2022 was the year of the opposite. Every market trend and economic reality we’ve known to be true the last ~12 years swung the other way. This resulted in the most difficult market environment in my ~19-year investing career.
We take our duty of protecting client assets seriously. Our investment approach is predicated on reducing extreme negative events. Most of our client portfolios were positioned conservatively; however, there were few places to hide.
We can say with confidence having a framework for dialing down risk when markets get ugly has been paramount. Many advisors make allocation decisions on the fly, often times based on short-term noise or influence from outside sources. This can lead to emotional decisions and wild swings in client allocations. Others simply “stay the course”, which is fine for a 30-something, but perhaps not ideal for someone approaching retirement.
Given the avalanche of negative headlines, we decided to ramp up our market related communication. We wrote about financial markets in virtually every Sunday blog. We started a monthly market commentary series. We started sending a monthly market recap email with positioning changes. We wanted clients to know we weren’t sitting idle.
At the company level, despite facing the headwind of a down market, Pure Portfolios grew our assets under management. As of 1/11/2023, we manage ~$245 million for clients across 15 states.
The growth we’ve seen is not typical for a firm of our size. Years of consistently producing content has started to bear fruit. Potential clients from all over the country are finding us with minimal effort on our part. This distinction is important as many advisors spend the majority of their days finding new clients rather than doing the work. Client service, financial planning, and portfolio management is at the forefront of what we do. Pure Portfolios does not have salespeople, sales goals, or a culture of maximizing the bottom-line. People over profits wins the day.
While we are thrilled with the growth of the company, we will never sacrifice client service in the name of growth.
As our client base grows, so does the number of Pure associates (we are close to hiring another advisor). We felt it was important to identify the daily behaviors that reflected our values. We came up with our own Process Driven Culture, here are our favorites…
Clients are the Star of the Show
Make every engagement about them.
We can lose, but don’t lose the lesson.
Required to Give Colleagues Feedback with Positive Intent
If you let something slide that could be fixed with an unpleasant conversation, you’re hurting the company.
Play the Long Game
Don’t cut corners for short term wins. People over profits.
It can be tough to identify what your values look like when you’re maturing as a company. The Process Driven Culture gives associates tangible behaviors that reflect what we stand for. This has also made it easier to hire. It’s quite obvious when a candidate does not fit our culture.
We created an annual client survey. Receiving candid client feedback (even if negative) will help us chart the future path of Pure’s client experience.
We are the verge of launching a new website. The new site reflects our messaging, culture, and problems we help people solve. Our mission is simple; provide personalized advice for a lower fee than traditional advisors.
Lastly, it’s bittersweet to say farewell to Pure Portfolios’ founding partner, David Gewant in 2023. David is heeding his call of giving back to the community. David earned his MBA in non-profit management back in 2018. This was always part of Pure’s succession plan, but it still doesn’t make it easy to say goodbye to a loyal partner, friend, and colleague.
Without David, Pure Portfolios would not exist. He provided credibility to a quirky 34-year old’s vision of creating a new kind of wealth management experience. In the early days, David balanced my grand ambition, random ideas, and irrationality with a measured disposition.
We are excited to see what David accomplishes in his next philanthropic journey.
We understand none of this would be possible without the partnerships we have forged with our clients over the years. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for being a part of Pure Portfolios.
Nik Schuurmans, CFA
Toby Weber, CFA