Thematic Investing involves capitalizing on powerful secular trends, disruptive ideas, innovations and economic forces that are constantly reshaping the world. Thematic investing builds portfolios of companies positioned to exploit these transformational changes and, just as importantly, avoids companies that will be disrupted by creative destruction.
“The strong basis for stock selection comes from whittling down the thousands of public securities around the world to a manageable group- identified through our thematic research. This screening process is perhaps the most important part of investing.”
Amy Raskin, Chief Investment Officer
News & Noteworthy
- Q&A | Claire Voorhees | Wealth Advisor and Relationship Manager Posted in: Noteworthy, People - At Chevy Chase Trust, our Wealth Advisors build relationships by thoroughly understanding the ever-changing needs of our clients and assembling a team of experts to ensure that all those needs are met. Meet Claire Voorhees - Wealth Advisor and Relationship Manager.
Tell us about your role at Chevy Chase Trust.
As a Wealth Advisor, I am responsible for advising clients on investment management, financial and liquidity planning, trust administration, and philanthropic planning. I oversee the delivery of services to clients and coordinate with their legal, accounting, and other advisors. I provide holistic and high-touch service and work closely with my clients to understand their unique needs and, utilizing the firm’s expertise and capabilities, design tailored investment strategies to meet those goals.
Tell us about your background.
After graduating UVA, I joined a hedge fund, York Capital Management, first in NYC and then in Asia where I helped set up the fund’s operational base and worked with the trader. Next, after obtaining my MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, I joined Bank of America in Credit Research and later a hedge fund, Fundamental Credit Opportunities, where I worked as their sole credit and investment analyst. After that, I worked on the buy-side of Wells Fargo in San Francisco as Director for the bank’s Investment Portfolio, and then at a private equity firm. While I enjoyed each of these investment roles, I most enjoy working with people and realized my ideal position would be one where I would utilize my investment background while working with and helping clients more directly.
What made you decide to specialize and focus your career on wealth management?
While I’m grateful for all of my experiences as an investment analyst and am able to capitalize on these skills in my current role, working directly with clients is what I am passionate about, I am a people person. Spending time with clients and designing strategies to meet their goals is what I enjoy most.
What’s the most rewarding part of the job? What do you enjoy most about your career?
Working as a Wealth Advisor compliments my prior investment experience and enables me to do what I like most, working closely with and helping people.
In prior roles, my favorite part of the job was always helping a client understand an investment. I love that now I’m working directly with families and individuals and not just presenting to other finance professionals.
What makes Chevy Chase Trust different from other firms where you have worked?
We are privately held, and this enables us to make decisions differently. It makes a difference in how we invest in our business and how the company is run. We are not just one piece of a larger business that must make quarterly earnings, and we don’t have to operate within the parameters of a larger institution. This provides a different feel for employees and clients. CCT is a private investment think tank and I have been impressed with how investment strategy and research is communicated across all levels. We are one team of investors, financial planners, trust officers and wealth managers constantly focused on preserving and growing our clients’ assets.
Have you had a mentor and what are some lessons learned?
My dad. He is really good at seeing the big picture in business and successfully built and grew his firm. He has always encouraged me to take calculated risks and not be afraid of failing. I want my clients to trust me the way my dad’s clients trust him because his clients know he is always looking out for them. He’s a good listener and is so humble. He enjoys helping people and always tries to do the right thing. He kids around a lot and reminds me to keep things in perspective.
What led you to a career in financial services?
I have always enjoyed math and am fairly analytical like my mom, who was a corporate tax attorney. It was her idea that I become an investment analyst because she knew I enjoyed research. She always encouraged me to find a role that complimented what I liked and what I was best at.
What are your interests in the community?
My interests are varied – at the moment, I am spending time in dementia research fund raising efforts, female focused organizations. I also volunteer with my church and neighborhood in Georgetown.
Tell us about how you spend your time outside of work.
I love to be outside, either on the water or in the mountains skiing or hiking. My family has a home on the Miles River in Easton, MD, and I enjoy spending time there and on the boat whenever I can. I also love traveling and enjoy wine and used to be a blind taster as a hobby.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in investment management/financial services?
