A Decade

A Decade – Looking Back and Forward

David B. Armstrong, CFA Weekly Market Commentary

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In the mid-2000s, after working for large Wall Street firms for years, it became abundantly clear to us that the financial services industry was drowning in a sea of sameness. Real financial planning either didn’t exist or was nothing more than a mechanism to generate an asset allocation and sell products. Creativity was nonexistent, culture was focused on shareholder profits first and advisors were accountable to sales managers, not their clients.

We were unimpressed, to say the least—and very, very bored. So, we decided we really just didn’t want to be stuck in the vortex of the traditional, ubiquitous and undifferentiated financial services model.

In a word, or three, we were done.

That’s how Monument Wealth Management began—and before it became a full-on firm, it started the very day we decided to stop taking orders from a big corporation and instead focus on listening to and truly advising clients. A novel idea, that.

We envisioned a firm and a culture that would challenge the industry status quo by being the opposite of everything we wanted to escape —a firm that more closely resembled a creative design agency where the output is meticulously-crafted, creative financial advice that is easy to understand, actionable and measurable.

A firm where the most creative, smart, entrepreneurial, respected, and genuine people gathered each day to give financial advice to clients who truly valued it. An enduring employee-owned firm that would offer clients and their future generations real, focused financial advice through a unique process completely unconstrained by any large corporate agenda.

These ideas became reality when Monument opened for business on May 24, 2008.

It’s hard to believe that was over a decade ago.

A Mission Mindset

We’ve spent the better part of a decade trying to hone an authentic mission statement and we never seemed to get it exactly right.  Then it dawned on us…we didn’t have a mission that could be boiled down to a simple statement.

What we had was more complex – a mission mindset. And that’s not something that can be minimized down into a single, sexy sound bite.

We set out on a mission to challenge the status quo in the financial industry (which by and large relies on managing assets, pushing products and misaligning employee  compensation) and change the conversation around wealth management to one that views complexity through the lens of creative problem solving and seeks to create a dynamic, living vision—rather than flatten it all into a useless pie chart.

In doing so, we’re on a mission to provide opportunities for people to see their options in a new way, and not just tap their potential for wealth, but their potential for living. And to build something that lasts.

We Have a Vision, and We Always Have.

At Monument, we see ourselves as the furthest thing from standard-issue financial advisors – no power suits adorned with fancy cufflinks, red power ties, and starched out, five-pointed pocket squares here. There is simply too much dog hair for that.

We are outspoken critics of the industry, and don’t waste time with short-lived trends, industry jargon, or marketing terms that further commoditize what, to us, should be a human conversation, not a numbers game.

For our clients, this comes as advice in the form of Monument’s considered, bespoke Private Wealth Design.

For our team, we do it by providing opportunities for education, growth, and collaboration, so that they can become not just skilled advisors, but keener thinkers and problem solvers.

The Bottom Line

We aim to be the firm of choice for those looking for something different in a wealth management firm: an enduring, employee-owned company with an entrepreneurial spirit that acts and functions more like a creative team than a financial services office.

To that end, we have built a reputation of meticulously-crafted financial advice delivered by the most creative and forward-thinking team in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.

Our Clients

None of this would have been possible without our clients. From the oldest to the newest, you have all subscribed to our mission mindset and our vision.  We never take that for granted. It’s easy to say thank you, but it’s also so hard because no amount of saying it will be equal to how much we mean it. You are all incredible.

Your continued loyalty and advice are a treasure. Your open-minded participation in the process of providing you with advice and Private Wealth Design has made us better advisors, business owners and people.

2018 was an important year at Monument. We introduced new technology, continued adding to our amazing team, introduced a new custodian with TD Institutional, invested in new portfolio management software, and finally severed ties with the old Wall Street brokerage model for a 100% registered investment advisor model where the only fee charged is for our advice.

None of that could have happened without you, our client.  Thanks for an amazing decade and keep looking forward. We believe the best is still ahead.

Dave

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Important Disclosure Information

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Wealth Management), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.

All indexes referenced are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. The economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument Wealth Management. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Monument Wealth Management is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

A copy of Monument Wealth Management’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

 

About the Author
David B. Armstrong, CFA

David B. Armstrong, CFA

David B. Armstrong, CFA, is a President and Co-Founder of Monument Wealth Management. Along with his role as the firm’s chief investment strategist and portfolio manager, Armstrong is viewed as an industry leader in several areas including innovative practice management, discretionary asset management, digital marketing and social media. Dave is the writer of Monument Wealth Management's weekly "Off the Wall" Financial Blog and Market Commentary, and is frequently sought after by journalists and event coordinators. Visit his full biography here.

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