Quarterly Client Letter – 2nd Quarter 2020

Markets around the world recovered sharply in the second quarter of 2020, a welcome relief after the precipitous, pandemic-driven declines suffered late in the first quarter.  Frankly, we have been surprised by how sharply, and swiftly, the market has recovered, given that the economy is still reeling.  Clearly, investors are willing to look past not only current economic weakness, but also the uncertainty surrounding the severity and duration of the public health crisis, seemingly betting on a full recovery to pre-pandemic economic conditions.  In the interim, an unprecedented $1.6 trillion stimulus package from the Federal Reserve and Congress has provided something of a backstop to the market.  With ample liquidity and interest rates near zero, the TINA trade (There Is No Alternative) is once again alive and well.

While we are as relieved as you are to see portfolio values recover much of their losses, we have some concern that it’s too soon to signal clear skies ahead.  COVID-19 remains, for us, an analytical challenge.  While we remain ardent believers in capitalism, in the resiliency of the U.S. economy, and in stocks as the asset class of choice for long-term investors, we expect some changes in behavior will be profound and permanent, and the effects on the economy remain to be seen.  Not all will be negative.  There will be winners and losers.  We don’t pretend to know the long-term implications yet, but, for example, we think it is unlikely that all jobs lost will be recovered, or that restaurants, retailers, hotels or airlines will enjoy anything close to pre-pandemic activity anytime soon.  Unemployment remains high, and in just the past few days we’ve seen significant new announcements of store closures (Bed Bath & Beyond), bankruptcies (Brooks Brothers) and layoffs (United Airlines).  And, importantly, spikes in new cases of coronavirus in places have raised concerns, not only about reopening plans, but about our ability, as a nation, to effectively contain the spread of this virus.  Add to that a coming presidential election that is likely to be contentious and controversial, and it becomes evident that caution is warranted and choppiness is to be expected. 

Despite our caution about the current levels of the major market averages, we can always find things we want to invest in.  As you’ve no doubt come to expect from our contrarian nature, we sometimes find our best opportunities among those categories with the worst recent performance.  In a market that has been dominated by U.S. large-cap growth stocks, our small-cap value funds and international funds have lagged, but they may be better positioned for the months and years ahead.

Please let us know of any changes in circumstances that would be material to the way we manage your investments, or any change in address, phone number, or email.  As always, we appreciate your continued confidence in us.



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Sissy Moreland

Client Services Trading

A graduate of Mississippi State University, Sissy joined Medley & Brown in 2017, but her career goes all the way back to 1990 when she was the merchandise director for four years at Phi Theta Kappa. She was also Customer Service Manager and Marketing Development Manager at Crystal Springs Apparel from 1994 to 2005. From 2005 to 2017, she was Manager of Sales Administration at Skyhawke Technologies. Thanks to her considerable operations and administrative experience, Sissy oversees trading and assists with most back-office operations for the firm. Staying so busy at work requires Sissy to recharge her batteries outside the office from time to time which she does by running, reading, enjoying a leisurely brunch, and watching the Saints play football.

Beth Braswell

Client Services Coordinator

Beth spent four years in the investment world before joining Medley & Brown in 2004 as our operations coordinator. She and her husband Robbie are busy parents to identical triplet daughters, so not surprisingly, some of Beth’s favorite things to do are napping and relaxing on the beach when she actually finds the time. Beth also enjoys taking short walks to the pool, attending concerts, and going out of town for long weekends. Beth loves her Mississippi State bulldogs and currently has four dogs, three cats, and three grandcats because having three children simply isn’t enough. No wonder her operational skills are so exceptional.

Doug Muenzenmay, CFA, CFP®

Senior Advisor   |   Principal

When he’s not enjoying the outdoors or attending his children’s school and sporting events, you can find Doug studiously researching investments for his clients. His career began in 1991 after graduating from the University of Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He spent 17 years in trust investments at three different banks before joining Medley & Brown in 2010. Doug also got his MBA from Mississippi College and served as an adjunct professor in finance there from 2007 to 2013. Married to his wife Sharon since 2001, Doug is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and a board member of the CFA Society of Mississippi.

Eddie Carlisle, CFP®

Senior Advisor  |   Principal  |  Chief Compliance Officer

Eddie’s extensive education includes a B.S.B.A. in accounting, with special distinction, from Mississippi College in 1994, along with a J.D. from Vanderbilt University and LL.M. (Master of Laws) in taxation from the University of Florida. But it’s what he’s learned outside of school and work that really stands out. He’s an Eagle Scout, which taught him a great deal about honesty and hard work from an early age. He learned even more earning black belts in Taekwondo, Hapkido, and Hanmudo. Oh, and he studies the Korean language in his spare time as well. Additionally, Eddie serves as an adult leader for Scout Troop 164 in Madison. He is a past board member of Hope Hollow Ministries, the Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society, and the Mississippi Corporate Counsel Association. Eddie is currently a board member of the Woodward Hines Education Foundation. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and their three children—Andrew, Caroline, and Emma. 

Julius Ridgway

Senior Advisor   |   Principal

Judging from his background, you’d think investments and other financial matters were all Julius cares about. After all, he has two decades of direct investment experience and spent the previous ten years involved in banking and real estate. Julius also received a masters degree from the London School of Economics in 1998, an MBA from Millsaps College in 1993, and a history degree from the University of Mississippi in 1990. But his true passions include driving sports cars on racetracks or twisty mountain roads, running ultramarathons, and taking road trips with his wife and son. He’s worked here since 2002 as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and member of the CFA Institute while also serving as an adjunct instructor at Millsaps College and board member of New Stage Theatre. It takes major dedication to tackle all these responsibilities—sort of like training for all those long distant runs—but Julius enjoys every minute of the grind. And when it’s time to slow down, Julius finds the best way to clear his head is taking long hikes in the mountains on all those road trips.