It's not that Joseph Gutkowski doesn't trust people, he just trusts himself more.
"I don't know if anyone can be as forthcoming in dealing with clients as I am. ... I see no need for a partner or a team."
The Houston-based Dain Rauscher broker proudly calls himself "a lone wolf." He has only one administrative assistant.
He specializes in third-party money managers. He has about 75 families as clients. Most are small-business owners or retirees from big corporations.
"I prefer to hire the best money managers and delegate," Gutkowski says. "I monitor the asset allocation among seven or eight third-party managers. And they're selected on performance.
"I don't pick stock," he says. "I'm a contrarian broker. I look at asset classes that have underperformed in the past three to five years and overweight accounts in those. It's not a static science."
But it works. Gutkowski says his production is "in the seven figures." He has $150 million in assets under management.
Business is good even though he doesn't market himself. As a matter of fact, he doesn't accept any clients without a referral.
"Part of my efficiency strategy is not taking every client," Gutkowski says. "There has to be a psychological match. If we enjoy the first information-gathering meeting, that will spill over, and we can enjoy working together and the process of investing. We have to understand each other and feel good about it."
Another of Gutkowski's key timesaving techniques is about as low-tech as it gets. "Don't answer the phone on the first ring," he says. "It's more efficient that way. I can focus and finish the things at hand."
Gutkowski relies on technology to keep his business humming. He uses Mobius software to evaluate the service of third-party managers and create quarterly reports. And he likes Frontier Analytics' AllocationMaster, which he uses to measure clients' risk tolerance and to create asset-allocation models.
But Gutkowski finds the Web crucial to his productivity. "The Internet is great," he says. "I can communicate with clients on e-mail, through Dain Rauscher Connect, and I can research almost anything."