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Q2 2019

Apriem Cares

The Apriem family has been working overtime to build meaningful and significant relationships. Our Apriem Cares initiative comes from our commitment to strengthen and empower our communities at every level.

Apriem is a proud member of 100 Companies Who Care, an organization that unites companies to collectively make a larger impact in the community. On Feb. 21, Apriem Vice President Jennifer Olson attended the quarterly meeting where she learned about the nonprofits which won grants for the quarter: The Ecology Center, The Autism Community in Action and Families Forward. Last quarter’s winner, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, was also there to present the “Impact Award” and share how the grant was put to good use!

Supporting World Vision for almost two decades, Apriem reaffirmed its commitment to creating positive global impact on March 7. Apriem Co-founder Harmon Kong and President Rhonda Ducote, along with their spouses, attended the World Vision 2019 Conference in Carlsbad. The conference highlighted the organization’s goal of ending extreme global poverty by 2030 and its dedication to tackling issues on health, opportunities and gender equality, among others.

On March 14, the Apriem team put our game faces on for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County Bowl for Kids’ Sake, an event that raised more than $150,000 benefiting children in the mentorship program. We took home three awards: Highest Fundraising Team, Highest Scoring Team and our own ‘Big Sister’ Olson won Highest Fundraiser.

On March 16, Apriem served as one of the major sponsors of the Jessie Rees Foundation Team NEGU: Never Ever Give Up 8th Annual Gala. Approximately 750 people attended, and the event raised more than $300,000 to support kids fighting cancer.

On March 18, Ducote attended the 12th Annual Lady Ducks of Orange County event benefiting Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).  Continuing the partnership between CHOC, Lady Ducks and the Anaheim Ducks Foundation, the event has raised almost $1.6 million over the past decade.

Women of Wisdom

Apriem’s Women of Wisdom (WOW) program continued to bring peace of mind to our female clients – both literally and financially.

On Feb. 13, WOW introduced mindfulness meditation and the practical tools for meeting life’s challenges with more ease and calm. Dr. Nicole Wakim helped define stress and its impact on health as well as how mindfulness can be a powerful antidote to stress. She further elaborated on mindful eating, mindfulness exercises and how to take mindfulness everywhere you go. Wakim is an integrative pain management physician with board certification in anesthesiology. She is the medical director for Choosing Joy, Inc., a medical wellness community and stress reduction center in Huntington Beach. She also teaches mindfulness-based stress reduction classes to medical students and community members at the Susan Samueli Integrative Health Institute.

On March 21, WOW hosted an estate planning event with attorney Tiffany Chiu.  Attendees learned basic estate planning techniques, concentrating on the seven reasons why we need a living trust, including avoiding probate and protection from creditors. Chiu is the owner and founder of T. Chiu Law and has been practicing for more than 10 years, representing clients in various life stages to prepare for the future. Tiffany graduated cum laude from UCLA. She attended Loyola Law School as a dean’s scholar.

Coming up, our own Rhonda Ducote will be speaking at the following events about women and wealth:

  • April 24, Newport Beach – Wealth Management Symposium: The event is hosted by the CFA Society Orange County. As Apriem’s president and head of our WOW program, she will speak about how women are impacting the wealth management industry and the unique challenges of female clients. To learn more, visit:
  • May 7, Costa Mesa – Tearing Down the Pink Wall: As a panelist, she will speak about the market outlook and how we use this information to grow our investments and overall wealth. Panelists will share how they climbed the wall of success to achieve the career of their dreams while finding their space in an industry dominated by men. This event is hosted by Women Investing in Security Education, a philanthropic educational organization that provides opportunities to educate women and girls on investing and finance. To learn more, visit:

Market Update: Separate Signals from Noise

Q1 2019 set yet another milestone after U.S. stocks posted the highest quarterly return since 2009. Yes, the market has been great, but the new milestones – good and bad – are starting to add up. On top of the record-setting quarter, we saw the yield curve invert for the first time since 2007, as well as some immense pullbacks in economic data, which haven’t been seen in years. If I had a dollar for every time I heard a financial pundit state, “this is the best/worst __ since __ ,” I’d hand over a few million dollars to Apriem and retire! Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but you get the point.

With all this conflicting data and information, it’s vital to differentiate between the signal and the noise, or in other words: figure out what matters and what’s simply there as click bait. While it is important to understand the past, as it often holds implications for the future, the market does not move based on what it already knows. It moves based on what it expects, and those expectations never end. They frequently change, often causing the market’s erratic day-to-day movements. Knowing this, when we analyze the markets and make investment decisions, we place a large emphasis on a few key measures that give us a solid gauge of the market’s forward-looking fundamentals and investors’ sentiment.

One of these key measures we’d like to highlight is the S&P 500’s forward price-to-earnings ratio, also known as P/E ratio. This ratio measures the amount an investor must pay (the P in the ratio) for $1 of earnings expected to be generated by all 500 companies in the S&P 500 (the E in the ratio). Just like you use comparable sales of similar properties to buy or sell a house, this ratio can be used to assess the general pricing level of the markets. If the ratio is high relative to historic levels, the market is considered expensive. If it is low relative to historic levels the market is considered cheap.

Read More

Apriem In The News

With stock market gyrations making news around the globe, our Chief Investment Officer Benjamin Lau has been providing his insights to the following national media outlets:

Bloomberg (March 22, 2019) – As online searches for “recession” and “yield curve inversion” surge among a worried public, Lau explains what is fueling the mounting negative sentiment.

CNBC (Feb. 8, 2019) – Amid worries about Chinese trade negotiations and slowing economic growth, Lau expresses optimism toward the market’s future.

USA Today (Jan. 23, 2019) – Following the Dow’s 300-point plunge over a holiday weekend, Lau maps out the geopolitical factors weighing on the market.

The Wall Street Journal (March 31, 2019) – As the stock market stabilizes and investors scramble to reposition themselves, Lau analyzes the latest trend, which he says is driven by a fear of missing out.

Read More in the Newsroom
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