research team

So, What’s Included? The Value of a Research Team 

Clients, since becoming an SEC-facing Registered Investment Advisor, we’ve been bulking up our in-house processes. There’s more documentation, but there’s also more intentionality: we have to know what we’re doing and why.

You’ve probably heard it before, but we often talk about our work in terms of three key activities. The first, of course, is the work we do with you. We meet, we talk, and you let us get to know the story of you. The other two are investment research and portfolio management. With the increasing wealth you’ve brought to us, these activities are more important than ever.

So what’s included in that work? Here are some of the things we like to think about (which means you don’t have to!).

Trying to discern which daily or weekly or monthly events are most relevant to the long run. Not all “market moves” are created equal. Movement can come from investors’ expectations for and reactions to even the littlest of day-to-day events. How do we recognize which will matter in the next year, five years, or fifty years? We try to learn from history; we try to understand where things might be headed next. (And, spoiler alert, our choices are rarely driven by knee-jerk reactions or TV news). We do our best to bring some perspective to our choices.

Managing the players in our investment universe. Companies come and go. They can split. They can consolidate. Some industries are seasonal or cyclical; some do better in tough times, and some boom when others do. Part of our work is keeping an eye on the wider investment universe as well as our active lists. We’re always monitoring some number of prospective players who haven’t quite made the cut, watching for the moment they might reach bargain status. Doing our own analysis is crucial before a holding gets promoted to the Buy List, and even then, we’re always reviewing our criteria as a team as each holding’s story continues to unfold.

Finding and following patterns and changes in our everyday lives. Investing, for us, is not about what’s happening in boardrooms around the world. It’s more about what’s happening in our backyard—and yours! “Your money, your life” is about how you choose to save and spend your resources but also about connecting your money to the real life you lead. What does it mean to own a piece of the action? Well, it means that we pay attention to what we’re seeing in our real lives today and try to imagine the advances and opportunities of tomorrow. Here’s a taste of the research questions we’ve been asking in recent years:

  • How is the pandemic affecting retail? What’s the future of delivery look like? What sort of shopping experiences will people come to expect? How do technology, consumer behavior, and the supply chain affect each other?
  • What’s happening in the energy revolution? How are energy sources changing? What materials and services will be necessary in the next chapter? How will renewable resources continue to change everyday life? How will the evolution of the automobile continue to unfold?
  • How are devices shaping our work, schools, and homes? As demand grows for semiconductors and screens, who may be positioned to meet that demand? Which companies may benefit from the changing technological landscape?

There are, of course, other pieces that are just part of the research process. We try to practice good humor and compassion, to sprinkle in some folksy metaphors—and to bring our enthusiasm!

And while there’s no sense in trying to put a value on any of the individual line items discussed here, we do think they’re worth mentioning. We love to work hard for you, and with you.

Thank you for joining us. Reach out, anytime.

Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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So What's Included? The Value of a Research Team Presents: The Best of Leibman Financial Services

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Research, Behind the Scenes!

Clients, this week we’ve got a little behind the scenes tour: what happens in our in-house research process?

Here are some of the things we like to think about (so that you don’t have to!).

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Collaboration: It’s a Team Effort!

black and white photo shows six hands bumping fists in a circle

Clients, looking back over these decades together, the word “collaboration” is what comes to mind for me. I have worked with some of your households for years, and I am most proud of what you and we have created together. Successful investing requires effective attitudes and intentional actions with money. You, the best clients in the world, have been stellar partners in this regard. It has truly been a team effort.

But I’m realizing that “collaboration” will have even more meaning for our work in the years and decades ahead. The success we’ve enjoyed together has resulted in an enterprise that is now beyond my ability to run by myself (and not that I would want to—to my estimation, the gang and I seem to be having a pretty good time together!).

Greg Leibman became an integral part of the effort a long time ago; Caitie Leibman and Billy Garver bring us perspectives and skills we formerly lacked and now rely on.

Two of our core activities are investment research and portfolio management. With the increasing wealth you’ve brought to us, these activities are more important than ever. Our capacity to do them depends on the team we’ve assembled. It’s a collaboration that’s become vital to our daily work.

Even as we conduct our work as a team, however, I remain the regulatory head: as an Investment Advisor Representative of LPL Financial, I am the business structure. The others, on paper, are technically assistants working under my direction.

This regulatory structure is a vestige of the days when this was a one-person operation, and it no longer aligns with what we’re trying to do here. So, for the rest of the year, we plan to work toward restructuring our firm as a Registered Investment Advisor: this arrangement should more clearly reflect how we can best serve you in the years and decades ahead.

Friends, you know about my intention to work to age 92, and that is still the case. But I also believe that part of my responsibility to you is to help shape an enterprise that can outlast me. The mortality rate remains 100%, so sustainability is the watchword here.

A team format—four officers, working collaboratively—gives this entity some of the durability it deserves. Fortunately, LPL Financial has developed plans and processes for this exact scenario, which is not unique to us. I’ve not lost my sense of gratitude for what LPL Financial has meant to my family and me; your funds will continue to be custodied with them. Account numbers and history and online access and statements and all that will remain essentially unchanged.

There will be just a bit of paperwork to transition each account. Details will follow as we learn more.

It will take the balance of this year for us to continue this work and implement the new structure. Clients, we will be in touch with more detail about this journey as it unfolds—and we are excited to get things more aligned with the big picture.

Please email us or call with questions or comments. Thank you all again, for everything.

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