September 2016

Dear Friends and Clients,

I am writing to tell you about an important personal decision I have made. I am going to retire at the end of this year.  In a sense, I have been preparing for this for 35 years—from the moment my first client opened an account and I recognized I had a responsibility that could not be left to chance.  From that day forward I was always aware of the unplanned transition—something unexpected that would prevent me from serving my clients and their families. Happily, I can tell you that nothing like that has occurred.  But, as the size of the practice has grown, that sense of responsibility has also grown, and that is the genesis of the team you see today.  My confidence and trust in my partners—Tristan Caudron, Laurie Blackburn, Matt Megary, and the entire team—is absolute and explicit, and so now I am comfortable addressing the planned transition. 

I do not mean for this decision to sound inconsequential, but my retirement should truly be seamless, uneventful, and with no interruption in the advice and service you expect and deserve.  In terms of advice, we are all interchangeable pieces—there are no silos of specialization in our knowledge or investment strategy, so when you get one of us you get all of us.  Obviously, we have different personalities and that may result in you being more connected to one partner than another, but from the standpoint of how and what we advise, there is only one way we work—careful, long-term investment planning and objective investing.  Equally important is the team supporting us, and this is not false modesty.  If we did not have the administrative and operational assistance of Lori Polonksy, Jessica Jackson, JoAnne Dorris, Chalee Ricciardi, Laura Newton, and Lichelle Yalung handling all the details of your accounts, very little would get done, and this is not going to change.  However, something I do boast about is the collective experience of the team—almost 200 years in the financial services industry (without including me).  I cannot think of anything that speaks to the professionalism and assistance we provide to you more than that.

A few words about the “why.”  I am 71, and if I inherited my paternal genes (I think I did), I am looking forward to another quarter century or so of an active, engaged, productive and fulfilling life.  I hope none of you have ever had any reason to wonder whether I love my work, because I do and always have.  I also know myself, and a casual commitment to my profession is not in my gestalt.  We live and work in an amazingly connected world and that brings with it a mixed blessing—information is at our fingertips wherever we are and wherever you are; allowing us to have clients all over the country (41 states at last count) and all over the world.  I am always in touch, and I find that knowing I can be reached whenever needed is actually quite comforting.   The other side of the blessing, though, is that I am always on-call, regardless of where I am physically, and that is not something I believe I can do effectively on an occasional basis.  So recognizing that in me has led to this decision—it is time to pass the torch. At the beginning of this letter, I spoke to the trust I have in the team, and I want to be even more specific.  Almost 15 years ago, when Tristan and I first became partners, I saw in him all the traits that I would want if I were the client—integrity, intelligence, professionalism, commitment and empathy. As Laurie and Matt joined the practice, those same traits were so self-evident it felt like they have been here forever.  Soon I will be that actual client, and the part of my own personal planning I call “what if something happens to me” is a note for my family to contact my partners immediately for guidance and counsel on all matters financial.  I know of no more important thing to tell you about your needs, concerns, goals and investing than that.

Over the next few months I will be trying to talk to as many of you as possible, but I wanted you to know of my decision now so that it was not abrupt.  A letter will never do justice to how I feel about the past 35 years, so I will simply say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the trust, friendship, confidence and loyalty you have given me and the entire team.  Bittersweet as it may sound, nothing pleases me more than to say, without hesitation, the highest level of service and advice we strive to provide will continue without me.  My very best wishes for a great fall.

With deepest gratitude,


David G. Speck
Managing Director - Investments