Welcome to Joel Isaacson & Co.

Joel Isaacson & Co. LLC is a leading independent wealth management firm in New York City—with the knowledge and resources to plan for our clients’ needs. For over 20 years, we have been providing comprehensive fee-only wealth management services to our clients. Our independence means that our focus is clearly on our clients’ best interests. We are not attached to any big institutional firms and we maintain our objectivity at all times to provide our clients with our best possible advice to help them achieve their personal and business goals.

Our difference: A unique combination of sophisticated planning, investment management and highly integrated tax strategies set Joel Isaacson & Co. apart from our competition.

The benefits to our clients are clear: We provide long-term, innovative wealth management and truly individualized personal service, year after year, from generation to generation.

Joel Isaacson & Co. is registered as an investment adviser with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

FT_300_Advisers_Logo_2015-2Joel Isaacson & Co., LLC Named to 2015 Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers
Joel Isaacson & Co. is pleased to announce that it has been named to the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers, as of June 18, 2015. The list recognizes top independent RIA firms from across the U.S. Read More

 

 

Isaacson Update & Special Reports

Market Update January 2016

As we look back on the financial markets in 2015, what really stands out is how poor returns were across the globe and across asset classes (stocks, bonds, commodities, etc.). Among the major global stock markets, the United States was the best performer, but that’s faint praise given the S&P 500’s 1.4% return. What’s more, it was a market in which a handful of large tech/Internet companies (e.g., Facebook, Amazon.com, Netflix, and Google) generated huge gains and helped propel the index into positive territory, while the equal-weighted S&P 500 index actually fell 2.2% for the year.

In December, the U.S. Federal Reserve was sufficiently comfortable with the outlook for economic growth and the potential for inflation to eventually normalize that it made its first increase in rates in nearly a decade. Outside the United States, regaining more normal economic growth and inflation has remained more challenging in the face of downward pressures such as sharply lower commodity prices (most notably oil), Middle East tensions, and China’s slower economic growth. Year-end foreign stock returns reflect this bifurcation, with developed international stocks down 0.4% and emerging-markets stocks falling 15.8%. As in 2014, the strength of the dollar further exacerbated foreign markets’ underperformance for dollar-based investors.

The worst-performing areas of the markets were commodity-related asset classes. Commodity indexes were down on the order of 25%–30% as oil prices hit an 11-year low in December and fell 30% for the year, after plunging 50% in 2014. Energy MLPs, an increasingly popular vehicle for yield seekers (and yield chasers), dropped 35%–40%, wiping out the previous four years’ worth of gains.

Fixed-income offered little respite, with the core bond index gaining just 0.3%. High-yield bonds fared worse, down close to 5%, while floating-rate loans lost 0.7%. Investment-grade municipal bonds were a relative bright spot, with the national muni bond index up nearly 3% on the year.

Moving Forward

The U.S. equity market has had a very strong run over the past six plus years. After years of generally rising stock prices, investors cannot and should not forget that markets can and will have periods of material dislocation and volatility, such as we saw at times in 2015 and as we are seeing now in the first few weeks of 2016.

As the old saying goes, “They don’t ring a bell at the bottom of the market” (or the top for that matter). It requires patience—another core element of our investment philosophy—to hold onto (and potentially add more to) portfolio positions during periods of market volatility. Market timing has never been and will never be a successful strategy.

On the bond side, interest rates having begun what the Fed has said will be a gradual, data dependent upward climb. While core bonds should still mitigate some of the downside risk from stocks in portfolios, the degree to which they can do so is somewhat more limited in the current market cycle.

While we believe client portfolios are well positioned to generate solid returns over a long term horizon, we think it is prudent to be prepared for potentially increased market volatility and downside risk (as well as positive returns) over the shorter-term. In other words, we believe the key to successful investing ahead is to maintain the healthy patience, perspective, and discipline necessary for long-term investment and financial success.

As always, we appreciate your confidence and welcome questions about your individual situation.