When Capital Partners was launched in July 1999, the Euro currency had just been created, Bill Clinton was US President, Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France, and our youngest son Tim had just turned one!
As I backed out the driveway that day in 1999 and was waved off by Robyn and the boys, all that existed of Capital Partners was a laptop computer, a registered company, a letterhead and a few business cards. There were no clients at that point, so it really was a standing start. My first client had been my boss in a previous life. He was willing to back me and still does today, so I am grateful to him for opening the innings!
It’s hard to imagine how things were 20 years ago with all that has happened in the years since. In some ways it feels like a blur but today we have a team of 32 people, 10 advisers and just under $1Bn in client funds under advice.
The first real turning point happened in 2003 when Michael Matthews and Chris King both joined within six months. Being a sole operator is a challenge, so joining forces with two fine, like-minded fellows made good sense. One of my favourite sayings over the years has been “nobody succeeds alone”, and this is certainly true of my 17-year partnership with Mike and Chris.
Another noteworthy event occurred in 2004. Frustrated by the high fees and turnover of fund managers we went in search of a more systematic, lower-cost method of investing. Until then we had been very diligent, but we were too dependent on the ‘opinions’ of researchers and product providers. We were never really convinced that they knew more than we did.
One can’t manage someone else’s money on a hunch, so at about this time Michael began researching different approaches. The work of Eugene Fama (University of Chicago) and Ken French (Dartmouth College) whose academic research around systematic, asset class investing made so much sense. After a period of research and validation we began implementing asset class portfolios, and now 15 years on, we are very pleased we did. We’ve never sought to ‘shoot the lights out’ with investing, rather we seek consistent, reliable returns that clients can feel confident with, through good and bad times.
As we grew, we reached the position where we could use our increasing size and influence to improve outcomes for clients. This was the case when we negotiated significant discounts on administrative services, legal services and anywhere else we could bring influence to bear. Importantly, we have never sought to benefit from these savings ourselves – every dollar has been passed back to clients.
In 2015 we were a founding member of the Global Association of Independent Advisors where firms from around the world openly share ideas, best practices and hold each other accountable to higher standards. This led us to become the first firm in Australia to gain the CEFEX mark, the highest quality standard for investment fiduciaries in the world.
As I reflect on our first 20 years, I am filled with gratitude for the fabulous relationships we have enjoyed with clients, our team and other professional advisers along the way. We have seen families and careers grow, businesses flourish, and at times we have also shared in the pain and sorrow that is inevitable in life. In later years we have been fortunate to win professional and industry awards, but the feedback we value the most is the quiet recognition we receive from clients, particularly when we have helped them through a testing period of their lives.
As we look forward to the next 20–years we plan to be a multi-generation business and a brand that is recognised and trusted in the community for always trying to do the right thing.
On behalf of the Capital Partners team, thank you for being part of our first 20 years – we think the best is yet to come.
Celebrating 20 years!
July 1999 – Capital Partners established with an unrestricted Securities Dealer’s Licence.
January 2003 – Michael Matthews joined the firm having first worked with KPMG and then PlanB Financial Services
July 2003 – Merged with Affiniti Financial Consultants with Chris King becoming an Executive Director
Mid-2004 – We adopted the Asset Class investment approach for the first time. We now have a 15-year track record with this investment philosophy that has proven to be reliable and sustainable.
2007 – Launch of the Assante Custodial Service, the first time we had used our growing scale to negotiate preferential administration fees for our clients.
2008 – Joined the national Asset Class investment Group – which was later to become the Global Association of Independent Advisors (GAIA).
2009 – Navigated and survived the Global Financial Crisis.
2014 – Employed over 20 people for the first time. Established Capital Partners Risk Insurance Advisers to provide specialist advice.
2015 – Became a founding member of the Global Association of Independent Advisors (“GAIA”), there are now 17 member firms globally.
2016 – Became the first firm in Australia to achieve the CEFEX mark – the highest global standard for fiduciary excellence for Investment advisers
2017 – Awarded the coveted Best Professional Practice in Australia award from the Financial Planning Association of Australia, and Michael Hayward was awarded Best CFP Professional in Australia.
2018 – Awarded Boutique Advisory Firm of the Year in the IFA Excellence Awards
2019 – Broadened our ownership group to 10, with seven new Principals becoming owners. Our intention for the future is that Capital Partners will be owned by the people who work in it.