American Investment Services, Inc.

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"AIS publications do not appeal to the millions of investors who are addicted to chasing stock market fluctuations"

E.C. Harwood

American Investment Services (AIS) is an SEC Registered Investment Adviser* founded in 1978.

We proudly use funds provided by Dimensional Fund Advisors, Vanguard, and other low-cost providers.

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Covering developments in investment theory and financial markets, and analyzing their potential significance for individual investors. A review of the capital markets is published quarterly with sample investment allocations. Print and Digital subscriptions available

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The Coronavirus and Market Volatility

Fears about the COVID-19 outbreak led the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index into a correction (a drop of 10% or more from a recent high) in just six days, the fastest time to a correction from an all-time high ever. However, a few days afterward, stocks rallied, with the S&P 500—which recovered more than 40% of its losses from its February 19 close to its midday low on February 28—and other indexes notching record point gains. Since then, stocks have been extremely volatile.

When markets fluctuate, sticking to the plan you’ve laid out becomes more important than ever.

Benefits of Working with an Independent Investment Adviser

Understand exactly what you are paying for

We charge a fee based on a percentage of total assets managed. This fee structure is simple, transparent and easy to understand.

Know where your money is held

Our clients' assets are held at independent qualified third-party custodians. Each have strong balance sheets, and their primary business is servicing client assets rather than trading for their own accounts. Clients have real time online access to accounts and transactions.

Separation of asset management and fund management functions

This separation improves transparency and accountability, limits the potential for conflicts of interest, and provides for multiple independent reviews and oversight of accounts.

Unaffiliated brokerage accounts have full regulatory protections

The customer protection rule ensures that your assets are held in customer accounts that are segregated from the brokerage firm's assets. Client accounts are covered by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation and private excess insurance above those limits.

In Memoriam:
Lawrence S. Pratt

It is with great sorrow that we report the passing of Larry Pratt on June 27.

Larry Pratt

Larry served in several roles at AIER and AIS. He made a profound contribution to both organizations, through illuminating our readers and helping our clients prosper.

Larry started at AIER in 1973 and went on to take on nearly every job and hold nearly every title. He first worked on the research staff under the guidance of AIER’s founder, Col. E.C. Harwood, eventually he became director of research and education. He also served as president of AIS during the 1990s, and was the driving force behind much of its investment research.

Larry’s name may not be as familiar to supporters of AIER as it should be. For most of his tenure AIER did not print by-lines identifying the authors of articles. Suffice to say, his articles stood out for their sharp analysis, persuasiveness, timeliness, relevance, wit, and humor (example: he titled an article comparing the dollar to other fiat currencies “The World’s Tallest Dwarf”).  It’s not easy to write about economics for non-economists in an engaging way, but Larry viewed that as an essential part of the job. That he was able to do so week after week for nearly four decades is astonishing.

In addition to countless articles, he wrote a number of books, including How to Invest Wisely.  He also edited many articles and books for AIER, often taking the straw of early drafts and spinning it into gold. He also taught a seminar in AIER’s Summer Fellowship Program, on “Thinking Like an Economist,” aimed at encouraging the summer fellows (mostly graduate students in economics) to consider how they might help non-economists to better understand the world.

Larry’s research spanned numerous areas ranging from monetary economics to personal finance. His varied interests, including history and science, served him well. Staff would frequently turn to Larry for help with various aspects of inquiry, ranging from empirical methodology to government policy.

While Larry focused primarily on educating the layman, he made important contributions to the discipline. In the early 1980s he quietly lent critical support to the “supply side revolution” by providing key analytical support behind his friend George Gilder’s seminal work “Wealth and Poverty.” His work on the high-yield Dow investment approach preceded, and ultimately improved upon, more popular but simplistic approaches.

Larry’s many contributions serve as inspiration for future generations of AIER scholars and AIS staff. He will be missed greatly.  We extend our condolences to his wife Abby, sons Robert and Sam, and their family.

Staying in Your Seat

The Uncommon Average