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Friday, Dec 1, 2023

Market Swings Put Money Managers in the Money

Money management firms in the greater San Fernando Valley increased the assets under their management last year, whether for high net-worth individual clients or institutional investors. Among the 20 companies on the Business Journal’s directory of Largest Money Management Firms ranked by assets, 15 reported increased funds under management. Only three companies reported less money under management, while 2011 figures for two companies were not available for comparison. All told, the companies managed $32.6 billion worth of assets. The stock market provided plenty of reasons for investors to use professional managers. For the year, the Dow-Jones Industrial Index gained 7 percent, the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 13 percent and the Nasdaq rose 16 percent. But the market had some wild fluctuations, prompting people to seek professional help. That demand has prompted area firms to ramp up hiring. Lamia Financial Group LLC in Thousand Oaks, the No. 17 company on the list, added two new staffers to bring its workforce up to six full-time employees. An additional full-timer will be added early in 2013, said President Chris Lamia. Lamia Financial reported $135 million in assets under management in 2012, an increase of 21 percent from the previous year. Lamia credits the growth at the firm to a strategy of finding the clients who can benefit the most from their investment management, and strategies in tax mitigation, asset protection and charitable giving. During an initial meeting with a potential client, the Lamia team may refer them to financial planners or money managers the firm has relationships with if Lamia cannot provide the services. “We send them to the right place to find what they need,” Lamia said. “That frees us up and we do not get bogged down with clients who are not a good fit.” Clients who seek wealth management services may have as little as $50,000 to invest, or in the millions. Generally, these investors are private people, and their advisors go to great lengths to ensure that privacy. The money management list is a mix of local offices of national firms and small regional advisory and management companies. Despite the stock market’s momentum, the largest companies on the list focus on real estate investments. CBRE Global Investors tops the list with $17.1 billion under management, based on the fair market value of its holdings. The company, an independently operated division of Los Angeles-based CBRE Inc., has 148 full-time employees in the Valley. American Realty Advisors, the second largest company on the list, has real estate assets worth more than $5 billion through the first nine months of 2012, managed from its Glendale headquarters. The firm invests in industrial, office, apartments and retail shopping centers for public and corporate pension funds, endowments and foundations. American Realty added to its investments recently by buying a high-rise apartment building in Chicago as part of a joint venture, and a nine-story office building in the SoMa neighborhood in San Francisco. The real estate market will remain a good investment as interest rates remain low for loans for acquisitions and refinancing, according to an October research report by American Realty. The downside “is that any investor that chooses not to invest in real estate will have to invest in something else . . . and there are not a lot of lower-risk higher-yielding options out there,” the research report concluded. The Federal Reserve has indicated that it is likely to keep interest rates low into 2014 and likely 2015 as well. Investors heavily into bonds will find that while the rates are low, bonds can be a safe haven but not so much when the rates go up, said Jerry Clebanoff, a senior partner at West Oak Capital LLC in Westlake Village. West Oak employs a strategy of being conservative when putting client funds into the bond market. “The portfolio is structured in a defensive way to that it is protected when the interest rates go up,” Clebanoff added. West Oak was No. 7 on the list with assets under management of $237 million, a 9 percent increase from 2011 when it had $218 million. Download the 2013 MONEY MANAGEMENT FIRMS list (pdf)

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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