History Has Steered Folks to Environmental, Social and Governance Investing.
In this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article from July 15th, Tom Saler explores socially responsible investing (SRI) and breaks down some recent high-profile examples.
Read July article.

 

New Firm Targets Socially Responsible Investors.
In this article from January 9th, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Kathleen Gallagher explores Greg Wait's launch of a new company that combines socially responsible investing and online investment advice.
Read January article.

 

Investment Trends, with insights by Greg Wait. In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's October 17th article, Kathleen Gallagher and Greg Wait discuss the recent rise of environmental, social and governance, or ESG investing. Greg provides insight into how reduced risk and improved returns are causing money managers to include ESG investing in their portfolios. Read October article.

 

Responsible Investing: Creating Financial and Non-Financial Value by Greg Wait. Do investors sacrifice returns in pursuit of their goal of advocating for a better world in which to live?
Learn more.

 

Ten-Year History of Investment Manager Performance by Greg Wait. As part of our process, we have conducted investment manager research and due diligence resulting in manager or fund recommendations to our clients. Here are our findings.

 

The month of September, 2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of Falcons Rock serving our clients and building relationships. We are grateful for all the years of friendship, loyalty, and support, and look forward to our next decade!

 

Investment Trends, with insights by Greg Wait. In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's July 20th article, Kathleen Gallagher and Greg Wait discuss the rising U.S. Treasury rates and using duration as a measure of risk. Greg's comments relate to whether we'll be "looking back on this short-term increase in yields as the warning shot for the much-anticipated longer-term rise in interest rates." Read July article.

 

Dec 9, 2012, Journal Sentinel's Kathleen Gallagher interviewed Greg Wait on current Investment Trends. Read the full article: "Low-quality stocks continue to provide strong returns."

 

We've Grown! Meet our new investment consultant: Tony Sebranek.

 

Investment Trends column of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel shows Top-Down investment strategies are achieving positive results.
Read article on Top-Down Investing

 

Additional articles in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featuring Falcons Rock:
One is a fascinating story about a Mequon drug development company, which has a few of our clients as private investors.
Read article about our angel investors

 

Another features us in the Market Trends column: Strategy targets uncertain economy - and how Falcons Rock confronts specter of slow growth.
Read how we help clients get ready

 

There is a great deal of debate in the investment industry regarding active vs. passive (indexing) investment management.  We researched this topic and the results might be surprising to you.  Please see our research paper on this subject...more

 

We have experienced interesting situations with our clients. To update you on our firm’s activities, check out examples of recent work we have done for our clients...more

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US SIF Member 2017

Quarterly Newsletter Reviews

 

CURRENT REVIEW for 2017 Quarter 3

Hacked!

Every day, news outlets report that the computer systems of an organization or a governmental agency have been compromised by nefarious hackers. In recent memory, Target, Yahoo, Equifax, Facebook, Amazon, Home Depot, UPS, and even the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have all experienced some level of data breach. Falcons Rock has now joined the long list of businesses that have been hacked. We are very security conscious, have used unique and multi-character passwords solely to login to our workstations and the Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Server, have a credible outsourced IT provider that monitors our systems regularly and proactively, have a robust firewall, have installed high quality anti-virus software, and are very careful with client-sensitive information. After a full scan of all our computers, no malware or viruses were found. Yet, even with all our precautions, we are apparently as vulnerable as everybody else.
Read full review


MARKET REVIEW ARCHIVE

Review for 2017 Quarter 2

Groupthink

In his book, Originals, Adam Grant devotes a chapter to analyzing the concept of “groupthink” and contrasting cultures that embrace commitment vs. cultures that encourage differing opinions.  Organizations that use a commitment blueprint seek to employ people that identify with the company culture and value system.  Organizations that have a “think different” culture allow all employees to openly communicate their ideas, opinions and criticisms of each other, regardless of position and hierarchy.  There are pros and cons to each of these cultures, but the overriding theme of the book is that original thinking in all areas of life is what moves the world.
Read full review

