The elementary school near our office in Radnor is hosting a Harvest Festival next week. Big orange pumpkins, cornstalks and hay bales, and friendly scarecrows frame the sign announcing the celebration. No doubt you have seen similar displays, as visible signs of fall arrive on the Main Line.
The real work of the harvest is happening across the United States, as farmers are hard at work bringing in the bounty from their fields. Over two million farms dot our rural landscape, the largest percentage owned by families or individuals. And for most of these farmers, the success or failure of their businesses comes down to the harvest, often subject to uncontrollable variables such as the weather. Like the age-old parable of the sower and the seed, farmers must practice good stewardship, caring for and conserving their resources throughout the year.
Stewardship is an ancient term with roots in commerce. In feudal England, stewards were charged with the prosperity of the estate, running the daily affairs for the master of the house. Successful stewardship, then and now, in the fields or in the financial marketplace, is a result of intentional governance and responsibility. Over the past few months, we have watched stewardship gone awry being played out on the political stage as our government leaders wrangled over budgets and policy. The crisis-driven outcome is, once again, a short-term solution. Regardless of political affiliations, one cannot help but be disappointed in their inability to compromise. Was the price worth the point made?
Stewardship is an integral part of the fabric of Pennsylvania Trust. A number of years ago our Annual Message centered on this very theme of guardianship. It is with great pride that I say as the years have passed we have remained vigilant stewards of the resources entrusted to us, working diligently to improve. From portfolio management in volatile and variable markets to finding creative solutions to complex fiduciary issues, putting the interests of you, our valued clients, first, is a responsibility we embrace with passion and pride.
In our Fall 2013 issue of the newsletter, Chief Fiduciary Officer, Leslie Bohner examines the question of trust portability as well as guidelines for ensuring that the language of your trust document has maximum flexibility. Bill Woolbert, Pennsylvania Trust’s Chief Investment Officer, reflects on the aftermath of the financial crisis of five years ago. I know you will find these articles both relevant and informative. Financial information as well as market commentary can always be found on here, our website, recently refreshed to include links such as daily market analysis and investment discussion via webinars. And of course, our staff of dedicated professionals is available to direct their skills and expertise toward helping you achieve your wealth management goals. I urge you to take advantage of the vast array of experience available.
Just like a farmer’s crop yield, effective fiscal stewardship is tied to responsible care of resources. To quote a biblical phrase that has such wide reaching meaning it has become an idiomatic expression, “You reap what you sow.” I have enormous respect for the hard work and devotion that is required for a successful harvest, no matter the season.
by Richardson T. Merriman
Mr. Merriman is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Pennsylvania Trust.