Since I launched this firm in 2012 I knew that I wanted to do things differently than the typical advisory firm. On the surface, this was a few obvious things: I should be spending less time, energy, and financial resources chasing investment performance that would always be elusive. An investment philosophy focused instead on what we can control – costs, taxes, and our behavior. I wanted a simple, straightforward, and transparent approach to pricing services built on a fixed annual retainer were the two pillars of Bason Asset Management, as they remain to this day.
I felt at the time that these decisions were common sense. I wanted investors to have the best possible chance of reaching their financial goals, and that led to a low-cost, low-turnover, long-term investment philosophy. I also wanted it to be clear what my clients would pay for, and how simple it could be for them to decide whether or not an advisor provided value at a fixed price level. While the first of these pillars was uncommon but certainly pre-existing in the advisory space, the fee structure struck many as wild, unheard of, even radical. For me, it just made sense. As it turned out, it made sense for many clients as well, so much so that years ago I was forced to implement a waiting list for new relationships and eventually began to turn away nearly all prospective new clients as I dealt with issues of personal capacity and work/life balance.
For several years now I’ve dealt with the issue of growth. Traditional growth models have not been attractive to me on many levels, and I have walked away from several opportunities to expand.
Today, things are changing. I won’t bury the lede any further – I am very pleased to announce that Bason Asset Management is adding a second advisor. McKenzie Ebbesen is an outstanding financial professional that I have known for over a decade. She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and talent to this firm. If you know me at all, you know how reluctant I have been to expand the firm, so it should speak volumes about McKenzie that she is the first (and currently only) person to join the firm. She will be operating a second office in Valparaiso, Indiana where she lives with her husband and two young children. Of course, she’ll work with clients across the country as I do now. Everything that I am doing today for existing clients McKenzie will also execute, from investment portfolio design to comprehensive planning, all for the fixed annual retainer fee. For more about her personally, I’d invite you to read her companion piece posted today on the blog.
Despite my longstanding reluctance to adopt a traditional growth model of a financial planning firm, I am very excited about this change for two reasons. First, it means that Bason can expand its services to more clients. This may sounds selfish and profit-seeking, but you’ll have to take my word for it that money is not the prime mover here. I’ve been turning away prospective clients for years and that is harder than it sounds. Many of these people sounded like wonderful people who are looking for quality financial advice and thoughtful portfolio management at a reasonable cost, but I’ve had to say no again and again. I’ve had countless friends and colleagues tell me about the ongoing need for more models like this firm. I’ve had people offer me investment capital to grow and many advisors want to join. None of these were how I wanted to shape the future of this firm. But now I have a great solution to the problem of capacity, and I’m thrilled that Bason will be able to serve a larger audience.
Secondly, I am happy that Bason can be a home to a phenomenal advisor like McKenzie to build her practice, showcase her abilities, and serve clients in the way she feels is best for them. I have no doubts that she will thrive professionally and I’m happy to have her as a part of this firm. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming McKenzie, and if you’re looking for a quality long-term relationship with a fantastic professional, you should absolutely give her a call or send her a note at McKenzie@basonasset.com.