• Invest in concepts,
    not conventions.

    Our approach seeks opportunities across asset classes and around the globe.

  • Different by design
    and planning.

    The smartest investment strategies are informed by sound financial planning.
    Our clients appreciate an integrated approach and the difference it can make.

  • Sometimes the
    greatest returns come from
    investing in people.

    We’ve created a culture that values service over products, long-term goals over
    short-term quotas and your success over anything else.

Noteworthy

  • Forbes2015 Don’t just take our word for it. - At Chevy Chase Trust, we specialize in global research and thematic investing informed by careful planning, and it's working. And Forbes recently ranked us first in their Top 100 Wealth Managers list.

    Important Disclosures
    Posted in: Announcements, Featured, Noteworthy

    Chevy Chase Trust ranks first on the 2015 Forbes list of Top 100 Wealth Managers

    “This is a great source of pride for all the employees in our firm,” said Peter M. Welber, President & CEO of Chevy Chase Trust. “It’s affirmation that we’re doing something right by our clients. That’s our objective, being #1 is just a nice by-product.”

    Describing why Chevy Chase Trust won the top spot, Welber offers several reasons. “First, we choose to manage wealth differently than most firms today. We’ve built our own investment team that constructs individual portfolios based on thematic research. Second, we augment our investment capabilities with fiduciary lawyers, financial planners and tax experts to inform our investment decisions and advise our clients. And third, we practice in a great community. Montgomery County and the D.C. region is not only a great market for what we do, but its lifestyle advantages help us recruit top talent from all over the country.”

    Read the Forbes article here.

    Important Disclosures

  • The Hill LogoV2-01 Bill Gate’s robot tax idea is flawed. Here’s why. - Recently, a spate of stories have appeared in the media speculating that advances in technology, specifically robotics and artificial intelligence, will inevitably lead to widespread job losses as workers are replaced by machines. Posted in: Insights, Noteworthy

    By Spencer Smith, Director of Research

    Originally posted on TheHill.com  3/09/17

    Recently, a spate of stories have appeared in the media speculating that advances in technology, specifically robotics and artificial intelligence, will inevitably lead to widespread job losses as workers are replaced by machines.

    Naturally, many commentators have suggested policy solutions to address this issue. Perhaps attracting the most attention was Bill Gate’s assertion in a recent interview that robots should be taxed in the same way as human workers.

    There are several key problems with this proposal. First, it would be very difficult to define exactly what a robot is and, thus, how it should be taxed.

    Read the full article here.

  • Claudine and Amy Dr. Claudine Isaacs, featured speaker at Women & Progress 2017 - Chevy Chase Trust hosted the third in a biannual series of events focused on issues important to women on February 15, 2017. Posted in: Events, Noteworthy

    Chevy Chase Trust hosted the third in a biannual series of events focused on issues important to women on February 15, 2017.  This year’s event, Women & Progress, featured two empowering women in the forefront of their respective industries. Ambassador Melanne Verveer the Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and Claudine Isaacs, MD, professor of Medicine and Oncology and the co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University.

    Dr. Claudine Isaacs discussed recent advances in breast cancer research, genetic testing, and prevention strategies. Over the past three decades, advances in research have progressed along two paths: identification of breast cancer subtypes and drug development. By identifying specific subtypes in breast cancers, therapies and medications are no longer approached as one-fits-all as they have been in the past. Doctors are now able to better tailor treatments to patients and provide more individualized care. In addition, Dr. Isaacs asserts that clinical trials have been an important step in improving these tailored treatment options for breast cancer.

    Genetic research is another area of rapid growth in the medical industry, and researchers are now able to determine whether an individual is predisposed to certain types of cancer. The genetic mutations that are tied to a likelihood of developing breast cancer are BRCA 1 and BRCA 2. By locating a genetic mutation, early steps to prevent breast cancer can be taken. Advancements in research, diagnosis, and treatment continue, and, according to Dr. Isaacs, the outlook for those affected by breast cancer, is better than ever before.

