Strategas seeks to provide clear and concise research that allows its clients to reach actionable investment conclusions in a timely manner. In addition to the Research team's daily written content, clients are encouraged to utilize the Firm’s analysts for meetings, conference calls, or guest speaker presentations, as well as our Bespoke Research desk for special requests and customized projects.
There are three ways in which macro research can be useful:
- By being accurate.
- By identifying important themes.
- By providing enough raw and provocative material to allow our clients to make up their own minds or to be used in their own marketing material.
Sadly, the first of these basic elements of utility – correctly divining the movements of the markets and the madness of crowds – is often the most elusive. The Firm recognizes that, despite its best efforts, it won’t always be correct. The Research team will always be aware of and respect other points of view and will remain intellectually flexible and humble enough to change its forecasts when the facts change.
03Simplicity & Clarity.
Our clients have too much to read. Strategas strives to provide clear and concise research that allows our clients to remain informed and to come to actionable investment conclusions.
04Quality & Thoroughness of Output.
The Firm recognizes that its credibility is on the line every time it publishes a report or an investment forecast. Strategas is committed to making sure that the inputs used to create its research products are comprehensive and accurate
The Firm's Institutional Investor-ranked Investment Strategy team led by Jason Trennert and Nicholas Bohnsack, works to identify the major themes with broad implications for the global financial markets. By working closely with the Firm's Economics and Washington Policy teams, the Firm’s strategists seek to provide accurate projections of aggregate corporate profits, valuation, profit margins, size and style trends, and long-term targets of the major equity indices.
The team's thematic and macro-driven approach relies on empirical data as well as fundamental and technical research to provide clients with an integrated investment strategy for a variety of time horizons. In addition, the team actively works with clients to improve information flow within their investment process, paying particular respect to asset allocation and sector rotation.
An emphasis is placed on delivering timely information in a concise manner through the dissemination of daily written publications and customized research projects. The team’s analysts are also available for regular conference calls, client meetings, and group presentations. Our high-touch client approach and the availability of our analyst team complements our more proprietary and data-driven efforts. Through the publication of our monthly Market Balance Sheet, Proprietary Bellwether Index, and Strategas Sentiment Indicator, the Strategy team provides clients with a unique, first-principles framework for analyzing the trajectory of market, sector, and industry group trends.
The Firm's Institutional Investor-ranked Economics team, led by Don Rissmiller, employs an analytical approach to provide a consistent macro-economic framework for our institutional equity and fixed income clients. The team makes standard forecasts and projections of economic growth, inflation, and short and long-term interest rates, including Fed policy.
With his experience at the New York Federal Reserve and ISI Group, Mr. Rissmiller and his team offer a unique perspective which provides the capacity to distill relevant data into actionable analysis.
The publication of frequent data-intensive updates, coupled with more thematic reports, helps the Firm's clients to better translate the macro-economic landscape into investable opportunities. This discipline, along with the monthly publication of more proprietary measures, like Strategas' Economics Balance Sheet, helps to ensure the accurate and timely analysis of market-moving economic trends. Additionally, a close monitoring of significant global economic developments highlights the major investment implications for our domestic and international clients alike.
The Firm's Institutional Investor-ranked Policy Research team, led by Daniel Clifton, works to identify federal, state, and local policy initiatives that have direct investment implications. Based in Washington, D.C., the team navigates the legislative, executive, and regulatory landscapes to offer the Firm's clients forward-looking information, relevant to their portfolio holdings. An emphasis is placed on identifying the sectors and industry groups most impacted by future legislative and regulatory actions, within the context of a dynamic political environment.
Experienced in political and policy research and analysis, the Policy Research team offers insights on the changing policy landscape and the risks and opportunities for investors.
Through the regular publication of written reports, frequent conference calls, customized projects, and direct meetings, the Policy Research team is actively engaged in ensuring the firm’s client base remains steps ahead of policy changes.
The Firm's Institutional Investor-ranked Technical Analysis team, led by Chris Verrone, strives to identify actionable investment opportunities across the equity, commodity, foreign exchange, and fixed income markets. Regularly published research highlights trend recognition, momentum, sentiment, and cross asset relationships to present a clear and concise market outlook. An emphasis on both U.S. and global stock selection is also a staple of the team’s daily work.
In addition, the Technical team actively works with the Firm’s institutional clients to provide bespoke analysis on individual securities. Our high-touch approach includes frequent video updates, conference calls, analyst meetings, and group presentations. The Technical team's proprietary and empirical analyses serve as an important complement to the more thematic approach employed by Strategas' Investment Strategy, Quantitative, Washington Policy, and Economic teams.
Fixed Income Research
The Firm's Fixed Income team, led by Tom Tzitzouris, seeks to identify relative value and identify investment risks across multiple fixed income asset classes, while serving as a complement to Strategas' economic, policy, and equity investment strategy research verticals.
