HJ Sims Closes Financings for Lenbrook, MRC Manalapan; Partners with Voralto for Acquisition

FAIRFIELD, CT– HJ Sims (Sims), a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm founded in 1935, is pleased to announce the successful closing of three transactions.

Lenbrook, a life plan community in Atlanta, GA, pursued financing for its recent Kingsboro at Lenbrook expansion. After a successful 2016 refinancing and a 2018 pre-development financing, Lenbrook again retained Sims to manage the financing process for the $107 million project. A priority  of Lenbrook’s was to maximize the ability to deleverage the debt of the financing without penalty. The entrance fee debt was maximized and the long-term debt amortized while permitting early repayment from turnover entrance fees.

Sims coordinated a request for proposals to gauge interest in both the entrance fee and long-term debt. Due to the COVID-19 impact on bond markets and conduit bond issuers, Sims coordinated with the board and management of Lenbrook to pivot the transaction from tax-exempt financing consisting of bank short-term debt and long-term fixed rate bonds to taxable all-bank financing while closing early and achieving Lenbrook’s goal of maximizing deleveraging while maintaining flexibility. Fitch assigned a BBB- rating with stable outlook.

In Monmouth County, New Jersey, MRC Manalapan (MRC) is developing an assisted living and memory care community. MRC principals (and LV Development) collaborated with Springpoint Senior Living (Springpoint) to arrange the project and contracted with Springpoint to operate the community (Springpoint at Manalapan) under a long-term lease. Sims was engaged to implement debt financing supplemented by equity provided by the MRC principals.

Following a Sims-led solicitation, Peoples United Bank was selected to provide $14.3 million of taxable senior debt financing, incorporating a construction/mini-perm structure with a five-year balloon maturity. The loan includes tiered-interest rate pricing with reductions in loan credit spread following progression from construction, opening and stabilization. Primary security includes a revenue pledge and property mortgage. Supplemental security includes dual guarantees provided by the MRC principals and succeeded at completion by a limited tenant guaranty. Sims, Peoples and the financing team worked diligently with the MRC principals to secure final approvals, successfully closing in mid-May 2020.   

Established in 1977 and headquartered in Houston and Dallas, TX, Voralto is a 42-year-old senior housing owner/operator with a combined 120+ years of experience in the senior housing industry. Committed to growing the company through strategic acquisitions and new developments, Voralto currently owns/operates 8 assets totaling 590 beds in TX and GA. Sims was approached by Voralto to provide equity for the acquisition of an assisted living and memory care community in northern TX. Voralto’s business plan included the implementation of operational changes.

Sims formed a joint venture with Voralto to acquire the community. Sims’ equity provided liquidity to overcome any short-term performance issues resulting from COVID-19 and time to implement the business plan.

Scheduled to close in March, Sims and Voralto overcame challenges from COVID-19. Drawing from expertise of its bankers and investors, Sims underwrote Voralto’s business plan and provided a customized solution.

Financed Right®:

Non-profit: Aaron Rulnick: arulnick@hjsims.com | For-profit: Jeff Sands: jsands@hjsims.com

COVID-19 Response

March 18, 2020:

Dear Valued Client,

As you are likely closely monitoring the developments and impact of COVID-19, we are doing the same at HJ Sims. Our primary focus is the safety and well-being of our employees, our clients and their families.

We would like to update you on important preparations currently in place, and our ability to respond to your needs during this unprecedented time.

  • We have enacted a comprehensive COVID-19 business response plan and remain confident that as a nimble and resilient organization, we will maintain business continuity. We are prepared in the event the situation continues to escalate.
  • During this extraordinary time, we recognize that you rely on access to our financial professionals and representatives. As such, we have prepared plans for employees to work from different locations, as well as remotely from home. Alternate site work arrangements are intended to balance and diversify our resources to minimize risk for an extended period, if required, while using today’s technology to be ever-present for our clients.
  • Our employees are being kept fully aware of the situation by our Executive Committee. We have established access to online company resources to help them manage during this unparalleled time.

Please be sure to keep us updated with your contact information so we may stay in touch with you.

We are confident that we are taking proper steps to ensure the continued operation of our business, and continue to follow guidance from official local, state and Federal Government and public health agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We will monitor and evaluate the situation and determine whether additional steps are needed to support our clients and communities.

