth years of 2017-2018 to the slower-growth phase expected to occur this year and next. Unfortunately, the rational recalibration turned into a selling downpour. Fears from: (a) higher interest rates, (b) a trade war, (c) government shutdown, (d) global slowdown and (e) all of the above, overwhelmed investors over the holidays and created a sell-first-ask-questions-later mentality.

Yes, the global economy is slowing down, and America is (finally) feeling the effects from abroad and slowing down, too. China is slowing dramatically, so much so that major exporters to China such as Germany are feeling the pain. It looks like Germany narrowly missed the start of a recession in the fourth quarter. German economic growth managed a meager 0.2 percent gain. The slowdown has also led Chinese government officials to start taking measures to stimulate their economy through tax cuts (fiscal measures), rather than encouraging more borrowing (monetary measures).

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Apriem Team News

Congratulations to the following employees on their recent promotions:

Jennifer N. Olson, CFA, CIPM, CFP®, AIF®

Vice-President, Finance
Jennifer’s skills have been tested during her 12 years with Apriem Advisors. Aside from being the senior financial analyst for the investment team and assisting in compliance, she will be handling Apriem’s corporate finance. Since 2011, Jennifer volunteers as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, where she was once honored as the Big Sister of the Year.

Joey Gonzales

Operations Manager
Joey is our operations extraordinaire! Known for “solving the unsolvable,” Joey has more than a decade of RIA experience and is a huge asset to the Apriem team with his skills as process analyst and CRM enthusiast. Fun fact: he aspires to be the next “Samurai Gourmet” when he retires.

Alan Ahmatovic

Financial Analyst
Alan moves up to the financial analyst position after two years with the firm. He’s passionate about learning about global economics and how these dynamics can impact a client’s portfolio and financial position. Before he “kicks the bucket,” Alan wants to travel around the world and spend time in native habitats to see life from different perspectives.

Apriem welcomes the newest members to its talented team!

Joshua J. Garland, ChFC®

Financial Advisor
Joshua brings to Apriem a unique professional experience, which is a great complement to Apriem’s array of services. In his former position as director for an annuity company, he was able to support financial advisors and independent insurance professionals with professional education, case consultation and annuity product selection. As a financial advisor at Apriem, he will be assisting wealth managers in providing client service and financial advice. In his free time, he serves as youth hockey coach for his son and daughter’s hockey team, “The Golden Ducks.”

Kayla Ruiz

Associate Financial Planner
Kayla was a former Apriem finance intern in 2017 and while finishing her undergraduate degree, she worked as a part-time associate financial planner. She graduated from California Baptist University, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude. We welcome her as our full-time associate financial planner.

Apriem Cares

Our hearts were beating rapidly in November and December as our team put in extra effort to help those in need through our Apriem Cares initiative.

On Nov. 3, Jennifer Olson and Lindsay Duran took a trip back in time for a 1980s-inspired dinner and dance party benefitting HomeAid OC, a nonprofit that gives homeless children and their parents, along with individuals, the opportunity to move from benches to beds to self-sufficiency.

On Nov. 8, Jennifer represented Apriem at the quarterly meeting of the 100 Companies Who Care. Three charitable organizations made their pitch: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County (winner), The Literacy Project and Corazon de Vida. All three charities won a grant. That night, Apriem sponsored and attended the HOPE International Charity Dinner and auction. HOPE International gives training, savings services and small loans to men and women to unlock their potential. The event raised more than $300,000.

On Nov. 15, Apriem sponsored National Philanthropy Day (NPD) in support of the winning Outstanding Founder, Michelle Wulfestieg, of Southern California Hospice Foundation. Started by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, NPD honors individuals and groups that have enhanced philanthropy, their communities and the world.

In December, Apriem teamed up with our clients to collect gifts for Seneca Toy Drive, Casa Teresa and Working Wardrobes. Thank you for all your donations. We were blown away by your generosity!

Photo Gallery

New AIF Designations

Congratulations to Landon Yoshida, Bill Pugh and Jennifer Olson for passing the accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) exam and earning the AIF® designation!

Apriem provides clients with the highest degree of service while handling all facets of their finances, helping them reach the goal of financial security and freedom. This also includes our firm-wide commitment to our fiduciary duties to provide suitable investment advice and always act in our clients’ best interests.

The AIF® designation is issued by the Center for Fiduciary Studies. To earn the designation, each AIF® candidate must complete either a web-based or capstone program, pass a final certification exam, meet certain experience requirements and complete a minimum of six hours of continuing education per year. AIF® designees must also sign and agree to abide by a code of ethics. More information regarding the AIF® is available at http://www.fi360.com/main/designations_aif.jsp.

Apriem In The News

With the increase in market volatility over the past couple months, there was an equal increase in media attention to the stock market. Our chief investment officer, Benjamin Lau, offered his insights, appearing in the following national outlets:

Nov. 7 – Lau discusses the impact the midterm elections could have on the greater U.S. economy.

Nov. 9 – With the market selloff underway, Lau notes that the weakening in the global economy is spreading into American balance sheets. .

Dec. 27 – A major bounce back in the stock market leaves Lau to warn that the bottom has yet to be reached.

Nov. 7 – As a trade war with China looms, Lau predicts that a settlement would provide a boost to corporate earnings.

Dec. 24 –  Government shuts down, and Lau explains the effect on investors’ appetites to take financial risks.

Dec. 27 – Following a wild day of trading, Lau comments that the market at this point is “completely emotionally driven.”

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