Madeline Zuckerman

Marketing & Public Relations, Inc.








Press Release - December 14, 2011


Southern California's Investment And Banking Institution Provides Broad
Synopsis of Market Trends and General Forecast for 2012

Huntington Beach, California – December 14th, 2011 – A record turnout of over 900 guests were in attendance for First Foundation's 21st Economic & Market Update luncheon. Held at the Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach, California, Scott Kavanaugh, Chief Executive Officer of First Foundation, Inc., welcomed the overflow crowd and touched on the firm's accomplishments this past year, and where the company is headed next year. The event was a review of the year's market trends and a forecast of the upcoming year's potential market performance. The luncheon featured insightful presentations from Rick Keller, Jr., CFP, Chairman of the Board of First Foundation, Inc., and John Hakopian, President of First Foundation Advisors. The inclusion of a Question and Answer session with billionaire oil and gas entrepreneur T. Boone Pickens made this luncheon a "must attend" event.
In his Opening Remarks, Scott Kavanaugh discussed the ongoing growth of First Foundation, with office locations presently in Irvine, La Quinta, Pasadena, and San Diego. Kavanaugh then announced the firm's expansion and addition of new locations in 2012 in Los Angeles, Palm Desert, and Imperial Valley. He then reviewed First Foundation's upticks in assets managed over a three year period, the Company's increased retail banking activity, and swelling employee figures. He concluded with the assertion that the Company would continue to grow in a responsible and prudent manner.

Within the context of this Economic & Market Update, the First Foundation leadership suite focused on specific analyses of both global and domestic trends affecting money management strategies. Rick Keller, Jr., CFP, reviewed various economic policies of 2011 that shaped the backbone of much of American investment tactics. He examined the European debt crisis' place as the primary focus for economic concerns and the extraordinary volatility of global markets. In domestic matters, he discussed the fading threat of a double-dip recession in the face of better-than-expected numbers of economic growth, expansions and recessions, employment figures and job growth, and consumer confidence, among others. Additionally, Keller covered the decline of U.S. government interest rates to record lows, and the Washington gridlock over deficit-cutting measures.

Against these concerns, Keller produced his Seven Investment Themes for 2012, which included increased risk analysis, projected strength of the dollar in the global market, U.S. stocks to outperform both bonds and international stocks with domestic interest rates to remain low, and non-core fixed income, high yield, non-agency mortgages, and emerging market debt to be attractive. Finally, he expressed First Foundation's continued interest in selective investments in income-producing real estate in the face of depressed home values, with a foreclosure overhang of over 5 million homes and continued high unemployment.

First Foundation Advisors' President, John Hakopian covered his Investment Outlook for the coming year in contrast to the backdrop of the past year's trends. He examined the flight of investors to safety amid increasing concerns for default in Greece and the resulting threat to the European financial system which fears would drive a weakening of the global economy and years of future deleveraging. He also covered the U.S. debt and deficit problems, and the drops in large-cap domestic and foreign stocks during this time period, which allowed First Foundation to add back investments at more attractive prices.

In a summary of the Third Quarter of 2011, Hakopian revealed the numbers behind the investment trends. With large-cap stocks falling nearly 14% and foreign stocks suffering drops of 19% in developed markets and 24% in emerging markets, investors fled risk in the Third Quarter. And while high-quality, intermediate-term bonds gained 4%, emerging-markets local currency bonds lost 8.5%. Due to the expectations of very low returns over the next several years as a result of investors flocking to the safety of Treasuries, Hakopian expressed an underweighting to core bonds and believes that First Foundation's credit strategies are well positioned to deliver long-term returns while providing some protection against risks like rising rates and a dollar decline. He concluded with his assessment that the current environment bears greater uncertainty but better valuations.

Finally, Hakopian described First Foundation's Investment Outlook and Portfolio Positioning for 2012. In it, he described the ongoing investment environment as a dichotomy of strong corporate performance and value creation, and attractive valuation for equity and credit investments against a deep-seated crisis mentality that is now difficult to dislodge. He defined First Foundation's principles for positioning as Risk Control, Inefficient Markets, Rigorous Analysis, Valuation Discipline, Partnership, and Stewardship. He finished with a review of First Foundation's outperformance at less risk than their benchmarks*, and a cautious and confident statement of strength by remaining patient and disciplined while awaiting compelling asset class opportunities, alternative strategies that can excel without tailwinds from stocks and bonds, and employing highly skilled stock and bond managers.

Then Chapman University's President, James Doti, stepped to the podium to moderate the formal, thirty minute Question and Answer session with T. Boone Pickens. Doti asked the Texas tycoon questions on topics ranging from U.S. Energy Policy and Independence, Present Day Corporate Culture and Keys to Effective Business Leadership in America, and personal subjects such as Retirement and Advice for Young People Entering Today's Workforce. Following this, audience participation was encouraged with guests asking questions of the energy magnate.

*As measured for the Large Cap Value Strategy by Zephyr Style Advisors, a third party service provider.


First Foundation is a financial institution with over 20 years of experience that provides integrated Investment Management, Wealth Planning, Consulting, Trust and Banking services. Headquartered in Irvine, California, the company has office locations in La Quinta, Pasadena, and San Diego, California. First Foundation Advisors and First Foundation Bank are wholly owned subsidiaries of First Foundation, Inc. For more information please call Nika Jones at 949/622-3733 or visit our website at

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this brochure, will be profitable, successful or be suitable for your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.


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