The Recession Ends...(We think)
Markets Continue to Advance...(We expect)
The third quarter of 2009 marked another truly exceptional advance in investment market values. With the exception of a small negative return in our clients’ commodities positions, positive equity returns elsewhere ranged from the high teens
to more than 30% (!) for the three months as a whole.
With these advances, on top of the already very strong recoveries since early March, the losses earlier in 2009 are now dramatically overcome. Clients’ year-to-date portfolio returns, net of our fees and other portfolio expenses, show results of about 20% to more than 30%. Nevertheless, as illustrated by the performance of various benchmarks since the summer of 2007, there is still substantial ground to recover from the high levels of recent memory.
Animal Spirits and the New Normal
Given the dizzying pace of change in the global economy and capital markets over the past several quarters, we should all be forgiven for feeling like we’ve been taken to the limits of our tolerance for stress. After looking into the abyss (toes well over the edge) late in the first quarter of 2009, the global economy has shown it still has some fight in it. Equity markets and growth forecasts suggest economic activity has stopped shrinking in all the world’s big economies. Global stock markets have rallied by over 60% since their trough in early March and the central tendency for global GDP growth over the next year is over 3%, more than 1 percentage point faster than forecast early this year. Some corporate credit markets are thawing fast and bearish analysts are once again on the defensive. read more
Offshore Assets: The Not So Ugly Truth
The financial press has devoted much attention in recent months to efforts by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) to crack down on tax-avoidance planning using offshore financial arrangements. Earlier this year, as a result of political pressure particularly on the Swiss banking industry, UBS confirmed the existence of more than 50,000 offshore accounts held by US taxpayers at that bank alone. More recently, UBS has turned over to the IRS details relating to the ownership list of more than 4,000 of those accounts. read more
Year End Tax Planning
As the end of 2009 approaches, we offer this summary of traditional tax planning techniques, sprinkling in reminders of some new and some expiring tax law opportunities. read more