Review for 2017 Quarter 1

A Measured Life

On March 25th, while sipping iced tea after lunch with my lovely wife, Jodi, at an outdoor patio overlooking a marina on Hilton Head Island on a glorious day, I experienced cardiac arrest. In reading the medical report, the words “sudden cardiac death” are written as the descriptor of my event. With that event, a series of amazing people, previously unknown, came into my life. John Martin and Beth McDonnell, who I now call my guardian angels, saw the commotion and immediately administered CPR to bring me back to life. In less than ten minutes, a specially-trained “pit crew” of 11 EMTs from the Hilton Head Fire & Rescue arrived on the scene as my heart stopped again and brought me back to life. In short order, I was taken to the Hilton Head Hospital, where my heart stopped and was revived for a third time before receiving an emergency procedure in the cardiac cath lab from an excellent and caring team of medical professionals.
Read full review

Review for 2016 Quarter 4

Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year! The poem 'Auld Lang Syne' was sent to the Scots Musical Museum by Robert Burns in 1788. Mr. Burns indicated that it was an ancient song, but that he’d been the first to record it on paper. This song is now part of a wonderful New Year’s Eve tradition and is sung all over the world. Singing this song with friends arouses feelings of nostalgia and fellowship, as the lyrics roughly translate to "for old times' sake" and are all about preserving old friendships and looking back over the events of the year.
Read full review

Review for 2016 Quarter 3

Presidential Musings (v. 2)

Another Presidential election is upon us. As I was preparing to write this quarterly letter, I looked back at my commentary from four years ago, and it seemed like a good place to start. So, here we go.
Read full review

Review for 2016 Quarter 2

Independence

Last weekend, we celebrated the “Fourth of July” here in the United States, and honored those who adopted the Declaration of Independence declaring that the thirteen American colonies had become a new nation, and were no longer part of the British Empire…the original Brexit! While we face many challenges in this country, it has served as the model of freedom and economic prosperity for the rest of the world. We should all be greatly appreciative of the efforts of our founding fathers.
Read full review

Review for 2016 Quarter 1

Bad Behavior

Last week, the 3-Ring Circus, otherwise known as the Presidential political campaigns, rolled through Wisconsin. To me, it is disheartening that negative campaigning is the norm, and actually seems to work with the U.S. electorate. This year has been even worse than most, as “The Donald” is leaving candidates in his wake by spewing insults in every direction and others feel the need to follow suit. This behavior is a reminder that human beings are flawed, the squeaky wheel gets the media grease, and our society is heavily influenced by advertising and polarizing figures. I believe most of us are well-meaning and caring people, but we are subject to social pressures that can that lead to bad decisions.
Read full review

Review for 2015 Quarter 4

Reelin' in the Years

The 1972 Steely Dan classic song (with one of the all-time great guitar riffs!) opens with “your everlasting summer, you can see it fading fast” and then asks: “are you reelin’ in the years…stowin’ away the time?” As we enter another New Year, which we hope will be peaceful, healthy and prosperous, some investors are wondering if the long seven-year bull market is fading fast. Does it seem to you like we’ve had seven straight years of positive returns in the U.S. large cap stock market? I think this has been the most underappreciated bull market (and economic expansion) since I started in the business 31 years ago.
Read full review

Review for 2015 Quarter 3

What's the Alternative?

As we enter a beautiful autumn season here in Wisconsin, I am reminded of the awesome diversity of the seasons in our part of the country.  Typically, we can enjoy pure white falling snow in the winter, the renewal of outdoor life in the spring, a warm and pleasant summer, and a spectacularly colorful fall.  Each of the seasons plays its part in sustaining our environmental balance, and gives us all hope for good things to come in the future.
Read full review

Review for 2015 Quarter 2

Lions, Tigers and Bears…Oh, My!

