Over two decades ago, Spencer ran into a burning building in Philadelphia to save his clients’ files. While we always try to avoid physical danger, our devotion to our clients remains unchanged.
In 1999, we (Brent and Spencer) met in Maui during a week-long training by one of the forefathers of modern financial planning, George Kinder. We quickly realized that we shared an uncanny number of similarities, mainly a commitment to helping people make a significant impact with their time and money through financial planning and the right kind of investing. We also knew that we wanted our business to be the catalyst for many people not simply to get richer, but to live a more richly fulfilling life.
We met again at a conference in Colorado. While walking around a wooded lake on a nippy mid-November afternoon, we realized that neither of us had a true peer within our businesses—no one to bounce the really hard decisions off of. We both felt that our clients and employees could benefit greatly if we joined forces. So a couple of months later, we hashed out the terms of a deal, including a 15-month “living together” period before completing the legal merger.
During this trial period, we traveled to each other’s offices on both coasts, sat in on client meetings and mentored each other’s staffs. We even hired a psychotherapist to spend a weekend with us and our wives to explore where the emotional and interpersonal pitfalls might lie. Once the legal merger was complete, the combined staff did a three-day retreat in Napa, which was the official launch of Abacus Wealth Partners.
In the years since, the firm has achieved a number of milestones:
- Our staff has grown from seven to more than 50 employees
- We launched an innovative small client investment management service that now manages investments for over 700 clients
- Abacus and its employees have donated over $200,000 to charity
- Our founders’ books, The Cure for Money Madness, It’s Not About the Money, and The Money and Spirit Workshop from Sounds True, have been read by over 40,000 people
- We are a founding B Corporation, demonstrating our commitment to clients, employees and the larger communities in which we work and live
- We have invested over $30 million in small enterprises around the world that focus on social impact
- We helped engineer and fund two of the largest environmentally screened mutual funds in the world
- Our assets under management have grown from $200 million to over $1 billion
- We have grown from two partners to thirteen
- We were one of the first firms to recognize the link between mindfulness, emotions, and financial success
We firmly believe that the best is yet to come. We are committed to hiring and mentoring the brightest and most emotionally intelligent financial planners in the country, and helping them become partners in Abacus. We will remain independent of banks, investment companies or other third parties (many investment advisers sell their businesses to these entities, especially as founders approach retirement age). We have instituted voting rules that protect minority partners and arranged a bank financing program to allow our rising stars to slowly buy equity over time. This ensures that our most valuable employees are here for the long term so that clients’ financial lives remain strong and successful. We love what we do and we are committed to expanding what’s possible with money.