Dear Clients, Associates and Friends,
As we begin a new year, this is a great time to reflect for a moment on 2017 and then look forward to 2018. First, thank you for helping us make last year successful. We appreciate and value the trust you place in our firm every single day.
By any measurement, 2017 was a year of solid growth for the firm. More importantly, through the leadership of President Patricia Filbrandt and her team, Filbrandt Investment Advisers’ infrastructure was strengthened in order to better serve clients. We strive to help each client find the best total solution for their unique needs. Our passion is to build Filbrandt & Company into the advisory firm of choice for university professionals always employing the fiduciary standard, now and 100+ years into the future.
Last year our client assets under our discretionary, non-discretionary, and consulting management grew by 15 percent. In addition, we reached the $1 billion mark. While bigger does not necessarily mean better, university retirement plan vendors and the universities are much more aware of our services than they were years ago and this is good news. Working together, we can help encourage better benefit programs at lower costs for plan participants. A growing number of your peers are learning about the services we provide. They tell us that they value our unique comprehensive planning approach and the in-depth knowledge of their university benefit programs that we bring to the table.
Our Financial Literacy Team, led by Robert Klitzke, provides educational opportunities for clients. This team produces website content, live educational events, web-based classes and written reports. Last year, they hosted 15 combined in-person and online educational events that featured expert professional speakers. Our live on-campus classes were so well received that we will triple the number in 2018.
To serve our growing client base, we welcomed three additional staff members in 2017. These hires put our staff to client ratio at 1:14. These talented professionals will work to provide timely, accurate, and personalized information to our clients who seek our turnkey service experience. This enables the Certified Financial Planner™ Advisers to spend more time with clients. Please join us in welcoming Jennifer Parrish, Sarah Gedden, and Shaun Quirk to the firm.
Filbrandt & Company made a significant number of technological upgrades in 2017. A new company website was born. This new site has much more capacity and capability than its predecessor. The goal is to provide an improved user experience and a better platform to deliver the educational resources we provide our clients. In addition, the confidentiality and security of client information is paramount. To that end, each client now has access to their own “client vault” for the placement of important documents and Filbrandt reports.
In 2017 Filbrandt & Company upgraded the software that powers our online investment management, accounting, and recordkeeping capabilities. Tamarac, a technology company that focuses on best-in class and innovative software for asset management, was retained to improve our service. As a result, we are now able to deliver enhanced and dynamic reporting, as well as, more efficient trading for client investment portfolios. Shirlene Chart, Operations Manager, Amy Jungr, Executive Assistant, and the Client Service team collaborated on this initiative which led to its successful implementation.
A major milestone was achieved in 2017 with the formation of Filbrandt Private Trust. Filbrandt Private Trust provides trust solutions for clients whose financial, family, or business needs require the services of a corporate fiduciary trustee. The primary benefit of Filbrandt Private Trust is that clients can now have their wealth managed for generations to come. This means that children and grandchildren of our clients can rely on Filbrandt & Company’s financial expertise just as they have. Licensed in all 50 states, Filbrandt Private Trust is a Trust Representative Office of National Advisors Trust, an independent trust company owned by fiduciary advisors, including Filbrandt & Company. Scott Kornstedt, CFP©, has been named Trust Officer of Filbrandt Private Trust. Scott will help clients and their attorneys make best use of Filbrandt Private Trust services.
Late in 2017 we changed our corporate name from Filbrandt Investment Advisers to Filbrandt Wealth Management, which more accurately reflects the nature of our holistic financial planning service. We have also changed our business structure to a limited liability corporation (LLC), which allows the firm to expand its base of owners. This transfer of ownership to our valued colleagues will help ensure that our firm grows and thrives well into the future.
In 2017, we took many steps to pave the way for continued growth and enhanced service for our clients. Going forward, we are committed to delivering the same high-quality service that you have come to expect from us. Thank you again for the opportunity to work with you on these important matters.
Wishing you all the best for a happy and healthy 2018!
Michael J. Filbrandt, CLU, ChFC Chairman of the Board, CEO