Covid-19 Update 3.27.20

If you’re like us, you’re feeling inundated with news reporting, articles, emails, texts, and all things Covid-19. The last thing we want to do is compound that sentiment with daily email blasts. Just as in investing and cooking, often, less is more. However, do not mistake our silence for inaction. As planned and practiced, we have temporarily and successfully converted our operations to be conducted remotely in order to help “flatten the curve” and to comply with state-mandated guidelines. It feels different, but it’s certainly business as usual. If you’ve hesitated to reach out, but have a matter for us to handle, a question, a comment, or just want to say hi, we encourage you to do so.

If you’ve been wondering, here’s a brief list of our daily functions and services:

Investment Research and Trading

Our investment committee is currently researching new ideas and has been buying companies we already own that have become more attractive. We have also found and initiated new positions in both stocks and corporate bonds that we haven’t previously owned.

Money Movement

Need funds moved? We can raise and/or move money to your financial institution as needed. In fact, we’ve made it a little easier by selling most of our money market mutual funds that required 1-day’s notice previously. We wanted to increase the speed at which we could react to your cash needs and to conduct trading.

Opening/Funding a New Account

We can open new accounts, rollover 401ks, retitle accounts, and more, with the only caveat being we aren’t signing forms in person. It may also take slightly longer than normal. Many of these can be done with e-signatures.

Portfolio Reviews

We can run and email all portfolio reports and conduct portfolio reviews over the phone. We encourage open communication.

Security

As always, we are extremely dedicated to the security of our IT systems and to the protection of important and sensitive client information. Though we are remote, we are in constant touch with our IT providers and conduct all our communication, trading, money movement, and account setup through secure channels. The security of your money is our primary concern and always front of mind.

In an effort not to overpromise and underdeliver, please know that this situation is new to all of us as a company and a society. Although we’re fully capable of conducting business in this manner for as long as mandated by current conditions, certain requests may take slightly longer to process than they would under normal circumstances. We appreciate your understanding of this and will do everything in our power to meet the service expectations you’ve come to expect from Northwest Investment Counselors.

In terms of the market itself, we cannot say whether we’ve made a bottom or not. There are many reasons to think we could find fresh lows. It is also possible that the pledged monetary and fiscal support may have calmed the markets and economy enough to power through whatever may come next on the virus front. In either case, we are substantially lower than the recent and all-time highs in the markets. Now is still a good opportunity to buy good companies selectively even with the possibility that markets decline further. Remember, we are long-term investors and that philosophy will guide our investment decisions during these volatile times.