Top 100 RIA Profile: Sweetwater Investments

Top 100 RIA Profile: Sweetwater Investments

CITY: Redmond, WA ESTABLISHED: 1989 AUM: $1.5 billion NUMBER OF CLIENTS: 125 NUMBER OF PARTNERS: 2 NUMBER OF STAFF: 2 full time, 4 part time Registered Rep.: How do you define your investment philosophy? Dennis Gibb: I am a constitutional value investor. But there's a catch to that kind of investment style. You have to be able to determine what's valuable in different types of markets. RR: What does

CITY: Redmond, WA

ESTABLISHED: 1989

AUM: $1.5 billion

NUMBER OF CLIENTS: 125

NUMBER OF PARTNERS: 2

NUMBER OF STAFF: 2 full time, 4 part time

Registered Rep.: How do you define your investment philosophy?

Dennis Gibb: I am a constitutional value investor. But there's a catch to that kind of investment style. You have to be able to determine what's valuable in different types of markets.

RR: What does the product mix in your client portfolios look like these days?

DG: They're about 40 to 45 percent in equities. Of that, 60 percent are in domestic stocks and the remainder is international. About 25 percent is cash and the rest is in fixed income — usually tax exempt bonds.

RR: What are your feelings on alternative investments?

DG: There's a place for some of them in this market, like commodities and managed futures, for instance. Structured notes are the biggest rip off in the industry right now. They're not transparent. Most people who own them don't have a clue how they work, and the people who sell them sometimes don't get it either.

RR: A significant portion of your total assets come from your Native American clients. How did you get into that particular client niche?

DG: I started doing pro bono work with an Indian Tribe in the early 1980s while working for Morgan Stanley. This was before Indian gaming. Back then, the opportunities were with land claims that could be worth tens of millions of dollars. I was recruited by Bear Stearns to run a group dealing strictly with Native American finances. Today, my Native American clients make up 73 percent of Sweetwater's total assets.

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