This week, I had the privilege of chatting with one of my very first clients. Mrs. S became a client in 2001 as she sought some guidance for her mother’s estate. At the time, I held educational meetings at the local library, and Mrs. S attended one of the first. I remember our initial meeting like it was yesterday. Fresh out of college and only five years removed from New York, I was young, arrogant, and brash. I’m still working on some of those negative traits. Mrs. S was from Tennessee and was caring for her mother, who still lived in her childhood home, going back well over a hundred years. We clicked immediately as Mrs. S was a retail buyer and spent much time in the fast-paced cities of the world. She saw through my flaws and believed in my vision. I had the privilege of working with her mother, her late husband, her, and now her daughters. It is a valued relationship.

 

The conversation this week made me think back to our humble beginnings at the height of the dot-com boom. I was reminded of our very first office on Corporate Drive when the building’s owner skipped the credit check, knowing he was taking a risk on a young kid with zero history but a solid work ethic. I recalled the time in or around 2002 when I felt I had uncovered a true value opportunity in Winn Dixie, only to ride the position all the way into bankruptcy. To this day, I’ll never take a CEO’s words at face value, nor will I step foot in a Winn Dixie grocery store.

 

Many of you have heard me talk about my adopted father, Mr. X, who left this world in 2016. Mr. X was the patriarch of a prominent American family and became a mentor and friend of mine during the late ’90s. Quickly, this evolved into much more than a friendship, as he took on the role of another father figure for me and a life mentor. When I entered the business as a broker in 2000, Mr. X gave me a small account as a courtesy and a sign of good faith. While it was hardly enough to move the needle for Mr. X, it did allow me to sit in on the quarterly meetings with the family lawyers, bankers, and advisors. Not a meeting went by when I didn’t find myself challenging the status quo, feeling Mr. X wasn’t getting the real service he or his family deserved. Quarter by quarter, performance was measured, and over time, accounts were slowly shifted from an underperformer to my care. By the time the financial crisis was over and Wachovia had failed, the last account came under my advisement, and I was now caring for the entirety of Mr. X and his family.

 

When Mr. X passed, I was named co-executor, not as an advisor but rather a surrogate son. Settling the estate with ease and ensuring his lovely wife was forever provided for was one of the greatest honors of my professional career. She too is like a family member, and it is an honor and privilege to work with her to this day.

 

In 2005, many clients will remember when I had the incredible opportunity to relocate to Florida, acting as co-general partner in a startup hedge fund. While I couldn’t take all clients with me on this adventure, those that I could, I did, and all of them remain with me to this day. Those two years were transformational as I learned the ins and outs of daily market activity, learning the craft from one of the greatest traders of our day. Many of the lessons learned I carry with me today as I care for the nearly $400M we oversee now.

 

As I returned to Lexington in 2007, it was those lessons that allowed us to sidestep one of the biggest financial challenges our country has seen since the Great Depression and truly set the stage for what we’ve built over these last 16 years.

 

As I reminisce over these years, I’m reminded of some incredible memories, many of which don’t include the stock market at all. I remember saying goodbye to Mildred, who passed peacefully a few years back. Mildred was also one of the earliest clients I had, and during a particularly harsh ice storm in Lexington, I made a point to call on all my clients to ensure they were handling the elements well. When I called Mildred, she relayed that she had no heat but was managing. My townhome at the time was right down the street from a medical facility, and we rarely, if ever, lost power. The thought of Mildred sitting alone, cold in her home was unacceptable to me, and I promptly picked her up, along with a few other friends who needed a warm place to stay. We all piled into my townhome, and Mildred became our mother hen, cooking and ensuring everyone was well-fed and cared for during those crazy few days. Linda and Mildred ended up sharing a special bond, and it was a sad day when Mildred left this earth. I was, however, so proud to be her adviser all the way through till the very end.

 

More recently, my mind shifts to Covid when our steady hand was probably most challenged. I recall spending mornings, days, and evenings chatting with clients about the scary times and significant market concerns we were having. It mattered not the age or experience level; most were genuinely fearful beyond that of their portfolio but rather for their general health and well-being. I called upon my experience during 9/11 when markets closed for five days, and we all believed war on our soil was imminent. I remember that time well and believed that if our country not only survived but thrived, I felt strongly we would do the same through Covid. It was once again an honor and privilege to help navigate this difficult time.

 

In addition to my conversation with Mrs. S this week, our firm added another great team member in Vinson Bunting. Vinson will be assisting our entire team in a variety of areas, from operations to client services. I had the great privilege of having Vinson in one of my classes at UK five or six years ago as he pursued his Masters in Finance. Vinson is an amazing addition to our team, and we’re lucky to have him.

 

We also added a smattering of new clients this week, as we did the week before and the week before that. Long gone are the days of our humble beginnings as we embark upon new territory far beyond that of a small startup.

 

I’m humbled beyond belief by where we’ve come and wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your trust in us all of these years, whether you have been a client for decades or have only recently joined our firm. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you, and for that, I’m eternally grateful. Whether we’ve assisted you with an investment account or the passing of a loved one, please know that we do so with humility and an attempt at excellence through service. We won’t be perfect, and on occasion, we’ll make mistakes. We will work hard to correct them and always do so with honesty and integrity.

 

As we roll into this summer, I want to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful and restful season. Thank you for allowing me to take time out of the normal market updates to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, the best is yet to come!

 

Until next time

 

~ Quint

 

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