The Acropolis has stood in Athens for more than 1,000 years. Twelve years ago, that solid symbol became the inspiration for the name and philosophy behind Acropolis Investment Management. “We liked the idea of a strong, safe place that serves as the citadel during good and bad times,” explains founding partner David Ott.
Led by its four founding partners at its Chesterfield office, Acropolis aims to help individuals, families and businesses through the highs and lows of the economy to ultimately reach their financial goals. The wealth management firm offers financial planning and investment services, as well as 401k assistance through its retirement plan solutions group, and bond-trading with banks through its bank services group.
Ott says Acropolis operates under the premise of The Golden Rule: “From the beginning, we said, This is how we want to be treated, so this is how we’ll treat others.” Putting that into practice, Acropolis became a fiduciary firm—where each member of its team is required by law to put their clients’ best interests first. “We all work in one open space to facilitate communication,” Ott notes. “When a client works with us, we want them to know many of us. In each meeting, there is at least one portfolio manager and a portfolio administrator."
Through this trustworthy team approach, the firm has grown rapidly, managing a total of $1.1 billion in assets—about $765 million for 500 private clients, $165 million in retirement plans; and $190 million in institutional business. “The key to this business—and to our success—is the success of our relationships with clients,” Ott notes. “We have very low employee turnover, so now we have clients who have been working with the same managers for a decade—and that’s a deep relationship. Clients need to trust that you’re going to do the right thing, and trust you’re capable of making the right investment and giving the right advice.”
The majority of Acropolis’ 25 staff members are industry veterans, with an average of 25 years of experience among its founders, and an average of 17 years of experience across the firm. Many employees also have achieved professional designations, such as chartered financial analyst and certified financial planner, which have been earned with a great deal of extra effort through the years, Ott says. Recently, the firm was recognized as one of the top 300 registered investment advisors by the Financial Times of London. In 2009, it also received certification from the Center for Fiduciary Excellence, the industry’s standards-setting body for prudent practices.
The firm extends its goal of doing right by clients to the community, as well. Founding partner Dannelle Ward says employees give back through serving on the boards of various health care, education and arts nonprofits, from United Way and City Academy to St. Louis Public Radio, among many others.
Like The Acropolis, the local financial firm looks to be standing strong for clients and the community for years to come. “People want solid, honest advice,” Ott says, “and we do a good job of that.”