Thanksgiving Edition – Dividend Cafe – Nov. 25

Dear Valued Clients and Friends –

I hope you can forgive me for taking a one-week break from market commentary in the Dividend Cafe, where I instead will fill this week’s edition with Thanksgiving sentiments near and dear to my heart.  I have done this for many years now, and I believe it is important for two different reasons …

  1. I really don’t believe most of you will be (or should be) focused on market activity, economic trends, investor behaviors, and even, dare I say it, dividend growth, these next few days.  Families are arriving.  Food is being prepared.  Travel is happening.  The turkey may not be in the oven yet, but hopefully, the brain is more on the turkey than David Bahnsen’s market advice.
  2. What I am about to say is very important to me, and while I try to express gratitude individually and privately throughout the year, this uniquely American holiday provides me a forum to do this publicly, and with great attention on all the elements that make The Bahnsen Group what it is.

So please jump on in to the Dividend Cafe.  You won’t get the case for Emerging Markets this week, but you may just find what is in the Cafe even more edifying.  I know, how can it be more edifying than Emerging Markets?  Jump in to find out …

(And I did manage to do a quick hit with Fox Business this morning if interested)

I will start with the most profound and abundant reality of my 2020 Thanksgiving as it pertains to The Bahnsen Group …  I absolutely love my clients.  Love them.  I love their stories.  I love the history.  I love the faith and confidence they have placed in us.  And I love their thirst for more information, their willingness to follow our advice, and the tremendous journey they have embarked upon with us.

We have clients who have been with us for a couple decades now, who have been through a lot of ups and downs, and who have brought us into many of their own life experiences.  Shared experiences define a relationship, and we have the greatest roster of clients any advisory team could ever pray to have.

I wish I could go through right now and really call out some of the particular clients who I am especially grateful for.  Every advisor on our team appreciates you all, and every member of TBG is, to their core, client-centric, and client-grateful.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Beyond the clients who are the reason we work, I have to say a bit about the “we” and the “work.”  I believe TBG is a family, and I take the responsibility of “leading” this family very seriously.  We know every one of our clients, and will never be so big that we don’t.  We also will never be so big that we cannot have a truly intimate and special culture as a team of professionals working together towards a common goal.  We share principles, commitments, a mission, and a vision for getting there, and I love every single member of TBG.  Our family has been through a lot together, and we will be through a lot more together.  From the day we walked out of Morgan Stanley together that spring day in 2015, we have been bonded by an existential mission.  And we will never be content to be good, or even to be great.  We want nothing less than to be extraordinary and to be so, together.

We do have a first-class Operations team led by the workhorse that is Jacqueline O’Hare.  Our S&O (Service & Operations) department will take on all comers, any day.  Camille, Beth, Alexis, and Jackie are really devoted employees and are really wonderful, positive people to be on the front lines of our daily operational responsibilities.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Ericca Murillo has become a stalwart of an Office Manager, capably taking on gigantic projects, and managing the day to day hospitality of our active office energy with precision and a smile.  She has shined this year through the COVID drama, and I trust her implicitly.  Rayna Austin keeps the wheel turning in our business administration, not just in paying the bills and maintaining the books, but in being one of the most capable and self-sufficient employees I have ever had.  The addition of Don Evans recently as our Director of Strategic Alliances not only re-unites me to one of my early professional colleagues in the business, but adds a real team-first executive in our ranks, and has made us a better business.

TBG’s Special Events were not allowed to shine as normal this year as CA and NY restrictions put a kibosh on much of what we would normally do, but that did not stop Joleen’s department from having their busiest year to date.  The S&E (Style & Experience) department created concepts for client videos that helped us communicate immensely during the quarantine.  We created more content by leaps and bounds than we ever have this year, requiring more and more images, design, social media, and everything else necessary to drive a quality presentation worthy of TBG.  Joleen has assisted ad hoc TV set-ups in more venues than I can count this year as studios maintain their “record from home” silliness, and Mina has designed more white papers and TBG deliverables than you would believe.  This started as a “luxury” department two or three years ago, but now I can not even imagine our business without them.  Happy Thanksgiving to Joleen and Mina, and thank you.

The S&C (Strategy & Communications) department has masterminded the creation of our in-house studio in New York, and now finalized our brand new state of the art studio in California, where we can podcast, record, interview, ideate, and otherwise talk into microphones and cameras to our heart’s content.  If I decide on a second’s notice to create a DAILY web content offering (COVID & Markets), they are the ones producing it and structuring it, and delivering it, each and every day.  When I decide to replace it with The DC Today, they get to do it all over again.  They are nimble and flexible because Brian Tong and Glen Hall are two of the most servant-heart professionals I have ever met in my life.  What they did this year was the work of a ten-person department at most companies, and represents more production, marketing, and facilitation than any RIA I know of would think about doing in 20+ years.  I just want to write and share what I believe; they just want to let me do it.  Happy Thanksgiving, S&C (you are reading this because they got it to you).

