our staff

Here We Grow Again

© Can Stock Photo / ajithclicks

We spend a lot of time thinking about business. Shares of common stock are percentage ownership interests in businesses, after all. But lately we have had to spend some time thinking about our business. It keeps growing.

Our idea has long been that growing your buckets is the best way to grow the business. So we put all of our energy into that task, and talking to you clients instead of strangers. You evidently talk about us–word of mouth is an amazing thing.

We think the best strategy to manage growth is a concept we learned by revamping our communications beginning in 2015. The digital venues like 228Main.com are scalable. In other words, when we communicate to dozens of clients, hundreds or thousands of others can listen in with no additional cost or effort or time on our part.

Scalability in our operations means systematizing the things that would be done better if they were systematized. Scalability in our staff means getting understudies in place for every human activity, and documenting those processes.

When you think about it, our efforts in these areas will make our enterprise more durable and resilient. These are good things for everyone.

The first steps in the scalability project:

1. Hire an understudy for Larry, to work in client logistics (forms, paperwork, and organization). This will happen soon.
2. Develop a custom operating system for the business. Portfolio analytics, our longevity-driven fee administration, task management and client contact records will ultimately all be in a single system. This is in development, and will probably take many months to complete.
3. Hire an understudy for Greg, to work in research and trading. This will be a longer-term project.

Of course, we all pitch in on many different activities as needed to meet your needs. Clients, if you have questions about this or anything else, please email us or call.

A Tour of 228 Main Street


Hello, and welcome. We hope you enjoy your tour today. If you have comments or questions as we go along, by all means, ask them.

My name is Mark Leibman. I have been enchanted by the markets and the economy since my college days. And my whole career has been about helping people plan and invest to strive toward their life goals. It is all I ever wanted to do.

Back in the year 2000, twenty years into a career marked by experience in most forms of personal finance, I bought this building. I needed more space than my office at home could provide. Obviously, I could not pass it up. It dates to 1900, a brick commercial Victorian structure like the ones that dot so many small town Main Streets across the country. The careful restoration reflects the timeless values we hold dear.

My brother Paul and I did the work to get the place ready for business, and he became my first assistant. Paul, a retired firefighter, was a man of many talents. He refinished the wood floors, and we patched and painted the walls together. By the time the first round of inexpensive furniture began to show its wear, my wife Cathy was working here and directed an upgrade to the comfortable and functional pieces you see.

Larry Wiederspan, our newest associate, sits here. He came to us after more than thirty years in banking. I knew decades ago that he would make a great addition, and the pieces fell in place back in 2014. He has a great background for all the paperwork and compliance duties required of us these days. Clients also love that we have a dedicated Technology Ambassador to coordinate 24/7 online account access, electronic signing of documents, and going paperless for those who prefer.

Greg Leibman works at this desk. Yes, we are related—he is one of my children. Greg does valuable work in a number of areas. He is the primary contact when people call the office with questions about their accounts. He assists with investment research, doing special projects and screening the market for potential holdings as well as following the news on current holdings. When it is time to make changes in portfolios, Greg makes trades under my direction. Hard to believe he started here at the end of 2009.

(Greg also maintains our virtual presence at http://www.228main.com, where he is a full partner in the writing and editing. Just like our physical location here at 228 Main Street, 228main.com is a friendly place. We post a new story or article once or twice a week, highlighting our philosophy or key investment concepts or thoughts on events of the day. Links there go to our running daily short commentaries at your choice of venues, Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn. It’s almost like chatting out front on the sidewalk, talking about whatever seems most pertinent or interesting at the moment.)

My office is right back here, across from the coffee maker. I believe that five cups a day keeps the Alzheimer’s away, and that is important to anyone like me who plans to work to age 92. You’ll notice that I sit at a partner’s desk—it is the same on both sides. When you sit down, we meet as equals. We think true genius lies in finding unrecognized simplicities, not in complicating things to confuse people or acting like some high priest.

The machinery on my side of the desk connects to a thousand times the resources any investment professional had back when I got registered to do business, at a tiny fraction of the cost. For someone who reads voraciously and studies long hours, we truly live in a golden age. And it’s portable: I can work from anywhere with my cell phone and internet access.

So that’s our place. I’ve done all the talking so far, and I apologize for that. If you’d like to visit about your goals and your life, let’s get started. We can do that by phone, email, or the good old-fashioned way, face to face. You choose.