The Market Reaction to the Coronavirus

by Brad Everett, CFA, Chief Investment Officer of Key Financial, Inc.


My name is Brad Everett, and I am the Chief Investment Officer here at Key Financial. Patti is on her way home from a speaking engagement in Australia and in the spirit of seamless (and continuous) attention to your portfolios, I wanted to give you a sense of some of what we’re thinking at this time. As you probably already know, financial markets around the globe have been experiencing increased volatility over the past several weeks, and especially in the past few days, with the S&P down just north of 7% between Friday and Tuesday. As of this exact time the S&P is up about 1.5% out of the gates here, but we’ll see what the day brings.

Much of this has been attributed to the continued spread of the Coronavirus. There has been an increase in confirmed cases outside of China – including Italy, Iran, Japan, and South Korea.

A natural question to ask is how this might affect your investment portfolio? I wish I could say otherwise, but we have no idea. Will the slowdown in China continue? Will the increase in other nations continue? Will the spread of the virus slowdown in the summer, giving researchers some time and a chance to create and produce a vaccine? We won’t know until it’s over whether history will repeat, but we do know how the market has responded to previous health scares. From

“When the public became aware of the SARS epidemic (a previous strain of the coronavirus) back in 2003, the S&P 500 index fell 14% over the subsequent two months, from mid-January to mid-March. But, according to a historical look-back by the MarketWatch economists, the market was up 20.76% a year later. The Avian flu outbreak in 2006, the Swine flu outbreak in 2009, the Ebola outbreak in 2014 and the Zika epidemic in 2016 saw initial downturns between 5.5% and 7%, but a year later, the markets had recovered by between 10 and 36%. We can note that the S&P 500 index fell 3% in the two weeks after January 17, when the coronavirus outbreak first made headlines. Since then, the index has bounced back to all-time highs.”

Again, we don’t know the ultimate impact, but the market doesn’t like uncertainty, so we tend to react first by overreacting (the stock market, especially). Is it likely that a virus can decrease the full discounted value of the largest 500 companies in the United States by 3% in a single day? Or 7% in 3 days? Here are a few statistics to put some of this volatility in perspective:

  • Multiple sources (WSJ and Barron’s) have estimated the potential economic cost at $400 billion (if the bulk of the cases stay in Asia) or as much as $1.1 trillion if it continues to spread around the world. That sounds like a lot of money. It is. But the total GDP of the world in 2018 was approximately $85 Trillion. A $1.1 trillion cost is approximately 1.3% of global GDP. As a comparison, the US GDP fell 4.3% during the Great Recession from peak (late 2007) to trough (2nd quarter of 2009).
  • The value of publicly traded equities grew over $17 trillion in 2019. A three-day, 7% drop in the S&P took us back only to mid-December values. I don’t want to dismiss a 7% drop in the S&P, but we were only recently celebrating all-time highs on the S&P, and after the past few days, we’re still very close to that.

Ultimately, despite the volatility in the market, remember that we started first with a financial plan specifically for you, to represent your goals and plans. Stock market investing is, by its nature, a long-term proposition (as of 2011, in Nick Murray’s book Simple Wealth, Inevitable Wealth, he calculated that 89.5% of all 5-year rolling periods on the S&P 500 have generated a positive rate of return, and 96.4% of 10 year periods. This is what we mean by long term. Not 1 month or even 3 years). No matter the source of volatility, it has always come and gone and will come again, and we need to expect it at any time and prepare for that. Your individual asset allocation is built with that in mind. For those of you taking distributions or will be in the near future, we have been able to plan for how much you need and when you will need it. The earmarks we’ve set aside for near-term withdrawals are invested in asset classes that have shown significantly different return and risk characteristics than the S&P specifically, or equities in general. We’ll continue to monitor this on a daily basis and please let us know your thoughts, how you’re feeling, and if you have any questions.

41st Annual West Chester Christmas Parade

West Chester Christmas Parade

West Chester Christmas Parade

We were overwhelmed by the abundance of holiday spirit at this year’s 41st Annual West Chester Christmas Parade! It was heartwarming to see the excitement in children’s faces as they met Ollie the Snowman from Frozen and received their special gift. Thank you to our amazing community for taking the time out of their busy holiday season and also to our Key Financial team for helping to spread holiday joy!

Barron’s Announces Patti Brennan as a Hall of Fame Advisor

Barron's Hall of Fame

Key Financial President and CEO, Patti Brennan has just been named by Barron’s as a Hall of Fame Advisor. This prestigious recognition has been given to only 145 Financial Advisors in America. To qualify, each member of the Hall of Fame has had to been named in 10 or more of Barron’s annual Top 100 Advisor rankings. This list is comprised of both male and female advisors in all business models – from the major wirehouses to private wealth management to independent advisors. The goal of the Barron’s Hall of Fame is to recognize those unique advisors who consistently demonstrate excellence in their practice for the people they serve.