The S&A (Solutions & Analytics) department is becoming one of the most impressive, pedigreed, credentialed, professional groups of traders, analysts, planners, and professionals you could ever hope to meet.  Under the extraordinary leadership of Deiya Pernas, featuring such first-class professionals as Julien Frazzo (Research Director), Leslie Rea (Planning Director), and Kenny Molina (trading and analytics, key alternatives research) have made this a department to be envious of if you are a TBG competitor, and a department to thank God for if you are a TBG advisor or client.  Julien is a brilliant and efficient analyst and research head, offering incredible value and insights from over two decades in the buy-side.  Leslie is a tireless worker who misses nothing whatsoever in the constant effort to stay on top of the nuances of financial planning.  Kenny is no longer “going to be a star” – he is a star.  And I believe in him like few people I have ever invested in.  And I don’t even know what to say about Deiya – an organized, efficient, balanced, productive friend and leader – for whom I just want to say, Happy Thanksgiving.

When I look across our advisory group, some of the finest private wealth advisors in the business (truly), I believe our east coast talent (Geoff Gregory, Leigh Ferst, and Steve Tresnan) represent a great opportunity for a little east coast/west coast competition (but probably different than the east coast/west coast rap/hip hop wars of old).  They are experienced, caring, intelligent, thoughtful advisors who have made us a better company.  Our west coast advisors (Kimberlee Davis, Brian Szytel, Trevor Cummings, Don Saulic, Robert Graham, and Sean Latimer)  are an army of advisory talent, each equipped with different strengths to make us all better.  The full arsenal of advisors are always there to “close the gap,” and I cannot believe the blessing it is for me to have such wonderful advisors by my side serving our clients.  Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

We add a new person in the New York office next week, and a new person in the California S&A Department next month.  We continue to grow around a continued need to better serve our clients.  Some things will never change.

Getting outside the immediate team, and into the “like-minded professionals” we work with every day, my dear friend, Michael Klarin, has utterly transformed the quality of tax practice we can offer out of The Bahnsen Group.  And while it would take too long to mention each one, the various estate attorneys, legal professionals, mortgage and lending practitioners, real estate practitioners, and countless other contributors to the services we deliver out of TBG are appreciated immensely.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

I am so grateful for our entire family at Fidelity, the primary custodian of The Bahnsen Group, who have become partners and friends, and who do the minutiae better than anyone to make for a seamless client experience and remarkable day to day delivery for our clients.  Thank you, David, Dawn, Scott, Kyle, Angie, and Darci.  Happy Thanksgiving!

And to our friends at Hightower, who have provided us state-of-the-art back-office services for nearly six years, and who continue to represent a remarkable fraternity of advisory professionals devoted to the fiduciary good, thank you.  We love you all Barry, Cheryl, Karen, Erik, and Jill (supervision).  And to Bob, Cat, Dan, Shannon, the new Dan, Matthias, Doug, Sarah, Jared, Abby, and anyone else I am forgetting, Happy Thanksgiving.

Thank you Strategas Research, Gavekal Research, Boock Report, and Corbu Inc. – for being irreplaceable intellectual capital in a world and a profession often devoid of such (at least of such worthy of the name).  Happy Thanksgiving!

My wife and kids will be part of my personal Thanksgiving reflections, but just know I get out of bed for them.  They inspire me, and I love them dearly.

And finally, I thank God who has been so incredibly gracious to us all, who allowed us to live and prosper in this country, and who through one of the most difficult years any of us can remember, has constantly shocked us all with outcomes that simply didn’t come near the worst-case expectations so many had.  2020 may have been a painful year, but it wasn’t a year that ever came near the damage we flirted with in the horrid month of March.  So Happy Thanksgiving to 2020, for not being as bad as you could have been.

I hope you all will really enjoy large and festive celebrations this weekend, that you will be well, that you will be safe, and that you will be free.  Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Quote of the Week

“The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.”

~ Douglas Wood

David L. Bahnsen
Chief Investment Officer, Managing Partner

The Bahnsen Group

This week’s Dividend Cafe features research from S&P, Baird, Barclays, Goldman Sachs, and the IRN research platform of FactSet


The Bahnsen Group is registered with HighTower Securities, LLC, member FINRA and SIPC, and with HighTower Advisors, LLC, a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Securities are offered through HighTower Securities, LLC; advisory services are offered through HighTower Advisors, LLC.

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About the Author

David L. Bahnsen

David is a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business and is a regular contributor to National Review and Forbes. David serves on the Board of Directors for the National Review Institute and is a founding Trustee for Pacifica Christian High School of Orange County.

He is the author of the books, Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame and How You Can Cure It (Post Hill Press), The Case for Dividend Growth: Investing in a Post-Crisis World (Post Hill Press) and his latest, Elizabeth Warren: How Her Presidency Would Destroy the Middle Class and the American Dream (2020).