First, we work with our clients to define the client’s investment objectives which become our guide for future investment recommendations and decisions.
Each account is reviewed on a regular basis. In a quarterly review, clients receive a quarterly letter along with a detailed portfolio appraisal and performance report. We compare performance by asset class (stocks, bonds) to standard market indices, and we discuss the holdings in light of the client’s stated goals.
We encourage frequent contact with clients and are always available for consultation. As the firm has grown over the past four decades, we have developed many long-lasting client relationships. More than half of our clients have been with the firm for ten years or more. The reasons are investment performance and personal trust.
The firm’s only product is independent investment advice, for which it receives a fee based on a percentage of the assets under management. We do not sell stocks, bonds or other financial assets, and we do not receive commission on the purchases or sales of securities.
Similarly, we recommend experienced banks and brokerages firms as custodians, but we do not charge or receive a fee for this service. We have deliberately limited the scope of our business to eliminate any conflict between our interests and those of our clients.
O’Brien Greene has an unusually broad mix of clients, including banks, insurance companies, trusts, charities, endowments and individuals. We think this clientele gives us a broader perspective than that at many of our competitors, and that this perspective is appropriate for the long term investment environment in which we operate.
- A college professor inherits $200,000 that has grown to $500,000. On top of this he has been able to save another $500,000 during his and his wife’s careers. Now at $1 million the portfolio has grown to a size that warrants full-time and professional management.
- An executive takes early retirement. His IRA rollover amounts to $3 million. This money must support him and his wife for the remainder of their lives and, if possible, pay for grand children’s college tuitions.
- An aged parent can no longer care for herself. Her three children oversee a trust that will pay for her support at an assisted-living facility. Upon her death the proceeds will be distributed among the three children, but for now the money must be invested.
- The investment policy of a large endowment restricts the portfolio to “socially conscious” assets. Thus defense, gaming and alcohol stocks are off limits. Furthermore, this board requires quarterly presentations on performance to an external investment review board.
- The board of a not-for-profit invested a large portion of the organization’s pension in a so-called guaranteed investment contract (GIC), which became bankrupt. Now, with a high current income requirement, the portfolio must have preservation of principal for remaining money as well as some growth potential.
- A medical practice of doctors, nurses and administrators discerned that their 401(k)s were earning less in annual return then they were paying in fees to a nationally known 401(k) provider. The plan had many expensive features that they rarely used and it required participants to make investment decisions that they did not feel qualified to make. O’Brien Greene along with an independent record keeper managed the 401(k) on a pooled basis for one-third the cost. More important, O’Brien Greene decided which investments to own, choosing individual stocks and bonds while providing financial planning and other advice to plan participants.
- A manufacturing firm included O’Brien Greene as one of its investment choices for 401(k) participants. Participants in the plan, who feel uncomfortable making decision about timing and asset classes, turn these critical matters over to professionals at about half the cost of the average mutual fund. And they had a knowledgeable team of investment professionals to talk to about their 401(k).
Keeping Clients Informed
O’Brien Greene & Co. keeps its clients up to date on the status of portfolios through individually prepared quarterly letters, appraisals, performance reports and meetings.
The quarterly letter, written by Mark O’Brien and Sally Sulcove, outlines economic and investment outlooks. Included with this letter is a portfolio appraisal and performance, and a transaction schedule. Mark O’Brien and Sally Sulcove also meet with clients on request.