We have strong financial talent who have the experience to weather all market cycles. We appreciate your trust and confidence in us. Please let us know if we can help in any way.

We wish you, your communities and your family all the very best.

Thank you,

William Sims
Managing Principal
HJ Sims

HJ Sims Closes Financings for Lenbrook, MRC Manalapan; Partners with Voralto for Acquisition

CONTACT: Tara Perkins, AVP Marketing Communications | 203-418-9049 | tperkins@hjsims.com

HJ Sims Closes Financings for Lenbrook, MRC Manalapan; Partners with Voralto for Acquisition

FAIRFIELD, CT– HJ Sims (Sims), a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm founded in 1935, is pleased to announce the successful closing of three transactions.

Lenbrook, a life plan community in Atlanta, GA, pursued financing for its recent Kingsboro at Lenbrook expansion. After a successful 2016 refinancing and a 2018 pre-development financing, Lenbrook again retained Sims to manage the financing process for the $107 million project. A priority  of Lenbrook’s was to maximize the ability to deleverage the debt of the financing without penalty. The entrance fee debt was maximized and the long-term debt amortized while permitting early repayment from turnover entrance fees.

 Sims coordinated a request for proposals to gauge interest in both the entrance fee and long-term debt. Due to the COVID-19 impact on bond markets and conduit bond issuers, Sims coordinated with the board and management of Lenbrook to pivot the transaction from tax-exempt financing consisting of bank short-term debt and long-term fixed rate bonds to taxable all-bank financing while closing early and achieving Lenbrook’s goal of maximizing deleveraging while maintaining flexibility. Fitch assigned a BBB- rating with stable outlook.

In Monmouth County, New Jersey, MRC Manalapan (MRC) is developing an assisted living and memory care community. MRC principals (and LV Development) collaborated with Springpoint Senior Living (Springpoint) to arrange the project and contracted with Springpoint to operate the community (Springpoint at Manalapan) under a long-term lease. Sims was engaged to implement debt financing supplemented by equity provided by the MRC principals.

Following a Sims-led solicitation, Peoples United Bank was selected to provide $14.3 million of taxable senior debt financing, incorporating a construction/mini-perm structure with a five-year balloon maturity. The loan includes tiered-interest rate pricing with reductions in loan credit spread following progression from construction, opening and stabilization. Primary security includes a revenue pledge and property mortgage. Supplemental security includes dual guarantees provided by the MRC principals and succeeded at completion by a limited tenant guaranty. Sims, Peoples and the financing team worked diligently with the MRC principals to secure final approvals, successfully closing in mid-May 2020.   

Established in 1977 and headquartered in Houston and Dallas, TX, Voralto is a 42-year-old senior housing owner/operator with a combined 120+ years of experience in the senior housing industry. Committed to growing the company through strategic acquisitions and new developments, Voralto currently owns/operates 8 assets totaling 590 beds in TX and GA. Sims was approached by Voralto to provide equity for the acquisition of an assisted living and memory care community in northern TX. Voralto’s business plan included the implementation of operational changes.

Sims formed a joint venture with Voralto to acquire the community. Sims’ equity provided liquidity to overcome any short-term performance issues resulting from COVID-19 and time to implement the business plan.

Scheduled to close in March, Sims and Voralto overcame challenges from COVID-19. Drawing from expertise of its bankers and investors, Sims underwrote Voralto’s business plan and provided a customized solution.

Financed Right®:

Non-profit: Aaron Rulnick: arulnick@hjsims.com | For-profit: Jeff Sands: jsands@hjsims.com

HJ SIMS: Founded in 1935, HJ Sims is a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm, headquartered in Fairfield, CT, with nationwide locations. www.hjsims.com. Investments involve risk, including loss of principal. This is not an offer to sell or buy any investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Member FINRA, SIPC. HJ Sims is not affiliated with Lenbrook, MRC Manalapan, Voralto Funding I. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram Twitter.

HJ Sims Expands Investment Banking Team to West Coast, Midwest; Grows Private Client Team in Florida, Puerto Rico

CONTACT: Tara Perkins, AVP Marketing Communications | 203-418-9049 | tperkins@hjsims.com  

HJ Sims Expands Investment Banking Team to West Coast and Midwest; Grows Private Client Team in Florida and Puerto Rico 

FAIRFIELD, CT HJ Sims (Sims), a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm founded in 1935is pleased to announce the addition of two senior bankers as the firm expands with the opening of new offices in the Midwest and on the west coast. 

