Wealth Protection

Early Adoption of Changing Methodologies equals success

Call it a drive for the acquisition of multi-dimensional success. Or, label it a cutting-edge model aimed at creating a highly personal experience for the clients of Lindner Capital Advisors.

The end result that the firm’s founder and CEO, Robert J. Lindner expects and seeks is success.

“We want to give everyone we come in contact with the greatest chance for success,” Lindner explains. “Whether they be the advisors we train by offering them a great experience, or our investors by having an academically sound and disciplined approach to the way they are investing, or our employees – who we hope enjoy coming to work every day, because we are committed to their professional development and growth – or our philanthropic work in the community.” 

That’s a tall order, but it is also one Lindner and his team are fulfilling by taking a leading position in the financial services industry. They were providing the fiduciary standard of service long before many others came on board.

Lindner, as a financial advisor, embraced structured portfolios, investment policy statements, risk analyzation software and the concept of fee-based compensation versus commissions in the 1980s and 90s via his predecessor firms –Financial Planning Strategies, Ltd. and The Lindner Group, Inc. – pretty much as soon as these concepts were introduced.

Wanting to be ahead of everyone else in the game, Lindner succeeded in that quest.

“We were early adopters of those systems,” Lindner said. “From day one when we established Lindner Capital Advisors, we had investment policy statements. Few others were doing that back then.”

This track record of being ahead of changes, and at the starting gate well before the whistle blows to engage new methodologies, technology or regulations is part of why Lindner isn’t particularly concerned about the ramifications of pending regulations regarding the fiduciary standards being imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2017.

He said that he and his firm always complied with fiduciary standards.

“Every relationship we enter into with a client is a contractual relationship that specifies exactly what the client should expect from us and what we can expect from the client,” Lindner explained. “The client signs off on the way we manage their assets. They understand the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and the expectations we present to them regarding the performance they can anticipate are realistic.”

A clean, unblemished record is important to Lindner.

He wants it for himself, for his firm and for the advisors his firm accepts into its turnkey asset management program that provides training and support.

“We have a good story for our advisor representatives to communicate to clients,” Lindner said. “We intend to keep it that way. I am in my 39th year in this business, and neither I nor any of the principals in my organization have had any securities-related litigation filed against us personally. This speaks loudly that we make sure the client is taken care of and that we do what we say we are going to do. The advisors who work with us have to meet that standard.”

Being a trendsetter in the financial services world has also allowed Lindner to do something not very many other financial advisors can do: cap their fee-based service fee for ERISA plans.
Lindner recently set a $20,000 per year fee limit.

“We cut our fees for portfolio management for 401(k) plans in half from last year,” Lindner said. “This means that once your account hits $10 million, our fee is capped. So whether you have $10 million or $20 million or $100 million, you are going to pay the same $20,000 to have that managed. We aren’t doing anything different for the $100 million client than we are for the $10 million client, so how can I justify charging more?”

Lindner joked that he may have just put a target on his back, but he suspects that the Department of Labor (DOL) is headed toward imposing fee caps. 

He would rather be ahead of the regulators now than having to get in step with them later.

“I do not want to have to justify to the DOL why I am charging the larger client more. I don’t want to have that discussion with somebody at the DOL. I would rather be there ahead of time. I would rather be setting the standard than catching up with someone who got there before I did,” Lindner emphasized. 

Lindner has come a long way from where he was at age 22, when he “just knew” that he wanted to sell insurance after being impressed with the professional dress and demeanor of an insurance salesman who had come to visit him. 

“I had no idea about the concepts of financial management. It just seemed like a very noble profession,” Lindner said. “So in 1977, I entered the business.”

He quickly rose to the top and built his own agency within 15 months. That agency “blossomed” as he described it, and Lindner went on to build agency after agency in town after town. 
He was gaining management experience that served him well once he opted to move away from the insurance industry and into financial planning and wealth management. 

Today, Lindner considers his employees to be one of his greatest assets.

“I have been able to educate more than 1,500 advisors, and when I look at my employees, I am proud to say that this firm has been able to create some great careers for folks,” Lindner said. He added with a bit of sadness, “My administrative assistant is finally retiring soon, after being with us for 31 years.”

Yet, perhaps for Lindner, his greatest accomplishment goes back to the notion of success for all – especially for his clients. “We have left a great legacy of clients who have retired successfully and are still enjoying their retirement – in some cases for well over 20 years now,” Lindner said. “That is success.”

Learn more about Robert J. Lindner and Lindner Capital Advisors online at www.lindnercapital.com

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