Davelva Perez, The MONY Group, Long Island
Working primarily with Hispanic clients between the ages of 20 and 50, Davelva Perez will employ an aggressive approach only on long-term investments of five or more years so that her clients can weather the market’s ups and downs. Ms. Perez has established four risk levels for her clientele: virtually risk-free 6 percent returns, 8 percent returns, 8-10 percent returns, and 12-14 percent returns.
“My clients definitely want to go a little more aggressive because they have the time – they’re planning for education and retirement, which are more long-term investments,” says Ms. Perez, who came to The MONY Group (part of Mutual of New York) last year from EuroMoney in London, where she worked with Latin American markets. While her outlook may seem conservative compared to that of Salomon Smith Barney’s Mr. Garza, most of Ms. Perez’s clients do not have as much money to invest and consequently have an overall greater aversion to risk.
She says that recent market instability has shaken her clients’ confidence, but that most are optimistic that the market will turn around. Like Messrs. Garza and Barajas, Ms. Perez pushes funds over stocks to give clients the necessary diversification to safeguard them from losses.
“I’m trying to concentrate on the family market,” she says. “So I shy away from investing in specific companies. When you invest in stocks for your clients, you have to constantly be doing research and be on top of the market. I don’t just want to make a profit today – I want to help my Hispanic families in terms of long-term goals like retirement and educational planning.”
Her favorites are (not surprisingly) the Mutual Group’s Enterprise Equity Fund and the Janus Growth and Income Fund. She also likes Oppenheimer’s funds. While she’s reduced her holdings of technology and large-cap funds in the short run, she expects a turnaround in the near future and plans to increase her clients’ allocations in those funds soon.
Javier Jimenez, Wedbush Morgan Securities, Los Angeles
Like Ms. Perez, Javier Jimenez advocates a relatively conservative investing strategy, telling clients that long-term returns above 10 percent should be considered a “bonus.” But like all financial advisors, he tries to get that bonus for his clients. While diversification should be key to any investor’s strategy, Mr. Jimenez says, it’s the most important safeguard for the conservative investor.
“For the conservative investor, I like to be well diversified – preferably in mutual funds,” Mr. Jimenez says. “Diversifying in growth and income makes me feel more comfortable in the long term. I always have to explain that we’re looking at the long run. With the more conservative clients, I like to have a dollar-cost average, meaning we invest regularly over a yearly period on a monthly basis. Let’s say $500 a month is put into their portfolio. Say we have a bad three, four, or five months. We’re still buying on a regular basis with the anticipation that in the long run we’ll be seeing all-time highs again.”
While he still preaches the virtues of diversification to his more aggressive investors, Mr. Jimenez employs two additional strategies to protect such investors from loss. The first is the stop-loss, which is an order to sell a stock or fund when it falls to a certain price below the current market price [Money Matters, September 2000]. As he explains, “You hate to hold on to a stock that’s volatile – you want to have in your mind a sell-and-buy discipline. A stop-loss already puts prices in your mind where you can tolerate selling it.”
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