Celebrating 30 Years
Heartland Trust Company turns 30 this year. As we celebrate this milestone, we’ll include a feature on one of our old locations in each quarterly newsletter.
Steve Halverson, chairman of the board and former president, was approved for a charter by the North Dakota Department of Financial Institutions in August 1989 to start an independent trust company. Office space for the upstart trust company was found in the same building as Busy Bubbles Car Wash & Laundromat at 2102 12th Street North in Fargo. Steve’s father, Hans Halverson, owned the building and let Steve use the space for several months while he was getting everything ready. The charter was officially granted on January 18, 1990. Doors officially opened for Heartland Trust Company on January 23, 1990, and as Steve likes to add, “the door didn’t open, and the phone didn’t ring.”
Investment Year in Review for 2019
The year 2019 was a solid one for investors. A year after one of the worst fourth quarters since the Great Recession, stocks rebounded to close 2019 with several major indexes reaching record highs.
During the year, investors faced a yield curve inversion for the first time since 2007, a slowing economy, and a constant barrage of positive and negative information on the trade war with China. Nevertheless, investors stayed the course for most of the year, pushing stocks to their best year since 2013.
Each of the benchmark indexes listed here closed 2019 in fine fashion, led by the tech stocks of the Nasdaq, which gained more than 35.0%. The large caps of the Dow (22.34%) and the S&P 500 (28.88%) also fared well by year’s end. The small caps of the Russell 2000 began the year on a tear, ending February up almost 17.0%. However, the small-cap benchmark index pulled back some in March, but remained a steady gainer for much of the rest of the year, closing 2019 about 24.0% ahead of where it started.
Meet Missy Zarak
Meet Missy Zarak
Missy is an administrative associate working in the personal trust area. She provides excellent service to clients with trust, agency, and IRA accounts. She has over 30 years of experience in the trust business and has served many clients over the years in various roles.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Dickinson, North Dakota, in a large family as one of 12 children. Following graduation at Trinity High School, I finished college at Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minnesota, and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in legal assistant studies.
I commute every day from Wahpeton, North Dakota, where I live with my husband, Mark. We have four children who are now all adults: Cole, Cody, Carson, and Carleigh. I have been promoted from mother to grandmother status and I’m now called “Ma Ga” by two beautiful granddaughters. Spending time with my growing family is one of my greatest pleasures.
HTC Team News
In December, the Heartland Trust team made tie-blankets to donate to the YWCA.
Dropping off blankets at the YWCA (Pictured L to R: Gary Hanson, Jan Nelson, Mary Fridgen, Renee Hobbs, Lori Theis, and Erin Prochnow of the YWCA)
Be Present; Be Great
After my grandmother’s funeral in early August, the message from Pastor Corey Bjertness stuck with
me: “Achieving meaningful greatness comes from having good character and consistently being
present.” In our family life, meaningful greatness is not achieved by working long hours so your kids can
have the fanciest toys or electronics. In our work life, it’s not achieved through a grand marketing plan
or a single transaction.
Meaningful greatness is achieved by consistently being present.
When it comes to family, there are things we don’t want to miss: T-ball games, summer vacations, piano
recitals, and more. There are also those small moments you don’t realize you miss.
Agent for Trustee: Another Service Heartland Trust Provides
If you’ve been named as an individual trustee, it’s often considered an honor. However, you
now have significant responsibilities to the current and future beneficiaries of the trust,
which may feel overwhelming. Some of your duties as a trustee are to administer the trust
in accordance with the terms of the agreement, invest the trust assets, keep accurate
records, make sure the taxes are filed, and process distributions to beneficiaries. Plus, you
are responsible for managing the family dynamics of the trust beneficiaries.
One way to alleviate the pressures of your trust administration duties is to partner with a
corporate fiduciary in the capacity as an Agent for Trustee. Working with a corporate
fiduciary allows you access to professionals who have knowledge, experience, and
expertise in trust administration and investment management.
Why You May Need a 401(k) Investment Policy Statement
No matter how business savvy you are, choosing how to invest your money can be tricky.
If you are a business owner who sponsors a retirement plan, this becomes even more
worrisome because you are expected to choose investments to offer your employees.
While it is possible to divest yourself from some of the risk involved in this process
(a larger topic for a future article), as a retirement plan sponsor you can never completely
remove yourself from this fiduciary duty. This is why an investment policy statement may be
right for you.
An investment policy statement (IPS) is simply a roadmap that a retirement plan sponsor
uses to select and regularly evaluate the investments that they offer to their employees in
the retirement plan. While there are no government regulations that require you to have
one, adopting an IPS can make it easier for you to operate efficiently, and give you some
much-needed peace of mind on the topic of investments.
What Are the Warning Signs of Financial Scams Targeting Older Individuals?
If you or someone you know has been targeted by a scam artist who is trying to steal
money or personal information, you’re not alone. According to the Senate Special
Committee on Aging, older Americans lose an estimated $2.9 billion annually to fraud and
exploitation, a number that is probably substantially underreported.
Most scams start with a call, an email, a text, or an official-looking letter that appears to be
from a government agency or a legitimate company. Sometimes the scam artist will go
door-to-door soliciting business or donations to charity.
Scam artists are very good at gaining the trust of well-meaning people by convincingly
impersonating someone authoritative, knowledgeable, or trustworthy — such as an IRS
agent, a tech repair person, or even a relative. They play on your sympathy or make
convincing threats to pressure you to go along with a scam. “Send money or provide
personal information right now, if you want to help someone or prevent something bad
from happening” they say.
Here are some typical scenarios:
- IRS scam: “You owe back taxes and penalties. Send payment immediately via a wire
transfer, or you will be arrested.”
- Sweepstakes scam: “Congratulations, you’ve won a prize! To collect it, provide us with
your bank account number so we can deposit a check.”
- Grandparent scam: “Hi Grandma, it’s me. Don’t you recognize my voice? I’ve been in an
accident and need money for car repairs. Send gift cards, and don’t tell anyone because
- Home repair scam: “I was just doing some work down the street for your neighbor,
Bob, and I saw that you need some shingles replaced. I can do that for half the price I
usually charge if you pay me in cash today.”
If you are targeted, never give out personal information or send money. You don’t need to
make a quick decision. Call a friend, a relative, or the police for advice. Report the scam
immediately to a fraud hotline such as the Senate Committee’s toll-free hotline, (855) 303-
Source: U.S Senate Special Committee on Aging, 2019
Meet Mary Fridgen
Meet Mary Fridgen.
Mary is the newest member of our team. She is an administrative associate who handles the receptionist duties. She is the energetic voice you’ll probably hear if you call us. We can already tell she’s a great fit for our team.
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up just outside the small town of Wheaton, Minnesota, on my parents’ farm. I have three sisters and one brother who have blessed me with the honor of being an aunt to four nieces and five nephews who are AMAZING. After high school, I moved to Moorhead and attended M State, graduating with an AAS in administrative assisting. I currently live in Fargo with my boyfriend Augi, and I’m so excited to see what this great opportunity at HTC has in store for me.
HTC Team News and Honors
Brian Halverson, President, seen below with the Association of Trust Organizations (ATO) board of directors at the annual conference in Denver, CO. Halverson was this year’s Chair of the three-day conference that brings together trust industry professionals from around the country and nationally recognized speakers to discuss vital topics, trends, and issue facing the trust industry. Halverson is also an ATO board member and the Chair of its Next Generation Network.