After the hit of Hurricane Katrina, undoubtedly the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, many investors began wondering what to do about their investments. Many investment advisers are telling their clients to stay put, Contra Costa Times reports.
Catherine Gordon, a principal at the Vanguard Group Inc, said, "In a broad sense, we don't advise people to make portfolio changes because of events, other than events in their lives such as marriage, a baby, a new house. But for natural or man-made events, generally we don't advise any shift in strategy unless someone can say that the event has changed your time horizon or some other fundamental."
In fact, many mutual managers are noticing that the Gulf Coast has become an excellent area for investment opportunities, in terms of energy, construction, home building and health care. However, individual owners of portfolios should not attempt to jump into the sector. Gordon agrees that "one of the benefits of owning a mutual fund, especially an actively managed fund, is that you are paying that portfolio manager to make decisions as to what to own and what to buy. You probably will see changes within the fund that reflect the manager's outlook as to what will benefit the investor."
There is another lesson in Katrina: diversity. Jack Schilt, president of Enterprise Fund Distributors, advises that "This is a good time to review that portfolio," and make the necessary changes.
Schilt projects that growth stocks are a good investment, since their recent performance has a steady track record. "It's our belief that high-quality growth companies will continue to do well, and not just because of Katrina. Value has been the trend of the last few years, but we expect the direction to turn toward growth."
Besides reviewing portfolios companies have been taking more steps to ensure that clients are helped, especially those where the hurricane hit the worst. "We reacted immediately, identifying and contacting the people we work with in the affected area," said Schilt. "We want to make sure that clients get access to cash as readily as they can, and there are certain ways to facilitate that."
Vice President of T. Rowe Price Associates, Steve Norwitz, said that the company is taking steps to help the areas by allowing Katrina victims to access their 401(k) funds.