This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, November 6, 2003, that was edited for clarity.
Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest saw a 38 percent revenue growth in her own company for the third quarter. Earnings handily beating estimates.
Jessica Bibliowicz is the chairman and the CEO of National Financial Partners. Her company, one of many to have positive third-quarter earnings surprises in numbers. And, of course, she’s now the premier lady on Wall Street (search).
And, as I said, younger than me, so I’m sick of her.
All right, Jessica. Good to have you.
JESSICA BIBLIOWICZ, CEO, NATIONAL FINANCIAL PARTNERS (NFP): Great see you again, Neil.
CAVUTO: Let’s talk, first of all, about your company. Now you’re big, big in the financial business, insurance, and investments, and all seem to be firing up. What do you think’s going on?
BIBLIOWICZ: It’s really an interesting time. All three of our lines of business really are very strong.
In the high net worth marketplace, we continue to see people focus on the risk aspect of their portfolio. They’re looking at transference of wealth to the next generation, charitable giving. So that’s been, you know, an area where insurance has been a hard-working asset class.
In the corporate benefits world, especially in the small- to mid-size market, a lot of activity there, and companies, I think, are seeing an opportunity to help employees out by doing more for them on the work site.
And then finally, of course, on the financial planning side, as the markets begin to pick up and people are slowing going back into the markets, you see a lot of...
CAVUTO: We hear of all this cash that’s still sitting out there.
BIBLIOWICZ: There’s still cash out there. The smart ones, you know, continued with the asset allocations. I think people are looking more at what they want to do over the long term as they see the possibility of better returns in the market after a couple of very tough years.
CAVUTO: Where do you see the markets right now? We’re at the cusp of 10,000. Everyone’s watching it closely. How doable? How soon?
BIBLIOWICZ: You know, I try and think about the longer term side of the market, especially when you’re watching people’s investments. I do think you have to feel a lot better about the market today than you have in the past, and I think this is really going to be an opportunity for people to look at the stocks, look at their portfolios, and take a long-term view.
I think companies are very focused on their earnings. You’ve got low interest rates. You’ve got basic pickup in productivity.
CAVUTO: Yes, but, you know, the bear argument has always been, well, it’s a one-shot wonder, we’ve had 18 months of this improvement, it’s getting kind of long in the tooth here, markets are run up too far, too fast, we haven’t had a 10 percent correction since last spring. What do you think of that?
BIBLIOWICZ: And that’s why, I think, that you have to look at stocks very carefully and valuations. I think it’s not just about the index this year.
CAVUTO: What about interest rates? We just showed how they’re faring still for home buyers and those refinancing. Still low.
BIBLIOWICZ: Looks pretty good. And you don’t see...
CAVUTO: Still seem that way?
BIBLIOWICZ: You don’t see the inflation scare coming back into the picture. So, hopefully, things will stay pretty close to as they are right now, and that would be a pretty decent scenario for all of us.
CAVUTO: You know, there’s another school of thought that says because interest rates are so low that maybe the bond market is telling you something, that things are going to kind of slow down a little bit here and that stocks have gotten ahead of themselves.
BIBLIOWICZ: And I think there probably are some stocks that have, and I think that’s why it’s kind of nice to get the balance, and, I mean, from the beginning of time, we’ve always been professing the balance.
It’s always about asset allocation. It’s not about leaving one sector and going into the other hands-down. It’s about what your goals are, what your long-term views are, and keeping some kind of balance in the portfolio. Don’t exit one for a hundred percent of the other.
CAVUTO: Yes, but then, to be fair, a lot of your clients are loaded, right? They have a lot of money.
BIBLIOWICZ: We do focus on the high net worth marketplace in the two categories, but also in the corporate benefits side...
CAVUTO: Right, but my point is that they’re pretty well to do. Now there was this U.S. trust survey on the top 1 percent that kind of reveals this skittishness. How real is that?
BIBLIOWICZ: That was interesting, yes. It’s real, and that’s what I think we’re seeing on the very high-end life insurance side, that people are still much more focused on the risk equation.
They want to see some guarantees in their portfolio, they want to know what’s going to be transferred to the next generation, and they really want to create some kind of mechanism to make sure that their charitable giving is also more based on the wealth transfer as opposed to creating wealth.
CAVUTO: I have the theory, Jessica, that some of them like to go chase dividend stocks, and that would benefit the Dow, that would benefit a lot of the S&P 500 names that are well-known, and that that’s going to keep this going. Do you think?
BIBLIOWICZ: Well, I think, you know, clearly, the tax cuts made that dividend-chasing a very obvious thing to do. I think...
CAVUTO: So you’re not in that camp that says the tax cuts were a mistake.
BIBLIOWICZ: You know, I think they were good for the market, and I think to a certain extent...
CAVUTO: Good for the economy?
BIBLIOWICZ: ... they were good for the economy, good for the market, they get things moving back in, and it gives us a chance to look at these companies again.
CAVUTO: All right. Well, I’m glad this quiet period’s over now, Jessica.
BIBLIOWICZ: We’re back.
CAVUTO: Welcome back to the TV world. Jessica Bibliowicz, again, the most powerful woman on Wall Street here.
BIBLIOWICZ: Thank you.
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