During the interview, Matthew discusses how Focus Asset Management takes a different approach than many financial planning and asset management organizations with several key factors: 1) he is truly an independent fee-only fiduciary with no ties to larger firms, 2) keeping the client “roster” smaller to provide a “high touch” family office-like personalized client experience, and 3) offering institutional money management that is typically only available to individuals with $20 million+ in assets.
While keeping client rosters smaller may seem counterintuitive for new businesses, Focus Asset Management sees it as their fiduciary duty, and to offer “high touch” family office-like service to each of their clients. This allows them to build stronger relationships with their clients and serve their individual needs better; by putting the clients’ needs first.
In fact, Matthew reports that their advisors will take on approximately half the clients of similar financial management firms in order to offer individual clients bespoke services designed specifically around their needs. When questioned about what “high touch” means in this regard and how responsive Focus Asset Management is to client’s needs or questions, Matthew responded that most client questions and concerns are addressed either immediately, or by end of business day.
He goes on to describe himself saying, “I’d rather my clients be pestered by me contacting them too much, versus them not hearing from me enough.” He of course goes on to say that contact frequency is adjusted to the individual client’s needs and circumstances. Focus Asset Management takes pride in educating their clients about what is happening in capital markets, and the global economy and how this may or may not affect their individual situation. Clients are also offered an advice-only option, which gives the client the ability to utilize advisory services outside of traditional money management, should they themselves manage their own assets, or have them managed elsewhere.
Some people might describe the service as concierge financial planning. By helping their clients enjoy the assets they’ve accumulated over a lifetime, Focus will serve their purpose in supporting them throughout their retirement with the ultimate goal of clients not outliving their income. He wants clients “to enjoy the wealth they have accumulated responsibly,” and he helps them accomplish this.
Matthew Unger created Focus Asset Management to deliver an unsurpassed experience to affluent and high net worth individuals, their families, foundations and businesses. By providing advice founded on a culture of excellence and driven by global insight, Focus delivers this within the context of an unparalleled, elite and independent registered investment advisory firm, not unlike an independent family office.
Prior to forming Focus Asset Management, Matthew was an advisor with Fisher Investments where he was responsible for managing approximately $150 million in assets, where he signed $35 million in new client assets in 2018, Ranked in the Top 1% for new client on-boarding and retention for Fiscal Year 2018 and constantly lead his team in client satisfaction. Matthew also previously worked at Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith where he advised affluent individuals and families. Matthew attended Syracuse University for undergraduate, and Harvard University for graduate work, and also obtained a Professional Certificate in Financial Markets from Yale University. Matthew has 12+ years of professional experience, and 10 years of investment advisory and consulting experience.