My career on Wall Street now spans over 35 years, eight employers, three states, and thousands of clients investing literally billions of dollars. Along the way I have witnessed an industry evolve in ways I would have never expected.
About fourteen years ago, it became painfully obvious that Wall Street was failing to serve clients with integrity or objectivity. Regulators regarded “advice” (the very thing clients thought they were paying for) as merely “incidental” in the broker/client relationship. In other words, it did not even matter if advice was in the equation – the client was paying only for a transaction. Conflicted interests, a lack of transparency, and cultures of high-pressure sales dominated the landscape. At its core, I believed Wall Street was broken and there had to be a better way.
So, I founded what is now Clearwater Capital Partners. My goal was to create a client-centric firm built with two essential elements: character and competency. Character first because people notice those who do what is right over what is self-serving or easy. Competency second because the complexities of the financial world were advancing rapidly. These two non-negotiables laid the foundation of what is now a reputable and thriving wealth management firm.
Looking back, creating Clearwater Capital Partners proved to be the right thing, for the right reasons, and at the right time. Along the way, we have focused on the long game, patiently building a world-class firm; no shortcuts, no nonsense, no conflicted interests. Today Clearwater Capital remains true to these organizing principals.
Doing what everyone else is doing virtually ensures mediocrity. There is great power in independent thinking and taking a road less traveled. Poet Robert Frost was correct in observing how this can make all the difference. We have no interest in attempting to be all things to all people. However, for those we do serve, we strive to be all things necessary to positively impact what matters most.
Focusing on those things that are essential, while eliminating all that is inconsequential has been our formula for success. We have focused on building our firm by design, not by default. This has forced us to ask some tough questions, make strategic trade-offs, and exercise serious discipline to eliminate the competing priorities that have the potential to distract us from our true objective. The hard work of it all has been rewarding, because only with real clarity of purpose have we been able to achieve something I am truly proud of.
I have created this blog to share lessons learned from my decades on Wall Street, as well as my perspectives on the current economy. I intend to call attention to those things that really matter while filtering out the trivial noise that fills our lives. Discerning what is essential requires discipline in how we process all the competing and conflicting facts, options, and opinions constantly vying for our attention. My goal will be to listen for what others do not hear and see what others have overlooked.