By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Professional Services | Issue: April 2010
Ken Grant and Melanie Hasty-Grant, founders of Waterstone Private Wealth Management, on a recent business trip to New York City.
What is now being referred to as “The Big Recession” has some of the nation’s news experts tapping into an Oklahoma private investment firm for perspectives on how and where to invest one’s way out of the recession.
The founding partners of Waterstone Private Wealth Management, Melanie Hasty-Grant and husband Ken Grant, offer securities and advisory services through LPL Financial, a member of FINRA/SIPC with 12,000 independent LPL advisors. Ranked in the top 10 percent nationally, Waterstone recommends tailored solutions to small businesses, couples and individuals. The Associated Press (API) has contacted the couple for their outlooks on the financial health of the U.S. economy.
Ken was recently a guest at the anchor desk of Fox Business Network and did a radio interview for NYSE Money Watch. Melanie was interviewed by BNN and CNN, and did an interview for “Smart Money Magazine.”
Ken Grant says Waterstone is constantly monitoring three primary objectives: income, stability, and growth potential. Ben Bernanke, American economist and current chairman of the United States Federal Reserve, has said that he does not see interest rates being raised in the near future. “Therefore,” says Ken, “High-yield bonds are a good hedge because they can provide good income.”
“We are gaining stability by investing in a strong foundation of energy-related companies, especially those associated with natural gas and compressed natural gas technologies,” adds Melanie. “Growth is seen in technology in both the software and hardware sides.”
Melanie says that stocks are up 60 percent from March 9, 2009, low measured by the S&P 500, but the biggest market gains are likely behind us. She foresees continued economic growth in the first half of 2010, since we remain in a low interest rate environment with projected earnings growth to rise upwards of 25 percent. “Now more than ever,” says Melanie, “where you are invested matters.” She explains that a tactical approach to investing allows you to seek opportunity, potentially preserve gains, and protect against increased risk and volatility.
Melanie and Ken outline three favorite sectors for the first half of 2010 as:
Technology: Unemployment rates are still high, and the only method for companies to improve the bottom line is to increase productivity that will be spurred through the business spending cycle on upgrading technology.
Energy/natural gas: Being based in Oklahoma, energy is a cornerstone of our local economy. With more focus on the negative impacts of an overdependence on foreign oil reserves, Americans are starting to look for a more viable energy resource. The reality is that the most abundant energy resource after crude oil is natural gas, a good investment for both short and long-term positions.
Fixed Income: An area where high yield spreads have provided some attractive opportunities for fixed income investors over the past year. Those who have reaped some gains from the recovery can harvest those profits and store them for future growth opportunities. If the Feds continue to keep rates at historic lows, the high yield corporate bond market still provides those opportunities. When rates start to increase, this area still provides a good return for the decreased risks. However, if rates start to increase more rapidly, then the decreasing spread could hurt investors if they are trapped unaware. When change begins, a tactical move to investments such as floating rate funds or bank loans could provide a counter to decreasing bond yields.
Waterstone Private Wealth Management is a world-class resource. Ken reminds us not to panic about the current economy. But, don’t stand still either. “Standing still is not a strategy,” he says. More than ever, where you invest and whom you trust are truly important factors.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.