Alfred A. Lagan

Alfred Lagan is the founder and chairman of Congress Asset Management Company, a respected investment management firm in Boston, MA. Prior to starting Congress in 1985, he held senior investment positions in several financial services firms. Mr. Lagan holds an MBA from New York University with distinction, and a BA in economics from Iona College. He was born in New York City of Irish immigrant parents, and served four years in the Navy.

recent articles

What Happened to Us in 2011?

Few will mourn the passing of 2011 into the financial history books. From an apparent economic recovery at year end 2010 and high optimism in the financial markets, a succession of natural disasters, economic disappointments, and government failures led to the most volatile year in stock market history. Today there is broad skepticism that the … Read more

America the Bountiful

It was not so long ago that America’s energy dependence was widely believed to be the most serious threat to our economy and our national security. According to the Department of Energy, in 2004 the U.S. was importing 55% of its oil needs of approximately 20 million barrels per day, and the amount reached 60% … Read more

An Early Look at 2012

  Predicting the future is a tricky business but that does not stop people from trying, economists in particular. While skilled at dissecting the current state of affairs, they are fallible when predicting where it will lead. The year now ending is a good example. It began on a note of high optimism after an … Read more

Numbers Don’t Lie

  President Obama’s effort to enact a $447 billion stimulus bill was derailed by rejection of the plan in the U.S. Senate. The administration and Democratic leaders have vowed to resubmit it later in various pieces, a strategy designed to wring political favor from the tragedy of high unemployment while avoiding any culpability for an … Read more

Deal or No Deal?

  The debate over an extension of the debt ceiling remains the central focus of financial news and has generated an increasing level of heated comments and extreme predictions as the self-imposed August 2nd deadline by the Treasury comes clearly into view. It is the prime cause of the increased volatility of the financial markets. … Read more

Greece, and What Comes Next

  Greece is a microcosm for most of the developed world. It is mired in debt and at the mercy of forces beyond its financial control. The downward spiral is accelerating. As a condition for granting the May, 2010 rescue package, the IMF imposed severe austerity measures which included reductions in government social spending and … Read more

A History of Short-Term Solutions

  History proves that fiscal policies can be effective in stimulating private demand in a downturn. To be meaningful, however, the actions must be large enough to restart influential economic sectors and sufficiently broad-based to incentivize consumption. History also shows that temporary measures or narrowly targeted programs simply do not work. The Obama Administration came … Read more

The Tortuous Road to Free Trade

  The Euro–South Korea Free Trade Agreement took effect on July 1, 2011, only eight months after the Agreement was approved by legislators of both countries. By contrast, the U.S.–South Korea Free Trade Agreement was first signed on June 30, 2007, and was held up by opposition from congressional Democrats, unions, and environmental organizations. Free … Read more

The Strategic Reserve Oil Release Is A Drop In The Bucket

  Last week Energy Secretary Chu announced that the United States will release 30 million barrels of crude oil from the strategic reserve, in coordination with the release of an identical amount by the International Energy Agency. As announced, this is strictly a one-off deal and doesn’t represent a change in policy by either the … Read more

A Modern Greek Tragedy

  The financial problems of Greece have dominated the headlines for months. The problems are not new. They have been apparent since the end of 2009 when Greece revealed that its budget deficit would be more than three times previous projections. The March 2010 rescue package (E110 Billion) and austerity measures agreed to by European … Read more

The Haynesville Shale Is a Game Changer

  Arguably the most important economic discovery on American soil was the first successful oil well ever drilled. In 1859 “Colonel” Edwin Drake and his backers succeeded in producing approximately 20 barrels of oil per day at a depth of 69 ½ feet, almost overnight changing the quiet farm community in western Pennsylvania into a … Read more

Our Economic Future Doesn’t Have to Be Bleak

  One of the common misconceptions about our country’s economic condition today is the assertion that we will have to accept a lower standard of living in the future than we have had in the past. It is often phrased in different ways, such as we will have to work harder to get less, or … Read more

On Earthquakes and Upheavals

The tragic 6.3 magnitude earthquake which hit New Zealand’s largest city on February 25th added an eerie element to the series of man made upheavals in north Africa. In short order, the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, and imminently Libya, fell as a spontaneous and explosive wave of street protests forced out their long time rulers. … Read more

Government Debt: Cure or Curse?

The U.S. Treasury announced on its website that, at year end, the national debt topped $14 trillion for the first time. This was an increase from $13 trillion on June 1, 2010, and $12 trillion at year end 2009. When the recession officially began in December 2007, U.S. debt to Gross Domestic Product was about … Read more

A New Economic Direction

At long last, private-sector jobs are growing again. They rose 159,000 in October, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even more encouraging are the revisions to earlier surveys, indicating that the improvement in new jobs was not a one-time event. Job gains for August and September were revised up to 250,000 from 157,000. … Read more

The Right Stuff

Eighteen months later and billions of dollars spent have not resulted in the new jobs that the stimulus program was intended to create. Private-sector employment has actually declined an estimated two million additional persons since the inauguration of the program. The elusive goal of creating private-sector jobs is the subject of much commentary among economists, … Read more

Milestones in a Declining Economy

It helps now and then to revisit past events, especially in the financial industry. Some news items are ascribed momentous importance and considered milestones in our financial history, but beyond the immediate emotional response they evoke, they have no real lasting import. Others, however, hold lessons for the future and should be remembered. Here are … Read more

The Coming Storm

Years ago when our children were young we had a summer cabin on a lake in the mountains of upstate New York. Every now and then, an idyllic summer day would be interrupted by a violent storm. Typically the storm was preannounced by the sudden appearance of dark clouds that gave way to torrents of … Read more

The Bust: How It Happened, and Where We’re Heading

For the securities industry to unravel as spectacularly as it did in September, many parties had to pull on many threads. Mortgage bankers gave loans to Americans for homes they could not afford, often based on inflated house appraisals and no documentation of income or assets. Mortgage bankers immediately transferred these mortgage loans to Fannie … Read more

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