What's known today as Investec Wealth Strategies began when John Goott first registered his firm with the State of Texas on December 17, 1984. What started as John’s aspiration to provide financial planning services to the Houston community has evolved into one of Houston's largest Registered Investment Advisory firms. We asked John, as the Founding Principal, to reflect on the past 35 years.
Q: What changes have you seen in the business over the past 35 years? Have things turned out as you might have expected when you founded Investec?
John: Our focus has always been centered around recommending sound financial planning strategies that are in the best interest of our clients. In the early years of Investec, we used commissionable investment and insurance products to meet the needs called for in our clients’ financial plans. Shortly thereafter, we became early adopters of charging fees rather than commissions for our investment management and financial planning services, thus eliminating the conflict of interest inherent in the financial services business. I had no preconceived notions about how the firm might grow over the years, but I have always believed that by acting in our client's best interests and delivering service with honesty and integrity, our reputation would speak for itself. We've been very blessed to have so many loyal and supportive clients, many of whom have been with us over most of our firm’s history.
Q: What other noteworthy changes have you experienced over Investec's history?
John: Internet growth and the proliferation of financial information has enabled firms such as Investec to have access to research that years ago only the large Wall Street brokerage houses could access. The playing field has been leveled in many respects, and I believe that the agility and responsiveness of firms such as Investec gives the "little guys" an advantage these days. Software advances and technological improvements in managing the "back-end" of our business (trading, cash disbursement, account applications, reporting, etc.) have been notable factors in enhancing our productivity.
Q: What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of these past 35 years for you personally?
John: When I first started this journey, I never dreamed that my children would eventually want to join me in the business. They were very young at the time and who knows what paths your kids may follow. So, it's been a real delight and a huge benefit to the firm that Daniel and later Candice have opted to join me, Sue, and the rest of our team in running Investec. I’m also grateful for the many thoughtful expressions of gratitude received from clients when we've had the opportunity to impact their lives or their family's lives through the work we've done. The fact that I'm still involved and enjoy what I'm doing, even after all these years—well, that's what gets me up in the mornings! Even so, I am scaling back on operational aspects of the business so that Sue and I can travel more.
Q: How do you envision the industry evolving over the coming decades?
John: We don't time the market, and by that same token, I should be hesitant to predict industry trends. But I believe we'll see some of the following:
1) It's going to be hard for one-person advisory practices to survive, given the pressure and demand of clients’ growing expectations for increased services. We can expect to see continued consolidation in the industry particularly as the baby boomer generation of advisors retire, with very few as fortunate as I am to have a very solid succession plan.
2) We'll continue to see a need for smart financial planning—tax laws will continue to evolve, clients’ personal wealth desires and aspirations will continue to warrant careful attention, and as my generation of baby boomers passes away, those who inherit money will seek out much needed advice and assistance to ensure they don't make serious mistakes with their inherited wealth.
3) Technology and software improvements will continue to raise the bar on many aspects of financial services. Personalized assistance and customized advice may become somewhat less available on a large scale, but more important and sought after for those clients who appreciate and recognize their value.
Q: Any final thoughts for now that you care to leave with our readers?
John: Investec's thirty-five years is the culmination of many factors, only a few for which I can claim much credit. I am extremely indebted to so many—first and foremost to our loyal clients, to our remarkable staff, to the many service providers and other professionals with whom we collaborate—the list could go on. We’ve experienced a number of market events over these years, and we've been successful in retaining most of our clients despite some volatile and scary times in the markets. There's a great deal of satisfaction in helping good people—now friends, for the most part—achieve their financial goals and objectives. Daniel is increasingly assuming more of the leadership of the firm (as he should), but I will continue to be involved in meeting clients and helping find solutions while mentoring our wonderful staff, particularly our young advisors. I look back with appreciation and gratitude, and forward with optimism and enthusiasm!