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Detlef Schrempf, Forever an All-Star

After a life devoted to training and honing specialized skills on the basketball court, almost every professional basketball player is faced with a challenge of a different kind: What do they do now? For a very limited few, the answer is a career transition to broadcaster or analyst. For Detlef Schrempf, however, life as a professional athlete laid the groundwork for some of his most exciting and rewarding work.  Finding it just took a while. 

Schrempf says that for most of his NBA career, he was fairly ignorant of his finances. Only toward the end of his career did he begin to think of what he might do after a life devoted to basketball. Already equipped with a college degree and a love of the Pacific Northwest, he re-educated himself in the 1990s, doing quite a bit of real estate investing, and eventually joining more than one real estate board. But it was in his last two years with the Portland Trailblazers that he formed key relationships with retired Microsoft Executives. Those relationships paved the way for him to utilize his unique branding status to help build a business. 

Joining Coldstream Capital in 2007 as general partner and Business Development Officer, the former NBA All-Star is thriving in  an office geared toward helping individuals and families with all their financial planning needs. Asked about the evolution of his relationship with Coldstream Capital Management, it’s quite clear that his talent for planning and putting people first sets Schrempf apart. In Coldstream’s nascent years, they were largely a “single strategy firm,” but quickly realized that most young tech retirees were coming to Coldstream with complex planning issues. 

Since this client base featured concentrated stock positions combined with younger than normal families, Coldstream quickly broadened their approach to include wealth planning capabilities, such as estate, risk and tax planning. In providing an unusual depth of investment advice, the firm evolved into a family-type office. This came about by closely catering to their clients’ needs, and allowed Coldstream to add teams providing a variety of services.

Always a hard worker, Schrempf strives to cater to his clients’ needs with such diverse offerings as attorney consultations and accounting services. Says Schrempf, “When we sign a new client who doesn’t have certain advisers we usually recommend them. If they’re deficient then we’re definitely helpful in that regard.”

Schrempf feels clients benefit the most when they’re receiving the best possible services, and planning to provide those services is something he always enjoys. “From the firm’s standpoint, we’re here to protect our clients and work with them to find solutions for their individual and family interests.”

It should come as no surprise that Schrempf is a great team player, and the words “relationship” and ”team” often come up in conversation with him. Schrempf sees each of his clients as a new opportunity to build a relationship based on trust and preparation. “For me, what’s always exciting is that by coming up with certain solutions, you simplify life. Building trust over many years, not just within our community, but also with Coldstream Capital, is what we as a firm try to do.”Schrempf and his wife Mari also created a charitable organization, the Detlef Schrempf Foundation, 19 years ago, which has helped raise over 12  million dollars for over 100 charities. And who exactly does their foundation help?  Speaking passionately, Schrempf states that their mission is to help children of Northwest families in need, focusing on them from infancy to the end of high school.

Currently, their foundation is on track to raise 1 million dollars annually to continue support for those charities. Among the numerous fundraisers the foundation works on throughout the year – including a Nordstrom fashion show and a golf and  gala – the Saint Patty’s Day Dash is the biggest, with nearly 15,000 people running to raise money. Planning events, which plays to one of Schrempf’s strengths, requires trying to come up with a good vehicle sufficient to provide the charities with a strong return on the dollar, too. “It’s not how much you raise, its how much you gift,” says Schrempf.  Looking out toward the future, what does the busy Business Development Officer have planned for the rest of 2012? It doesn’t look like he’ll have much time to enjoy riding horseback with his friends in North Dakota. Schrempf will be continuing to grow business for his clients by giving them an experience beyond their expectations and by building a culture of teamwork within the firm. He also expressed the hope that Coldstream Capital can continue to grow, becoming a national, rather than remaining solely a west coast firm.

Dribble. Pass. Shoot! These are three words every basketball player knows intimately. If it were up to Schrempf, he would add three more to this list: Trust. Plan. Invest!

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