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President’s Message: 2020 Year-in-Review

As a boutique firm offering fiduciary-level financial planning and investment advisory services, Allegiant Private Advisors was built from the ground up with one goal in mind - to be your advocate. The Allegiant team's commitment has always been consistent and remains so now: we strive to serve as each client's most trusted advisor. Our philosophy of independent thinking and service to others has empowered our continued and expanded focus on supporting our clients, staff, and community during the pandemic in new and meaningful ways.

Client Connections & Success
I'm proud of how prepared, responsive, and adaptive both our clients and our employees have been in the face of COVID-19. This year the firm has reinvented and innovated systems as well as opportunities for you and your financial plan as we focus on preserving, protecting, and building your wealth.

We quickly became Zoom experts in the spring of 2020 and tried to be highly communicative through detailed emails, in-depth website Features, and Research Briefs in addition to online meetings. We listened to you and also brought in community partners as special guests. We particularly received lots of positive feedback for the Zoom meetings we hosted with Dr. Karen Hamad on COVID, and Fred Piccolo, President and CEO of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). As beneficial as the Zoom platform has been in many ways, we've valued your personal old-fashioned phone calls and handwritten cards even more.

Our Advisors serve as an advocate and confidant through good times and bad. At the core of our business, we are stewards of our clients' resources and we have kept our clients' plans and finances as steady and strategic as possible.

Since we constantly follow primary data in real-time through our original research, we mobilized with bold, swift, and decisive action to protect investment accounts before the dip in March 2020. This was a pivotal moment for portfolios as it allowed us to play offense when opportunities arose rather than being forced to play defense.

At the same time, the Wealth Advisor team has been helping clients navigate provisions of the CARES Act. We have served as a trusted "thinking partner" helping many clients reimagine business strategies, products, and services to remain relevant and profitable during this unusual time. Advisors have also been assessing Roth conversions for IRA accounts, supporting conversations about estate planning, and evaluating tax-loss harvesting by liaising with tax professionals.

Utilizing proprietary research and working solely as fiduciaries, the Allegiant team is able to make informed decisions, respond swiftly and adapt with only our clients' best interests in mind during this complicated time. While our work may not be as glamorous as some products or services many of us follow day-to-day, we feel our services are the most important type of work as we help clients live life to its fullest – whatever that means to you personally - before, during or following this pandemic.

We have also been on a mission to upgrade our client experience in several ways and the COVID-19 crisis only accelerated this trajectory. First, we filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to be a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), no longer working under an RIA registered in the northeast. We also transitioned our custodial firm to Charles Schwab, the nation's largest publicly traded financial services firm, to best serve client families with lower expenses, better technology, customized reporting capabilities, and more convenience moving forward. (An unimaginable amount of paperwork was required to complete these upgrades, so we thank each client yet again for your diligence and patience to help us accomplish these positive improvements.) 

We love helping clients champion all aspects of life. By having confidence in your financial plan and trust in our professionals who are helping you succeed, we hope Allegiant clients have been able to breathe easier this past year and focus on your own health and well-being.

Building and Supporting Your Allegiant Team
We began following and educating our staff about this novel coronavirus in early January. Together, we refreshed our disaster preparedness plans and focused on ensuring each team member would be fully operationally and secure when staff transitioned to a work-from-home environment in mid-March.

As we all navigate this extraordinary time, those who are prepared have an opportunity to take strategic actions for their long-term success. Just like we prepared client portfolios to help protect them against a market decline, we also prepared our business to best serve clients during this downturn, including proactively investing in our expert staff. We welcomed Will Geisdorf, CMT, as a Senior Research Analyst in the spring of 2020. While it would have been easy (and certainly justified) to freeze hiring as the world shut down in April, we remained focused on the long-term by adding more depth and expertise. More recently we added another resource to the team as we welcomed Susan Bacon as a Senior Operations Specialist this past week. These new roles further solidify our commitment to providing a high employee-to-client ratio.

Our team can only continue its important work on your behalf if they remain healthy themselves. We've worked hard, but we also supported each other to ensure we each have the opportunity to recharge and refocus, and it remains a permanent part of our culture. We must take care of ourselves if we are to take care of others. Thanks to our people-focused approach we were able to keep going and continue moving forward together without missing a beat.

Investing in Our Community
We realize that many around the world and in our local community are currently suffering and facing great uncertainty. With so many nonprofit organizations facing an interruption of their normal funding avenues – organizations that we have regularly supported - we shifted our own operating budget to further support the fabric of our community by donating key unrestricted funds to our nonprofit partners.

Since the Allegiant staff also volunteers on a multitude of nonprofit boards, we have similarly stepped up to help further advise and direct nonprofits to tackle the seemingly endless hurdles 2020 has brought on many fronts. We understand the hardships so many individuals and small businesses are facing, and we continue to offer our guidance and support. Plus, by striving to provide our clients financial stability, we believe the entire Allegiant community was able to provide meaningful support to our area's restaurants, arts and cultural organizations, and the many local businesses fighting to survive.

Moving Forward
The Allegiant team has chosen to confront today's crises and step up as leaders to continue advising our clients and guiding our community as we come together to rise and move forward. I couldn't be prouder of how our team, clients, and community partners have responded to challenges and remained disciplined while also exercising creativity like never before.

We remain steadfast in our commitment as fiduciary advisors and investment managers who work in each client's individual best interests every day. No matter what 2021 and beyond holds, we will be ready to guide you.

Benjamin W. Jones, CFP®, AIF®
CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
President, Chief Investment Officer, Principal

240 South Pineapple Avenue, Suite 200
Sarasota, Florida 34236
Telephone (941) 365-3745
Toll Free (800) 926-5237

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