I was the kid with a briefcase. In 4th grade I was placed in an advanced math class taught by a man who loved the stock market. I’d get a stock report every day and was allowed to watch the business news on TV at noon. I liked the math, but also understanding companies and how they made a profit.
After graduating from Babson College I worked in New York City at the old Morgan Stanley, in what is now their private banking group. It was a great place to learn the business and how to manage others.
An old friend of my father’s, an advisor in Florida, asked me to help him run his business. I planned to come down briefly, then go to business school. But I liked it here, got my MBA at University of Florida, and 12 years later I was managing all the investments and had my own clients.
The Landsberg Bennett team has an interesting background. We all met through existing relationships. As a result, we all trust and have a deep regard for each other. That’s a big deal. Continuity of relationships is really important to us.
Our investment approach helps give people confidence about their retirement. For the first time, they understand their investments, and that they’re driven by the plan. We feel that by making it simple, our clients are much more likely to stay the course.
Money is emotional. So we introduce discipline—rebalancing, rules-based buying and selling. We also try to stay ahead of what could go wrong. In our opinion, it’s more important not to be wrong than it is to be right.
What makes it all worthwhile to me? Having an impact on people’s everyday lives. Helping them retire early, leave money for a charity, pay for a wedding.
My wife and I have three children. Children are a blessing and you have only a short time with them. So we’re involved. I was president of the board of trustees of their school and she is president of the parents’ association. I also coach sports, which allows me to be out there with them.
Portfolio management might be compared to making wine. It looks simple but it’s actually difficult. Great chefs and great vintners take the same ingredients that are available to everyone and strive to make a remarkable product. They pay more attention, they’re more detail-oriented. Remarkable service is our goal—one that’s worthy of putting in a good day’s work.