Fortress Financial Partners Innovating the Financial Services Industry
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When was the last time you sat down with the person who manages your portfolio? No, not your advisor or financial planner- I mean your portfolio manager. Most investors would have to admit they’ve never spoken with and perhaps don’t even know the name of the person who does the day-to-day work of managing their investments.
“It’s unfortunate, but the financial services industry may place unnecessary barriers between clients and those who actually affect the trades in their accounts,” says Joe Grabar, MSFS, CMT®, CFP®, Founder and Managing Principal of Raleigh-based Fortress Financial Partners. “Investment firms may limit their liability by investing clients in watered-down portfolios run by the home office. I think clients might be shocked to learn how little control their advisor actually has on their portfolios.”
After more than 16 years with one of the largest financial services organizations in the U.S., Grabar founded Fortress in 2011 to give high-net-worth individuals, professionals, and business owners complete access to everyone working on their behalf. The boutique firm is made up of highly respected, experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds in financial planning, business, real estate, accounting, tax, and law. In addition to standard industry credentials like Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) and Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®), Fortress boasts one of only 1700 Chartered Market Technicians (CMT®) in the world. To put that number in perspective, there are over 188,000 CFP® certificates, and over 167,000 CFA® charter holders. Specialized expertise above and beyond the base body of knowledge is the expected norm at the firm. Fortress is dually registered as a Broker-Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) – which they believe is an absolute necessity to provide expert guidance in serving clients.
Breaking Through the Status Quo
Fortress is focused on ensuring your assets are serving your best interests. As a result, they can be defined as asset managers, not asset gatherers. With deep understanding of various investment strategies and techniques, Fortress goes beyond the boiler-plate pie chart methodology of other firms, where the client gets a colorful graph after completing a questionnaire. Grabar asks, “Can we all agree the old 60-40 stock-bond mix is outdated? That buy, hold, and hope is not a strategy. Rebalancing – sell our winners and buy our losers –how does that make sense?”
Leveraging technical analysis and state-of-the art technology and research tools, Fortress’ philosophy is grounded in trend analysis. The idea is simple; allocate capital in alignment with the trend, or what Fortress calls Participate, Protect, Grow: participate in rising markets, minimize losses in down markets, and grow your balance over time.
“Not all of our clients need or have an interest in getting ‘in the weeds’ with their portfolio manager, but they all enjoy a deep sense of confidence knowing they aren’t just accounts. They personally know everyone involved with growing and distributing their wealth,” says Michael R. Hemmerich, JD, MBA, RFC®, former Associate Dean, Duke Fuqua School of Business who joined Fortress in 2019.
In the financial services sector, traditions and philosophies are strongly entrenched. Modern portfolio theory relies on one critical assumption- the idea that markets are efficient. In reality, markets are made up of human beings driven by emotion. Thought leaders like Grabar agree that Modern Portfolio Theory may be past its prime. “The fundamental analysis about a company, including leadership, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement, etc. are already reflected in the price of the stock,” he explains. “Chartered Market Technicians look deeper to uncover opportunities that exist within the market. We do this by looking at historical patterns in price and other factors. Beyond the dollars and decimal points, we are working with market psychology. When we see market movement, we are ready to capitalize quickly.”
Key to Fortress’ ability to push past ‘the way it’s always been’ is its independence. “Many advisors say they are independent of companies or shareholders, but they may still be held captive by corporate limitations that do not allow consideration of out-of-the-box solutions,” says Chris Gure, RFC®, PPC® who left Fidelity where he was among the top one percent of advisors before joining Fortress. “We want our clients to have access to every legal strategy available. Innovation is our culture. We are unique and boutique. Our clients like it that way, and that’s how we plan to stay.”
Securities offered through Fortress Private Ledger, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Nothing in this article should be construed as investment advice or any recommendation or solicitation for any specific security or investment.
Fortress Financial Partners
3110 Edwards Mill Road, Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612 | (919) 322-2761
email@example.com | fortressfinancialpartners.com
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