Registered Rep.: How do you begin each morning?
Brent Kessel: Meditating for 40 minutes in my closet, then either 1.5 hours of yoga or a 3-mile trail run.
RR: Has your investing philosophy changed in the past 8 months?
BK: It hasn't. Our decade-to-date returns are still phenomenal.
RR: Spirituality and money (materialism) seem diametrically opposed. Are they linked in some way for you? How do you bridge the gap?
BK: They're very linked, in that all our money problems stem from what we don't know about ourselves. Inner seeking creates awareness.
RR: Your workshops are called “The Yoga of Money.” Can you explain this concept?
BK: Yoga is about breathing through discomfort — like the discomfort of being an investor in the last 2 years.
RR: Three vital needs/concerns your clients have right now?
BK: Safety in the bond portfolio. Knowledge that they have “enough.” Yearning for a sense of purpose in their lives.
RR: Do you support a universal fiduciary standard for all financial advisors?
BK: Absolutely, 100 percent.
RR: The best place you've ever meditated?
BK: It's a tie between Mt. Madonna Retreat Center in the Santa Cruz Mountains and my closet.
RR: What one mistake do clients seem to repeat with their money?
BK: The mistake is always unique to the individual. What seems universal is that everybody repeats their mistakes.
RR: Nicest thing a client has ever said to you?
BK: “I don't know what we'd do without you.”
RR: Do you try to steer clients towards socially responsible investing, or have any clients who are interested in this? If so, what SRI funds or securities have you selected for client portfolios?
BK: I wouldn't say “steer,” but we do have quite a few who are interested. We helped Dimensional Fund Advisors create two globally diversified index funds that overweight environmentally sustainable companies and underweight polluters within each sector. They have extremely low expense ratios and are very unique in their screening methodology.
RR: Do you have a mantra?
BK: I have a few: Allow what is to be. Form is emptiness — emptiness is form. We are all so very okay.