Financial Industry Insights from Advisors Asset Management


2022 Best Ideas

2021 was, in short, a challenging and unpredictable year. As we first turned the calendar, optimism was high as vaccines against COVID-19 became more widely available, bringing with them expectations for a return to “normalcy.” Optimism was further supported by President Biden’s signing of the American Rescue Plan in March, which provided $1.9 trillion in relief to those most financially impacted by the virus. And, later in the year, he signed one of the nation’s largest infrastructure bills which will provide roughly $1.2 trillion to build roads and bridges, expand broadband access and modernize public transit, along with other related priorities. Unemployment dropped precipitously as the economy re-opened. Pent-up consumer demand was unleashed, however supply chain disruptions and a lack of workers created shortages and, not surprisingly, consumer prices (ie: inflation) climbed, recording the largest year-over-year increase in nearly 40 years.

The beginning of the year also brought with it an attack on the U.S. Capitol, the consequences of which are still being dealt with today. Geopolitical concerns in 2021 included the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, increasing U.S./China tensions, and Russia’s military build-up near Ukraine to name a few. Multiple extreme weather events occurred globally, further highlighting the immediate need to address climate change. By early December, roughly 5.4 million people died from the virus, with more than 800,000 of those occurring in the United States. Despite the availability of vaccines, only 7.6% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, while roughly 60% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated with two doses.

From an investor’s perspective, 2021 was another strong year. U.S. equity markets generated robust returns with the DJIA, the Nasdaq Composite, and the S&P 500 all hitting new highs during the fourth quarter. There were a record number of IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) worldwide in 2021. Merger and acquisition activity topped $5 trillion for the first time ever, according to Reuters, driven by significant cash on corporate balance sheets and high equity valuations. In addition, U.S. high-yield bond issuance exceeded 2020’s milestone of $431.8 billion as companies locked in low coupon rates, anticipating rising rates in the near future. Crypto currencies went mainstream and virtual art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) broke onto the scene with “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” by Mike Winkelmann (aka: Beeple) selling at Christie’s auction house for a record-breaking $69 million. As we start the year, the Omicron variant is creating considerable uncertainty as businesses are once again closing, countries have reinstated travel bans, sporting events are canceled, and schools move to virtual models. With that being said, let’s dive into our expectations for 2022.

Click HERE to read the full 2022 Best Ideas piece.


CRN: 2022-0105-9683 R

This commentary is for informational purposes only. All investments are subject to risk and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Please see the Disclosures webpage for additional risk information at commentary-disclosures. For additional commentary or financial resources, please visit


Author Image