Steward was founded on the belief there was a different and better way to manage wealth. After a decade of doing it the "traditional" way, the founding principals, Dustin Stiefel and Vince Hawkins resigned from successful careers at a traditional, commission based financial planning firm with a concept and a conviction to offer truly independent, objective advice. Upon hearing the news of the new endeavor, former colleague and estate planning attorney, Steven Early joined the new firm as well. Due to a non-compete agreement, the firm launched with only a handful of existing clients. Assets under management upon startup was $8 Million.
The world has just experienced the second largest financial crisis in history. However, the objective advice and sound principals at Steward have led to significant growth in new clients looking for a better investment experience. Despite the 62% decline in the S&P 500, assets under management have grown to $52 Million.
The stock market recovery is well under way. Due to strategic rebalancing and a disciplined approach, most clients at Steward have recovered from any losses of the financial crisis and are profiting in the recovery. Existing clients realize the unique difference at Steward and they continue to refer friends and colleagues. Despite no advertising or marketing, assets under management grows to $96 Million.
The firm has grown to a point it requires some expansion. There is only one name on the list of candidates as he is a long time friend and respected professional. The firm actively pursues Joseph McIntosh from another industry. As an accomplished CPA at Ernst & Young, he has the perfect skill set to join Steward as an additional advisor. Joseph joins the firm in November. Additionally, the firms establishes a relationship with an internal CPA firm to prepare tax returns for clients. Steward begins offering this service as part of it's advisory fee. This addition is so well received, the services of estate planning attorney, Steven Early are absorbed within the advisory fee as well. The true integrated approach is now a reality. One team, under one roof, within one fee. Assets under management are now $155 Million.
Continued growth has required the need for additional real estate and improved systems. Steward begins construction on an 8,600 square foot office to house Steward along with the estate planning firm and CPA firm. We begin integrating significant software improvements and the addition of TD Ameritrade as a second custodian. The firm begins rebranding itself to Steward Wealth Management as it better encompasses the holistic planning model. Assets under management have surpassed $200 Million.