Lynn Daly joins Sims as Executive Vice President in its new Chicago location with 30+ years of experience working with nonprofit organizations in financing. Daly was acting head of Senior Living Investment Banking at BB&T Capital Markets, where she managed BB&T’s senior living relationships in the Midwest, facilitating financings of $1.3+ billion. Prior to BB&T Capital Markets, Daly spearheaded the Catholic Initiative within senior living investment banking for Ziegler, and served as Head of Allied Irish Bank’s Midwest region. Daly earned a BS in economics from Kalamazoo College, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.  

“We are so thrilled to welcome Lynn Daly to the HJ Sims family. Lynn is a well-respected and nationally recognized thought leader in the senior living sector and the perfect leader to grow our presence in the Midwest and to work with our team as we continue to expand throughout the US. Lynn’s extensive experience as both a senior commercial and investment banker, along with her integrity, deep knowledge, and client-centered approach, are vital characteristics and values that will guide our clients and business partners through these challenging times,” said Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal, Sims. 

Brady Johnson joins Sims as Senior Vice President in its new west coast office, in Orange County, CAPreviously with Hunt Real Estate Capital, Johnson was responsible for real estate debt originations for seniors housing and healthcare properties. He helped establish the firm’s seniors housing real estate lending platform, including a proprietary bridge loan program and expansion of the firm’s agency and HUD financing capabilities. Johnson closed the firm’s first Fannie Mae seniors housing loan, followed by its first seniors housing Freddie Mac loan. Prior to joining Hunt, Johnson served as Director of Seniors Housing & Healthcare at RED Capital Group, and served with GE Capital in various commercial finance roles. Johnson earned an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and Bachelor’s degrees (Economics and Spanish) from the University of Utah.  

“We are excited to welcome Brady Johnson to the Sims family. Brady will help establish our west coast presence serving for-profit and non-profit senior living clients. Brady’s broad experience in FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, mezzanine and senior housing financeand his focus on achieving the best solutions for his clients make him a great asset,” said Jeffrey Sands, Managing Principal, Sims. 

In late 2019, Sims expanded its Private Client team, adding aoffice in Jupiter, FLhousing a three-person advisory team, as well as a senior partner of Sims Energy. HJ Sims’ Puerto Rico private client office moved its Guaynabo headquarters to a larger space iMetro Office Park. The spacious quarters enable the team to better host clients, while the expansion reinforces Sims’ established presence and growth on the island. 

HJ SIMS: Founded in 1935HJ Sims is a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm, headquartered in Fairfield, CT, with nationwide locations. www.hjsims.com. Investments involve risk, including loss of principal. This is not an offer to sell or buy any investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future resultsMember FINRA, SIPC. FacebookLinkedInInstagram Twitter. 

HJ Sims 2020 Late Winter Conference Recap

Thank you!

On behalf of the entire HJ Sims Investment Banking team, we want to thank you for attending the 17th Annual HJ Sims Late Winter Conference at the InterContinenal San Diego in San Diego, California. We at HJ Sims are proud of our commitment to furthering conversation about financing methods & operating strategies in the Senior Living Industry. Bringing together a dynamic group of speakers from Non-Profit and Proprietary Senior Living Providers, as well as outside experts with thought-provoking views, it is our goal to have provided profound insight and an invaluable forum for exchanging ideas and information.

We also recognize that our conference was one of the last in-person events that was fortunate to take place. We appreciate those who attended, and we look forward to when we can get together in-person again.

Post-Conference Follow-Up

Our Conference Recap provides comprehensive coverage of the many sessions and event highlights from the 2020 HJ Sims Late Winter Conference.

Highlights include:

  • Keynote speakers from outside the senior living industry who shared valuable ideas from fields like Canyon Ranch® – the leader in luxury health and wellness introduced a potential new concept for senior living communities; Dr. Matthew Lieberman, a dedicated researcher on cognitive social neuroscience where we explored research indicating that we need to be connected socially to be physically and psychologically healthy; and Dr. Robert Genetski, an economist who led a discussion of the current financial markets where we explored principles vital to economic and political freedom.
  • Informal and memorable activities to bolster connection and conversation, included a glorious morning on the waters of San Diego Harbor for sailors and fishing enthusiasts; golfing at the world-renowned Torrey Pines; tasting a sample of San Diego’s best brewery and distillery products; and sharing an incredible evening with friends and a few new animal pals at the famed San Diego Zoo.
  • Educational sessions that covered topics such as: acute and post-acute care, medical and recreational cannabis, serving middle-income seniors, strategies to avoid moving from a stressed to distressed financial or operational situation, and a new approach to incorporating wellness in senior living.