In Greek mythology, the Nemean Lion was a vicious monster that could not be killed with human weapons because its fur was impervious to attack…until it was strangled by Hercules in his first of twelve labours. In the Chinese Zodiac Calendar, the Tiger occupies the third position and symbolizes bravery, competitiveness and unpredictability. With the run-up in US and Chinese stocks over the past five years, “value” investors are forecasting the next Bear market.
Read full review

Review for 2015 Quarter 1

The Final Four

Our beloved Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team just completed a tremendously successful season, as they were Big Ten Conference champions during the regular season, won the Big Ten Conference Tournament, earned a #1 seed in the NCAA National Tournament, and got to the Final Four for the second consecutive season under coach Bo Ryan! After beating the previously undefeated Kentucky Wildcats, the Badgers season came to a disappointing conclusion with a tough loss to the Duke Blue Devils in the national championship game. This group of talented, but fun-loving, players took all their fans on quite a ride this season.
Read full review

Review for 2014 Quarter 4

A Slippery Slope of Oil

It is certainly a happy new year for US drivers, as gas prices have fallen dramatically over the past year. With a quick search, I found at least a dozen gas stations in the Milwaukee area selling regular unleaded gas at below $2/gallon, with many as low as $1.93/gallon. My college-age son is thrilled to have a few extra bucks in his pocket when he is filling up his car! These extra dollars available for consumers to spend are driving the US economy upward.
Read full review

Review for 2014 Quarter 3

The Bond King

The biggest news in the investment world during the quarter had little to do with the performance of the markets, rather it was the sudden resignation of Bill Gross from the Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO). Mr. Gross, at age 70, bolted from the firm he founded in 1971 and signed on with Janus Capital Group, a firm perhaps best known to many as having been involved in the 2003 mutual fund scandal. Gross was commonly referred to as ‘The Bond King’ based on the impressive results of the PIMCO Total Return Fund, a fund which benefitted from a 30-year bull market in bonds and became the world’s largest mutual fund, peaking at over $293 billion in 2013. Bill Gross’s influence on the fixed income markets can hardly be overstated…he spoke and the markets often listened.
Read full review

Review for 2014 Quarter 2

Is it Better to be Lucky or Good?

Many of us like to believe that our success is entirely a result of hard work, intelligence, training and ambition in our chosen field. Might it be that other factors, entirely out of our control, contribute to our success at a higher level? The timing of our birth, the location in which we live, the people we meet, our genetics and other random events also contribute to our success. While planning, hard work, education and persistence are all keys to ongoing success; fortunes have often been made due to lucky situations.
Read full review

Review for 2014 Quarter 1

Rigged!

Most of you know that I have been “Anti-Wall Street” for many years. The work we have done for our clients has uncovered many situations where exorbitant and non-transparent fees are being charged to unsuspecting investors. A new book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, was just released by Michael Lewis, one of my favorite authors. In his book, Lewis uncovers a currently legal form of “front-running” being conducted on a daily basis by high-frequency traders (HFTs).
Read full review

Review for 2013 Quarter 4

Transition

The beginning of any new calendar year is often a time of reflection. People tend to look back on their personal events over the past twelve months and make new resolutions to do things differently in the coming year. In some cases, these resolutions fail miserably, but sometimes real personal transitions are made. In our family’s case, a transition in 2014 seems to be forced upon us.
Read full review

Review for 2013 Quarter 3

Flavor of the Day

Summer is over, but local frozen custard shops still offer a tasty "flavor of the day" that might now include pumpkin spice or some other fall treat. These daily specials are posted on outdoor signs and attract customers to the shop. Many people are willing to try anything at least once!
Read full review

Review for 2013 Quarter 2

The Warning Shot 

Last night my family went out to watch the annual Fourth of July fireworks in our hometown park…nothing more Americana than that! This holiday is one that should remind all of us how fortunate we are to live in the USA, with all of the freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis. The fireworks, as always, were very bright and exciting, and began with the traditional "warning shot" boomer that informs everyone that the show is about to start.
Read full review


Review for 2013 Quarter 1

Play Ball! 

