Author: David C. Fulton, Jr., CFA, President and CEO
Clearstead will be thirty years old in August 2019.
Since 1989, the firm has grown to become a prominent institutional and private client advisory firm. Today we have eighty-three employees, thirty-three of whom are shareholders; an institutional consulting group that advises over $16.5 billion for retirement funds, endowments and foundations, and hospitals; and a private client group that serves as a multi-family office for more than 570 clients and almost $4.0 billion in assets. We are based in Cleveland and serve clients in forty-two states.
Our business is different from money management or mutual fund companies. We are a financial services firm, and as our list of clients grows, and services expand, we must attract quality people to support our growth. In the last year we have added ten professionals – in investment research, institutional consulting, private client service, and tax planning and compliance – from top universities, and other firms. Strong people join us because we are a growing and collegial firm that offers the opportunity for ownership, professional freedom, and competitive compensation. It is our policy to hire in advance of need to maintain the highest client service standards, and we are seeking new talent constantly.
Our thirty-year anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on what has led to our growth. Below are three factors we consider especially important:
First, we are fiercly objective. Our only source of revenue is fees paid by clients for financial advice. We do not sell products – ours or anyone else’s. Our objectivity – finding the best possible solutions for the best possible price – assures clients we act solely in their interest. As we consider other firms to acquire to complement our organic growth, we look for firms that also are objective advisors, and not firms that have other motivations.
Second, we are grateful. We are grateful to clients for their trust, business, and referrals. At every institutional and private client meeting we express our thanks. We are mindful that our success depends on their support. We also are grateful for our colleagues. Clearstead is a firm, we say often, “without sharp elbows.” Our regard for one another is manifest in our team approach to serving clients – we pitch in and put client interests ahead of our own. This is markedly different from prevailing cultures in financial services.
Third, we committed to continuous improvement. Objectivity and gratitude spur us to seek better ways to serve clients, and in the past year we have made substantial enhancements:
- Adopted a new name – Clearstead Advisors, LLC – that captures the evolution of our firm, and the energy we bring to our endeavors
- Honed our discretionary services for institutional clients, often described as OCIO or Outsourced Chief Investment Officer services
- Streamlined the committee structure of our investment process
- Incorporated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors in our investment process
- Sponsored roundtables featuring leading experts on OCIO, ESG, and Investing for Millennials
- Developed vehicles for clients to invest in private equity and hedge funds
- Built on the success of our women’s initiative, EmpowHER, which has led to more women employees and shareholders
- Initiated a Diversity and Inclusion Council, which facilitated unconscious bias training for all employees, and which advocates for hiring diverse candidates in professional positions
These enhancements, in addition to innumerable others over thirty years, have propelled us to a leadership position in our industry. We are committed to continuously improving our service to clients, and to becoming a better firm.
Thank you for your support for these thirty years. We are grateful. We continue to work hard to earn your trust, business, and referrals.
Find Your Clarity
We provide objective financial leadership through our fee-only advisory model. We do not offer proprietary products and receive no commissions from the investments we recommend: our only source of revenue is advisory fees we receive for financial advice. Our objectivity is central to the effective service we provide our clients.
1100 Superior Avenue East
Suite 700 | Cleveland, Ohio 44114