Forbes: Marriage and merger make for top emerging RIA.
A marriage led to a merger and ultimately to a place on our list of top emerging RIA firms. Elissa Buie and David Yeske are each the founders of their own financial planning firms, hers in Vienna, Va., his in San Francisco. After the two advisors, who met on the board of the Financial Planning Association, got married five years ago, they ended up merging their professional as well as their personal lives, and in 2008 Yeske Buie was born. The firm, which maintains offices on both coasts, manages about $300 million for some 200 clients, primarily individuals.
The firm uses passively managed funds–index funds and exchange-traded funds–because, Buie asserts, “markets are either efficient or where they may be inefficient there’s no reasonable way to harness that inefficiency.”
But Buie doesn’t like being lumped with the buy-and-hold crowd. “We’re not traders by any stretch, but we’re very actively doing things,” she says. The firm looks at rebalancing portfolios every two weeks, and the equity portion, invested half in U.S. stocks, half in international stocks, is overweighted in small-cap value stocks. “We’re not making a call,” says Buie. “We just believe being worldwide is the best way to have the largest selection of small and value companies in which to invest.”
The firm lowered its minimum investment requirement in 2009 to $1.5 million to accommodate new clients whose accounts had lost value along with the market, and Buie reports a steady influx of new business.
The toughest part of the merger, she says, has been standardizing the financial planning side of the business (planning is included in every client’s asset management fee). For example, how do you standardize the logistics of deciding whether someone should do a Roth IRA conversion? As an industry, Buie says, “we have a long way to go before we have standard best practices.”