Three young executives hope to change the perception of wealth management.
Nathaniel Leach (left), Tim Bickmore (center), and Dan Weiss hope to arm newer investors with good financial habits.
Photograph by Eric Tadsen
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From the pages of In Business magazine.
Until recently, Tim Bickmore, Dan Weiss, and Nathaniel Leach were coworkers at another area investment advisory firm.
Now they’re cofounders of their own company.
Young, resourceful, and filled with ideas, they had a collective vision for a different type of a wealth management company, and when their vision didn’t match the road they were heading down, they struck out on their own. “It’s not that we had a particular desire to be business owners,” notes Weiss.
Last October, Leach, 30, Bickmore, 26, and Weiss, 33, launched Leach, Bickmore & Weiss Wealth Management, or “LBW,” with the goal of transforming how wealth management is perceived as an industry. “It’s kind of diluted and misunderstood,” admits Bickmore.
LBW, they say, promises to be upfront with clients about fees and investment philosophy. “We don’t follow a basic asset allocation type of modeling, for example, and we don’t sell a product. We sell ourselves,” notes Weiss.
With most clients under the age of 50, LBW is targeting a younger demographic or new investors who may believe, wrongly, that investment expertise is only for the wealthy. “There’s a huge part of the population that doesn’t think they could or should have access to someone like us, and we want to change that.”
Bickmore and Weiss are financial advisors while Leach is the company’s portfolio manager and chief compliance officer. By design, there is no CEO. “This is a collaborative effort — not just between us and our clients but between all of us — so we’re all equal,” notes Weiss. “We don’t step on each other’s toes because we don’t do the same things.”
Leach handles the portfolio and money details, Bickmore’s strength is in financial planning and marketing, and Weiss is skilled in risk management and business development. “We all feed off each other. Organizational efficiency has been a big deal for us,” notes Bickmore. “It can’t be the Tim and Dan show. It needs to be the LBW show.”
Prioritizing when and when not to be frugal was key as the team planned for launch. While they refused to skimp on technology, they chose to furnish the office with gently used furniture, artwork, and framed photographs borrowed from friends. LBW’s logo and website was designed internally with the help of Leach’s wife, Ying, who also helps in the office.
They also critically examined their own strengths and weaknesses, dipped into their personal savings, established lines of credit on their homes, and projected everything from worst-case scenarios to possible midlife crises. “We spend a lot of time together and we know what we want,” notes Weiss. “It’s like a marriage but more complex.”