Cultivating Trust

South Texas Money Management’s secret to guiding investors toward true diversification

By: Jessica Dusek
Photos by: Paul Marshall

There is always going to be volatility in the investment markets, but having a portfolio that is properly diversified will help dampen that volatility. This is the philosophy that guides South Texas Money Management’s (STMM’s) Jeanie Wyatt, CFA. Wyatt is both the founder and CEO of the organization. Established in 2000, STMM now serves all the major Texas markets and represents more than 1,700 clients with 60 employees. “We received our SEC Registration on Christmas Eve 15 years ago,” recalls Wyatt fondly of her venture’s beginning. She brings with her over 30 years of financial experience beginning with her career start at Corpus Christi National Bank.

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Wyatt directs her clients’ investments with a “customized” approach. Managing upwards of $500K accounts, her firm appeals to clients who wish to maximize their retirement and savings portfolios. Her unique business model begins with making sure the client understands the investment process, through education and transparency.

A long history of working with clients has taught her the importance of an educational approach. “We want clients to know what they own, what they made and what they paid,” she says. “When someone hires us, they are giving us the discretion to manage their money. We don’t take that trust lightly.” Whether saving for a child’s education or a dream retirement, Wyatt and her team of professionals create an individual investment strategy and diversified portfolio for each client. Wyatt believes because her clients are knowledgeable about their investments, they are more patient investors, and patient investors tend to be more successful.

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Unlike many other money management firms in Texas, STMM does not typically invest in funds, partnerships or similar kinds of products. “We recommend individual stocks and bonds in separately managed accounts,” Wyatt explains. “The beauty of this approach is that it provides the client a lower-cost solution and also allows for complete transparency. It is impossible to know everything you own and the fees built in when working with funds.”

Wyatt has found that educating her clients not only gets them excited about investing, but also cultivates trust, which is crucial in the up-and-down world of the stock market. “When I saw how impactful it was on our clients, I found a passion,” Wyatt explains. “Helping clients fund their retirement, children’s education and special life events is what motivates me every day.”

Her vision for STMM was guided by a strong commitment to Texas. The Austin native grew her company strategically, starting in San Antonio and then expanding into Dallas, Austin, Houston and, most recently, Corpus Christi. “Our growth would not have been possible without an outstanding group of professionals who invested in our strategy and put our clients first,” Wyatt explains. Not only is the firm employee-owned, the majority of the partners and key staff are women. “It is rare in this industry, and I feel gives us a competitive edge,” Wyatt says.

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Wyatt guides the firm with the help of a very strong investment team, which includes Dr. Jim Kee, president and chief economist, and Leah Bennett, co-chief investment officer. Other key players on the team include Christian Ledoux, director of equity research, and Hutch Bryant, director of fixed income. With a discipline of being strategically diversified at all times, this deep bench of investment professionals provides the research and direction for their clients’ investment portfolios, which may include 50 to 60 highly researched individual stocks. “This strategy provides exposure to both growth and value investment styles, domestic and international companies, all market capitalizations and no big sector bets,” Kee explains.

In support of their desire to have informed clients, STMM is eager to share their wealth of research and knowledge. Kee writes an outstanding weekly blog on the status of the economy covering international and domestic issues of the day. Clients also have access to quarterly market updates and webcasts, as well as invitations to individual market outlook luncheons.

Wyatt is pleased to return to Corpus Christi, where she got her start in banking. The office here is the newest location for the firm. It opened just over two years ago and is served by two seasoned investment advisors, Mary Hime and Donna Patterson. Wyatt encourages her employees to be involved in the communities where they live. Hime and Patterson are active in the Rotary Club, Executive Women International, the Rockport Arts Center and the Rockport-Fulton Humane Society, among other things.

The firm has received numerous national accolades in its 15 years. Among several in 2015, Wyatt was named one of the Top 100 Women Advisors by Barron’s Magazine. The firm was named one of the Top 100 Fee-Only Wealth Managers by CNBC and one of the Top 100 Wealth Managers by Forbes Magazine. In addition, STMM was included in the Financial Times Top 300 RIAs list and the Top 10 Women-Owned RIAs list for 2015 by wealthmanagement.com. For criteria and other information on these awards, please visit http://stmmltd.publishpath.com/current-communication.

To learn more about South Texas Money Management, please contact Mary Hime or Donna Patterson at 361-904-0551.

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