It’s helpful to not only understand the different areas within financial services but also to understand what the different roles will entail because your personality type may be better aligned with one area over another. For example, if you are more of an introvert, a role in sales and trading probably isn’t the best role, but if you enjoy writing, researching and digging through financials, you may be well suited to being an investment analyst. Also, it’s important to pay attention to the type of firm, the people with whom you will be working, and what the opportunities to learn will be.
Considering all the people with whom you have worked, what are the most important attributes for success?
Tenacity, hard work, humility, and maintaining perspective and focus on the big picture. The successful person is always keeping their eyes open for opportunities, listening, and observing. They are often willing to take on more than their own specific responsibilities and are successful at working across teams. I think it’s also helpful to have an advocate at your company and a mentor either where you work or elsewhere. The advocate is especially helpful at larger firms.
How did you decide to study finance and economics?
I have always enjoyed math and been pretty analytical and love the fast pace of the markets and reading about interesting companies.
Read Claire Voorhees‘ Bio »
- Chevy Chase Trust Welcomes Anneke H. Niemira Posted in: Noteworthy, People - Chevy Chase Trust is pleased to welcome Anneke H. Niemira as Director and Senior Wealth Planner.
Anneke H. Niemira has joined Chevy Chase Trust as a Senior Wealth Planner. Anneke delivers both financial and estate planning services by working directly with clients to understand their goals, review existing plans, and to discuss estate planning options and strategies. In addition, she assists clients with setting strategic paths to achieve their near- and longer-term objectives.
Read Anneke H. Niemira‘s bio »
- Thematic Video: Long-Term COVID Beneficiaries Posted in: Insights, Institutional, Noteworthy, People, Video - As long-term investors, we are interested in the companies who are capitalizing on the permanent changes caused by COVID’s disruptions. Hear Christine Wallace, Senior Portfolio Manager, detail one of our investment themes, Long-Term COVID Beneficiaries.
As governments locked down their economies amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the consumer’s lifestyle was forced to change. At Chevy Chase Trust, we are focused on the companies that facilitate the consumer’s behavioral shift and sustainably improve their businesses as a result. Hear Christine Wallace, Senior Portfolio Manager, detail one of our investment themes, Long-Term COVID Beneficiaries.
- Q & A | Ramona Mockoviak | Wealth Advisor Posted in: Noteworthy, People - We are proud to welcome Ramona Mockoviak as Senior Managing Director and Wealth Manager! She will advise clients on investment management, financial and estate planning and trust administration and will help grow the firm’s client base.
What caused you to select Chevy Chase Trust as your new home at this stage in your career?
I decided on Chevy Chase Trust for several reasons but primarily for its commitment to an innovative and differentiated approach to investing – called thematic investing. It is what I call the “special sauce.” I also appreciate the firm’s size as it is very accessible to people who are exploring firms and considering their options. Here at Chevy Chase Trust, each client is appreciated and given the time and attention they deserve. No short-cuts here. Further, all the top-quality expertise at the firm is local, deeply experienced and dedicated to client service and success.
I’ve been in the business for over 25 years now and have found that while the big organizations tend to talk about strategic investment allocation versus tactical, they are really practicing buy and hold allocation. And they’re using “mid”, “small”, and “large” cap identifiers and, essentially, indexing the market. Amy Raskin and her team are practicing sophisticated thematic investing by deeply researching the disruptive trends and individual equities. This is a unique differentiator, and it adds a perspective and advantage that clients cannot get anywhere else.
How have client expectations changed?
Clients are more sophisticated now and have more options than ever before–particularly with online and self-directed investing. The complexities of the investment space have increased rather than decreased and having the sophistication to simplify and distill the issues for clients is essential. Also, being able to fully integrate investment objectives with a family’s long-term estate and tax planning is very important. It’s great to have all that expertise in one place.
Clients do have high expectations as they should. Chevy Chase Trust adds value that makes it worthwhile to sign on as a client.
What is your next goal as you get settled at Chevy Chase Trust?