    Dr. Isaacs earned her medical degree and completed residency training at McGill University. She completed fellowship training in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at McGill University and a Fellowship in Breast Medical Oncology in the Division of Medical Oncology at Georgetown University. She then joined the faculty in the Department of Medicine and Oncology at Georgetown University.

     

  • Melanne and Stacy Chevy Chase Trust hosts Ambassador Melanne Verveer for Women & Progress 2017 - On February 15, Chevy Chase Trust hosted Women and Progress, an event focused on the advancements women are making in corporate America, politics and breast cancer research. Posted in: Events, Noteworthy

    On February 15, Chevy Chase Trust hosted Women and Progress, an event focused on the advancements women are making in corporate America, politics and breast cancer research. The featured speakers were Ambassador Melanne Verveer, Executive Director of Georgetown University’s Institute for Women, Peace and Security, and Dr. Claudine Isaacs, co-Director of the Breast Cancer Program at Lombardi’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

    Ambassador Verveer began her remarks stating that institutions such as McKinsey & Company and the World Bank have published research showing that women are one of the “most powerful demographic groups the world has ever seen,” and pointed out that women now lead or own a quarter of private businesses globally. Regarding the buying power of women, she noted that if American women were their own country, their GDP would rank fifth globally, just behind Germany.

    During her question and answer session with Stacy Murchison, Chief Marketing Officer at Chevy Chase Trust, Verveer highlighted how women –now more than ever– are using their power for purpose. Citing stories from her book, Fast Forward: How Women Can Achieve Power and Purpose, Verveer described how women are critical agents in creating economic growth and social progress. One story she related was about Coca Cola’s efforts to accelerate women into senior operating roles, and its 5by20 initiative that is geared to empower five million female entrepreneurs along its value chain –from agriculture all the way to retail– by the year 2020. Regarding women in U.S. politics, Verveer discussed the relatively low participation here compared with both developed and developing nations, yet acknowledged an increasing desire of U.S. women to create change and gain access to positions in public office.

    Melanne Verveer served as the first ever U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, and during the Clinton Administration served as Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to First Lady Hillary Clinton. She is the co-founder of Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international nonprofit born from the U.S. government’s Vital Voices Democracy Initiative.

  • The Hill LogoV2-01 Urbanization ushers in upstart industries, innovative ideas - In 2009, for the first time in world history, the number of people living in urban areas surpassed the number living in rural areas. More recently, U.S. urban population growth began outpacing suburban growth for the first time since World War II. Posted in: Insights, Noteworthy

    By Spencer Smith, Director of Research

    Originally posted on TheHill.com 1/26/17

    Flying from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. on a clear day, one cannot help but look down at miles of open land spotted with small towns and wonder, “With all that space, who’s down there?”

    In 2009, for the first time in world history, the number of people living in urban areas surpassed the number living in rural areas. More recently, U.S. urban population growth began outpacing suburban growth for the first time since World War II.

    This trend should continue for the foreseeable future, with the world urban population, by one estimate, expected to increase 84 percent by 2050. Cities are one of the most important inventions in human history.

    Read the full article here.

     

  • InvestmentUpdate Investment Update, Fourth Quarter 2016 - 2016 was a good year for equity markets. Posted in: Investment Update, Noteworthy

    2016 was a good year for equity markets. The S&P 500 generated a total return just shy of 12% and the MSCI All-Country World Index, excluding the U.S., returned 4.5%. While the U.S. Presidential election and Brexit dominated headlines, the broad economic recovery was the most important financial development of the year.

    The current equity bull market began in March 2009. It has been called the most unloved bull market in history. Still fresh memories of the financial crisis have led to an almost pathological assumption that good times can’t and won’t last. In fact, since the start of the recovery, there have been net redemptions from domestic equity mutual funds and ETFs every year except 2013. Unlike 2013, when a rise in bond yields was relatively short lived, the current rise in yield appears more sustainable. This could spur a rotation back to equities from bonds, providing a catalyst for yet another leg up in the current bull run.

    The most recent surveys of institutional investors show that the majority of participants believe U.S. equity markets are overpriced. This is understandable given that the market capitalization of the S&P 500 has increased by almost $1 trillion just since the election. While we would not be surprised by a fourth consecutive weak January, led by investors who deferred selling stocks with embedded gains, important near-term indicators, including healthy market breadth, narrow credit spreads and accelerating earnings growth, point to continued strength.

