This $600 million Wells Fargo trio with a Keep It Simple investment approach

Team Name: Alberto Private Wealth Management Group

Hard: Wells Fargo
WFC

WFC
counselors

Senior Members: Debra Alberto, Amy Townsend, Derrick Young

location: Clive, IA

Team Safe Assets: 594 million dollars

Background: Debra Alberto started her career in 1998 as a bond trader, but as the industry progressed she became more focused on holistic planning and found that she enjoyed it even more. “My passion is talking and getting to know people on a personal level,” she says. As her practice continued to grow over the years, she realized she needed to bring in some younger advisors for a succession plan. Derrick Young, who started as a solo advisor and was similarly focused on planning, joined in 2011. Meanwhile, Amy Townsend joined the team in 2020 after a stint at Wells Fargo. “I chose these two because clients really like the male-female dynamic, not to mention the multi-generational aspect,” says Alberto. “In merging our practices, we’ve been able to make sure we have the right clients.” With two additional support staff today, the team currently works with over 300 clients, mostly corporate executives or traditional family offices.

Competitive advantage: Closed approach and willingness to delegate. “Clients who come into the office can immediately feel the great energy we have—we all feel like family,” says Townsend. “It’s also important to know that we need to stay in our lane – we know we’re good at planning, but for topics like trust services we know we need to bring in other experts.”

Investment philosophy/strategy: “In my 32 years of experience, everyone is kind of guessing when it comes to the market,” says Alberto. “The best thing over time is to keep it simple, maintain a good allocation based on risk tolerance, and then make tactical changes to your portfolio.” The team always starts by focusing on the planning aspect and trying to understand what the client needs his capital to do for him. “A lot of clients have already built up wealth, so our main job is to preserve it,” says Young. “We don’t try to do anything special or sexy with investment portfolios – we understand what works over time and discipline is key.” Most client portfolios are a mix of stocks and bonds, as the team doesn’t do a lot of private investing for clients. Senior partners have successfully invested in dividend-paying stocks, but ultimately it all comes down to diversification and risk tolerance when choosing a strategy. For the team’s retired clients, cash flow and tax efficiency are very important. Regardless of the client, this means a lot of consistent rebalancing and discipline in this process, Young adds.

Investment perspective: “We’re still playing a little defensive in the New Year, especially after a solid last few weeks for the markets,” says Young. “We tend to agree to be cautious.” Despite the near-term volatility, the team remains optimistic about the future. “Clients who have been with us for decades feel good and are used to the volatility – you really have to be more careful with new clients,” says Alberto. “During periods of volatility, clients instead call us to ask where they can put their cash that’s sitting on the sidelines to good use,” adds Townsend.

Best tip: Alberto and the other two senior partners stick to their mantra of having a financial plan in advance. “So many people just don’t sit down and look at their finances and what they need for retirement,” she says.

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