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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Going Beyond Socially Responsible Investing with Rachel Robasciotti

Rachel Robasciotti details her journey through the socially responsible investing and ESG evolution over the past 15 years.

Welcome back to the 121st episode of Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Rachel Robasciotti. Rachel is the founder of Robasciotti & Philipson, an independent RIA in the San Francisco area that oversees $140 million of assets for more than 100 individual clients.

What’s unique about Rachel, though, is the way that her firm built its own unique proprietary investment process, dubbed RISE for Return on Investment and Social Equity, by going beyond just doing socially responsible investing and actually engaging her local community to develop the screens that they would use to decide what companies would or wouldn’t be in their client portfolios.

In this episode, we talk in depth about Rachel’s journey through the socially responsible investing and ESG evolution over the past 15 years, why she ultimately moved away from traditional SRI mutual funds and ESG screens, how she developed her local RISE Community to ongoing quarterly feedback on her investment process, the tool she uses to take the feedback from her community and implement it into a portfolio of individually screened stocks, and the way that her engagement with the RISE Community she’s created has also become her biggest driver of marketing and business development anyways.

We also talk about Rachel’s own path through the financial services industry. How she was incredibly successful starting in a major insurance firm at a young age but ultimately decided to go out on her own as an independent at the age of 25, how the driver of her shift was not the financial opportunity of the independent channel but simply the ability to create the particular vision that she had about how to serve the clients that she wanted, the way that she wanted, while hiring the team and creating the culture she wanted, the way she survived in her early years of relative isolation and found community as a solo advisor until her firm grew, and how her approach to marketing and the way that she communicates with clients has changed over the years as she’s gained experience and professional credibility.

And be certain to listen to the end, where Rachel shares some of the unique challenges that she faced starting her firm not only as a young advisor, but as a young black female who came from a poor upbringing, who had no safety net or family to fall back on as she launched her firm from scratch, the sometimes stifling pressure on people from different cultures to act and talk certain ways to conform to the industry standard expectations of financial advisors, and how the reality is that everyone needs help from time to time, and often the biggest differentiator of success is not whether you need the help or not but how helpable you make yourself to receive that assistance and how easy you make it to be helped or not in the first place.

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