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Janney’s National Pundit Offers Unique View of Investment World for Clarion Office

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 @ 12:10 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

Janney ClarionCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist for Janney, sat down with last week for a wide-ranging interview about the financial world.

(Pictured above Mark Luschini and Matt Lerch at Clarion Office of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.)

Luschini has spent more than 30 years in the investment industry; he utilizes his experience to speak on CNBC, FOX Business News, Bloomsburg Television and Radio, and the Nightly News Report on topics related to investment planning and asset management. He is also on call to share his views with local branches of Janney, such as the Clarion office directed by branch Manager Matt Lerch.

“Mark is from Erie, went to Gannon, and lives in Pittsburgh,” Lerch said. “Mark is President and Chief Investment Officer for Capital Management. He is headquartered out of Pittsburgh, even though Janney itself is headquartered out of Philadelphia. Mark truly is a hometown player with this team in Pittsburgh and kind of a legacy with Parker Hunter.”

Luschini said he has been doing his job in one way, shape, or form for more than 30 years and at Parker Hunter for more than 20.

He became Janney’s chief investment officer in 2008.

Despite the national reach of an investment company like Janney, Luschini emphasized that there are a variety of investment opportunities for anyone.

“There are a variety of accounts available that allow for investors of all sizes to find a way to invest with a financial advisor from Janney at our office in Clarion.”

“We have a broad menu where it’s about finding out where the needs, goals, and objectives are of the client and then matching the suitable structure to fit that in a way that helps them to achieve whatever their objectives are or whatever solution that they have available for them.”

“That solution helps back you into an investment that is the best fit. Also, it doesn’t matter about the size of the investment with the number of options available.”

With news reports about a record national deficit and possible cuts in Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid is there more of a need for private investments?

“There’s certainly a reason for people to try and save on their own for the last 20 years, so there’s been this migration of what used to be a popular pension option with defined benefit option where the company put aside money for you in the form of an annuity for your retirement to a defined contribution plan where you yourself have to be the saver through (an option) like a 401(k) plan or a 403(b) plan.”

“We obviously encourage our clients to find ways outside of a pension plan to devote money to save for a lot of the same reasons – for short-term liabilities, as well as for the future, to augment whatever they would otherwise be able to achieve through savings with their employer.”

Can the deficit have a lasting impact?

“That’s really not tethered to discussions about the trade deficit, but that isn’t to say the trade deficit ultimately will not matter because it can and will on generations to come.”

“At some point, somebody will have to pay for that deficit, primarily in the form of higher taxes.”

“If we find a situation in which those countries who have been regular and consistent buyers of our debt through the weekly auctions of Treasury securities to help fund the interest on the deficit decide that they have found an alternative to that — investing it in European currency, gold, or some other alternative to dollar-based investments — then that means in order to attract that capital to the United States, we may have to see our interest rates go up.”

“That would be kind of counterproductive to economic growth as opposed to (a) higher cost of capital to businesses and consumers alike. That could ultimately be a headwind to economic activity at some point, and at what point nobody really knows for sure.”

“So far, we’ve had eager buyers of our debt, and the deficit hasn’t really mattered in the sense that we have a central bank or Federal Reserve who can continue to manufacture money to be a funder of other nations’ deficit. At some point, once again, there’s going to be a price to pay for this if there aren’t efforts made to try to bend the curve on to the amount of debt being added to the already bloated deficit now or to start to whittle down on that actual deficit more and more, and eventually, it begins to crowd out ‘entitlement’ programs.”

Does it matter how other countries view the United States?

“Certainly how other countries in the world view the United States is important.”

“The United States has the privilege of being the world’s reserve currency, and that comes with benefits. That is not an entitlement; it means we have to continue to operate a country that is politically stable, (one that) has a strong military, and a sound economy, so that investors from other parts of the world view us as a safe haven relative to alternatives to the point where that safe haven status is undermined – which would lead other countries to consider alternatives to the U.S. dollar for the other currencies or gold. That would probably increase our cost to acquire capital from other markets which are a burden on (the) U.S. economy.”

Do national decisions affect the local community?

“This would be true of any locality, but not unlike so many other western Pennsylvania communities that had strong manufacturing activity that employed a lot of people with well-paid jobs as over the last decade or so as businesses have moved or downsized or any aftermath of the great recession, have not been able to reestablish those kinds of jobs. But, that is starting to turn.”

“We saw in the aftermath of the election that the sentiment improved.”

“For instance, small businesses talked about the things that concern them the most. For years, government regulations and taxes have been their biggest concern.”

“No, their biggest concern is filling the jobs they have open with qualified candidates who are skilled in meeting the needs of the job, and, unfortunately, in many cases can’t pass a drug test if required. It isn’t just around here, and it’s far too prevalent. It’s really sad.”

“I am thinking just in terms of general business activity. I’m sure that clients have experienced what I have seen in other communities, which is to say you may not be able to regain the presence of an Owens-Illinois that you once had here, but you may find it perhaps in four companies, as opposed to one.”

“The phenomenon that some companies are talking about I hear here in Clarion is a national one. Today, we have more jobs opening in the United States (than) ever before in history. Today, there are more jobs open than there are employed. In fact, the ratio of those unemployed to jobs open is very low. We have an employment rate across the United States that is the lowest since the 1960s, and we’re seeing the labor market is tightening which is also helping to pressure wages and move them higher. That’s a good thing occurring nationally.”

“Obviously, it’s not a level or uniform playing field, and I’m sure each community is experiencing theirs as to when that improvement will come.  You hear some positive things from businesses that are either opening here or have been open and are expanding, and perhaps you will see some of the spillover effects of perhaps companies more in the Pittsburgh area expand their centers of influence draw in some of the neighboring communities.”

“We sit on the most extensive national gas deposit on earth here in the Marcella Shale and the accompanying Utica Shale that goes over into Ohio. The United States is gaining energy independence with the oil that’s coming through the technology, well-known as fracking, and when it becomes more economical – creating liquefied natural gas terminals to be able to export it to countries who do need it. We have an abundance of it here to create opportunities to expand our energy field and expand our presence in communities like Clarion which should bring high paying jobs, as well.”

Stable investments?

“There is almost an unlimited number of options available to make investments in, whether you’re talking about safer or more liquid investments like a money market account to bonds, which offer a little more of return, but you have to keep investments to maturity, or the stock market.”

“Be prepared to live through the vagaries of the stock market on a day-to-day basis.”

“The key to making success in investments is working with the financial advisors that we have here in the Clarion office.”

“Advisors match client’s risk tolerance with suitable stocks while making sure that we are communicating with that investor on what’s going on in the markets. We don’t want them making poor choices around some of the things that occur in the markets which are inevitable.”

“Unfortunately, in many cases, we find people making decisions based on emotions rather than objectivity, and therefore, undermining the investment policy that should work to their advantage over a long period change and instead short-circuits it by making a choice that only satisfies a very near-term threat.”

For more information call 814-223-9990 or visit

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