In case you missed it, below are the details from our 17th Annual HJ Sims Late Winter Conference.

Agenda
Schedule and activities
Roster of conference speakers and their biographies

We invite you to watch the highlights of our conference in a recap video that features all the best parts of our conference. We also invite you to view the many beautiful photos from our conference.

Peruse the photo gallery and video montage below, and visit the HJ Sims FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or Twitter pages.

Taco Tuesday Dinner and Reception – LWC2020

San Diego Zoo Reception

Network Breaks

Corporate Social Responsibility: Gift of Life

The Gift of Life (GOL) team was thrilled to provide an update about the strong partnership between HJ Sims and GOL during the last two years, which has helped to promote the registry and subsequently add new donors, as well as supported numerous efforts to advance the GOL mission.

For more information on HJ Sims’ CSR program and Gift of Life, please visit: www.hjsims.com/servingourcommunitites.

Save the Date

Please save the date for next year, the 18th Annual Sims Late Winter Conference at the Sarasota Hyatt Regency, Sarasota, Florida. While we are still grappling with how we will hold our annual conference, rest assured, we will hold one… more to follow. Stay tuned, and stay healthy.

Thanks again!

Gift of Life: Recap from 17th Annual Late Winter Conference

Gift of Life (GOL) joined our 17th Annual HJ Sims Late Winter Conference February 25-27 in San Diego. GOL was represented by Alicia Lorio, a leader of their Young Professionals Committee in Orange County; and GOL blood stem cell donor, Alec Nadelle.

Alicia shared GOL’s history and spoke about the importance of growing the GOL stem cell registry to give second chances to those afflicted by blood and bone cancer. Before introducing Alec, Alicia shared how individuals can get involved with GOL and increase the number of those within the registry by encouraging individuals to swab their community and swab at their workplace.

Next, Alec shared his experience with GOL. He donated blood stem cells in November 2012 to a (then 71-year-old) woman battling a fast-moving form of Leukemia. The presentation left attendees feeling truly moved.

The team was excited to share an update about the amazing CSR partnership that HJ Sims and GOL have shared during the last two years.

From running fundraising drives to sponsoring the Steps for Life events to helping underwrite equipment for a
new state-of-the-art Stem Cell Collection Center located in Boca Raton, HJ Sims continues to be honored to support GOL and their mission to cure blood cancer through marrow and stem cell donations. GOL has facilitated nearly 3,600 transplants since its inception.

For more information, visit www.giftoflife.org

Axxcess Platform Announces Partnership with HJ Sims

HJ SIMS: Tara Perkins, AVP Marketing Communications, tperkins@hjsims.com | 203-418-9049

AXXCESS PLATFORM: Alexis Brock, Marketing and Communications, alexis@axxcesswealth.com | 866-217-5607

AXXCESS PLATFORM ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH HJ SIMS

FAIRFIELD, CT— Axxcess Platform (Axxcess), an enterprise turnkey asset management platform, announced today a partnership with HJ Sims, a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm headquartered in Fairfield, CT. HJ Sims and Axxcess have partnered  to deliver a suite of portfolio management technology for the HJ Sims private client wealth management team.

“We are thrilled about partnering with HJ Sims to equip their team with our asset management solution to help them continue to deliver a rich client experience. We are confident the HJ Sims team will find incredible value in our platform, which offers the tools and resources needed in one technology stack, further optimizing their client management approach,” says Michael Seid, CEO of Axxcess.

Founded in 1935 on Wall Street, HJ Sims is entrusted with $2.3 billion of assets under management. Herbert J. Sims, founder, was an innovative and revolutionary thinker with an imaginative and pioneering spirit. During the Great Depression, Herbert recognized opportunity to create jobs and support important infrastructure, such as county roads, natural gas systems, and bridges and causeways, through municipal financings. Today, HJ Sims supports individual investors, organizations, municipalities and institutions with expert wealth management, trading services and investment banking solutions.