Barron’s has been ranking financial advisors since 2004 with its first list ranking the nation’s Top 100 Advisors. In 2006, the Top 100 Women Advisors was introduced, followed by the Top 100 Independent Advisors rankings in 2007. These rankings produce the Hall of Fame list.

Brennan has been a standout in the Barron’s rankings for the past 15 years. No easy feat, considering that over 600,000 people are licensed through FINRA. Nearly half of those identify themselves as Financial Advisors with less than 20% of those advisors being women.

Brennan just returned from the Barron’s UK Summit, where she was the only American Advisor asked to speak about best practices in her firm and throughout the industry. “The credit for this achievement really goes to my team – one of the deepest benches in the field of wealth management. I’m also so grateful to the many clients who have helped me shape what I believe is the gold standard for how objective financial advice should be given today.”

Abundance of Christmas Spirit in Key Financial Holiday Village

Looking to kick off the holiday season with a fresh jolt of Christmas spirt? Look no further than the Key Financial Holiday Village, nested in the heart of downtown West Chester during the 40th Annual QVC West Chester Christmas Parade!

Sponsored by Key Financial, the Holiday Village will host a plethora of sponsor and local business tents for spectators to peruse, as well as some fun for the kids. Get the perfect picture for your Christmas cards as you step into the winter wonderland that is the Giant Inflated Snow Globe, provided by ServPro of West Chester, or sneak a snap of the kids in Frosty’s lap! Meet the Berenstein Bears provided by Franklin Mint Credit Union, or race BERG’s pedal-carts and jump on their Champion trampoline to make it a night your kids never forget. And for mom and dad, stop by the tents and grab your last-minute Christmas goodies provided by BenFM. You never know what you might find!

The Key Financial Holiday Village is located on High Street between Gay and Market Streets from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, December 6th, and it is free and open to the public.

Five Ways Technology Will Change The Way We Age

Key Financial, Inc. presents “MIT AgeLab Research Results: Five Ways Technology Will Change The Way We Age”, featuring Managing Director of Strategic Markets at Hartford Funds, Mike Lynch.

Many of us will be living longer than ever expected. How do we add life to longer life? Mike will share the latest research results from the MIT AgeLab. All are encouraged to bring their smartphones or iPads to learn how technology can actually change the outlook of retirement.

September 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM
The Desmond Hotel
1 Liberty Boulevard
Malvern, PA

Kindly RSVP by calling 610.429.9050 or email

Seating is limited

Shred Day Event

Preserve the Earth. Protect your Identity.

Attend our complimentary one day document shredding event! Shredding is a quick and convenient way to dispose of your information in a maner that provides added security against identity theft – and it’s great for the environment. All shredded documents are recycled.

Monday, April 29, 2019
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Key Financial, Inc.
1045 Andrew Drive, Suite A
West Chester, PA 19382

What to shred:

  • Any office paper, any color
  • File folders, any color
  • No need to remove staples, paper clips, rubber bands or small binder

What not to shred:

  • Cardboard
  • Common trash
  • Hazardous materials
  • Plastics or metals
  • CDs, DVDs

Key Financial Joins West Chester Christmas Parade

To ring in the New Year, our KFI team began a new tradition at the West Chester Christmas Parade! This year we joined the festivities by setting up a free hot chocolate tent, as a special treat from our very own Financial Elf!!! With nearly 7,000 cups of piping hot cocoa from The West Chester Diner filled, we had quite the night. Special thanks to QVC for sponsoring this wonderful family event!

Annual Fall Client Event featuring New York Times Best-selling Author, Amy Bloom

On September 6th, our team at Key Financial hosted our Annual Fall Client Event featuring New York Times Best-selling Author, Amy Bloom. Amy spoke to a packed room about her career, life as a writer, and her latest book, White Houses. We have received such great feedback about Amy’s talk, that we have uploaded her speech for your viewing! We hope you enjoy the wonderful words of Amy Bloom.

New York Times Best Selling Author, Amy Bloom joins Patti Brennan for a “Night with the Author”

All are invited to join Patti and the rest of the Key Financial team on Thursday, September 6th, at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA at 6:00 PM. Patti will sit with NY Times Best Selling Author, Amy Bloom as she discusses her recently released novel, White Houses. Amy will talk about a revealing time in American history as detailed in an unexpected story line during the Roosevelt White House. It is a personal story – why should it become public? Personal, as well as public history matters…and Amy will share why.

