Investment Strategy Outlook – Summer 2019

Early this year former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and past Chairwoman Janet Yellen spoke to a group of economists in Atlanta. At one point the following exchange occurred between them: Dr. Yellen said, “I don’t think expansions just die of old age,” to which Dr. Bernanke replied, “I like to say they get murdered.”

Investment Strategy Outlook – 2019

Another year is in the history books and as is often the case, global equity markets behaved in a manner most investors were not expecting. U.S. large cap stocks booked their first negative year in a decade and only their second negative year since 2003. U.S. small cap equities and non‐U.S. equities underperformed U.S. large cap equities; bonds were flat to negative; and hedge funds had a difficult year again. Ned Davis Research found that 2018 was the first year since at least 1972 in which no major public asset class returned at least 5%.

MBL Advisors Welcomes Three New Managing Directors


MBL Advisors Welcomes Three New Managing Directors


Charlotte – August 9, 2018 – MBL Advisors Inc. is pleased to welcome three experienced advisors to enhance the firm’s resources in the areas of business exit planning and wealth management. Jonathan Dry, Brian Gift and William R. (Billy) Morton all join the firm as Managing Directors and were previously employed by U.S. Trust.


Jonathan Dry, CFP®, CIMA® will focus on advising business owners, corporate executives and affluent families in helping them define both purpose and legacy as it relates to their family balance sheet and personal wealth. He has been with U.S. Trust for the last 14 years serving as a Private Client Advisor and a Senior Portfolio Manager. Jonathan earned a BSBA degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was also a member of the football team. He later earned his MBA from the Babcock Graduate School of Management at Wake Forest University. Jonathan is a board member of the Charlotte Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth.


Brian Gift, CFA® will serve MBL Advisors as the firm’s Investment Strategist to tailor asset allocation and portfolio strategies for our wealth management and corporate retirement plan clients. He has been a Portfolio Manager with U.S. Trust for the last 12 years. Brian graduated from Elon University with a BS-Finance and has earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation.


Billy Morton will provide guidance and advice to affluent families and business owners from a wealth management, business planning and tax perspective.  He has been with U.S. Trust for the last nine years as a Private Client Advisor and a Senior Trust Officer. He earned a BA- English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a JD (Doctor of Law) from the University of Georgia School of Law. Billy previously worked in the Closely Held Business & Tax Planning practice at Moore & Van Allen in Charlotte and at Murchison, Taylor & Gibson in Wilmington, NC in Trust and Estate Planning.


Managing Principal Luther Lockwood added, “Jonathan, Brian and Billy provide complementary skills to enhance the value proposition for our clients at MBL Advisors. We are excited to welcome them aboard and I personally look forward to growing the firm with them.”


About MBL Advisors Inc.

MBL Advisors is a boutique advisory firm providing objective advice to our clients in the areas of Business Exit Planning, Wealth Management, Executive and Corporate Retirement Benefits and Private Client Insurance solutions. The firm creates innovative strategies designed to accumulate, manage and preserve balance sheet wealth for businesses and personal estates.


Luther Lockwood

Managing Principal

MBL Advisors Inc.


New Look, New Identity at MBL Advisors

We are excited to roll out our new corporate logo and website. MBL Advisors has evolved tremendously since the repurchase from Wells Fargo in 2009 so we thought the time was right to update our look to reflect our growth for the future. The oak tree in the new logo reflects the growth of the firm from our origin in 1985 as an acorn to a strong canopy of support for our clients today. Through our growth we have branched out in a number of directions but always held true to our core value of focusing on long term relationships first. We have stood the test of time and consistently offered our clients a high level of service and professional advice they have come to appreciate over time.

Over the last several years we have expanded our scope of services to include business exit planning and wealth management in addition to our long track record of offering sophisticated life insurance solutions and executive benefits for successful companies. We hope the new logo and information on the website will bring a heightened level of awareness of our new services to our long standing clients and friends. The new website should create a user friendly browsing experience so you can fully appreciate our business focus going forward.

Be on the lookout for some other exciting announcements from MBL Advisors over the coming weeks.

Jill Bowermaster Retirement

I’d like to take a moment to recognize Jill Bowermaster on her 30th anniversary with MBL Advisors. Loyal and dedicated employees like Jill don’t come along every day. She has been part of the firm through bull markets, bear markets, tax law changes, ownership and leadership changes. On snow days she was always the first one here and was usually the one turning out the lights in the office at the end of the day.

Our clients appreciate Jill because she cares about them. She has filled a consistent role serving our clients, answering questions and paying attention to the details so they don’t have to worry. Jill has improved my quality of life and the lives of our clients.

While Jill has had a great 30 year run, all good things must come to an end. We have been discussing her retirement for quite some time and she will retire at the end of July. We are splitting her responsibilities between Ragan Sheets, who joined the firm in May and Miranda Ross (Silinski) who is joining us on 7/16/2018. Miranda is getting married the first weekend in August so her email address reflects her new married name.

In the meantime, feel free to reach out to Jill ( to congratulate her on her retirement and Ragan ( or Miranda ( to welcome them aboard.

Dividend Interest Rates White Paper

Near the end of each calendar year, mutual insurance companies declare their dividend interest rates on participating whole life (WL) insurance policies for the following year. Below are the 2015 declared dividend interest rates (DIR) of the four largest issuers of participating WL policies, as taken from the carriers’ own publicized dividend announcements:

  • Guardian Life Insurance Co. of America 6.05% (down from 6.25% in 2014)
  • Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. 7.10%
  • New York Life Insurance Co. 6.20% (up from 6.00% in 2014)
  • Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. 5.60%

This M Intelligence piece provides information on the elements that drive changes in DIRs—as supported by historical DIR results, insurance company asset allocations, and investment returns—for the four major mutual life insurance companies.

Assessing the Impact of Low Interest Rates on Life Insurance Products

Generally speaking, interest rates have been on the decline for more than 30 years. More recently, events of the financial crisis, which began in 2008, have contributed to this decline:

  1. The Federal Reserve responded to the crisis by suppressing interest rates in order to spur economic growth; and
  2. Investor demand for the relative safety of fixed income investments like U.S. Treasury and high-quality corporate bonds has increased, driving prices up and yields down.

Interest rates have a direct impact on life insurers and the products that they issue and manage. Companies generally make profits from the spread between what they earn on their general account portfolios and what they credit as interest on insurance policies. Policyowners are impacted as low interest rates result in lower investment returns credited to policies over time.