December 17, 2014

Trendsetters: Investing

Barbara Miracle | 9/1/2009
Andrew P. Mehalko
Andrew P. Mehalko [Photo: Jessica Klewicki]

Last year, when many banks were desperate to meet liquidity requirements, they began selling prized assets. GenSpring Family Offices’s Andrew Mehalko was there to snap up the good stuff — mortgages hand-selected by ZIP code and creditworthiness, bank debt and convertible bonds — at a fraction of their value. The result was that GenSpring’s portfolios — worth $17 billion — were down by an average of 18%, a much lesser decline than experienced by the S&P 500 and Russell 2000, which lost 37% and 34%, respectively.

Andrew P. Mehalko

GenSpring Family Offices
Chief investment officer,
Palm Beach Gardens

Favorite business books: “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham and “When Genius Failed” by Roger Lowenstein.

Getaway: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Opportunities: Mehalko says that there are plenty of opportunities to buy assets at a discount going forward. “There’s still a tremendous amount of leverage. There’s still opportunity there.”

Still, Mehalko wasn’t happy with the 2008 results. This year, GenSpring’s strategy of investing in what Mehalko calls "unique places" is beating both the stock and bond indices as of late June.

Mehalko, who grew up in Hialeah, studied finance at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, working as an economic research analyst while in college. After graduation, he began his professional career in portfolio management and investment advisory services, spending several years as the chief investment officer for DCA Global Investment Management in Norcross, Ga.

In 1999, Mehalko joined GenSpring, an affiliate of SunTrust. The firm works with families with at least $10 million to invest. The idea of a family office is to help families protect their wealth over generations.

Going forward, Mehalko, 44, sees a challenging environment. Equity market returns overall, he says, will be limited due to constraints on economic growth, including bank deleveraging, consumer debt and the government’s need to borrow heavily. Says Mehalko, "The complexity of the mess we’re in, no matter who is in charge, we’re in a tough spot."


Top-Ranked

Louis J. Chiavacci
Louis J. Chiavacci

Louis J. Chiavacci, 47, has ranked in the top 100 wealth advisers nationally by Barron’s every year since 2005 and was tops in Florida on Barron’s adviser list this year. Chiavacci, who earned his bachelor’s and MBA from Indiana University and formerly worked at Goldman Sachs, manages $1.1 billion in assets.

Louis J. Chiavacci
• Merrill Lynch private banking and investment
• Senior vice president-investments
• Coral Gables

— Mike Vogel

Tags: Trendsetters, Banking & Finance

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