Published research highlights valuations at both the macro and sector level. Custom work is available to clients on instruments at the security level. By providing a top-down approach to government, corporate, municipal, and securitized markets, the firm's fixed income team strives to provide clients with the necessary tools to manage risk and identify value. In addition, by incorporating bottom-up analysis of sector and security specific issues, the firm's research seeks to provide actionable investment strategies, as well as to provide custom research for individual client needs.
The Firm's Bespoke Research team works closely with clients on customized and special projects across the Firm's seven research verticals – Investment Strategy, Economics, Washington Research, Sector Strategy, Technical Analysis, Industry Surveys and Fixed Income Strategy. Our team strives to return special requests and customized projects as quickly and as accurately as possible. In addition, the team is available to fulfill any requests for charts and data published in our daily written reports.
Most importantly, the team recognizes that it can add value by simply serving as an outsourced research solution for clients that may not have the time or resources necessary to complete certain specialized research projects. To assist our clients in this respect, our team possesses both the wide range of resources and strong commitment level needed to add significant value throughout all stages of the investment process.
As an example of our data capabilities, recent client requests have included:
1) An analysis of the S&P 500 sub-industry groups with the highest and lowest correlations to Oil, the Dollar, and Emerging Markets.
2) An overview of the relationship between inflation, market multiples, and interest rates over the past century.
3) The construction of a capital spending regression model used to forecast future Capex expenditures on both a sector and industry level.
4) An in-depth look at the various proposals for financial regulation and their direct implications for institutional investors.
Norbert Ore, the former Chairman of the ISM and former head of Procurement at Georgia Pacific is a Director in the Proprietary Research group at Strategas with responsibility for construction of internal indices, analysis of external surveys, and assisting clients in identifying global trends in manufacturing and services.
Norbert’s SLIM (Strategas’ Leading Indicator of Manufacturing) is designed to provide an early indication of change in U.S. manufacturing activity during the current month by focusing on New Orders and Supplier Deliveries as indicators of present and future growth or contraction in the sector.
The Firm’s Quantitative Research team, led by Nicholas Bohnsack, leverages numerical and statistical analysis to assist institutional investors in three principal ways. At a macro-level, the team applies fundamental factor performance analysis to assist in identifying turning points in the business cycle and broader economy and to identify rotational trends within industry groups and relative performance trends among industries. The group’s business cycle work serves to compliment the Firm’s industry-level earnings and valuation forecasting in identifying targeted fair-value ranges, at both an Index and sector level. The team, works closely with security analysts and portfolio managers to build and refine dynamic security scoring and selection models to assist in identifying opportunities (and avoiding trouble areas) related to both the clients’ and Strategas’ thematic idea generation. The Quant team has developed and publishes regular updates on a number of the Firm’s thematic stock baskets, regularly used by clients, including the Large-Cap and Mid-Cap Earnings Momentum Alpha strategies; Free Cash Flow Growth; and, the Strategas Ambiguity Index.
Mr. Trennert is the Managing Partner of Strategas Research Partners LLC and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the firm's broker-dealer subsidiary, Strategas Securities, LLC. In addition, as Chief Investment Strategist, Mr. Trennert is known as one of Wall Street's top thought leaders on the subject of markets and economic policy. His research pieces are read by leading institutional investors and corporate executives across the globe.
In 2006, Mr. Trennert co-founded Strategas, which originally began with just five employees. Today, the firm employs over fifty research analysts, institutional salesmen, and sales traders at its offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Columbus, Ohio. Prior to founding Strategas, Mr. Trennert was the Chief Investment Strategist and a Senior Managing Director at International Strategy & Investment (ISI) Group where he built and oversaw two of that Firm's most popular research efforts, its Company Surveys and Investment Strategy groups.
Widely quoted in the domestic and foreign press, Jason is a regular guest host on CNBC's "Squawk Box" and "Bloomberg Surveillance" with Tom Keene. His second book, My Side of the Street, was published by St. Martin's Press in May.
He was the Treasurer of La Scuola d'Italia where he built its investment committee. He is a member of the Board of Governors of The Columbus Citizens Foundation and a member of the investment committee of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
He has an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and BS in International Economics from Georgetown University.
Mr. Rissmiller is a founding Partner of Strategas and has directed the Firm's macroeconomic research efforts since 2006. He oversees Strategas' thematic research as well as high-frequency econometric forecasting.
Prior to co-founding Strategas in 2006, Mr. Rissmiller was an Economist and Managing Director at International Strategy & Investment (ISI) Group. Before joining ISI, he worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, focusing on the analysis of U.S. macroeconomic data and price/wage forecasting models. He is frequently quoted in the financial press. He has been the president of the Forecasters Club of New York, a local group of economists. He serves on the board of the Global Interdependence Center (GIC) based in Philadelphia.
