We employ portfolio construction techniques that allow us
to manage risk without sacrificing return potential.
Exceptional Client Service
Exceptional Client Service
The true essence of investing is not what you hear from the financial media or in the marketing campaigns from large Wall Street firms. Aggressive trading and hot stock tips generally result in losses or sub-par investment gains. Rather, real investing is about discipline, patience, and smart, deliberate strategies. We strip away the hype and focus on what is real.
Armbrust is a German word meaning “crossbow”. In medieval times, an armbruster was an archer or soldier armed with a crossbow. We don’t find much use for crossbows in our current occupation, but just like our ancestors, we aim to be straight shooters in all our dealings.
News & Education
Early last year, it was common knowledge that we were about to enter a recession. In fact, many in the media were calling it the most anticipated recession ever. Despite the certainty, we’re still in an economic expansion, and now many prominent economists, including those in the Fed and Treasury, are saying a recession is no longer in the cards.
That certainly sounds like good news, particularly when you consider that past recessions have generally been accompanied by stock market downturns. However, we’re not so sure we’re out of the woods.
With persistent inflation driving up the cost of just about everything, particularly home values, people are often surprised when they receive a 1099-S and find out they may have to pay capital gains on the sale of their home. Today’s rules are a result of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.
According to the law, you can exclude up to $250,000 ($500,000 if married) worth of profit when selling your primary residence. Profit being defined as the sale price minus the price you paid plus the cost of any improvements made to the home (so keep receipts when you make home improvements).
After three consecutive quarters of positive returns, stocks were unable to keep the streak alive and edged slightly lower in the third quarter. Most of the negative performance occurred in September, which was the worst month for the stock market this year. Bond returns were also negative this quarter, while liquid alternatives provided a welcoming boost to returns.
Returns in the first half of the year were dominated by a handful of well-known, mega-cap technology stocks, which contributed to large-cap stocks’ vast outperformance over small-cap and international stocks. This trend reversed somewhat in the third quarter as returns were generally similar across asset classes. Emerging Markets had the best performance among stocks for the quarter with a loss of “only” 2.9%, while small-cap stocks fared the worst with a decline of 4.9%.
The stock market has had a stellar first half of the year. But that’s only true if you were in the right part of the market. The overall US stock market gained 17% so far this year. International stocks were up a solid, but much lower 12%. US small-cap stocks were up only 6%. And deep value stocks rose a paltry 1%. It was the proverbial tale of two markets. The best of times for some, but not so much for others.
Is it possible to have too much money? The answer is yes if the subject is estate taxes. Currently few of us have to worry about Federal estate taxes since the exemption is so high, but that is set to revert back to its former limit at the end of 2025. This means a reduction of approximately 50% from today’s generous level.
Reinsurance funds, those that invest in relatively obscure catastrophe bonds and quota shares, have provided uninspiring returns over much of the past decade. From 2014 to 2022, the Swiss Re Cat Bond Index, which measures the returns of the catastrophe bond market, returned an annualized 3.7%, far below its long-term average of 6.8%. However, the cat bond market got off to a hot start in 2023. It returned 10.5% in the first half of the year, which is the index’s strongest start to the year in over 20 years.