We do spend a lot of time with all of our clients, especially at the beginning as we're getting started in a relationship. We want to fully understand everything that's important to them. If they're still working we want to know, what is their time horizon? How long do they expect to continue working until they retire? In retirement, that's not when you stop investing in the market. It's just a time that maybe there are some different goals. Maybe things need to be adjusted. But we do spend a lot of time understanding, what are their income needs, do they want some growth in their investments, what is their risk tolerance, what can they tolerate in terms of fluctuations in the market and still be able to sleep at night. So we want to have a full understanding of all those different facets their outlook before we come up with what is really the appropriate investment approach for them.
One of the things that we're proud of that RiverPoint is the fact that we really do understand women as investors. We have significant female leadership at RiverPoint and I think it's a very big strength of ours to really understand how women investors are different than other investors, than male investors. Women investors... women don't view investing as a competition. They view it as a means to an end. A means to a goal. Providing for their family, making sure that their money lasts as long as it needs to. One of the challenges women face is that they live longer than men. And what that means is that they're money and their investments have to last a very long time. And so we are...we're very very good at working with investment portfolio to make sure that it's structured in a way that will do that. And I think we're very... we're very sensitive to women because we have women here. And we've helped women through transitions in their lives. Whether it's the death of a spouse, whether it's a divorce, whether it's someone that is single that is... wants to make sure that she has the money she needs in order to provide for her life.
A lot of women are newer to the concept of investing. A lot of women haven't been investing their own money, at all, or for as long. I have found a lot of women take a much different approach to the purpose for investing. We want to find the right situation when working with women, that can help them sleep at night. We don't want them to be too worried about, what's going to happen tomorrow, what's going to happen to their portfolio if we get some volatility or there's problems in Greece or Cyprus. We want our clients, all our clients, to feel comfortable. But what we find is that women really are just looking to make sure that they're comfortable enough, they can sleep at night and not be too concerned with what might happen. It's really important for them to have that comfort level to really be able to focus on the longer-term: what is the goal of these investments? It's not just "Hey, can I get a 10% return next year?" it's "will I be able to retire comfortably? Will I have what I need? How much do I need so that I can retire and live comfortably?" And so we really want to focus on those longer-term goals and help women, and all clients, understand what that really means. To be successful, is meeting those long-term goals.
I'm Leon Lowenstein, Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist, and my primary responsibility is setting asset allocation for all of our clients. One of the things that makes RiverPoint unique, is our ability to customize a portfolio for a client based on their specific objectives for income, preservation of capital or growth.
We recognize a real rewarding part of our business is when anytime a client is making a financial decision, no matter how removed it is from the investment portfolio and their first call is to us. Just to get RiverPoint's opinion. "Does this make sense?" "Does this fit into our overall strategy?" or maybe "this isn’t an area that expertise I have, but I know you have RiverPoint, can give me your thoughts?" And that's where we're really looking to match the skills that we bring to bear at RiverPoint with the client situation. So we have charter financial analyst on our team, we have CPA's on our team, we have CFP's, which is a certified financial planners, on our team. So were working with a client, certainly we have a responsibility in managing the portfolio but we're helping you any other manner financial planning and we'll go to whatever resource on our team is a best-fit there. From investment perspective, we’ve got an investment team. So any decision we make in a client portfolio is made collectively. The team will look at every security we own, will talk about every security that we own from a bottom-up perspective. Make a decision if it's appropriate for our clients in general. What I really enjoy about what we do at RiverPoint is working with the client. That sitting at the table with a client, understanding their goals and objectives, their level of risk tolerance and then helping them achieve those goals. I also enjoy the investment piece of our business. What we do is far more than just managing the investment assets. But given my background, as a Chartered Financial Analyst, I enjoy that piece talking about the investments and how they fit in to the overall objective for the client.
*CPA licenses are inactive
You know, we approach everything we do as a team. All client relationships have at least two portfolio managers or wealth advisors on that relationship. We want all our clients to have a few people that they can go to. We also work on a team basis on every portfolio that we put together, they are customized, but we're working as a team when we're determining what is part of our strategy, "Which stocks do we want to have in a portfolio?" We have a lot of different strengths among our team. So we have very strong analytical capabilities, we have strong economic outlook and how do we want to apply that into our overall investment strategy. So we have a lot of different people as part of the team coming together to really create the overall best portfolios and overall best solutions for our clients.
One of the things that makes RiverPoint really unique is the people at RiverPoint. We not only believe we are a family, but all the professionals at RiverPoint really really care about working with each other, treating each other with respect and that carries over to how we serve and treat our client.
The most satisfying thing for me about serving clients on investing is that we can make a very meaningful difference in people's financial lives. Our clients work very hard for their money. They have worked very hard for their money and what’s very important is to make sure those assets are preserved and that they grow and making that meaningful difference in somebody's life.
That is what makes our firm unique is that everyone at RiverPoint as experienced we as are, as hardworking as we are, and we care about the client. We truly truly truly value making a difference in the lives of our clients. I think what drives most of us at RiverPoint now is our passion for investing. We love what we do but more importantly deep down it's making a difference in the lives of our clients. We've been working for a lot of our clients for three generations. So we've started with grandparents down to the parents and now down to the next generation and I think we've been successful at that because we always do what's in the best interest of the client and our clients know that.