    The bull market is very likely closer to its end than its beginning, but it may not be over yet. Alan Greenspan first used the phrase “irrational exuberance” in 1996. That market had three more years to go and more than doubled before it ended in 2000.


    Signals Versus Noise

    Recently, many traditional economic relationships have broken down. Sharp parallel rises in both currency and yields are rare. Usually when the U.S. dollar appreciatesrapidly, long-term interest rates do not since dollar strength slows economic growth. Emerging markets usually do well when commodity prices rise since many emerging market economies are commodity dependent. However, since the election, the MSCI Emerging Market Index has declined 5% while the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index has risen almost 15%. In an environment of strengthening global growth, cyclical currencies usually strengthen against the U.S. dollar. The opposite is occurring.

    Given these paradoxes, the metric we are watching most closely is inflation. A relatively low and stable level of inflation is a sign of a healthy economy. Equity market multiples tend to be at their highest when inflation is between 0% and 2%. The Federal Reserve Board believes that an inflation rate of 2% is ideally conducive to its mandate of price stability and maximum employment. Over time, a higher inflation rate would hamper the public’s ability to make accurate longer-term economic and financial decisions. On the other hand, a lower inflation rate would increase the probability of deflation.

    Broadly speaking, the past 30 years have been characterized by increasing globalization which is inherently deflationary. In a globalized world, more competition and access to cheaper labor reduces the costs of goods. Further, if a country experiences an idiosyncratic shock that raises domestic demand, the demand can be met with more imports rather than higher prices. Many of the factors that facilitated globalization over the past 30 years were one-off developments. China cannot join the WTO more than once. Tariffs in most developed countries cannot fall much further because they are already close to zero. There is nothing on the horizon that will match the breakthrough productivity gains in global shipping that stemmed from containerization. And the global supply chain is already highly efficient.

    We believe the deflationary pressures that were the hallmark of the post-Bretton Woods era are behind us and we are entering a reflationary period where the risks of deflation have receded, but widespread inflation is not yet imminent. This is generally good for risk assets in the short-term, particularly cyclical equities.


    Portfolio Positioning

    With global economic growth improving, higher inflation still suppressed and real yields negative in Europe and Japan, stocks remain attractive relative to bonds. The majority of our equity holdings are beneficiaries of trends that we believe are powerful enough to influence corporate performance.  Most of our investment themes are secular rather than cyclical, driven by technological or demographic forces that persist independent of economic cycles and thus have the potential to outperform across different market environments. On occasion, at economic turning points like we believe we are witnessing now, cyclical forces can have an outsized influence on equity market performance. Currently, two of our six themes are motivated primarily by cyclical changes impacting financials and energy.

    The macroeconomic transition from a deflationary to a reflationary environment will put upward pressure on interest rates. Concurrently, the financial regulations implemented post-crisis have been absorbed and will likely ease under a new administration. Both of these changes will benefit banks. The financial sector is the only major S&P sector still trading below its 2007 high. We believe a pick-up in lending activity due to accelerating global growth, rising interest rates, wider net interest spreads and financial deregulation will be tailwinds to large U.S. banks in 2017.

    Another sector that we believe will disproportionately benefit from faster global growth is energy. It is often said, the cure for high oil prices is high oil prices and the cure for low oil prices is low oil prices. At $30 per barrel, most oil companies could not profitably drill for oil, so they stopped and supply fell. Because demand growth was also tepid in the first half of the year, the drop in supply did not result in an increase in price.  As economic growth accelerated in the second half of the year, demand rose and the price of oil began to climb.  Simultaneously, OPEC reemerged with some unity and production discipline. Ride-sharing services like UBER have and will continue to increase automobile usage and gas consumption, likely at the expense of public transportation. This creates additional oil demand in the short run. These factors should combine to produce tailwinds for some energy companies in 2017.

