Scott has more than 20 years of investment consulting and financial planning experience which includes working for The Ayco Company, L.P. and Merrill Lynch, Scott joined LGT in January 2009 as a principal.
At that time, the country was reeling from the 2008 financial crisis. LGT Financial Advisory was ten years old with $109 million in assets under management (AUM) and a little more than $300,000 in revenue, but the firm did not have a full-time investment manager. With his 14 years of financial advisory experience, it seemed like a perfect fit.
The concept of a non-CPA department head was entrepreneurial and non-traditional, but also risky. The firm agreed to try it out for a year and if we didn’t mesh—no hard feelings. That trial run has turned into an 11 years career, that has more than doubled assets under management and quadrupled revenue.
We sat down with Scott to talk about what he does.
Q: What is your relationship to the CPA side?
Officially, I am the partner that oversees LGT Financial Advisors, which is a separate, wholly-owned subsidiary of LGT Accountants & Advisors (LGT). However, I serve in a variety of roles.
I am a member of LGT Financial Advisors LLC (LGT FA). We are a registered investment advisor (RIA) that provides investment management and financial planning services to clients of LGT. My legal training prepared me for a job where I wear many hats. I am Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Investment Officer for over $222 million in AUM. I personally manage $79 million in client assets and oversee the investment strategies of an additional $74million of assets for clients.
I am branch manager of Investment Securities Incorporation, Inc. (ISC), our broker-dealer. Our business of providing investment advice to 401K plan sponsors and our 529 college savings plan business go through ISC. We have over $32 million in assets with ISC. Combining LGT FA and ISC assets, our total LGT Financial Advisory assets are approximately $254 million.
I am an officer of LGT Insurance Services, Inc. We provide life, health, long-term care, and disability insurance solutions to LGT clients.
I spend a lot of time researching investment strategy, including talking to private fund managers and other investment sponsors. A significant part of my day-to-day work is speaking with clients, reviewing their portfolios, and at times, discussing new and compelling investment strategies. Certainly, there is no shortage of information accessible to investors.
Our ability to synthesize data, our unique perspective, and most importantly, our actionable recommendations have been the cornerstone in our client relationships.
I have members of the LGT family as clients including several senior partners. That level of trust and accountability I do not take lightly. It reminds me that I need to get it right.
Q: What is one highlight of your career at LGT?
Eleven years ago, I was charged with growing an investment practice in the midst of uncertainty in the financial markets. We face that uncertainty again today, but LGT Financial Advisory is vigilant. I am proud that our capital preservation strategies are well-suited for the current environment.
We have been able to respond to, and more importantly, anticipate changing market conditions in real-time for our clients. Our disciplined approach has helped to protect assets in a down turn, and our access to alternative investment vehicles has even allowed us to take advantage of undervalued opportunities. I have secured $11.5 million in new investments since the pandemic effected the global markets.
Q: What is an important milestone in your career in the last year?
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the way we do business. As our office faced mandatory closure, I began working from home. Fortunately, so did many of my clients. This flexibility has allowed me to interact with clients when and where they are most comfortable. Instead of a quarterly meeting, we are having monthly touch bases by phone or video chat.
Clients may be surprised to get an occasional late night email from me. I am equally surprised when they respond.
Q: How are you involved in your community?
I enjoy working with at-risk youth. I firmly believe that equal and affordable access is the gateway to success. To this end, I encourage at-risk youth to stay committed and focused on achieving their goals. In the past, I have volunteered in Big Brother programs and have served as a confidante, friend, role model, and advisor to disadvantaged kids. More recently, I served on the Board of PediPlace (www.pediplace.org). PediPlace provides medical care to at-risk children.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
It is not easy to grow a business when people are uneasy about the future. Before the global pandemic, I set a lofty goal to increase Financial Advisory’s AUM in 2020. Remarkably, it is only mid-year, and we are already 80% of that goal.
I want LGT Financial Advisory to become a $1 billion wealth management firm.
It is an audacious goal. How do we get there? Currently, we only work with a fraction of the CPA firm’s clients. There are potential investors who are already longstanding clients in our accounting, audit, and tax practices.
I want to grow these relationships to where they become Financial Advisory clients. Essentially making LGT a one-stop shop for tax, accounting, investment management, and risk mitigation services. By engaging with our own partners and staff, in similar ways to how we engage with our clients, we can expose more CPA clients to the unique and customized services of LGT Financial Advisory.