Only in Louisville:
If you’ve ever worked for a big company and thought you could handle things so much better on your own, you’re not alone. And if you’ve ever been in that position and thought you could handle other people’s money better on your own … well, meet Steve Giacobbe and Shawn Clark, partners at Accredited Wealth Management.
The firm may only be one year old, but Giacobbe and Clark know the ropes—both with financial services and with their clientele. “Shawn and I are very experienced,” says Giacobbe. “We offer great service, reporting and clarity, and people have confidence and trust in what we do.” This confidence and trust comes from their early days at Commonwealth Bank & Trust, where the two men met 9 years ago. Clark originally worked on equity and fixed income research, and then transitioned into a portfolio manager role. Meanwhile, Commonwealth had recruited Giacobbe, who was a partner in a North Carolina investment firm, to serve as its chief investment officer. “That’s when Steve and I started working together closely with larger clients and local endowments and charities,” Clark says.
“Shawn was already a star portfolio manager,” says Giacobbe, “and for eight years, we had great results and great success, but we saw some trends in the industry that would be hard to execute on while being part of a larger bank. We thought an independent firm would give us the opportunity to help clients in a way we saw the industry headed.”
The direction Giacobbe and Clark observed was in personalized service in wealth management, which Giacobbe defines as “all the different areas of financial services that impact people’s lives—investments, risk management, whether they have the right insurance, debt management.”
“Any questions clients have related to their wealth, we can help,” Clark adds.
“We can help advise people in areas such as insurance, but we don’t sell any products or take commissions on products,” says Giacobbe. “We just provide advice.”
“A lot of what we do is relationship driven,” says Clark. “It goes back to the trust issue. We look at each client and their unique situation and what’s important to them, we spent a lot of time up front learning what their goals are, and we help build the finance piece around that. With a typical brokerage, you can execute trades, pick a model…but it doesn’t say what’s important to you, what the legacy you’d like to have is or how you have your investments handled. This is the kind of thing we do: take the time to get to know our clients and build solutions around those topics.”
The typical Accredited Wealth Management client is “fairly affluent,” says Giacobbe, with assets around $1 million, they focus on good people they enjoy working with. “All walks of life—executives, business owners, people who have inherited wealth.” And the need for planning is even more pronounced with those larger figures. “Some people have large portfolios and also large spending habits,” Giacobbe says—noting that big spenders may end up with bigger headaches down the road if they fail to map out their futures. “We’re big believers in helping people set goals: ‘What do you want your retirement to look like?’”
Right now, Giacobbe and Clark aren’t looking at retiring anytime soon, but they do have a lot to look forward to. Giacobbe and wife Jennifer are parents of four kids from age 3 to 12, while Clark, who is married to Erin, has one son in college—and have a lot to teach their own families about staying close to the community and true to the spirit of independent business. Says Clark: “Growing up in Southern Indiana, [I had a] very modest upbringing, but there was a lot of wealth in that area. You’d see the effects, so I had an appreciation for it. Our clients are entrepreneurs themselves, and they worked hard and made something of themselves. We take a lot of pride in the fact that they entrust us with their life savings.”