Written by: Peter Byrd
With the college football season kicking off this weekend, I thought it might be fun to take a look to see how Agili stacks up against one of college football’s premier teams – The Alabama Crimson Tide. What I found was that there were crossover similarities to be drawn. Here are five of them.
- A team-first culture: What’s fascinating about top-tier college football is that it’s a collection of players, coaches, and support staff working together to achieve a common goal. Success requires the coordination of all units in support of the entire team. The defense sets the tone and stops the opposing offense, special teams help control the field position, and the offense’s goal is to score points. While coaches oversee the X’s and O’s, the training and support staff also work to keep players healthy and eligible so they can play on Saturdays. As we know from Alabama’s success, when all parties are working in unison, it’s a well-oiled machine that leads to victories on the field.
At Agili, we have a similar team-first culture. Your financial strategist manages your big picture, but also works in tandem with investment and financial planning analysts to help put your financial plan into action. The client services team assists with necessary day-to-day operations while marketing works to bring you the firm’s thoughts through our blog and quarterly commentaries. Everyone here is monitored by our Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) to make sure rules and regulations are followed. There is great collaboration that collectively leads to putting our best foot forward to help advance you toward your goals.
- Access to the best: For those hardcore college football fans who follow recruiting in the offseason, you’re probably aware that Alabama is able to field a roster of 4-and 5-star recruits each year. Its recruiting footprint covers the whole country and the Crimson Tide is able to land many of the best and most highly-touted players that smaller mid-major schools struggle to get. The same can be said of offensive and defensive coordinators. The Alabama coaching staff develops strong connections with high school coaches of top programs to help build a pipeline of coaching talent for the future.
Just as Alabama has access to the best players and coaches, at Agili, we have access to the best investment opportunities. We pride ourselves on being able to give clients access to investments not readily available to retail investors, such as commercial paper and institutional share classes of mutual funds featuring lower expense ratios. In addition, we use our industry connections to vet renowned fund managers in person to find proven track records and an investment philosophy that aligns with ours. We leverage our connections with those managers to ensure operational compatibility across multiple custodial platforms, thereby building our own pipeline of investment opportunities.
- A similar offensive and defensive philosophy: Those who have watched Alabama football this past decade know that the Tide uses a tried-and-true approach. On offense, they use a stable of running backs to churn out 5-yard gains at a time to march down the field to the end zone. You don’t see flashy trick plays like a wide receiver double reverse pass that could go terribly wrong and end up with a 14-yard loss. On defense, they’re always stout. Their goal is to not give up the big home run play. The defense keeps the ball in front of them and limits the potential to get badly burned over the top.
We’re value investors here at Agili. We prefer low cost funds and steady gains from dividend-paying companies with strong balance sheets over boom-or-bust returns from headline-grabbing initial public offerings (IPOs) of companies that have yet to turn a profit. On the defensive (bond) side, we make sure your portfolio is aligned with your risk appetite to serve as a buffer before a market downturn. Using Warren Buffet’s mantra in a football sense, our investment philosophy to protect your portfolio could be described as: “Rule No. 1: Never give up ‘the big play’; Rule No. 2: Never forget Rule No. 1.”
- Seasoned leaders: Nick Saban is a lifer in the coaching profession and has been at the helm of the Tide for the past 12 seasons. He’s probably forgotten more about football than many people will ever know. Starting in the 1970s, he’s had to adapt over several decades to stay on top of the changing dynamics and landscape of college football. He’s had his shares of highs (six national championships) and lows (two losses in the title game; his NFL stint). But through it all, he’s always surrounded himself with smart and talented assistant coaches, who work to help lift the program to greater heights. Additionally, every offseason, opposing coaches report to Saban’s practices to try and pick up successful habits.
For 26 years, Michael Joyce and his associates have helped guide clients through good times (current bull market) and turbulent stretches (Dot-com bubble; Great Recession) while managing risk and reward with short- and long-term goals. Like Saban, a defensive mind by trade, Joyce was trained with an affinity on the bond side. Leading Agili, Joyce and his team have a proven track record of effectively navigating an ever-changing global macro environment to advance client objectives. Additionally, Agili was a pioneer in the industry as one of the first fee-only advisors, a trend that has gained popularity and has been copied in recent years.
- Continually striving for excellence: The goal every year at Alabama is a simple one: Win a championship. When Alabama comes up short, the offseason is spent analyzing what caused them to lose and finding ways to get better. It’s no secret the football season is the highlight of the year for many Alabama supporters. Their happiness and peace of mind is directly correlated with the football team’s success. But just because Alabama may have a great season one year doesn’t mean they aren’t continuously looking for ways to further improve. The team always seeks to increase the devotion of its fans.
At Agili, our top goal is client delight. Resting on laurels is the antithesis of what we stand for. We are always looking for ways to enhance the client experience so that we can bring you happiness, and most importantly, peace of mind. As part of this process, we always appreciate your open and honest feedback on our annual client survey so that we can tailor our efforts to best meet your needs. We look forward to continuing to ROLL with you in your financial and life endeavors!