Truepoint offers different direction for managing wealth.Mike Boyer For nearly three decades, Truepoint Wealth Counsel in Blue Ash has embraced a different approach to the business of financial planning.
Founded in 1990 by financial planner Michael J. Chasnoff, Truepoint was one of the first fee-only investment firms in the area, charging a fee for its service and not selling investments for which it received a commission.
“It was pretty unique at the time and still represents a minority of the firms in the wealth management industry,” says Steve Condon, Truepoint president.
“The industry has operated the same way for decades,” he says. “The traditional bank or broker is selling their ability to outperform the market through stock picking or market timing.”
It’s a product-based approach, which can include selling annuities and/or insurance or a proprietary investment strategy, he says. Truepoint, on the other hand, takes an evidence-based approach to investing.
“In practical terms we’re using index funds and broad diversification,” he says.
“All the evidence and academic research show that stock picking and marketing timing not only aren’t adding value; they’re detracting value from the investment returns.”
Another thing that helps set Truepoint apart, Condon says, is that it also includes tax planning and preparation and estate planning strategy along with its financial planning.
“We’re very much a one-stop shop for complete personal financial management which simplifies the lives of clients tremendously.”
The success of Truepoint’s approach is reflected in its growth from a one-person firm. Today it employs 56, including 17 shareholders in the firm. It serves about 750 families as well as some institutional clients and has total assets under management of more than $2.7 billion.
Truepoint is also tapping into non-traditional markets.
Two years ago it launched RhineVest, an Over-the-Rhine subsidiary providing low-cost investment management aimed at millennials and others who haven’t accumulated the assets of traditional financial planning clients. RhineVest combines the ease of use and lower cost of online technology with qualified financial advisers focused on the millennial market.
“We view it as great opportunity to carry forward our fiduciary fee-only approach to a population that we had not been in position to serve previously,” Condon says.
“RhineVest clientele is very much still in the accumulation phase,” he says. “They may be dealing with college debt, or purchasing a home, or starting a family and saving for college. It’s a different set of issues that deserves it own set of advisers. It’s been great opportunity for us to serve the children and grandchildren of our existing clients.”
This summer RhineVest acquired TruWealth Planning, a Cincinnati fee-only financial planning firm, bringing more advisers into the firm.
Another way Truepoint sets itself apart is through its Women’s Wealth Counsel, which regularly holds events specifically aimed at female clients.
“The discussion and questions they have around personal finance may look very different from what it is with our male clients,“ says Condon, who says the development of the Women’s Wealth Counsel several years ago reflects Truepoint’s own makeup.
“One of the things we’ve benefitted from as a firm is our gender diversity. We are effectively 50-50 male and female across our firm and that’s given us an advantage in how we practice with clients.”