A Brief Q & A with Jeff Brockelsby, Registered Investment Advisor
How did you get into the investment business?
It started with reptiles! More specifically, it started in 1993 after my father died. The S-Corporation business he had founded and run for over 50 years - Black Hills Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, SD - had a modest investment portfolio. He had also bequeathed two trusts to my mother. I was the executor of his will and treasurer of the corporation, and it became my responsibility to manage all of the investments. I studied the principles of investing on my own, found that I enjoyed doing it and have kept up with it ever since. In 2008 I become a Registered Investment Advisor and started my own firm. I still manage investments for Reptile Gardens as well as several family members.
What do you enjoy most about investment management?
A couple of things, really. First I'm a bit of a geek, so I like doing research into mutual funds and analyzing which ones are the best for a particular portfolio. Second, I enjoy working directly with people to help them find the best investment options for their situation, whether it's a 401(k), IRA, college fund, or whatever. On more than one occasion, I've had a friend or relative come to me and say, "Jeff, help! They gave me all this 401(k) stuff at work and I don't understand it! Can you help me figure it out?” Serving people in that way gives me a sense of fulfillment.
As a Registered Investment Advisor you have "fiduciary" responsibilities. What does that mean?
That means that when I recommend a particular investment to a client, it has to be in my judgment the best investment for their particular situation. Some investment professionals are only obligated to recommend "suitable" investments, not necessarily the best. This is a responsibility I take very seriously. I started out in this business managing my money for my relatives, and I try to treat every client's portfolio like it belongs to a family member.
Anything else to add?
People sometimes ask me, "Jeff, what's a good investment right now" Unfortunately, that's not as easy a question to answer as it sounds. If you want to know the name of a stock that's going to go up, say, 30% during the next year, well, most any pundit's opinion is about as good as mine. My approach to investing is more concerned about the long-term. A good investment for a particular individual depends on several factors: What are you saving for? How soon will you need it? What other investments do you have? How old are you? How much risk can you tolerate? What are your long-term financial goals? A good investment advisor can help his or her client to sort through these questions to come up with a strategy that's tailored to the client's needs. I use mainly mutual funds in the portfolios I manage for the diversity and safety they provide. And I try to keep my fees reasonable so that regular folks can receive sound, professional investment advice.