June 22, 2018

Inspired by Trust

30 years ago today, we took the first official step on a long journey. It was a journey to create an entirely new kind of firm that would have powerful investment management capability, but never sell a product. It would succeed by always placing clients’ interests first, not only culturally, but structurally, never letting a conflict of interest creep into the business model. It would succeed by amassing multibillion dollar purchasing power to drive up access and drive down costs, then pass every penny of those cost savings through to clients. It would succeed through relentless innovation and an unwavering focus on one service only: delivering complete, global, custom-designed investment solutions to serious investors with serious responsibilities.

In spite of working at one of Wall Street‘s finest firms, we had come to believe that the buyer beware, conflict-laden, product-driven structure of the traditional investment industry was fundamentally flawed when it came to managing the serious money that clients had entrusted to our care. The 19th century Scottish poet, George MacDonald, said that to be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved. Our clients’ trust, that compliment greater than love, had inspired us. Consequently, working within the flawed structure of the traditional investment industry was no longer an option.  We had to break out.

Since then, traveling together, we have managed decades of opportunity and risk: under six presidents, we have experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union marked by the fall of the Berlin wall, the first Gulf War, the “peace dividend” of the roaring ‘90s, the euphoria of the “dot-com” bubble and its bursting in 2000, the 9/11 murder raid and subsequent War on Terror, the resurgence of value investing, the inflation then bursting of the mortgage bubble, its Financial Crisis and Great Recession aftermath, and the historic decade-long recovery since that crisis. At the same time, the long-promised impact of digital technology finally became real, eliminating venerable institutions like Kodak, giving birth to a powerhouse called Amazon and literally transforming markets and opportunities across the globe.

In his 2009 TED talk, Simon Sinek differentiated why an organization exists from what they do and how they do it. He insisted that every truly effective, durable organization begins with and is centered around a clear and strongly held “why.” Our why is defined by client trust; it inspires us to dig deeper, to never settle, to innovate and to negotiate on behalf of clients. Because we believe the traditional investment management industry is flawed, our why drives us to challenge Wall Street’s status quo in everything we do. It demands the constant push for improvement that has marked Hirtle Callaghan since our founding and has accelerated, once again, in recent years. We exist to serve our clients with passionate, powerful, informed advocacy and, while we are as passionate as ever, today’s Hirtle Callaghan is far more powerful and informed than we have ever been! And we are just getting started.

Congratulations to the Hirtle Callaghan team! Each of you, collaborating closely with each other, has made the past 30 years of serving our clients possible.  And to our clients, thank you!  Your trust in us, your belief in our vision, your confidence in our ability to successfully advocate your interests in the marketplace, have made Hirtle Callaghan possible.

Here’s to the next 30 years!

Jon Hirtle