founder and CEO
Firm: Adams Hall Asset Management
Years in biz: 21
AUM: $1.4 billion
Designations, licenses: CPA, AIF, AEP
When Jana Shoulders first opened Tulsa, Okla.-based Adams Hall Asset Management in 1997, along with co-founders Peter Adamson III and Larry Houchin, she had investors coming to her asking for help ditching the expensive, proprietary wrap programs they'd invested in through the wirehouses. The problem was, these investors didn't meet her firm's $1 million account minimum.
“There were people who came to us who were so busy and worked so hard accumulating what they had, and then they learned over the last two or three years of that time period that their investments were only a fraction of what the market had been returning in the late 1990s,” she says.
To solve that problem, Shoulders created special model strategies targeted at the rising affluent and retiring middle market, with a separate account minimum of $250,000. “Others have them now, but at that time, they did not exist,” she says. She was one of the first. Today, about 85 of her 275 clients use these model strategies.
While the wrap programs at the wirehouses charged 3 to 5 percent in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Adams Hall charges 1 percent for its model strategies, which use institutional mutual funds and allocate to U.S. and international equity, fixed income and alternative income. And while the wirehouse programs often held proprietary products, says Shoulders, Adams Hall's model strategies are made up of fund managers selected without influence from revenue sharing.
Shoulders, who was a practicing CPA for 18 years, decided to form Adams Hall after a number of her CPA clients began asking her to review their investment accounts. Since 1997, she's built the RIA up from five employees and no assets to 14 employees and $1.4 billion in her role as CEO, focusing primarily on company executives, women in transition and educational foundations. She has a 44 percent ownership stake.
“Being a CPA by training and background lent itself to my interest and ability to analyze executive comp and the benefits that go with it,” she says. “And we're fortunate to have some publicly-traded companies here in Tulsa.”
Shoulders also works with a number of women who have lost their husbands unexpectedly, helping them find all of their assets and working as a liaison with estate attorneys. “I think it's natural for women to want to work with another woman or a team that includes at least one woman on it because they are a little more comfortable asking what they might think are simple questions.”