Lifetime Employment

Written by John Osbon on October 7, 2015

Does your investment advisor believe in lifetime employment in one place? This one does. The typical revolving door career path in wealth management rarely benefits the client. It often involves multiple moves from firm to firm, almost always for the purpose of higher compensation, followed by the sale of one’s book of business to another firm or another advisor. That revolving door-and-exit scenario is not my plan. Not even close. Here’s why.

In it for the very long haul

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Lifetime employment is the rare exception in wealth management. But that’s my plan. With all my job changes way behind me, I intend to spend the rest of my career working hard at Osbon Capital, and I am not the only one named Osbon who feels that way. I’m a firm believer in the long-term, including the benefits of long-term investing: compounding, continuity, consistency. Working forever, with no intention to someday sell my clients to the highest bidder fosters three more C’s for clients: clarity, conviction, and constancy. It does keep one sharp.

I’ve noted before how advisor moves conspire against the best interests of investors (see “Your advisor is moving. Should you, too?”). Lifetime employment in one place has the opposite result: strong, honest, lasting relationships; shared values; aligned interests. Undistracted by my own career goals I can focus on helping clients achieve their own personal, professional and family goals.

The power of family at work for you

It’s well known that likelihood of a family firm making it to the next generation is less than 10 percent, either through lack of interest or lack of skill in the second generation. I am fortunate that Max Osbon, age 27, has plenty of both skill and interest and has been proving it every day since he joined Osbon full-time in May 2013. In January of 2016 I look forward to making a very positive announcement for clients about his deepening involvement here.

A multi-generational family-owned and family-run business has advantages the corporate world can only envy, including trust, common interest, and long-term thinking. Most firms and advisors are most worried about monetizing when they retire or exit the business. We aspire to the opposite – to make sure Osbon goes on for as long as the mind can imagine.

Warren again

I’ll never be Warren Buffett, but I love the way he thinks – always putting the long-term interests of his millions of investors ahead of short-term goals. At 85 and going strong, he’s a great role model. Operating an investment management firm requires daily judgment, discipline and clear thinking, all wonderful consequences of excellent physical and mental health. And that’s why I love the daily physical life – decathlon, basketball, splitting wood, skiing – anything that keeps the body in tune with the mind.

The 100-year timeframe

A client asked recently, “How can you invest my money if you are different than me?” It’s a great question. We spend very little time working on our own portfolio, leaving me free to focus on your unique financial position, family, cash flow needs, and so on. Constructing unique portfolios for unique people is a skill I have practiced for decades. Every portfolio here reflects the client’s needs, not mine. My own investment timeframe is very simple: I am investing the family money for our children’s grandchildren, or for about 100 years.

Built to last

Regular readers also know that we indexers do not predict. Instead, we plan carefully. We focus on things we can control. We ignore those we can’t, like future prices or political events. I won’t predict the future of Osbon Capital, either. I will say that Osbon Capital is built to last 100 years and will remain a 100 percent family-owned firm unless it can’t. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to that lifetime employment to find out what happens next! It’s good for clients and it’s good for us.

John Osbon – josbon@osboncapital.com

 


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