    Genomics remains one of our highest conviction secular themes. The broader healthcare sector underperformed the market in 2016 after five straight years of strong performance. We still believe advances in molecular medicine will dramatically improve the ability to identify and combat disease, and will benefit innovative companies facilitating this life sciences revolution. The pipeline of oncology drugs has never been greater. A November 11th article in the Washington Post, titled “How a researcher used big data to beat her own ovarian cancer,” provides a real life case study of how a combination of DNA sequencing, new therapies and big data analytics (another Chevy Chase Trust theme) can dramatically change the impact of cancer.

    From a geographic perspective, we are increasing our holdings in developed market non-U.S. equities, in particular, Japan. In the third quarter of 2016, Japan corporate profits reached a record high yet foreign fund flows into Japanese equities were still negative for the full year.  Japan is a prime example of how an aging population will eventually push up interest rates. The household savings rate in Japan was over 14% in the early 1990s. Since then the percentage of the population that has moved from working age to retirement age has more than doubled, from 12% to 26%. The savings rate today is only 2%. Meanwhile, the ratio of job openings-to-applicants is at a 25-year high. This will eventually lead to higher wages and end persistent deflation. Japan will benefit from this shift because inflation will pressure real rates (as opposed to nominal rates), lead to a weaker yen, a stronger stock market, and even higher inflation expectations.  We are looking at investment opportunities in Japan, particularly ones tied to our global themes.

    From a longer term perspective, there are reasons to be concerned. In the U.S., rising interest rates coupled with a stronger U.S. dollar will be a drag on U.S. economic growth.  Additionally, when inflation is on a firm upward trajectory, central banks everywhere may find it difficult to slow the trend. These two factors will then weigh on equity market multiples. And a strong U.S. dollar puts pressure on emerging markets. As of mid-2016, dollar denominated debt held outside the U.S. had risen to almost $10 trillion dollars. About one-third of the debt is held in emerging markets. As the dollar rises against other currencies, the cost of servicing debt increases. Nonetheless, barring an exogenous shock, these risks are real but probably not pressing enough to change near-term equity market momentum. It may be a bumpy ride, but we believe there is still upside entering 2017.


    Fixed Income

    2016 was a wild year in the bond market. 10-year bond yields started the year at 2.27% and fell to a low of 1.32% shortly after Brexit. Prior to the U.S. election, yields climbed back to 1.88%, and after the election shot up another 76 basis points to a 2016 high of 2.64%, before settling back to end the year at 2.44%. Although the absolute numbers may seem small, in percentage terms these are large moves.

    Pundits debate whether the 30-year bull market in bonds is finally over. We do think the cycle-low for bond yields is behind us and yields will continue to climb from current levels, just not linearly. But, we don’t expect another doubling in yields until spare capacity outside the U.S. is absorbed. Only when other central banks start raising rates will the Federal Reserve be able to sustain its rate hikes. Until then, any Fed tightening beyond what is already expected will put upward pressure on the U.S. dollar, thereby reducing the need for further hikes.

    Given this outlook, we are maintaining our current portfolio positioning. The average duration of our bond holdings is approximately 3.5 years. As bonds reach maturity or we identify swap opportunities, we will seek to reinvest the proceeds in higher yielding instruments. Continued volatility in the bond market will present opportunities to buy high quality securities at discount prices.  We will capitalize on these opportunities to add value.

     

     

  • The Hill LogoV2-01 Innovation, demographics make automation increasingly appealing - We are, indeed, witnessing a revolution in industrial automation. However, it is important to separate the hyperbole from the underlying economic realities. Posted in: Noteworthy

    By Spencer Smith, Director of Research

    Originally posted on TheHill.com 12/21/16

    Industrial automation technologies are not new. Articulated robots, for example, have been used for decades, primarily in the automobile industry.

    However, the pace at which automation technologies are being adopted is increasing rapidly and a growing variety of industries are coming to rely on them. This acceleration is largely driven by two factors — improvements in information processing and changing labor force demographics in the world’s largest economies.

    For the United States, these forces will likely lead to an increased investment in domestic manufacturing and industrial capacity.

    We are, indeed, witnessing a revolution in industrial automation. However, it is important to separate the hyperbole from the underlying economic realities.

     

    Read the full article here.

