Even though I say it so many times, to both myself and others, the time goes by so quickly. Yet I am still sometimes caught off guard noticing just how quickly each turning of the world, and its own orbiting around the sun, has happened. My son Carter just had his eighth birthday, and this year’s holiday season is already pounding at our front door. Each day, another couple of homes in my neighborhood are transformed into Christmas wonderlands, and my wife Robyn has been pressuring me since the end of Halloween to solidify Thanksgiving plans with everyone else.
Time is short, and days are busy, so I am hoping everyone is okay with a briefer correspondence accompanying your statements this month. In that vein, I wanted to present a classic letter of thanksgiving and appreciation. However, I do believe this can all be tied in to our relationship as the manager of your savings, and by any conservative measure the long-term success we have all experienced. What I am thankful for, and what I believe to be the two biggest elements of that shared success, are the teachings my parents gave us Anderson kids, and the fact that we at Anderson Griggs have good clients.
Now that I have the patience and humbleness that life eventually provides to us, I am able to properly understand and be deeply thankful for the parenting I’ve received throughout my life. As many of you have witnessed personally, if you’ve found yourself in the office when my parents, Kendall and Kathy, are here, that guidance continues today. They taught me to take personal responsibility, to have personal moral values, to be open and honest with others and myself, and to insist on doing my best simply because it should be important to myself… and all of this was molded with an overall humbleness, respect for others, and thankfulness for what others give. I deeply believe these teachings have been integral to what Anderson Griggs Investments is. First, because of how the business was created and run when Dad was here, and continuing now because that same training we received during our upbringing is the same training me and Libby received here at the office. So, with love and respect I thank you Mom and Dad.
Now about our good clients… I know there is always a risk of sounding insincere when a business thanks their clients for being “the best clients one could ask for.” Let me first state my facts dryly as an investment manager. I said our mutual success is directly because of you as clients, and that I believe to be truth. I’ve said this so many times and in so many ways, but investment success comes from a long-term mindset, good investment behavior, and a successful relationship between client and advisor. All three of those exist and are strengthened when there is open, honest, and transparent communication.
You’ve all heard me and Kendall say that we can’t control the markets, and we will never promise what we can’t provide, which definitely includes certainty about the future. But we will always provide our honest opinion, backed by constant research and study. In other words, we ask you to trust that we are doing what we honestly feel is best for you as our investment clients. On the other hand, we trust each of you to provide us with all of the inputs that go into defining your goals and constraints. Dad specifically designed this business to make an environment of trust as easy as possible. We do not have direct access to your funds, we do not employ any kind of “shared fee” environment with other businesses, we report to you (sometimes more stuff than you want!), have open avenues of communication, and work diligently and quickly to respond to your questions and concerns.
But we also work hard to identify each prospective client as a good fit before creating a relationship. That is another part of the process designed by Dad. We’ve shared this before, but we actually have three requirements for our clients. First, they should have a certain level of funds for us to work with, which ensures our style of management can be utilized correctly based on style and cost constraints. Second, they must be intelligent, but this isn’t any “IQ” based intelligence. We need people who can see through both the noise of the news and the false hopes of the investment charlatans knocking constantly on their doors. The third requirement has been added by me, and it is that our clients must be nice. It really is that simple, and when I said this Dad immediately jumped on board. There are a lot of people out there, and to some extent we can pick and choose. There is no reason why the team would need to work with mean or abusive people.
If we aren’t a good fit for a client, they could constrain the management process or make a switch at an inopportune time, which isn’t good for either side of the relationship. We want to be the right manager for the right people, because this leads to a better long-term mindset, better investment behavior, and a successful relationship between client and advisor. I humbly and respectfully thank you all for being the good clients that you are. We have open communication based on mutual trust, you are patient as we respond to your needs when times are crazy, and you are thoughtful and thankful for our service and genuinely nice in our interactions. You make the ongoing mechanical business of managing your funds easy and enjoyable for all of us here at the office, and your trust in our investment philosophy has been integral to our shared success.
Now, to end on a less sappy note, these ideas I’ve shared about social and moral fiber being linked to our shared success were planted in my mind as I read more from the book Is Inflation Ending? Are You Ready? by Gary Shilling and Kiril Sokoloff. Dad has a vast and ranging historical collection of books related to investing, economics, and business. He provided me this gem as we were talking about inflation and how to view it amidst the investment process. Chapter 3 of the book is titled “Bitter Fruits; How Inflation Has Devastated Our Economy and Social Fabric.” Much of the book talks about how inflation has many effects, which in-turn often lead to further inflation, thus creating a cycle that can feed on itself. One of those effects is the degradation of the Social Fabric. Although we often feel like “things are different this time,” much of what we are seeing and reading about in the news today was present during our last bout of high inflation. This is not a prediction of doom and gloom. In fact, the decreases in the rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index we’ve witnessed now each month since the high in July is good news for the threats indicated in this book. I will share some of those ideas, based on my reflections of what’s going on in society today, in a future letter.
Again, my deepest thanks to all of you, and to you, Mom and Dad.
If any questions or concerns come up, no matter how small, you all know where to find us, and I look forward to visiting with you.
Kendall J. Anderson, CFA, Founder
Justin T. Anderson, President