HJ Sims will utilize the Axxcess platform as an end-to-end portfolio management tool, allowing their wealth management experts to serve their clients’ financial needs with a seamless and scalable approach–including aggregating accounts, identifying risk, analyzing holdings, modelling and blending investment strategies, and accessing third-party directed solutions.

“Partnering with Axxcess by incorporating their customized technology and sophisticated interface via a first-class portfolio management tool will help our advisory team deepen their client relationships. The comprehensive technology platform provided by Axxcess empowers us to revolutionize our client experience with open architecture and access to best in breed money managers,” said Dan Mullane, Managing Principal of HJ Sims.

ABOUT AXXCESS PLATFORM

Axxcess integrates third party investment managers alongside real estate, private equity, and hedged investments to create a unique UMA/TAMP Platform to transform your Wealth Management practice. The Axxcess Platform is built for the experienced Advisor looking to improve its current RIA Platform, or as an operational solution for a high caliber professional thinking of going independent and seeking a seamless transition. We offer Advisors open architecture, with a full array of wealth management and investment advisory services to move your practice upstream. Axxcess combines true alternatives like private equity, private credit, hedge funds and directed real estate alongside traditional SMA strategies.

Our focus is on 3c(1) and 3c(7) clients and the Advisors that serve them. If you are interested in providing a platform of services designed to move your business upscale, Axxcess is your solution. Contact: 866-217-5607 |https://axxcessplatform.com/

ABOUT HJ SIMS

Founded in 1935 on Wall Street, HJ Sims is a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm. HJ Sims is known as one of the country’s oldest underwriters of tax-exempt and taxable bonds, having raised $28+ billion for projects throughout the US. The firm is headquartered in Fairfield, CT, with nationwide investment banking, private wealth management and trading locations. Visit www.hjsims.com/ourstory. Visit www.hjsims.com/ourstory. Follow HJ Sims on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

Investments involve risk, including the possible fluctuation of principal. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. HJ Sims is not affiliated with Axxcess Wealth Management. Member FINRA, SIPC.

HJ Sims Expands Investment Banking Team to West Coast and Midwest; Grows Private Client Team in Florida and Puerto Rico

FAIRFIELD, CT– HJ Sims (Sims), a privately held investment bank and wealth management firm founded in 1935, is pleased to announce the addition of two senior bankers as the firm expands with the opening of new offices in the Midwest and on the west coast.

Lynn Daly joins Sims as Executive Vice President in its new Chicago location with 30+ years of experience working with non-profit organizations in financing. Daly was acting head of Senior Living Investment Banking at BB&T Capital Markets, where she managed BB&T’s senior living relationships in the Midwest, facilitating financings of $1.3+ billion. Prior to BB&T Capital Markets, Daly spearheaded the Catholic Initiative within senior living investment banking for Ziegler, and served as Head of Allied Irish Bank’s Midwest region. Daly earned a BS in economics from Kalamazoo College, and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

“We are so thrilled to welcome Lynn Daly to the HJ Sims family. Lynn is a well-respected and nationally recognized thought leader in the senior living sector and the perfect leader to grow our presence in the Midwest and to work with our team as we continue to expand throughout the US. Lynn’s extensive experience as both a senior commercial and investment banker, along with her integrity, deep knowledge, and client-centered approach, are vital characteristics and values that will guide our clients and business partners through these challenging times,” said Aaron Rulnick, Managing Principal, Sims.

Brady Johnson joins Sims as Senior Vice President in its new west coast office, in Orange County, CA. Previously with Hunt Real Estate Capital, Johnson was responsible for real estate debt originations for seniors housing and healthcare properties. He helped establish the firm’s seniors housing real estate lending platform, including a proprietary bridge loan program and expansion of the firm’s agency and HUD financing capabilities. Johnson closed the firm’s first Fannie Mae seniors housing loan, followed by its first seniors housing Freddie Mac loan. Prior to joining Hunt, Johnson served as Director of Seniors Housing & Healthcare at RED Capital Group, and served with GE Capital in various commercial finance roles. Johnson earned an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and Bachelor’s degrees (Economics and Spanish) from the University of Utah.

