A Hawkes' Eye Focus

The wealth management industry in the United States is in the midst of a number of dramatic changes resulting from the 2008 financial calamity, as well as from a number of long-term trends in the industry. Full-service firms have been steadily losing advisers and assets as they move toward more independent and self-directed channels. This shift followed the Great Recession of 2008 and has picked up steam as big brokerage firms – under constant scrutiny for a number of misdeeds – lose their clout, along with investors’ confidence. 

“Today’s financial world is experiencing a state of revolution,” Peyton R. Hawkes, president of Hawkes Wealth Management, told “The Suit.” “We have perhaps never seen the tenets of economic policy more precariously poised for change. In fact, we are watching credit, once the primary tool for growth, being tossed away. The financial crisis bought numerous challenges. Client satisfaction sits at historic lows and there is a greater emphasis on transparency.”

Boasting more than three decades of financial experience, Hawkes Wealth Management has been serving the Binghamton, NY area since 1981. The firm’s approach is one of transparent and conservative asset management, with a focus on long-term planning. “We use strategic diversification, spread among appropriate asset classes,” Peyton explained. “This lessens the kind of extreme volatility that has scared scores of investors from the market. We don’t chase hot stocks or Alpha (a term used for investors aiming to outperform a benchmark such as the Dow or the S&P 500 Index). We employ a risk-targeted method of investing which we carefully monitor and tweak as economic conditions or a client’s lifestyle warrants.”

Clients run the gamut from those in need of a detailed and sustainable retirement plan, to those who want the firm to have full management of their assets, to individuals who prefer the self-directed approach and favor a cursory plan. “Our ideal client shares our investment philosophy, is realistic, doesn’t expect miracles and is open to change as needed,” Hawkes detailed.

Change is good – but plenty of today’s investors are opposed to any adjustments. Still fixated on the boom and bust, painful financial meltdown and flood of scandals that blemished Wall Street, investor preferences are now switching direction toward simpler, less risky and easily understandable products. There is a heightened sensitivity to price swings and an increased appetite for yield amid five-plus years of a near-zero interest rate environment. These are not obstacles for Hawkes – they are opportunities.

That mindset is what he uses to approach what he considers to be “the fatalistic investing approach” of today’s youth. “They live for today and aren’t focused on their future. What I’d like to see is for young people to develop a savings habit. Saving even a little bit now can reap big rewards later.”

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