0

Fiduciary Values

To our Clients, Friends and Supporters –

Thank you for your trust, confidence and support in 2011.  We are looking forward to a strong and robust 2012 and hope to enhance our reputation for integrity and judicious investment decision making.

Over the holidays, I read High Financier, The Lives and Time of Siegmund Warburg, by Niall Ferguson.    Siegmund Warburg was part of the extended Warburg banking family.  After his Hamburg bank was Aryanized by the Nazis in the 1930’s, Warburg moved to London and started his new firm from scratch, S. G. Warburg & Co.  Hewing to traditional values of trust, honor and client service, he built not the largest nor the most profitable merchant bank, but probably one of the most innovative and trusted financial firms.

For Warburg, corporate values were not merely a matter of branding or marketing.  Instead, they were the very organizing principles of his personal and professional life.

The reputation of a banking firm for integrity, generosity and thorough service is its most important asset, more important than any financial item.  Moreover, the reputation of a firm is like a very delicate living organism which can easily be damaged and which has to be taken care of incessantly, being mainly a matter of human behavior and human standards. [SG Warburg's personal papers, Box 64; Ferguson, p. 233]

These words leapt off the page at me.  They capture the essence of my vision and goals for Harrision Fiduciary Group.  Warburg speaks of banking, but in today’s world, banking now includes, trading, private equity, hedge funds and all aspects of investment management.

Simply put, in each of these endeavors, professionals are entrusted with assets properly belonging to others.  It is an honor to be put in such a position of trust.

However, words like Trust, Honor, and Integrity have been excessively diluted in our current culture and financial system.  Either they are scoffed at as relics from a bygone era or they have been turned into cliches by facile marketing campaigns on behalf of firms whose conduct actually belies these very values.

Given the prevailing financial excesses and market volatility, an understandably cynical view pervades our financial markets and the various players in these markets.  We need to recapture the meaning and behaviors embraced by these values.

Ours is a small firm. Our vision and mission are simple to articulate.  We want to be the industry leaders and set the standard for fiduciary services with respect to Trust, Honor and Integrity.   At HFG we will always put the interests of our clients ahead of our own.  We will never stand on the other side of a transaction from a client.  We will never engage in a conflict of interest, and will never use client information or positions to advance our own.

While these ideals may sound lofty and therefore beyond one’s grasp, they actually are easy to implement.   Like S.G. Warburg & Co, Harrison Fiduciary will neither be the richest nor the largest fiduciary services firm.  However, we hope to be known as a firm which always acts in the best interest of its clients.

We wish all of our clients and friends the best for 2012.

With appreciation.

Mitchell

Continue Reading