“We are excited to welcome Brady Johnson to the Sims family. Brady will help establish our west coast presence serving for-profit and non-profit senior living clients. Brady’s broad experience in FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, mezzanine and senior housing finance, and his focus on achieving the best solutions for his clients make him a great asset,” said Jeffrey Sands, Managing Principal, Sims.

In late 2019, Sims expanded its Private Client team, adding an office in Jupiter, FL, housing a three-person advisory team, as well as a senior partner of Sims Energy. HJ Sims’ Puerto Rico private client office moved its Guaynabo headquarters to a larger space in Metro Office Park. The spacious quarters enable the team to better host clients, while the expansion reinforces Sims’ established presence and growth on the island.

HJ Sims 2019 Late Winter Conference Recap

Thank you!

On behalf of the entire HJ Sims Investment Banking team, we want to thank you for attending the 16th Annual HJ Sims Late Winter Conference at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida. We at Sims are proud of our commitment to furthering conversation about financing methods & operating strategies in the Senior Living Industry. Bringing together a dynamic group of speakers from Non-Profit and Proprietary Senior Living Providers, as well as outside experts with thought-provoking views, it is our goal to have provided profound insight and an invaluable forum for exchanging ideas and information.

Post-Conference Follow-Up

Our Conference Recap provides comprehensive coverage of the many sessions and event highlights from the 2019 HJ Sims Late Winter Conference.

You can help us make the next Late Winter Conference even more successful by completing this survey. We very much appreciate your input. Thank you.

In case you missed it, below are the details from our 16th Annual HJ Sims Late Winter Conference.

Photos

We invite you to view the many beautiful photos from our conference. Peruse the galleries below and visit the HJ Sims FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or Twitter pages.

For attendees who updated their professional headshots at the “Headshot Hub,” our photographer, Thee Photo Ninja, has posted all headshots in this gallery. Login using the password, sandkey. To download your image, simply click on the photo, and click the download button at the top of the browser.

Activities Photos

We invite you to view photos from the 2019 Late Winter Conference. Then, either view the thumbnails or to view the images as larger icons, click on the image and scroll through.

Shown below are highlights from our recreational activities: Golf Tournament at Innisbrook, Chocolate Making & Tasting at William Dean Chocolates, Sailing on the Kai Lani catamaran and the Schooner Clearwater, Fishing at Hubbard’s Marina and Biking through Dunedin.

While the weather may not have cooperated, it looks like we all managed to have a fun time.

Education Photos

Networking Photos

Corporate Social Responsibility: Gift of Life

Gift of Life (GOL) representatives attended our conference as part of a special presentation at our Opening General Session, which included an introduction to HJ Sims’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program by Tara Perkins, Assistant Vice President Marketing Communications, HJ Sims, and a screening of the Gift of Life/HJ Sims partnership video. Sharon Kitroser, Corporate and Community Relations Officer, GOL, delivered a short history and shared the donor story of Ryan Corning. Ryan then took the stage to discuss his heartwarming experience—there was not a dry eye in the house! Sharon, Ryan and other GOL staff remained on-site throughout the conference —swabbing, distributing information and answering questions. It was a wonderful experience to share with our attendees.

Kitroser says, “It was truly an honor to join HJ Sims at their Conference. GOL presented our mission to save lives through marrow and stem cell donation, and shared how our partnership has come to life in the past 10 months. We introduced one of our heroic donors…Ryan Corning of Land O’Lakes, Florida who saved 47 year-old New Yorker Julio Rivera, who has survived leukemia thanks to his transplant. Attendees were excited to hear more about how their teams can swab their cheeks to save a life. Plus, more than 30 individuals joined the registry right there at the conference!”

Save the Date

Please save the date for next year, the 17th Annual Sims Late Winter Conference at the InterContinental in San Diego, California.

Thanks again!

Market Commentary: A Matter of Degrees

The average lifespan back in 1868 was approximately 38.3 years. People were shorter and thinner and suffered all manner of chronic and infectious diseases. Dr. Carl Reinhold August Wunderlich, a German physician, psychiatrist, and medical professor was running the hospital at Leipzig University at that time. In the process of observation and diagnosis, he took the axillary temperatures of 25,000 patients using a foot long thermometer that required 20 minutes to register. Based on the curves he patiently plotted, he determined that fever was not a disease but a symptom, and that the normal human body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. His is the measurement that we have since used to determine the gravity of illness in everyone from newborns to centenarians. But the human body has changed over the years and researchers have been disputing the Wunderlich axiom since the early 1990’s. The latest of two dozen modern studies is from Stanford University, where researchers finds that the new normal is closer to 97.5 degrees. But, as one might imagine, revising the cherished dictums on clinical thermometry is a not a speedy process.