In addition to several award winning bestsellers, Amy has also published many stories in top selling publications such as Oprah Magazine, The New Yorker and The Atlantic Monthly. She is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University, as well as a former professor at Yale University.

The evening will begin at 6:00 PM with light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. This promises to be a thought provoking evening! Please RSVP to Bernadette Hunter
by calling (610) 429-9050 and as always, feel free to bring a friend.

Spring has SPRUNG and tax season is (almost) DONE!

On April 20th, Key Financial will be holding a “Document Shred Event” from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The event will be held at the West Chester Office, located at 1045 Andrew Drive, Suite A. Clients of Key Financial, as well as members of the general public are encouraged to bring any old tax information or documents that they would like to shred in a safe and secure manner. “Now that tax season is coming to an end, we have had many requests from clients asking if they could stop by and shred their old confidential documents”, explained Bernadette Hunter, Director of Communications at Key Financial. “They know we utilize a secure system of document shredding, and in light of all the identity theft issues happening on a national level, we are happy to give them this opportunity.”

Local CPA Bruce Boylston of Rothman Boylston, LLC, has high praise for events like these. “With all of our attention focused on cyber security we tend to overlook our paper. A study not too long ago showed that one in five data breaches involved paper documents. Most tax documents still reflect your social security number along with other information. Best practices is to always shred your paper documents.”

Employees of Key Financial will happily accept all paper documents without any metal bindings. No CDs or flash drives can be accepted.

Patti Brennan Conducts “Communicating with Clients” Session at eMoney Summit

Key Financial has been recognized as one of the Best Financial Planning Firms in the nation. Patti was asked to conduct a breakout session at the eMoney Summit where she outlined “Best Practices” in communicating with clients. She believes it is important for clients to know she and her team are working behind the scenes at all times for her clients, but never to assume that they know that. “You have to show them by reaching out”, Patti explains. Investment News interviewed Patti as she emphasizes the importance of being available to clients in a way that they like to be communicated with – whether it is through snail mail, email, social media or video; with timely “game day” communications during crisis.

Memory Switch Client Event with Matthew Goerke

The next meeting in our popular series of corporate events will be held on October 9th at the Desmond Hotel, featuring Memory Expert Matthew Goerke. Matthew is nationally regarded as an expert in the field of memory development, and has worked with such well known speakers as Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins and Ed Forman. He offers practical techniques that will help boost your memory of important information from meetings, to-do lists and written material. No matter your age or where you are in your professional career, we are confident that you will walk away with several ideas on how a more powerful memory will help you be more effective and reduce stress.

Please RSVP by September 29th by calling our offices at (610) 429-9050 or emailing or As always, we welcome any guest you would like to bring that you feel may benefit from this information. Light refreshments will be served. We look forward to seeing you!

Barron’s Magazine Ranks Patti Brennan Top 100 Women Advisors 2017

Key Financial, Inc., a financial planning and wealth management firm located in West Chester, PA is pleased to announce that once again, it’s President and CEO, Patricia Brennan was named to Barron’s Top 100 Women Advisors ranking. “We are so proud of Patti; the fact that she has consistently been named to this national list over the past 11 years shows her tireless commitment to excellence within the industry. This is the second year in a row that Patti is in the top 50 female advisors in the nation”, explained Bernadette Hunter, Director of Communications at Key Financial, Inc. The Wall Street Journal will be publishing the Barron’s list nationally on Tuesday June 6, 2017.

Key Financial, Inc. has been serving families in the Chester County area, as well as nationally, for over 30 years. During that time, Patti has also been ranked consistently by Barron’s as one of the Top 1,200 Advisors in the Nation, and also by the Financial Times and Forbes as a Top 100 Wealth Manager in the Nation for 2016.

Locally, Brennan proudly sits on the Board for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, the National Advisory Board for Royal Alliance and is a former Board Member of Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital.

With total client assets nearing $800 million, Key Financial, Inc. provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management services and is located at 1045 Andrew Drive Suite A West Chester, PA. For information about the firm’s planning services or to speak with Patti Brennan, call (610) 429-9050 or visit

CEO For The Day

Recently, our team at Key Financial hosted our first ever “CEO for the Day”, where a local 12 year old was given the opportunity to shadow our President & CEO, Patti Brennan. The idea first came to Brennan after meeting Wyatt through a special program hosted by the West Chester YMCA called Believe and Achieve. As word spread about CEO for the Day, Investment News took the opportunity to feature our story on the first episode of the series “The Secret Life of a Financial Advisor”.