My next goal is the opportunity to help grow the market in Virginia. I’m excited to take what has worked so well at Chevy Chase Trust thus far and help define the firm in Virginia. With a Virginia focus, I believe we can stand out among the competition and be more broadly recognized as the hometown provider of exceptional quality for clients. I want every attorney helping private business owners in Virginia to think of Chevy Chase Trust as a partner of choice for their clients.
Did you have a mentor?
Yes, I did have a mentor and he was a banker’s banker. He is now retired but I still think of him often. He was a founder of Fairfax Bank and Trust in Fairfax, Virginia and hired me as a young twenty something. He encouraged me and helped me and eventually, we went through an IPO, purchased 2 or 3 different organizations from the RTC and grew rapidly. Our bank became part of F&M Bank in Virginia and eventually had about $1.9 billion in assets when we sold to BB&T. I wore many hats during this time period. He always had faith that I could figure it out. It was largely due to his confidence in me that I created my self-confidence and love for the business.
Do you mentor others?
Yes! And there were many tears when I left my last job because I always tried to help out others along the way. Because of what my mentor meant to me, I have kept that in a special place. In this profession, we sometimes spend more time with the people we work with than our own families. So, if I can help someone and make their life a little easier, that’s great. I’m a helper when I can be and want to keep paying it forward.
What advice do you have for someone considering a career in wealth management?
The high and ultra-high net worth space is a growth area and will continue to be. Look at population trends and the production of wealth in U.S. You can see the highest areas of potential growth are in wealth creation and wealth preservation. It’s also a truly interesting area. It is intellectually challenging and always changing. But at the end of the day, our business is a people business and you have like people and enjoy helping them. This must be at the core of one’s motivation. If it is, then everything else will fall into place.
How do you spend your time when not at the office?
I have a husband, adult children, grandchildren, and two English Springer spaniels. My husband has two sons and I have two daughters. We split our time between Virginia and Florida, and we enjoy our family. I am involved in the arts. I love and support the Opera and live performance and theater. I’ve been very blessed to have served on a number of boards. I am currently a member of the Shakespeare Theater Board and a past board member for the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and the Washington National Opera.
Ramona Mockoviak‘s Bio »
- Chevy Chase Trust Welcomes Ramona Mockoviak Posted in: Latest News, Noteworthy, People - Chevy Chase Trust is pleased to welcome Ramona Mockoviack as Senior Managing Director and Wealth Advisor.
Ramona Mockoviack has joined Chevy Chase Trust as Senior Managing Director and Wealth Advisor. Ramona is responsible for developing opportunities with prospective clients and advisors, with special focus on Northern Virginia and the surrounding communities. She also maintains and broadens relationships with existing clients, advising them in the areas of investment management, financial and estate planning, and trust administration. Acting as point person, Ramona oversees the delivery of services to clients and coordinates with their legal, accounting, and other advisors.
Read Ramona Mockoviak‘s Bio »
- Amy Raskin | Pillsbury | Perspectives on the Economy, Investing and Capital Markets in 2022 Posted in: Insights, Noteworthy, People - Amy Raskin, Chief Investment Officer, was a panelist on Pillsbury’s April 26, 2022 webinar. She offered her insight on the state of the U.S. economy, equity market volatility, inflation, globalization and the labor market.
Amy Raskin, Chief Investment Officer, was a panelist at Pillsbury’s April 26, 2022 webinar “Navigating Rough Seas: Perspectives on the Economy, Investing and Capital Markets in 2022”. During the discussion, she offered her insights on the state of the U.S. economy, equity market volatility, inflation, globalization and the labor market. Click here to hear the entire program.
- Thematic Video: The End of Disinflationary Tailwinds Posted in: Insights, Institutional, Noteworthy, People, Video - While there are some temporary factors boosting inflation, we believe there are longer term structural elements that have changed over the last decade that make a longer period of elevated inflation more likely. Hear from Spencer Smith, Head of Institutional Investments.
While there are some temporary factors boosting inflation, we believe there are longer term structural elements that have changed over the last decade that make a longer period of elevated inflation more likely. Hear Spencer Smith, Head of Institutional Investments, detail some of the characteristics shaping the End of Disinflationary Tailwinds.