Spring is upon us, and so is the beginning of a new baseball season. While our Milwaukee Brewers are off to a tough start, with an extensive injury list, I love the start of each baseball season. It signifies that warmer weather is ahead and we will be able to enjoy the multitude of cycles that inevitably occur during the long campaign toward the fall playoffs, when the benefit of a lot of hard work pays off for a few select teams.
Read full review


Review for 2012 Quarter 4

What Happened? 

I wonder how many investors think back to the news they read, or the emotions they felt, at the beginning of any investment period of time. Let's try to remember the news from four years ago. We had just lived through a financial system collapse and the U.S. Government signed into law a $700 billion rescue package, the stock market delivered the third-worst calendar year pummeling on record, auto makers were begging for federal money to try to remain solvent, and Bernie Madoff was arrested for running a massive Ponzi scheme.
Read full review


Review for 2012 Quarter 3

Presidential Musings 

We are enjoying an absolutely spectacular autumn season here in Wisconsin! Temperatures have been moderate and the colors are bursting from our trees and landscape, making travel around the state a pure joy. Fall is my favorite time of the year…except every four years when we are all subjected to the political campaigns and the media outlets incessantly barking at us about how completely incompetent and immoral each of the candidates is. It is tiresome…
Read full review


Review for 2012 Quarter 2

A Plane on the Tarmac (or A Truck Heading for a Cliff) 

Recently, on a flight from Raleigh, NC to Atlanta, GA, the plane that I boarded rolled out to its position on the tarmac and then suddenly slowed to a halt. The pilot soon announced that bad weather had hit Atlanta, but we were going to wait it out as the thunderstorm seemed likely to pass through quickly. Five hours later, with lots of fidgety (or angry) passengers, the plane finally resumed its path and took off to Atlanta.
Read full review


Review for 2012 Quarter 1

Global Warming 

Recently, my family travels have reminded me how truly global our economy is. Our family
(at least those who are still living at home) spent spring break in San Francisco – a wonderful city with a great deal of culture and diversity. As we walked around Chinatown, we were fascinated by the amount of commerce being done there every day. It made me think of the amazing growth in the country of China in the past decade and the strides being taken there toward economic dominance.
Read full review



Review for 2011 Quarter 4

It's a Wonderful Life 

Happy New Year! As I write this letter, we've wrapped up another holiday season and I am reminded by the classic Christmas movie It's a Wonderful Life of the many blessings we all have as Americans. I'm sure you all know the story about George Bailey, who was ready to give up due to a series of financial crises.
Read full review


Review for 2011 Quarter 3

Moneyball 

In September 2011, "Moneyball" premiered in movie theaters around the country. Having read the book by Michael Lewis back in 2004 and being a big baseball fan, I was quite interested in seeing the movie...and it did not disappoint! Brad Pitt plays the role of Billy Beane, the General Manager of the Oakland A's , who utilized carefully interpreted player statistics, rather than conventional baseball scouting methods, to build a team that won over 100 games in two consecutive seasons (2001-2002) despite having the lowest player payroll in the Major Leagues.
Read full review


Review for 2011 Quarter 2

Headlines 

I wonder how many of us simply read the headlines of our favorite periodical or website and don’t dig very deep into the story behind them. Reading headlines alone can provide incredibly conflicting information. Since we live in a fast-paced society that leaves little time for in-depth reading... we want information fast and we want it now! While predictions on the markets, economies and politics can make for interesting cocktail party conversation, making meaningful investment decisions based on reading headlines is not good practice. Read full review


Review for 2011 Quarter 1

Stormy Events

The stormy events of the first quarter highlight how unpredictable investment markets really are. If you were to tell investors prior to the quarter that there would be revolutions in the Middle East, an earthquake and nuclear disaster in Japan, and political demonstrations around the U.S., how many would speculate that the U.S. stock market would be up 6-9%? Read full review