Chief Planning Officer Eric Fuhrman Achieves Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement™

A huge congratulations to our Chief Planning Officer Eric Fuhrman on his new designation! With a young son at home and one on the way, Eric worked over the past year to achieve the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement™ (CIPM®) designation awarded by the CFA Institute.

The CIPM exam covers ethical performance and risk based evaluation approaches to return measurement, attribution, appraisal, and investment manager selection. The curriculum is based on an advanced body of knowledge that is continuously reviewed and updated by more than 1,000 active investment practitioners around the world to ensure that it reflects the most relevant trends and the core competencies most needed by toda’s top investment employers. After a year of studying, Eric is excited to integrate this knowledge into our service platform. We are so glad to have Eric on our team, and admire his drive to never stop learning!

CIPM is a registered trademark owned by CFA Institute.

Forbes Announces Patti Brennan as One of America’s Top 100 Wealth Advisors

Patricia C. Brennan, CFP®, CFS and President and CEO of Key Financial, Inc. has been named one of America’s Top Wealth Advisors by Forbes magazine. The nationwide survey was conducted from a field of 300,000 Advisors that were whittled down to 11,000 nominations.

“I am honored to be named by Forbes as one of the Top 100 Wealth Advisors, among only 5 women in the United States”, said Brennan. This is the first time Forbes has created this National review of Advisors and it was two years in the making. Brennan has also been recognized by Barron’s for the past ten years as one of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors in America and also one of the Top 1200 Financial Advisors in America. Once again, Financial Times ranked Brennan as a Top 400 Advisor as well.

On a local level, Brennan proudly serves on the Board for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine and Cuddle My Kids. She has formerly served on the Boards of the Chester County Economic Development Council, SEEDCO and Penn Medicine Chester County Hospital. As the President and CEO of Key Financial for more than 28 years, Brennan provides comprehensive wealth management with integrated strategies that are unique to each client. Known for her ability to see the impact of the “little details” on the big picture, Brennan is known for communicating complex financial concepts in simple, understandable and meaningful terms.

Brennan is quick to credit her “deep bench” in providing client satisfaction that exceeds expectation. “I have a brilliant and dedicated team, and recognize that financial planning needs change in various seasons of life. As the family’s trusted advisor, we serve those who want to improve their net worth.”

Key Financial, Inc. provides comprehensive financial planning and wealth management services and is located at 1045 Andrew Drive Suite A West Chester, PA. For information about the firm’s planning services or to speak with Patti Brennan, call (610)429-9050 or visit

Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance services offered through Patricia Brennan are independent of Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. Advisory services offered through Key Financial, Inc., a registered investment advisor not affiliated with Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.

*The Forbes ranking of America’s Top Wealth Advisors, is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data, rating thousands of wealth advisors with a minimum of seven years of experience and weighing factors like revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, industry experience and best practices learned through telephone and in-person interviews. There is no fee in exchange for rankings.

The Financial Times Top 400 Financial Advisors is an independent listing produced by the Financial Times (March, 2016). The FT 400 is based on data gathered from firms and verified by broker-dealer home offices, regulatory disclosures, and the FT’s research. The listing reflects each advisor’s performance in six primary areas, including assets under management, asset growth, compliance record, experience, credentials and accessibility as identified by the FT. Neither the brokerages nor the advisors pay a fee to The Financial Times in exchange for inclusion in the FT 400.

The “Barron’s Winner’s Circle Top 1200” is a select group of individuals who are screened on a number of different criteria. Among the factors that advisors are assessed include their assets under management, revenues, the quality of service provided to clients, and their adherence to high standards of industry regulatory compliance. Portfolio performance is not a factor. Please see for more information.

The “Barron’s Winner’s Circle Top 100” is a select group of individuals who are screened on a number of different criteria. Among factors the survey takes into consideration are the overall size and success of practices, the quality of service provided to clients, adherence to high standards of industry regulatory compliance, and leadership in “best practices” of wealth management. Portfolio performance is not a factor. Please see for more information.

Hoodlums to Hackers: How Criminals Get Your Information and What You Can Do To Stop Them

Sound interesting? Then save the date!

The next meeting in our very popular series of corporate events will be an informative presentation on Wednesday, September 28th at the Desmond Hotel featuring former FBI Agent and nationally renowned cyber security expert, Jeff Lanza. Jeff will present on the very timely issue of identity theft prevention, cyber security and fraud. Click here for a sneak peek of Jeff’s presentation! Registration opens at 6:30 pm and the presentation begins at 7:00 pm.

Seating is limited, so please call to reserve your seat at (610) 429-9050 or email We are looking forward to seeing you all!