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Market Commentary


Q4|2022 Market Commentary


  • The fourth quarter provided a glimmer of positive light in an otherwise abysmal year in the markets. Let us hope the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train. Inflation appears to be moderating somewhat, but the inflation level is still elevated compared to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) goal of 2%. December inflation was up 6.5% year-over-year. Hence, the Fed’s persistent hard-core inflation-busting stance. The increase in the federal funds rate has created historic bond market losses in 2022. After three negative quarters plunging 13% for the year, bonds found some stability increasing 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Equity markets also produced positive quarterly results as the S&P 500 large cap stock index rebounded with a 7.6% increase, but finished the year down 18.1%. US small caps increased 6.2% for the quarter, but lost 20.4% for the year.

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Redefining the Retirement Plan
  • Redefining the Retirement Plan is Axia’s guide to trends and strategies that will help employers get the most out of their retirement programs.  Defined Benefit plans and Social Security have been the simple answer to retirement for the past century. Life expectancy has improved though and an added strain has been placed on plan sponsors to help their employees replace their incomes in retirement. Fortunately, employers are equipped with more tools than ever before to help their employees retire with dignity.
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When Should You Claim Your Social Security Benefit?

The SSA highlights some sobering statistics that confirm what studies have shown: most people have not saved enough for retirement. As a result, people are not determining their Social Security benefit timing. Instead, benefits usually begin immediately after gainful employment ends as their savings buffer is limited. For prepared investors, the goal is to make an active decision on benefit commencement.

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DOL Fiduciary Rule Takes Effect

On June 9, 2017, the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule went into effect. The rule, also known as the Conflict of Interest Rule, expands the fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In the simplest terms, the DOL Fiduciary Rule will require advisors to put their client’s interests ahead of their own when giving advice to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Further, any potential conflict of interest must be disclosed along with a clear statement of the fees and commissions received in exchange for the advice.

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