Trust and integrity, not to mention sound financial advice, is how Bert Schweizer III describes what his company offers. For 15 years, Clayton-based Buckingham Family of Financial Services has helped families, nonprofits and businesses look forward to a secure future, even in troubled times.
Schweizer is chairman of The Buckingham Family of Financial Services, which is actually two businesses in one: Buckingham Asset Management, a registered investment advisory firm that provides fee-only investment management services primarily to families, but also to nonprofits, private foundations and qualified retirement plans; and BAM Advisor Services, a strategic partner to 120 wealth management firms around the country, most of which are affiliated with certified public accounting firms (Schweizer is a CPA/PFS). BAM Adviser Services helps those firms—many of which, like Buckingham, evolved from CPA roots into wealth management firms—provide financial investment services to their clients.
“We evolved into expanding our services beyond helping families, because we realized that our experience could help other businesses,” Schweizer says, explaining the company’s growth. “We came out of the CPA industry, and the model of our success has helped other firms grow.”
Today, between the two businesses, the company has more than $10 billion in assets under management and administration. “It’s a milestone we’re proud of,” says Schweizer. He attributes the success not only to Buckingham’s comprehensive approach to wealth management and dedication to service, but also to its unique investment philosophy. “Our company believes in ‘passive investing,’” he says. “We think that markets are efficient, and that using a ‘buy and hold’ strategy and taking only necessary risks helps our clients accomplish their long-term financial goals.”
This strategy is particularly important in today’s tough economic times, he adds. “Since we started in 1994, we have been through several large bull markets and two very horrific bear recessionary periods, but despite what was happening, we have never wavered in our beliefs, and our clients have benefited from that,” he says. “They have avoided the fear that these bear markets can instill in investors.”
But Buckingham offers much more than investment advice, Schweizer says. “Investments are only one piece of an overall family financial plan,” he explains. “Without a great plan in place to use those investments wisely, your long-term objectives can fall apart.” To that end, Buckingham has a four-part approach to family wealth management: wealth enhancement, wealth transfer strategies, wealth protection and charitable giving.
“We help our clients maximize their wealth after income taxes and create prudent investment strategies,” explains Schweizer. “We also help you determine where your wealth will end up going. If you don’t have a plan in place for your estate after you’re gone, it could end up going to the government.” Part of ‘having a plan’ means anticipating the possibility of unexpected events, say premature death or the need for long-term health care.
“High-net-worth individuals need strategies in place to protect themselves from everything from disability to identity theft,” Schweizer advises. “We put a plan in place that does that.” Finally, Buckingham advisers help clients develop a lifetime plan for giving through charitable trusts or the establishment of private foundations, if philanthropy is one of their stated goals.
The company prides itself on being able to serve its clients for life. Each client is assisted by a team of experts, allowing for a continuum of service if or when a wealth manager retires. “Many families want their core family values and financial philosophy to pass on from one generation to the next, and we’re passionate about helping them do that,” says Schweizer. “We want to deliver the utmost in service now, but we also have a very specific plan for how associates move through our leadership program during their career.” That ensures that experienced advisers are always involved with every client, he says. “Our 90 associates are our most valuable asset in helping earn our clients’ trust.”
ABOUT THE COVER
For 15 years, Clayton-based Buckingham Family of Financial Services has helped families, nonprofits and businesses look forward to a secure future. For information, call 725-0455 or visit http://www.investmentadvisornow.com">www.investmentadvisornow.com. Pictured on the cover, in front: Bert Schweizer III, CEO of Buckingham Asset Management and Mont Levy, CEO of BAM Advisor Services. Clockwise from center: Lindsay Pearson, Adam Birenbaum, Madaline Creehan, Al Sears, Aaron Vickar and Shannon Moenkhaus.
photo by Jason Mueller | cover by Dawn Stremlau