Unlike the typical retail brokerage, our professionals are not “asset gatherers” who generally pass clients’ money along to third party institutions or mutual funds. Our professionals are skilled and experienced portfolio managers, who handle research, security selection and portfolio construction. We create and manage investment portfolios directly for our clients, and our clients generally appreciate knowing what they own and why they own it.
To us, each client is unique in his or her financial situation and investment needs, while the financial markets are diverse and constantly changing. We believe good portfolio management involves continuously considering the many investment opportunities globally available and aligning each client’s assets with a set of securities appropriate to them. Our Investment Advisors are not working off of an “approved” or “buy” list of securities.
All too often we see firms offering creative new “investment products” with high fees and/or sales charges. We do not know if these offerings maximize the earnings of investors, but they certainly appear to maximize the earnings of their sponsors. Our firm, by contrast, does not sell third party investment products on commission. Most of our discretionary client accounts are managed for a competitive asset-based fee. So our income primarily grows based on the growth in our clients’ assets, most directly should those assets appreciate under our direction. A limited part of our business involves managing hedge funds, where our incentives are also aligned -- we earn our income primarily from the asset value and investment performance of the funds, not from sales charges.
For a firm our size, Ingalls & Snyder is relatively unique in the scope of its infrastructure. We are a registered broker-dealer, a member of the New York Stock Exchange and a clearing member of Depository Trust Company and Options Clearing Corporation. In practice, this means that when you have an important request - such as wiring funds, moving securities, or getting special handling of a transaction - you receive a level of service that is rarely seen by individual clients of investment advisory firms. As an Investment Advisory client, you do not have to deal with an unfamiliar custodian, and do not have to pay separate custody fees. Furthermore, while your assets are in our custody, they are carefully segregated from assets of our firm, with the custody controls regularly audited by a reputable outside audit firm.
Ingalls & Snyder has many of the attributes of a small firm - direct, personal relationships with our clients and a high level of personal service. At the same time, we have the infrastructure to operate at an efficient scale and with market presence. We believe in being well capitalized for our size and conservatively managed, which permits us to weather the frequent cycles in our business.
We have seen the unfortunate consequences from time to time of some Wall Street firms engaging in risky and poorly understood activities. At Ingalls & Snyder, our own money is at work, and at risk, in our business every day. We have no outside shareholders. This makes us very conscious of the risks we take. Taking outsized risks in our business, whatever the potential returns, is simply not an option at our firm.