- Chevy Chase Trust | Catholic Charities Gala 2022 Posted in: Community, Noteworthy, People - We were pleased to have been a part of the celebration of supporters, donors, volunteers and staff members—and to get behind the life-changing works of Catholic Charities.
We were pleased to have been a part of the celebration of supporters, donors, volunteers and staff members—and to get behind the life-changing works of Catholic Charities. Congratulations to Kevin Virostek, Chair Board of Directors, and Msgr. John J Enzler, President and CEO, for another successful event that will support the less fortunate and often marginalized people of our community. Special thanks to Father John and his amazing team for always saying YES!
- First Quarter, 2022 Posted in: Featured, Investment Update, Noteworthy - At Chevy Chase Trust, we invest in global themes. That means we are Thematic investors with the flexibility to alter portfolios based on changing macroeconomic environments. Learn about adjustments we are making in light of the broad market rotation in our Q1 Investment Update.
A Jarring Quarter after an Extended Calm
The first quarter saw a steep rise in volatility and the first significant sell-off in two years, as investors digested troubling world news and the Federal Reserve began to end a record period of easy money.
Weakness and high volatility characterized U.S. equity markets for the first eleven weeks of 2022. From the start of the year through March 14, 2022, the S&P 500 fell 12.4%, and the Nasdaq dropped an even greater 20.1%. But market momentum reversed in mid-March, and both Indexes began to recoup their losses. After seven consecutive up quarters, the S&P generated a 4.6% loss in the first quarter of 2022, and the Nasdaq, an 8.9% loss. Most other major stock markets also declined during the quarter. Only indexes dominated by commodity-related stocks, such as those in Canada, Brazil and Australia, delivered positive returns.
The first quarter felt jarring after the smooth, rapid ascent of U.S. equities over the last two years. However, the volatility experienced in Q1 2022 is not particularly unusual. Significant intra-year drawdowns are quite common and not necessarily a harbinger of major trouble ahead.
While the volatility in equity markets captured headlines, the performance of the bond market during the quarter was more noteworthy. U.S. bonds delivered their worst quarterly returns since 1980. High inflation and strong economic growth led the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury bond to rise from 1.51% at the start of the year to 2.33% at quarter end. The move in yields on shorter maturity bonds was even more dramatic. The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate Bond Index fell over 5.9% in the first quarter of 2022. Global bond markets delivered similarly poor performance.
Compared to the frequent declines seen in equity markets, the bond market’s drop may not seem alarming. But bonds are generally lower-risk, lower-return investments that are supposed to provide ballast in investors’ overall portfolios. Therefore, it is understandable that some investors may be concerned when bond prices and equity markets decline simultaneously. As a reminder, at Chevy Chase Trust, clients hold the vast majority of bonds to maturity. Therefore, unrealized losses, (or gains for that matter), that occur due to intra-quarter changes in yields, do not necessarily impact realized returns.
Recession Fears Are Premature
High inflation and rising interest rates are often precursors to recession. Many pundits are now predicting that the U.S. economy will fall into recession later this year or in early 2023. Others are calling for an almost equally dire scenario of stagflation: very slow growth coupled with high inflation and high unemployment. Given the facts on the ground, we believe both these scenarios are unlikely:
- U.S. households are sitting on $2.3 trillion in excess savings, equal to 10% of GDP, as a result of decreased spending on services and generous government transfer payments during the Pandemic. In addition, household wealth has soared since the start of the Pandemic, due to house price and stock market gains.
- Household balance sheets are in good shape after an extended period of deleveraging, and banks are easing lending standards on consumer loans.
- Companies also fortified their balance sheets during the Pandemic and are generating record amounts of free cash flow, which they feel empowered to spend. For good reason: At an average age of 16.3 years, the U.S. nonresidential capital stock is older than it has been in nearly 60 years.
- After crippling supply chain disruptions due to the Pandemic, many companies are planning to add redundancy to their operations and introduce new automation to offset rising labor costs. Both strategies should contribute to higher levels of capital spending.
