I love the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same” as it can apply to so many aspects of our lives. For me, some things have certainly changed; I am now a father of two wonderful – and utterly exhausting – daughters. But more has stayed the same, in that family is still the center of my universe.
At Strategic Wealth Partners, I think this saying applies perfectly to our investment approach. There is no denying that the investment universe is always changing. There are consistently new publicly listed stocks, ETFs, hedge funds, and more. There are new asset management companies and old brokerage companies that are doing new things. We get called almost daily by investment sales professionals with different ideas and alternative ways to invest our client assets. We pride ourselves on being forward thinking and open to all of these new ideas (pending extensive due diligence, of course).
That said, in an investment world of so much change, we are also proud to say that our investment approach has stayed the same over the past 11 years (actually a lot longer if you count our founders’ experience before starting Strategic Wealth Partners). And this approach, to us, is part of the foundation of our firm.
Every individual, family, or business we work with has some unique situation, goal, or need. Our approach of building personalized portfolios based on each client’s unique circumstances has been a constant value since we opened our doors. However, efficiency is essential too. We are continually evolving internally to systematize our back-office operations. We have adopted new technology over-time, including financial planning and performance reporting software.
These changes, including automating what we can, allow us to continue constructing personalized investment portfolios for our clients as we always have. We believe this is highly valued by our clients.
We have always had an internal Investment Committee comprised of firm principals, advisors, financial planners, and associates. We think it is imperative for our advisors and all “wealth team” members to participate in our Investment Committee because these are the professionals who converse daily with our clients. This group has grown significantly as the firm has grown, but the core responsibilities of the committee have remained the same:
- Continual oversight of managers and strategies
- Approving the use of new strategies, and terminating others
- Flexibility to introduce new strategies
- How to implement different strategies in client portfolios
Since our firm’s inception, we have strived to eliminate the conflicts of interest that exist in our business. We have always operated under a fiduciary standard, which means we are required to put each client’s interest first. One example of how this works in practice: We are paid only by our clients, and only for providing advice. We receive no incentives to recommend a particular investment manager or product. Having an objective approach has been of critical importance since the founding of our firm. This is a core tenet of our investment approach, and in an ever-changing world, it remains unchanged.
The idea of “change” can be exciting. I can’t believe how much my life has changed over the past five years. I now own a house in the suburbs and spend my free time at my older daughter’s dance recitals. But things also have stayed the same. I leave this new house to take my daughters to the same restaurants that I went to as a kid. How could I raise them without enjoying delicious burgers at Charlie Beinlich’s or pizza and ribs from Nite ‘N Gale?
Similarly, while so much has changed at work, it feels good to know that not everything is different. Our investment approach, as I described above, remains the same as it was when we opened in 2008. The investment world is changing around us, but our philosophy, approach to portfolio construction, research, and overall objectivity are exactly what they have always been. We are exceptionally proud of this and of the growing organization we’ve built to serve our clients.
Are your circumstances changing? We are always available to help you with what’s changing – and what’s staying the same.