The Independent Market Observer

Peter Essele, CFA®, CAIA, CFP®

Peter Essele, CFA®, CAIA, CFP®, is vice president, investment management and research, at Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, the nation's largest privately held Registered Investment Adviser–independent broker/dealer. With the firm since October 2004, he oversees asset allocation, fund selection, and overall management of the firm's discretionary platform, Preferred Portfolio Services® (PPS) Select. Peter graduated from Union College, where he earned a BS in economics. In addition to holding FINRA Series 7, 24, 31, 53, and 66 securities registrations, Peter has the CAIA and CFP® designations and is a CFA® charterholder. He is also a member of the Boston Security Analysts Society.

Recent Posts

Rising Inflation: Where Does It Go from Here?

June 30, 2022

We’ve received numerous questions about our inflation outlook over the past few weeks. In some cases, it seems investors are beginning to throw in the towel on traditional asset classes in favor of more inflation-sensitive areas like commodities, real assets, and managed futures, which have had a good run as of late. Before making wholesale changes to portfolios, though, it’s important to understand where inflation may be headed, as opposed to where it’s been.

Headlines are telling us that the Fed let things get out of control, with inflation at its highest level in 40 years and stagflation right around the corner. I would argue that the consensus on inflation could be wrong, mostly because the numbers are suggesting that things have already peaked and will probably moderate as the year progresses. So, let’s have a look at the data and cut through the headlines.

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Protecting Portfolios Against Inflation

March 25, 2022

Brad here. As we talk about inflation (and we will have more to say next week), the real question for us, as investors, is what we should do with our portfolios. No one is more qualified to answer that question than Pete Essele, who runs our Preferred Portfolio Services® Select asset management program. Here are his thoughts—have a great weekend!

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Sticker Shock: Assessing the Real Cost of Gas

March 11, 2022

Have you experienced sticker shock at the pump recently? Chances are, you probably noticed a price hike the last time you topped off your tank. According to the Energy Information Administration, the price of conventional gasoline has risen 57 percent in the past year, and consumers are feeling the squeeze.

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The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: A Lesson in Stakeholder Capitalism?

March 4, 2022

It’s possible that the autocratic regime in Russia didn’t fully appreciate the power of stakeholder capitalism. In the wake of the invasion, stakeholders have clearly chosen sides—and they do not include the Kremlin. Corporations have responded, and many have decided to sever Russian ties through divestment. Shell and BP recently announced their intention to abandon their involvement in Russia. Further, Sberbank (Russia's largest lender) says it is leaving the European banking market in the face of Western sanctions against Moscow.

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Recessions: A Capitalist Perspective

December 29, 2021

Is it possible we can learn something about a healthy economy from the National Forest Service (NFS)? For decades, the forest service had a policy of extinguishing brush and wildfires at all costs. Its main goals were to prevent fires and to suppress them as quickly as possible if they started. Over time, however, the NFS came to realize that forest fires have a role in nature, one that is necessary for healthy ecosystems to take form. The same may be true for recessions and the long-term health of our economy.

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Identifying Trends and Patterns in the COVID Data

October 22, 2021

Brad here. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been mentioning that I thought there’s a risk of a “heating” wave of the pandemic this fall in the northern states, following the “air conditioning” wave we saw in the southern states this past summer. I discussed it as a reasonable risk and something to keep an eye on, but my colleague and friend Pete Essele has gone well beyond that and done the work here to establish in detail both what happened over the summer and what that could mean for the fall and winter. Definitely worth a read! Great job Pete and thank you.

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Is Climate Change a Risk to Your Portfolio?

July 27, 2021

As stewards of more than $12 billion in client capital (as of July 25, 2021), our job on the Investment Management team at Commonwealth requires a great deal of risk assessment—and there are many risks that require evaluation. But too often in our industry, the talking heads focus on the short-term ones like interest rate moves and market pullbacks. Most investors, however, have long time horizons. So, what we should be considering as an industry are the longer-term risks that match up with our clients’ goal horizons. One of those risks? Climate change.

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Protecting a Portfolio Against a Rise in Interest Rates

March 17, 2021

Today’s post is from Peter Essele, vice president of investment management and research.

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2020’s Remarkable Value Rally

January 26, 2021

Today's post is from Peter Essele, vice president of investment management and research.

As we turn the page on 2020 (thankfully!), market practitioners are starting to release outlook pieces and portfolio positioning recommendations for the year ahead. The recent strong performance of value, when compared with growth, has many investors wondering whether it makes sense to consider an overweight to this seemingly forgotten asset class, which has benefited greatly from the recent vaccine rally.

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Where Is Value Now?

July 21, 2020

Brad here. “Value” is an often-mentioned word, but few people have really considered what it means in the context of the whole economy. A short while ago, Pete Essele, one of Commonwealth’s most senior portfolio managers, wrote a post for this blog in which he discusses value investing and its underperformance. That was the first part of the story. Here, he takes a deeper look at why that underperformance happened—with very interesting implications for the future. Take it away, Pete!

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