  • Money_edited Chevy Chase Trust Ranks #2 Nationally on Forbes/RIA Channel 2016 Top 100 RIA Firms - Important Disclosures. Posted in: Announcements, Noteworthy

    Important Disclosures.Original content by Julie Cooling, Forbes Contributor

    This year’s unique Top 100 RIA Firms ranking showcases the wealth management firms by growth in assets over the past ten years with a majority of the firms accruing more than $1 billion in assets.

    These firms are leading because of their independence, their commitment to their clients and their ability to grow through a decade of market challenges and rewards.

     

    Read the list here.

     

  • Blake-noteworthy Blake Keeley Doyle Joins Chevy Chase Trust - Blake Keeley Doyle has joined the firm as Managing Director to build its institutional client business. Posted in: Announcements, Noteworthy, People

    November 14, 2016

    Bethesda, MD     Chevy Chase Trust, a research-driven investment management firm, announced today that Blake Keeley Doyle has joined the firm as Managing Director to build its institutional client business. Ms. Doyle joins Chevy Chase Trust from Height Securities, LLC, in Washington, D.C. where she was head of Institutional Sales and Capital Markets, with a focus on thematic research, regulatory and policy driven investment ideas, and special situations.

    Ms. Doyle joined Height Securities in 2009, served on the firm’s Executive Committee and worked to launch a joint venture with a Dublin-based thematic and policy-focused advisory firm.  Earlier, she worked at FBR Capital Markets in Arlington, VA. Ms. Doyle graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Economics.

    “Blake is a seasoned professional in the securities industry. Her experience developing and launching institutional ventures will strengthen and augment Chevy Chase Trust’s success in family wealth management,” says Peter Welber, President and CEO.

    Ms. Doyle added, “Chevy Chase Trust is a firm I have admired for some time. Their thematic investment process and proven track record present a unique opportunity for me to be a part of something truly differentiated in the investment industry.

    The pre-eminent investment management firm in the Washington, DC area, Chevy Chase Trust is privately-owned by a family with a century of roots in the Washington community.  With $24 billion in  assets and 88 professionals, Chevy Chase Trust specializes in thematic research and investment management for wealthy individuals, endowments and institutions.

    For more information
    Stacy Murchison
    240.497.5008
    smurchison@chevychasetrust.com

  • Wall-Street-photo Market Update - U.S. equity markets closed higher both days after the Donald Trump victory and Republican sweep of Congress. Posted in: Noteworthy

    U.S. equity markets closed higher both days after the Donald Trump victory and Republican sweep of Congress. The positive reaction stems from the possibility of corporate tax reform, repatriation of foreign cash, and increased deficit spending. We’re hesitant to take the initial reaction as an “all clear” signal.

    President-elect Trump has been clear about his desire to renegotiate trade deals and impose tariffs on foreign goods. He can accomplish these objectives by executive order; therefore, implementation of protectionist policies is a real possibility. Protectionism would be inflationary, and will likely lead to lower corporate margins and reduced consumer purchasing power.

    Higher inflation will also lead to higher interest rates. The President-elect has been critical of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. It is likely that he will replace her in 2018, and other members sooner, favoring those with a more hawkish bent. The bond market is already beginning to discount this possibility with 10-year government bond yields rising 8% today to slightly above 2%. We expect interest rates to continue to climb. This will be a negative for consumers and consumer stocks, and will likely exert pressure on market multiples.

    The sectors most likely to benefit from the election’s results include healthcare and financials. Proposition 61, the drug pricing initiative in California, was soundly defeated and a Republican Congress is less likely to focus on the pharmaceutical industry. The financial sector may benefit from some strategic clawbacks of Dodd Frank and from higher interest rates.

    Our long-term, balanced, thematic approach to equity investing and our focus on relatively short duration bonds enable our client portfolios to withstand market gyrations from exogenous events, like political elections, better than many others. However, these are uncertain times. From a risk management and opportunistic standpoint, we are selectively raising cash reserves, reducing foreign exposure in favor of a more U.S.-centric portfolio, reducing some consumer oriented holdings, and potentially increasing holdings in the healthcare and financial sectors.