Registered Rep.: You're an RIA with over $10 billion in assets. What's changed since you founded the firm in 1986?
Michael Stolper: The essence of the firm has not changed, and that is to provide objective advice and not to sell proprietary solutions. When we got more clients, we got more capabilities. And we learned to do new things. We developed after-tax reporting for clients; we developed a variety of collective vehicles to create economies of scale for clients. When we first opened our doors, we used a few active money managers and a variety of different indexed solutions. Today we are still doing some indexed solutions but we have a much broader selection of active managers to choose from.
RR: What's your philosophy about managers?
MS: The best thing that one can do is to allocate money to managers who have their own money side by side with yours, who love to invest, are talented investors who don't just do it for the money but do it because it's their passion, and who are in it for the long haul. You have to look long and hard and you have to look in dark corners to find those people, but they exist.
RR: What makes you decide to change a manager?
MS: I'm more likely to drop an active manager because they stray away from their discipline and they do things that we didn't necessarily hire them to do. We'll actually withdraw capital from managers who seem to be outperforming, recognizing that sometimes outperformance can be followed by periods of underperformance. And even if things don't work out well in the beginning, we actually may give more money to a manager who underperforms rather than outperforms on the basis that we made a good decision in the first place, and near-term performance really isn't necessarily an indication of what long-term performance will be.