In Wuhan, China and in clinics, hospitals and doctor’s offices around the word, degrees matter. Temperatures of 99.1 or higher are raising alarms as possible symptoms of a coronavirus that causes a lethal form of pneumonia. Dry cough, muscle pain and fatigue may also present over the course of a week before an infected person feels ill enough to seek medical care. At this writing, there are 4,585 confirmed cases in 18 countries and the death toll has reached 106. The rapid spread of the disease has spurred herculean efforts on the part of health professionals and chilling fears among travelers and investors who recall the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002 and the Ebola virus in 2014.

Global financial markets, which have already withstood the shocks of U.S.-Iran hostilities, the U.S-China trade conflict, the approach of Brexit, and the impeachment trial of a U.S. president in the first three weeks of the New Year, became roiled again on Monday. Even though health officials remind us that the influenza has resulted in 12,000 to 79,000 deaths annually since 2010, reports on the spread of a mysterious virus caused a one-day selloff in stocks on exchanges in Asia, the U.S. and Europe. Bloomberg reported that the slide wiped about $1.5 trillion off the value of world stocks in one week. The Dow erased the entire month’s gains and the Russell 2000 fell 1.5%. Oil prices fell 13% to $53.14 per barrel and gold gained $57.41 an ounce. Money quickly shifted to bonds and the dollar until Tuesday, when traders viewed the degree of global containment effort as likely to prevent a major economic loss. So far in 2020, the 2-year Treasury yield at 1.44% is up 12 basis points. The 10- and 30-year yields have plunged 31 basis points to 1.60% and 2.05%, respectively. Alongside governments, 10-year Baa-rated corporate bond yields have fallen 29 basis points and both the 10- and 30-year AAA municipal bond benchmark yields are down 26 basis points to 1.18% and 1.83%.

Markets focused on the possible implications of an epidemic in China leading to a global health emergency would otherwise be obsessed with Thursday’s Gross Domestic Product number, Friday’s British farewell to the European Union, wagers expected to total $6 billion on Sunday’s Super Bowl, and Wednesday’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the first such gathering of the year. Voters this year present as a few degrees more dovish, as the Fed Presidents from Kansas City and Boston relinquish their seats to the Fed Presidents from Cleveland, Philadelphia, Dallas and Minneapolis. There are still two vacancies for the Board of Governors and the nominees await Senate confirmation. Investors will watch the press conference and take the proverbial temperature of the Chair and Committee members on inflation, repurchase agreements, and the virus. Futures trading reflects only a 12% chance of a rate hike.

The municipal market is expected to see only $5.7 billion of new issues this week and the 30-day visible supply totals a mere $10.1 billion while redemptions and maturities are expected to add $25.8 billion of cash to the yearlong manhunt for tax-exempt and taxable municipal bonds. The largest financings happen to be for hospitals in Florida and New York, and there are several other health system issues in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio on the slate. In the high yield space, the Port of Beaumont, Texas has a $265 million non-rated issue with tax-exempt and taxable series for the Jefferson Gulf Coast Project, Howard University is bringing a $145.4 million BBB-minus rated taxable refunding with a corporate CUSIP. And the California Enterprise Development Authority has a $9.2 million Ba2 rated financing for the Academy for Academic Excellence.

From the world of academia, Dr. Matthew Lieberman will be a keynote speaker at the 17th Annual HJ Sims Late Winter Conference next month in San Diego. Professor Lieberman holds degrees from Rutgers and Harvard and directs the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at UCLA, one of the first labs to combine social psychology and neuroimaging. He measures and maps brain activity to demonstrate how we are wired to have a natural preference for switching from non-social to social tasks, how putting our feelings into words can have a soothing effect on those emotions, and how we might be able to help people who disagree come together without being disagreeable. He contends that our need to connect with others is just as important, if not more, than our basic need for shelter and food. So we invite you to hear his remarks, join us at the InterContinental Hotel, savor dinner at the San Diego Zoo, and enjoy a tremendous networking opportunity by registering at this LINK.