One year ago I left my position as a Trust Officer at a regional trust company to join forces with my new colleagues at Capital Financial Planners, LLC. Although I knew that making that move was the right thing to do it was nevertheless a serious, multi-pronged challenge. For myself, not only was there to be a substantial change in business structure and culture, but there was a fundamental change of regulatory environments as well. Which is, by the way, probably why it is very rare to see someone from the banking/trust world elect to change over to investment advisory world: trust company professionals are regulated by the banking authorities and are exempt from needing security and/or advisory licenses. Once you are well established and successful in the bank/trust environment it takes an extraordinarily compelling reason to walk away from that career and to pursue a new one that is subject to FINRA and SEC licensing requirements.
So, in 2013 I chose to focus on three broad projects: first, helping to freshen up our firm’s image and persona. This meant thinking carefully about who we are and enunciating what kind of specific service we provide, and then develop a new business logo, new website, and other branding messages to help tell that story. Second, conducting face to face meetings with our friends in the estate planning community to share with them our evolving business, as well as to learn about what is going on with them and their practices. Investing in those collegial relationships, and making them authentic, is deeply important to us. And finally, passing the FINRA exams (Series 7, 66, & 65).
Suffice it to say, it’s great to have 2013 in the rear view mirror. Years like this don’t come along that often, years in which a tremendous amount of change and growth occur within a relatively short amount of time; when time turns a corner and many things on this side are new. Blessedly, these changes took place during a great stretch of time in the market. In fact, due to the combination of the rising tide and our business growth, mid way through the year we passed over a symbolically important threshold in terms of our total assets under management.
In looking at 2014, we find ourselves at the beginning of another tremendous year. This is Capital Financial Planners, LLC’s 30th anniversary and, I must say, what a privilege it is to be here. This business was started in 1984 by Judy Heltzel from scratch, with a desk and a phone. Today we’re four desks, soon to be five, and experiencing a controlled, deliberate expansion of our services, adding new resources and staff.
What will 2014 bring us economically? Who knows. We certainly don’t. Much of the same, we expect, and certainly things that we could never expect. As Charles Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders puts it, the economy seems to have achieved “escape velocity”, which is a good thing. That said, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if we experience a market correction (or several) soon. 2013 was a great year, and some price reversions would not be unreasonable. The markets will undoubtedly vary, of course. From the investor’s point of view, the most important thing to do is confirm the appropriateness of one’s investment objective, strategy, holdings & allocation and then exercise the discipline to carry it out without getting too distracted by headlines and sound bites.
– Chad Campbell