Mr. Rissmiller's research has been recognized by Institutional Investor magazine in their annual survey: he was ranked best up and coming economist in 2008, and was 3rd in their 2009 All-America Independent Research Team survey. Mr. Rissmiller holds an AB magna cum laude in Economics from Harvard.
Daniel Clifton is a Partner and Head of Policy Research for Strategas Research Partners. In this capacity, Mr. Clifton evaluates government policy initiatives and its impact on the global economy and financial markets for institutional investors.
Daniel and his team have been recognized by Institutional Investor magazine as one to the top Washington policy analysts in their annual survey nine consecutive years. Separately, Mr. Clifton is currently ranked as the #2 analyst on Wall Street for Accounting & Tax Policy in the same survey.
Prior to joining Strategas, Mr. Clifton was Executive Director of the American Shareholders Association (ASA), a non-partisan, non-profit organization which analyzes public policy affecting shareholders. In this capacity, Daniel was part of coalitions that successfully lowered capital gains and dividend tax rates to 15 percent, a repatriation tax holiday on foreign source revenue in 2004, and reform of the nation’s private-sector pension system.
Prior to joining ASA, Mr. Clifton was Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Tax Reform and served as a senior staff member in two gubernatorial administrations working on economic and fiscal policy issues.
Daniel has also worked in various capacities on elections at federal, state, and local levels.
Mr. Clifton received both his BA in Urban Planning and his MS in Public Policy from Rutgers University where he was a Fellow at the Eagleton Institute of Politics and a Harold Martin Fellow for Public Policy.
Mr. Verrone is a partner of Strategas. He is the head of the Firm’s Technical Analysis Research team. His regularly published research highlights actionable investment opportunities across the equity, commodity, foreign exchange, and fixed income markets. In addition, Mr. Verrone actively works with the Firm's institutional clients to provide bespoke analysis on individual securities.
Chris is a frequent guest on CNBC, FOX Business, and Bloomberg Television, and is often quoted in the domestic and foreign financial press. He is consistently ranked among the top Technical Analysts on Wall Street in the annual All-America Research Survey by Institutional Investor magazine.
Mr. Verrone has earned the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation and is a member of the Market Technicians Association. Prior to joining Strategas, Mr. Verrone worked with the Economics team at International Strategy & Investment (ISI) Group and at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Chris holds a MA in Comparative Politics from Villanova University and a BA in International Political Economy, also from Villanova. He is also active with the Delbarton School Alumni Association. Chris and his wife, Caroline, reside in New York City.
Mr. Bohnsack is co-founder and partner of Strategas. He is the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Firm and heads the Firm’s Institutional Securities and Financial Solutions business groups.
As an analyst, Mr. Bohnsack is head of Strategas’ Quantitative Research team and directs the Firm's equity sector strategy and global asset allocation research efforts. More granularly he and his team focus on industry-level earnings and valuation forecasting and fundamental factor analysis to assist institutional investors in portfolio construction and thematic idea generation. He has been a regular guest on business news programs and has been widely quoted in the domestic and foreign press, particularly for his work on corporate profits and market valuation.
Prior to co-founding Strategas, Nicholas was an Investment Strategist and Associate Managing Director with International Strategy & Investment (ISI) Group. Nicholas began his career in the Investment Banking Group at FactSet and in Restricted Securities at Morgan Stanley.
Mr. Bohnsack received his MS in Mathematics from Fairfield University and received bachelor's degrees in Economics and Finance from Bryant University. He is a member of the Board of Advisors at Bryant University's College of Business. Nicholas and his wife, Brooke, live in Connecticut with their three sons.
Mr. Ore is a Director and Head of Industry Surveys at Strategas with responsibility for construction of internal indices, analysis of external surveys, and assisting clients in identifying global trends in manufacturing and services.
Following his career as a supply manager for Fortune 250 companies, he has been a successful entrepreneur, business process consultant, and an advocate for small-disadvantaged businesses. As an acknowledged leader in supply chain management, he has attained the status of Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and Certified Purchasing Manager (C.P.M.).
Additionally, he is a winner of the prestigious J. Shipman Gold Medal, which is presented for leadership in the field. He is best known for his work as the Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Report on Business ®, the monthly economic report recognized as a leading indicator of the U.S. economy.
During Mr. Ore's 15 years as chair, he introduced business survey analysis to numerous organizations in the U.S. and internationally. He has also been instrumental in the establishment of similar surveys, most recently in Taiwan. He holds an undergraduate degree in business and a master's degree in organizational management.
Mr. Tzitzouris is a Director at Strategas, directing the Firm's fixed income research efforts. His work touches on all aspects of broad market fixed income strategy, as well as clients' asset/liability management needs.
His focus includes interest rate and credit term structure strategies, callable bond analysis, sector relative value research, and valuation analysis for Treasury, Agency, and high grade corporates.
