Episode 31

Three questions on reflection, resilience, and the upcoming holiday season with Steve

We turn the tables this episode! Chris Adair, Senior Managing Director, Head of Strategic Partnerships at SLC Management, asks Steve to reflect on the challenges and successes of the past year, as well as some of his holiday favorites.

Chris Adair: Hi everyone, and thanks for dialing into this episode of “Three in Five,” I’m Chris Adair I serve as head of strategic partnerships at SLC Management. We're going to be turning the tables a bit in this episode and I’m going to be posting some questions for Steve Peacher, the President of SLC Management thanks for being willing to take the hot seat for once Steve.

Steve Peacher: All right, Chris. Thank you glad to be here with you.

Chris Adair: Great let's get started! We're entering the holiday season and the holidays are a time of reflection that may be especially true as we approach our second year in the pandemic. Looking back on the past year from a markets and business perspective, what do you notice?

Steve Peacher: Well, it's been an amazing, I guess 19 months since the since the start of the pandemic. You know, when you think back at some of the like the astounding events that have taken place, as a society we developed a vaccine in less than a year it got rolled out to over half of populations in countries and about nine months. We had an economy that completely transferred to a virtual operating environment basically overnight. We've had economies and markets that have been extraordinarily buoyant, we've got stock market new highs, we've got bitcoin that's up 5x over that period we've had a presidential election and change of administrations. And I guess, one thing that I noticed is that very little has panned out as conventional wisdom might have expected. You know, in April 2020, when we are just starting this who would have thought that in October of 2021 stock prices and home prices would be a at record highs, or that inflation would be running 4 to 5% or that it would be hard for almost every business to fill its open positions. I guess, to me, there are a couple lessons, you know I look back at that. One is that humans continually improve, they're incredibly innovative. You know, we may screw things up, but generally we figure things out, and I think we've seen that in spades over the last 19 months with the vaccines. And another lesson I think, is that the economies are incredibly resilient. The fact that global economies are doing what they're doing on the back of a global pandemic, I think, speaks to that. And then I think the other thing is that it reinforces that world events and economies and markets are really completely unpredictable. I mean the fall of 2019, two years ago, who would have predicted that we're on the doorstep of a pandemic and then if somebody did give you a crystal ball and told you that there would be a pandemic, who would have guessed that two years later we'd be in an economy and markets that would be so strong. So there's a lot of interesting reflections when you think back on you know the last almost two years now.

Chris Adair: Yeah great thanks Steve, it's quite amazing how resilient not only the market has been but also, I would say corporations and teams and how we've all been able to adapt and frankly get the job done. On that note, and obviously going back on the infamous Friday March 13 of 2020 as we entered into this pandemic how about how about some reflections on what about the changes on a people level to employees.

Steve Peacher: Well, I think Chris you mentioned the word that was in my head as you asked a question, and that is resilient. I mean in the last question I mentioned, I thought humans proved to be once again incredibly innovative, I think they've also proved to be incredibly resilient I mean we all went to went to work from home literally overnight on that March 13. You know I went from three big computer screens in my office and printing just about every document that came to me, to working off a laptop and not able to print anything. And I would have complained about that if had somebody had hoisted it on me and I was able to no problem, and I think that was multiplied by millions across the economy. I think now we're all struggling to figure out what is the new work environment going to be like, and I mean you know this we've done a lot of surveys. I find that of our employees, I find the results will be very confusing, frankly. You know when we survey employees and I think there's this consistent other businesses, we find that people say that they're working from home is exhausting, it's isolating, that they missed their friends at work, that they're sick of video conference calls. But then the same time they say they'd rather not go back to the office they’d rather work at home. And I think we're all struggling to find that what that future balance will be. You know my personal view is that I think that most businesses revolve around teamwork and most teams rely on a foundation of trust and relationships and I think what we've proven is that it across the business world is that if you've got a business with strong teams and a strong culture and strong existing relationships, that can continue to thrive in a virtual world for some period of time. But I think that eventually in organizations that will erode because new people will join the group, and some people will leave the team and, and how can you maintain the strength of that environment unless you're have got personal interaction which goes beyond the virtual world. So, you know we're all trying to learn from this crisis, how we can work in different ways, give employees more flexibility, a better work life balance, but not do that at the expense of team cohesion and I’m just like everybody else I’m struggling to figure out how we're going to do that.

Chris Adair: To that point, do you see the biggest lasting changes to the investment industry as a result of the pandemic and I guess the sidebar to that is what do you think is not going to change?

Steve Peacher: Well, I mean you Chris would see you have a bird's eye view of this as well, I think we've seen the pandemic force on the investment management business and the clients of investment managers new investment challenges, you know they have to take into account economic variables that they probably weren't thinking about a couple years ago, such as inflation that that could persist for a long period of maybe even runaway inflation, so you got to think about new variables that you didn't have before. I think there's going to be much more of a willingness to do some things virtually, do due diligence on managers virtually, maybe have portfolio updates periodic portfolio updates virtually. But I think that fundamentally actually investment management's a business that is not going to be changed at the core by the pandemic. I think it's still going to be about having the right investment capabilities packaged in the right way, great investment performance and great client service and, of course, Chris great sales professionals like yourself. But I think I don't think those basic bedrocks of this business are going to change as a result of the pandemic.

Chris Adair: Great. So, finally Steve on a on a on a on a more personal note, a couple holiday questions here for you as we're as we're approaching the holiday season. And what's your favorite holiday movie?

Steve Peacher: Two answers that one I gotta go with “It's a Wonderful Life” with Jimmy Stewart, I think that was maybe like 70 or 75 years ago but it's still a go to. The other one, definitely not the period G rated version, is “Bad Santa” with Billy Bob Thornton, so I think it's hilarious, definitely not a movie recommend you get the whole family around the TV on Christmas Eve, so those are my two.

Chris Adair: Nice, mine is mine is definitely “Home Alone,” something about being a naughty little boy around Christmas time seemed to resonate with me. Let's see eggnog versus cider?

Steve Peacher: Spiked eggnog.

Chris Adair: There you go. Pumpkin pie vs apple pie?

Steve Peacher: Pumpkin pie.

Chris Adair: Pumpkin pie, great. And then, I guess, finally, what would be your New Year's resolution, Steve?

Steve Peacher: Well, I would say, Chris as you know I like to I like to fish, I like to fly fish and it takes time and I want to find more time to do that. I, looking back on the last 19 months, one of the things that's been missing for me is time to get out and fish, so that's my New Year's resolutions, spend more time doing that.

Chris Adair: Certainly, I think we all could use a little more time in our crazy, hectic set schedule. Steve, thanks again, I’d just like to say on behalf of all of us at SLC Management, we wish everyone the best this holiday season and a safe and happy and prosperous New Year.

Steve Peacher: Thanks, Chris thanks.