Continuing our series of profiling successful advisors, we had the unique pleasure to sit down with Jordan Smyth, Managing Director of Edgemoor Investment Advisors. Edgemoor, based in Bethesda, MD, is a wealth management firm providing investment management and financial planning services to individuals and families, trusts, retirement plans, non-profit organizations, and foundations.
As part of that service promise, Edgemoor focuses on long-term capital appreciation, preservation of capital and income generation through the disciplined management of client portfolios.
“We are truly value investors,” says Smyth. “We use individual securities so that we can deliver customized portfolios to our clients. Our biggest holding is Berkshire Hathaway, which is a great example of our approach.”
Founded in 1999 by President Tom Meehan, Edgemoor has successfully deployed that investing philosophy to grow the firm to $900 million in assets under management. “In addition to investment management, we also provide financial planning so we can understand the client’s entire picture,” Smyth notes.
When it comes to technology, Edgemoor’s philosophy is to, “Stay ahead of the curve, but not on the bleeding edge.” Smyth says. As part of that approach, Edgemoor carefully chooses its technology partners for “best-in-breed” capabilities for their core technologies. “Because we provide such a personal touch, we need to really understand what the capabilities are of a technology system,” Smyth says. “We want to provide the features to our clients that keep up with industry trends and are attractive to clients of all ages and demographics.”
As a nearly two-decade old firm, Edgemoor has gone through a number of technology upgrades over the years. “Along the way, we’ve kept a constant focus on ensuring that our technology not only fits our style of management, but also evolves over time to continue to stay current,” Smyth notes. “Early on we knew that there had to be something out there that was better than the original system we started with from our custodian and have kept a constant eye out for these platforms.”
Thus, when Edgemoor first came across Black Diamond, Smyth and his team were very impressed. “Black Diamond was exactly what we were looking for; however, they were acquired by Advent right around that same time and that did create a bit of a pause, but what we’ve seen recently with the strong commitment from Advent and SS&C, it has played out as we hoped it would.”
The area of Black Diamond that Smyth and Edgemoor appreciate the most is the flexibility of the system to be able to immediately pull up all relevant information – positions, transactions, performance – anytime, anywhere, on any device when they are working live with clients. “Clients have peace of mind they can access their data whenever they want to,” Smyth says. “It is very reassuring for them to know what is going on, even if they don’t need all of the drill-down data. They have one place to go to see how they are doing and that they know we are taking care of everything for them.”
Additionally, Smyth reports that the comprehensive scope and reach of Black Diamond appeals to all aspects of his back office. “Everyone in the firm uses it in different ways. Advisors have their processes, while people in billing, compliance and client service leverage the many features and functionality to do their jobs efficiently – it is truly our one key system.”
Looking forward, Smyth is enthusiastic about upgrading to “BD3”, the latest generation of the Black Diamond platform, to continue the strong momentum that got Edgemoor to $900 million. “It is critical to us that we have a partner that is evolving with us, thinking the same way and not just putting a product out there.”
Smyth and Edgemoor are expanding their focus to better serve their existing client base by targeting the children of their clients, a demographic that will rely more closely on Edgemoor’s client-facing technologies. “There has been a lot of hype about the robo-advisors, but we don’t see them as direct competitors to the client segments that appreciate the personal touch and value a full-service delivery of a suite of offerings,” Smyth says. “However, their success has made us realize that we need to continue to improve access to information, and we are very optimistic that we will be able to do so with the constant enhancements we see with Black Diamond.”
To learn more about Edgemoor Investment Advisors, check out their website at http://www.edgemoorinv.com/.