Prior to joining Strategas, Mr. Tzitzouris worked as a senior analyst at Fannie Mae, leading Fannie's independent debt valuation team, and had previously spent time as a debt and derivatives analyst at Freddie Mac.
Mr. Tzitzouris began his career as a quantitative research analyst with JPMorgan Asset Management's fixed income group. Mr. Tzitzouris holds an MS in Mathematics from Fairfield University, an MA in Economics from George Mason University, and a BS in Finance from Bryant University.
In Defense of Demonized Wall Street
Never mind the Sanders-Clinton-Trump complaints. Capital markets have been a blessing to untold millions.
‘I happen to believe that the business model of Wall Street,” Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said earlier this year, “is fraud and deception.” Hillary Clinton is only slightly more subtle. “I went to Wall Street,” she said in the recent Democratic debate, “in December of 2007—before the big crash that we had—and I basically said, ‘Cut it out! Quit foreclosing on homes! Quit engaging in these kinds of speculative behaviors!’ ” Even Donald Trump has gotten in on the act. “The hedge fund guys didn’t build this nation,” the billionaire Republican candidate told CBS. “These are guys who shift paper around and they get lucky.”
Given the magnitude of the past decade’s financial crisis, it isn’t surprising that political opportunists are running against “Wall Street.” What’s surprising is how unsophisticated the arguments have become. Attacking finance, an industry that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employs six million people in the U.S., the vast majority of whom are in the middle class, has become an intellectual freebie.
Those of us committed to the industry feel no need to defend the indefensible—like predatory lending—committed in the name of “financial innovation.” We also don’t oppose common-sense regulations such as higher capital requirements for companies considered too big to fail.
Still, many of us are saddened by how little political leaders and pundits understand capital markets or appreciate their role in powering the greatest economic engine the world has ever known. Many of them seem to see banks as useful only for storing wealth and facilitating transactions—providing savings accounts and debit cards. Virtually no attention is paid to the next step, which is turning those deposits into capital. Money that banks lend to businesses is transformed into productive resources—factories, machine tools, trucks and the like.
The West’s establishment of property rights, and the banking system that grew up around them, turned assets into capital—and the ambitions of entrepreneurs and inventors into reality. Modern banking, while imperfect and subject at times to excess, has been an enormous contributor to human progress, which has put a serious dent in the crushing poverty that was once, even among Western countries, the norm rather than the exception.
The ability to raise capital breathed life into the dreams of Vanderbilt and Rockefeller, Gates and Jobs. Charlie Merrill, co-founder of Merrill Lynch, was the first to understand that the distinction between “Wall Street” and “Main Street” was artificial. He believed that the average American—not just the wealthy—should be able to buy shares in the country’s greatest companies. His legacy has allowed untold millions of savers to put money in the stock market and retire in comfort.
Listening to the politicians, populists and pundits, one might be forgiven for thinking that Wall Street is comprised only of soulless overachievers who will do anything to make a buck. High finance, like any other business, does have its fair share of scoundrels. But the financial-services industry also includes hundreds of thousands of regular, middle-class people. They take the subway to work. They worry about paying the mortgage and sending their children to college. And they do their best to provide their clients with quality advice and good service.
Since the financial crisis, it has been increasingly popular to draw distinctions between Americans: rich and poor, black and white, men and women, whatever. It would be nice to see a political candidate emerge who encouraged everyone to remember that America is best when we’re all in this thing together. Perhaps we can look to Muhammad Ali for inspiration. The writer George Plimpton claimed that the great boxer once recited the shortest poem in the English language at a Harvard ceremony: “Me / We.” That’s half the length of Ogden Nash’s “Fleas”—“Adam / Had ’em”—and twice as profound.
“Me / We,” indeed. It even fits on a campaign button.
Focus on the Data as Markets Turn Volatile
Fed QE3 is ending, and the markets have turned volatile. But economic policymakers are scientists, and continue to watch the data. There’s worry about Europe, but U.K. policymakers (who are more exposed than their U.S. counterparts) held steady. No panic yet.
Back at home, the Fed’s Labor Market Conditions Index (LMCI) is showing continued improvement in U.S. jobs. That’s the same story told by weekly jobless claims, which declined to 287,000 last week, pulling the 4 wk.avg. down to 287,750 (the lowest in over 8 years). The JOLTS job-openings rate also rose to a new cycle high in August.
As we’ve noted previously, the market seems likely to focus on those economic indicators that are 1) leading and 2) released in a timely manner. Of course, a series like jobless claims measures only half of labor market activity, since it looks at firing, not hiring. But claims are very timely, given their weekly release, and continue to capture key labor market swings. In an odd way, the Fed’s LMCI may have just made jobless claims more important to watch.>
Strategas Research Partners