For me, it's being able to work with the individual client help them you know achieve their goals and objectives. It's more important the trust they have in you that when they leave, that they're walking out the door and they're saying to themselves "I don't have to worry about my investments and that Ryan, RiverPoint, or the team is taking care of that for me." So having the trust from the individual clients feels good and it's pretty satisfying too to be able to see individuals attain their goals or objectives and make sure they have enough income in retirement for whatever it is they're trying to achieve.
We want to be that trusted advisor that the client knows they can turn to us and we will help coordinate that relationship with the accountant, with the attorney, and with their next generation.
Communication is very important. It's important to our clients, it's important to us because our responsibility is to make sure that a client feels comfortable with the investment strategy that is executed in their investment portfolio. They have to feel comfortable with the ups and downs on the market and so we take our responsibility in communicating with our clients very seriously. We talk to them through a monthly RiverPoint newsletter, market insights, so that they understand kind of the big picture what's going on in the investment markets. When there's any kind of market turmoil, we are first on the phone to our clients to talk to them about what is going on, how they should view it and what's being done in their investment portfolio to respond to that. So I think that close the communication that we have and our dedication to that is really important to our clients. We have a 98 percent client retention rate and we're very very proud of that. And one of the reasons for that is that we do communicate with our clients a lot and they feel comfortable with what's being done with their investment assets. We always want to be meeting with clients to talk face to face with them. To understand what their financial objectives are, to see what changes have occurred in their lives and their families lives. Because where you are today is not where you might be in five or 10 years and so we always have to understand what is really going on with the client's life in order to make sure that their investment portfolio and their financial plan properly reflects that and that will end up doing what it's supposed to do for them and so they can reach their goals.
Any client that is really looking for an investment approach that's built around them would find a good fit here at RiverPoint because we'll spend so much time really trying to uncover what it is they're looking to achieve and set up a portfolio that is very much built around that client's objective. We don't put our clients into a box A, B or C. Each individual client is different, it doesn't matter really what their age is. Everybody has a different risk tolerance. Everybody has a different goal, objective. For some people it's retirement planning. For some people it’s just to make sure they have enough income in retirement. For some people it's, you know, planning for their children or grandchildren and so when we look at their entire situation we build a customized portfolio based upon their objectives. So each individual is different, their allocation is different. And in certain circumstances the individual underlying investments can be different for those individuals.
RiverPoint as a registered investment advisor is held to what's called a fiduciary standard and that fiduciary standard says that legally we have to do three things essentially. We have to put our client's interests above our own, individually and the firm. We have to disclose to a client any conflict of interest that we may have in any investment they we’re recommending. And then finally, we have to be very true to our client and not mislead them in any way. And you might think that that is a reasonable standard that would apply for anyone in the industry whose handling someone else's money but the truth is it's not. Several representatives within the industry, particularly the broker-dealer, are held to what we think is a lower standard called a suitability standard. Which means that they have to make investment recommendations that are deemed suitable given the client's financial situation. There's no mention of putting the client's interests first and there's no requirement to disclose any conflict of interest. And that has a real bearing on the outcome for the client.
So the real benefit to our clients of RiverPoint, serving as a fiduciary to them and to their family, is that they know we will always do what's in their best interest. Because we do not get paid for trading, we do not get paid or receive any commissions for anything we do, we know we're on the same side of the table as the client. I think that differentiate us among a lot of other advisors that actually, can we see fees from mutual funds? Can we see commissions from selling life insurance or other products? We do not. And we always want to say to our clients "I have nothing to gain by what I am sharing with you. I am strictly giving you our professional opinion as to what we would do and what we believe is in your best interest."
RiverPoint was founded on the principles of integrity and independence. Those are the principles that our predecessor firm, Scudder, Stevens & Clark, were founded on also. Scudder, was an important heritage for us because that firm was the first independent investment advisor in the country. They were a fee-based investment advisor, totally dedicated to the best interests of their clients, and at Riverpoint that's a very important tradition to us. And our Cincinnati office dates back to 1924, the roots date back to 1924. So we're very very proud of our heritage of really putting clients at the center of everything that we do. I would say that what makes RiverPoint unique is our passion, our people and our performance. We're very very proud of the performance of our investment strategy over the years for our clients but the thing that really underlines that is the passion that we have for investing. The people here really really love investing. They have a passion for it. We also have a passion for serving clients and it all revolves around the people that we have. We have people that are tremendous experts in investing, experts in financial planning and they have an average of twenty years of experience in our business and that's important to clients. We're very excited about our Mariner partnership. What it does is it provides us with an expanded set of investment resources to serve our clients. So it's really having the best of both worlds - it's having a large set of resources that will enable us to always know that we are serving our clients in the best way possible, have the most thoughtful investment strategies, the right market analysis. But that's paired with the close personal attention up having a local firm. A local office that can really be there for people from a personal service standpoint.
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