4Thought Financial Group is a level-fee fiduciary Registered Investment Advisor providing coordinated wealth management and financial planning services, involving four different areas: Investment Planning, Estate Planning, Fringe Benefits Planning, and Business Succession Planning. 4Thought Financial Group specializes in utilizing a unique strategic approach to achieve clients' financial goals, leveraging multi-method investing, technology-driven quantitative analysis, and traditional financial planning services to redefine the traditional investing model.
4Thought Financial Group's executive team, Chief Investment Officer Jesse Mackey, Chief Executive Officer Brian Mackey, and Chief Financial Officer Martin Levine, outline the firm's unique wealth management and investment methodology, and other characteristics that set it apart from the rest of the pack, in this introductory video, with a transcription provided below.
“4Thought Financial Group is a level-fee fiduciary Registered Investment Advisor,” explains 4Thought Financial Group Chief Investment Officer Jesse Mackey. “In our case, what that means is we do comprehensive wealth management for our end-user clients, and that involves four different areas of financial planning, and coordinating those four areas.
“The first one you have is Investment Planning, which includes retirement planning, college savings, etc.,” he continues. “Then you’ve got Estate Planning, which involves wills, trusts and estates. Then you have Fringe Benefits Planning, which is both for employees and employers, which brings me to the next idea, which is Business Succession Planning for business owners.”
“We truly are independent, we’re not owned by a wire house or insurance company, so we don’t have to cater to their whims,” says Brian Mackey, 4Thought Financial Group’s chief executive officer. “We truly do work for the client.”
“There’s no particular biases with any specific products, and so we can be really objective, and we can be pure fiduciary when it comes to advising our clients,” expands 4Thought Financial Group Chief Financial Officer Martin Levine.
“4Thought Financial Group I think has a unique approach to financial planning,” continues Brian. “First, the fact that we are looking at virtually all aspects of someone’s financial life. And secondly, we really do try to get to know them, and have them get to know us, so that they’re comfortable.”
“It’s only when you have that kind of a relationship that I think you can really succeed,” he adds.
“There are really four basic methods that one can use when one wants to invest money, that are traditionally used,” explains Jesse. “You have something called Strategic Asset Allocation, which is what most advisors and most end-user investors are familiar with. It involves building a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and other asset types. You also have something called Liability Driven Investing, which is more along the lines of what you’ll find in big institutions, like insurance companies, banks, public pensions, endowments. They’ll often use this approach, which involves quantifying their risks, or their liabilities, and then finding an asset or set of assets to directly offset those risks, or transfer them to another party. The third category is something we call Opportunistic Investing, and Opportunistic Investing is--there’s actually a broad category there that has a lot of sub-categories. What ties them all together is that they’re all trying to beat the market one way or the other, either the upside, the downside, or both, or, in some cases, trying to provide low-correlation returns, with the more traditional stock-and-bond investments you’ll find in an investor portfolio.
“Category Four is something we call Selective or Concentrated Investing,” he continues. “In this category, I would place, as examples, private equity funds, in many cases, or somebody like Warren Buffett. Warren Buffett does not necessarily care about diversity. He actually publicly states he disdains it. He just wants to know as much as he possibly can about the very select portfolio of companies he’s invested in, and manage those positions accordingly.”
“We’ve found that each one of these methods, or approaches to investing has a different market environment that it tends to outperform the others in, on a relative basis,” says Jesse. “So, for example, Strategic Asset Allocation, the most popular one, tends to outperform in a Bull Market, because when all asset prices are rising, and you have a diversified portfolio, that rising tide will lift all boats. Liability Driven Investing tends to do best in what we call a bear market, which everybody calls a Bear Market. Because if you’ve transferred your risk to another party, then you don’t really care what happens to the stock market, necessarily, because you’re hedged.
“That third category, Opportunistic Investing, tends to do best in what we call a Wolf Market,” he continues. “This is a term we coined to describe a situation where you’ve got a lot of volatility in the marketplace, a lot of ups and downs, but no real clear bull or bear trend. And the tactical portfolio manipulation that you can do with an Opportunistic portfolio can actually potentially capitalize on that, as opposed to being a victim of it, which all the other three strategies will be.
“And the fourth category, that’s Selective or Concentrated Investing, tends to do best in what we call an Eagle Market,” explains Jesse. “An Eagle Market is where you’ve got rapidly rising asset prices, low volatility, investor exuberance, and that concentrated approach is really one of the only ways you could potentially outperform the broader market, because you have to be different than the broader market in order to do better than it.
“That being the case, we don’t really know when any one of these market environments is coming,” he adds. “We can’t predict the future, necessarily, right, but what we can do is diversify the entire investor portfolio across all four of these methods, and essentially add a new layer of diversification beyond what they traditionally would have got with a stock-bond diversified portfolio with Strategic Asset Allocation.
“So we’re taking it, we’re adding this entire new layer of diversity to the portfolio.”
4Thought Financial Group
4Thought Financial Group, based in Syosset, NY, provides retainer fee- based fiduciary wealth management and financial planning services, and also offers a multi-method, data-driven approach to investment management to prepare portfolios for a wide range of market conditions.
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