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Wealth Management in the Gables


Wealth Management in the Gables

John Harris, Managing Director for the Coral Gables Trust Company 

By J.P. Faber
Photo by: Robert Sullivan

As F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously wrote, "Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me".

What Fitzgerald was talking about was generational wealth, families he depicted in novels like The Great Gatsby and The Last Tycoon, where a sense of self-entitlement and superiority came from enjoying too much too soon, without the work required to attain it. While the wealthy are indeed different, and certainly have different needs, in Coral Gables these have more to do with protecting what's been created through hard work than any sense of arrogant self-worth.

Even though we now manage north of $1.5 billion, we want to be a resource for the local community and appeal to most households in the city, says John Harris, managing director for the Coral Gables Trust Company. Harris' firm will work with clients whose assets fall below the threshold for many national firms - hundreds of thousands rather than millions - because these clients are tomorrow's opulent investors. "We want to recognize the wealth creators, and is the businesses that create wealth" says Harris. "We want to be there when they get there, down the road. These are people we want as long term clients, like little sapling trees. We don't need the instant gratification that the larger firms need; we are privately owned."

"What we try to do is explain to clients that we take a long term view, longer than a year, or two, or three,"  says Harris. "We are looking to build long term wealth. We don"t lead with returns. We have strong returns, and are proud of that, but we aren't marketing that."

This is especially true when it comes to financial research. While some global firms have huge in-house research capabilities, that is rare for boutique firms - though this does not necessarily put them at a disadvantage. "We recognized, six years into the business, that we couldn't do the best research in house," says Harris of Coral Gables Trust. "So, we seek the best individual money managers out there, small cap, mid cap, etc. We look for the best managers in each area." CGT hired Folio Dynamics in 2012, for example, paying them a fee for research that comes from a team of 30-plus Stanford, MIT and equivalent graduates. They also use Morning Star, and the research coming out of Charles Schwab, which is where they custody all of their client assets.

Read Full Article on Coral Gables Magazine

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