How best to plan for retirement? What about rising college costs? How to establish a legacy plan?
Whether they are on the verge of retirement, a family with young children, or individuals deciding how best to disperse their assets when their own lives are over, many people are concerned about all of these issues.
Helping individuals, families, small endowments, and non-profit organizations to identify their financial objectives and manage and grow their assets is the mission of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC.
Established in 2011, it is a small (seven partners), independently-owned SEC-registered investment advisory firm, located at 212 Carnegie Center, Roszel Road.
“We manage portfolios of publicly-traded securities for private clients and non-profit institutions who seek objectives-based investment strategies and a partnership approach to wealth management and client service,” explains R. Todd Lincoln, co-founder and partner.
In the wealth management business since 1984, Mr. Lincoln began his career with Merrill Lynch in San Francisco. He came to Princeton 27 years ago, and in 1999 joined the Princeton firm Glenmede Trust. When the opportunity to create a boutique, highly focused investment management firm arose, he and like-minded colleagues decided to take on this new adventure two years ago.
“Our clients are high net worth individuals and institutions, including libraries and foundations, who are looking for something different from what most financial services firms offer,” says Mr. Lincoln. “We can deliver proprietary, value-added advice, and portfolio management strategies not typically found at ‘platform-based’ financial services firms, such as brokerages, banks, and trust companies. We find opportunities for individuals and institutions who think out of the box.
“We invest primarily in publicly traded securities with strategies ranging from balanced portfolios of carefully selected stocks and bonds to concentrated all-capitalization equity portfolios.
“I’m on the advisory side,” he adds. “I help clients and institutions understand the options, and that this is an opportunity for a long-standing relationship with us. We help them identify their objectives and explain about risk tolerance.”
Mr. Lincoln points out that the portfolio managers spend many hours researching and analyzing companies. They visit companies and management teams, and deliberate among themselves before buying or selling a security for client portfolios.
“Investment ideas arise both through top-down and bottom-up channels,” continues Mr. Lincoln. “Many of our investment ideas are generated through research of economic and industry trends, and the companies fulfilling the needs implied by such trends. All investment opportunities are evaluated from three analytical perspectives that together help us identify individual portfolio candidates with sound risk/return profiles.
“(1) Economic or industry trends. We look for companies that will be the beneficiaries of powerful and long-lasting industry or economic growth trends. (2) Business model. We must be able to understand how a company makes money and the quality and sustainability of its competitive advantages. (3) Valuation. We look for a current stock price or company ‘valuation’ that allows us to see proper growth patterns and eventual prosperity.
“Once a stock becomes a portfolio holding, we critically and continuously monitor the company’s industry prospects, its operations, and its stock valuation to measure how these factors are evolving vis-a-vis our investment thesis.
“Diversification is always important, such as including 20 to 30 companies that are all different, but it is also important to be opportunistic and find companies that will fit our disciplined approach and investment process.
“We have a lot of client engagement,” adds Mr. Lincoln. “Many are very involved in their portfolio. We try to be as transparent as possible. We want clients to be engaged and know what we are doing and why.”
Clients are from all over — from Princeton to San Francisco — and they are all ages. “We have 20-year-olds and 80-year-olds. We want to start the 20-year-olds out on the right track. The key is trust. We find that people go to professionals who want to build trust, and then continue to build on that trust to form a long-term relationship.”
The economic turmoil beginning in 2008 brought with it an icy wind of worry for many who feared for their financial future. Some called it the Great Recession, almost rivaling the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“We call it the ‘Great Re-setting’,” reports Mr. Lincoln. “People began to reset priorities and values. I hope we will have a smarter planet, and I think we have smarter consumers going forward. They are paying off debts, and investing more. The internet allows the individual consumer to be more informed, to learn, and get background. It’s important to educate yourself upfront.”
People still have concerns about the U.S. economy and the uncertainty in the world situation today, he notes, “but public corporations are delivering share holder value in spite of the government’s dysfunction.
“We look forward to growing our firm over time, and getting our story and business points out to people. In the competitive landscape today, we want to explain our story and our differences, and give like-minded investors an opportunity to work with us. We have an eye towards long-term investing: that is, three to five years of holding a stock on average. Our own money is managed along with that of our clients. Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group are investors, not traders — a very important distinction.”
For more information, call (609) 436-5680. Website: www.princetonpsg.com.