Our Investment Philosophy

chess pieces

We create for each of our clients a strategic business plan for investing that brings vision, structure and discipline to the preservation and growth of capital, often over multiple generations.

Our investment philosophy is grounded in these tenets:

  • Goals-Driven and Pragmatic. We have a singular focus: To maximize the probability you will achieve your financial and non-financial goals in the real world using real dollars (net of taxes, fees, inflation). We assess portfolio progress and vulnerability in context of where you are now and what you want to accomplish (not just in abstract financial terms).
  • Focus on What We Can Control. Markets are unpredictable and results uncertain, while attempting to time the markets is humbling and flawed. We therefore devote our energy and expertise to factors that increase the probability of successful portfolio outcomes, including: goals-based asset allocation; investment vetted by in-depth due diligence; and the astute management of taxes and fees.
  • Long-term, Nimble Positioning. We work to know you and your circumstances from the very start of our relationship. This allows us to build portfolios that meet your needs and are aligned with your goals through full market cycles, including periods of intense volatility. All the while, we pay careful attention to changing market dynamics.
  • Returns Are an Outcome of Risk. We believe focusing on risk first is the key to long-term investment success. We work to understand, calibrate, and get compensated for the many dimensions of risk embedded in your portfolio. Our aim: to take on risk commensurate with the return required to achieve your goals.
  • All Investments Have Impact Positive and Negative. We believe environmental and social considerations are material factors when underwriting an investment. Along with many other factors impacting company performance and profitability, they can lower investment risk and/or enhance return, while creating shared value for all stakeholders. This is not a values- based approach but simply smart investing.

Our decision-making process has the following underpinnings:

  • We place very little weight on Wall Street forecasts and media reporting. Based on multifaceted data analysis and research, including input from the asset managers we work with, we attempt to understand what is happening in a historical context and the unique aspects of current circumstances. This allows us to drown out the noise in managing portfolios.
  • Third-order thinking. We avoid simplistic cause-and-effect analysis: A is happening because of B (1st order thinking). Instead, we consider the variety of scenarios that can arise from current developments (2nd order thinking), and we set our course based on the longer-term repercussions of the most likely scenarios (3rd order thinking).
  • Recognition of cognitive bias. One of the greatest detractors to investment success is human bias. We therefore apply behavioral finance — the study of how emotions and cognitive biases can distort sound investment decision-making — to every facet of our work. We consistently seek to detect and mitigate bias in decision-making, including within our investment team, the asset managers we work with, as well as in our clients’ thinking.