ISSUE 31: 2016

President's Letter

A Message From Keith Banks

Photograph by David Hume Kennerly

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The result of the UK referendum, with British voters choosing to exit the European Union, was announced just as this issue of Capital Acumen was going to press. The immediate effects of the “leave” vote included a significant increase in volatility in the UK and Eurozone equity markets as well as a drop in the value of the pound sterling to levels not seen in three decades. Although this issue does not reflect this largely unexpected turn of events, which we believe will play out, most notably in the UK, over the next two or three quarters, our articles are typically focused on the longer term. Take our cover story, "Time in the Age of Instant,” which delves into how technology is giving us new and easier ways to control how we spend our time. With the touch of a screen, for instance, we can video chat with family, make investment choices or do important work. Yet this new sense of freedom — call it the ability to “time-shift” — can leave us feeling shackled to our devices and may even be changing who we are, as people, as consumers and as investors. 

We also look at recent events in China and Iran, two opaque and largely unpredictable nations with considerable influence in their respective regions. At the start of the year the Chinese yuan created global concern by falling in value versus other currencies with little or no warning. Beijing may have been partly — perhaps mostly — at fault for causing the alarm, says columnist DeAnne Steele, having poorly communicated its plan to depreciate the currency.

Iran, meanwhile, with long-standing economic sanctions recently lifted, saw an end to decades of international isolation and opened up, albeit on a limited basis, to sorely needed foreign investment. Still, with other sanctions still in place, says Joe Quinlan in his column on the Persian rebirth, interested United States investors may have to seek indirect ways to invest in the country.

Elsewhere in the publication you can read about topics as diverse as the rebuilding of America, the importance of a prenuptial agreement and defending against cybercriminals. You’ll also find insightful columns by Mitch Drossman, Tim McGee, Belinda Sneddon and other regular contributors. In addition, we highlight a new U.S. Trust app for iPhone.

I hope you find these and the many other articles in this issue interesting and useful. And no matter where you might be spending the summer, all of us at U.S. Trust hope you and your family have a wonderful time and return energized and refreshed for the second half of the year.

Keith T. Banks

President
U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management

The result of the UK referendum, with British voters choosing to exit the European Union, was announced just as this issue of Capital Acumen was going to press. The immediate effects of the “leave” vote included a significant increase in volatility in the UK and Eurozone equity markets as well as a drop in the value of the pound sterling to levels not seen in three decades. Although this issue does not reflect this largely unexpected turn of events, which we believe will play out, most notably in the UK, over the next two or three quarters, our articles are typically focused on the longer term. Take our cover story, "Time in the Age of Instant,” which delves into how technology is giving us new and easier ways to control how we spend our time. With the touch of a screen, for instance, we can video chat with family, make investment choices or do important work. Yet this new sense of freedom — call it the ability to “time-shift” — can leave us feeling shackled to our devices and may even be changing who we are, as people, as consumers and as investors. 

We also look at recent events in China and Iran, two opaque and largely unpredictable nations with considerable influence in their respective regions. At the start of the year the Chinese yuan created global concern by falling in value versus other currencies with little or no warning. Beijing may have been partly — perhaps mostly — at fault for causing the alarm, says columnist DeAnne Steele, having poorly communicated its plan to depreciate the currency.

Iran, meanwhile, with long-standing economic sanctions recently lifted, saw an end to decades of international isolation and opened up, albeit on a limited basis, to sorely needed foreign investment. Still, with other sanctions still in place, says Joe Quinlan in his column on the Persian rebirth, interested United States investors may have to seek indirect ways to invest in the country.

Elsewhere in the publication you can read about topics as diverse as the rebuilding of America, the importance of a prenuptial agreement and defending against cybercriminals. You’ll also find insightful columns by Mitch Drossman, Tim McGee, Belinda Sneddon and other regular contributors. In addition, we highlight a new U.S. Trust app for iPhone.

I hope you find these and the many other articles in this issue interesting and useful. And no matter where you might be spending the summer, all of us at U.S. Trust hope you and your family have a wonderful time and return energized and refreshed for the second half of the year.

Keith T. Banks

President
U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management