- The U.S. labor market is exceptionally strong. Initial jobless claims for the week ending March 18, 2022, were at their lowest level since 1969, when the U.S. labor market was much smaller. On April 1, 2022, the unemployment rate was a very low 3.6%. There are currently 11 million job openings (1.7 for every unemployed person in the country), and the Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker is at a 32-year high.
Of course, there are always concerns: war in Ukraine, economic sanctions on Russia, new COVID outbreaks in Europe and Asia, among them. Also, after a long period of very easy monetary policy, the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates to slow the economy and lower inflation. If the Federal Reserve sticks to its current projections and raises interest rates gradually throughout the remainder of 2022, we think the nominal growth rate in the U.S. economy will remain stronger than the trend level of the past decade.
Portfolio Positioning Amid a Broad Market Rotation
Both U.S. equity and fixed income markets have delivered exceptionally strong returns over the past few years. A period of consolidation would not be surprising. But we don’t expect a steep decline in equities in the near term. Instead, we expect continued equity-market volatility, with periods of extended weakness followed by recoveries, as we saw in the first quarter.
For much of the past decade, Growth stocks handily outpaced Value stocks. Since we often invest in disruptive technologies, many of Chevy Chase Trust’s themes over that time period had a Growth tilt. Our deep research led us to invest early in a broad range of companies that performed exceptionally well.
The current backdrop is much less favorable to Growth-oriented investing. The combination of faster GDP growth, moderate-to-high inflation and rising interest rates favors the Value style. Year-to-date, Value stocks have outperformed Growth stocks by 8.4%, and we expect this rotation from Growth to Value to continue for the foreseeable future. We believe we are well positioned to capitalize on this transition for two reasons.
- First, we are neither Growth investors, nor Value investors. We are Thematic investors, which gives us the flexibility to reposition portfolios when necessary, by adding, exiting or re-weighting our themes.
- Second, macroeconomic analysis is an explicit and important part of our four-step investment process. We adjust our portfolios not just based on our confidence in our thematic outlook, but also accounting for the tidal impact that fiscal and monetary actions can have on financial markets.
To reflect the changing environment, about 18 months ago we introduced a new inflation-related theme, and our portfolios started to generally become less “growth-y.” Our End of Disinflationary Tailwinds theme is now the largest of our six portfolio themes. We also made a host of other adjustments to our thematic weightings, trimming or selling many of the Growth holdings that had soared in the past few years. With the sell-off of Growth equities in the first quarter, several of these core thematic investments are now, once again, approaching levels that we find attractive from a long-term perspective.
The past quarter has been a reminder to many that even in the absence of a pandemic, a great deal of uncertainty, change and risk exists in the world and in financial markets. Throughout the quarter and through the past many years, we have remained vigilant, seeking to protect clients from the market extremes that occasionally arise, while positioning portfolios for the broad secular opportunities that we see. We are confident that our approach, developed more than two decades ago and refined continuously since then, will continue to deliver great outcomes in the years to come.
This commentary is for informational purposes only. The information set forth herein is of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You should not construe any information herein as legal, tax, investment, financial or other advice. Nothing contained herein constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments. This commentary includes forward-looking statements, and actual results could differ materially from the views expressed. Past investment performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future investment performance. There are risks associated with investing in securities, including risk of loss of principal. Foreign investing involves special risks, including the potential for greater volatility and political, economic and currency risks. Clients with different investment objectives, allocation targets, tax considerations, brokers, account sizes, historical basis in the applicable securities or other considerations will typically be subject to differing investment allocation decisions, including the timing of purchases and sales of specific securities, all of which cause clients to achieve different investment returns. The recipient assumes sole responsibility of evaluating the merits and risks associated with the use of any information herein before making any decisions based on such information.
- A Virtual Event: Advances in Skin Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment Posted in: Events, Noteworthy, Video - Can we dispel some common myths regarding skin cancer? Watch our virtual event “Advances in Skin Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment” to learn more.
3.21.2022 – Chevy Chase Trust was honored to host Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center’s Dr. Michael Atkins and University of Pittsburgh’s Dr. Laura Ferris on the topic “Advances in Skin Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis & Treatment.” Learn ways to protect yourself and the innovative treatments being used today.