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Advisor Profile: Ahead of the Curve

Hank Mulvihill doesn't adhere to a buy-and-hold philosophy, and that has been profitable for his clients and himself.

Kate Stalter, 10/31/2011

Hank Mulvihill says he made a smart career move at just the right time.

Fascinated with the stock market since his teens, Mulvihill joined Merrill Lynch in the mid-1980s. A few years later, he moved on to investment bank Alex. Brown & Sons, which was sold to Bankers Trust in 1997 and later folded into Deutsche Bank. None of those transactions affected Mulvihill, however, because he had already struck out on his own. In the mid-1990s, technology was changing the investment landscape. That's when he says his timing was perfect.

"At that time, the Internet was just becoming capable of providing what had previously been unobtainable services to an independent financial advisor," he says.

Not only were advisors able to leverage the new technology to develop financial plans and investment portfolios, but they also were able to put clients into the fast-rising Nasdaq stocks that led the late-1990s' market rally.

Many investors failed to sell in time to keep their tech-boom profits. Mulvihill, who does not favor a buy-and-hold philosophy, got out with gains. "I made a lot of money for my clients," he says. "I survived the 2001 and 2002 meltdown with profits in both years, and I am very, very proud of that."

Today, he runs Mulvihill Asset Management in Richardson, Texas, with $23 million in assets under management.

Know Your Client Base
Mulvihill says that after 24 years in the advisory business, he knows exactly who his ideal client is--because it's a group he's already working with. "It's the C-level executives and the entrepreneurs who have plenty of assets but don't have the time to do this themselves," he says. "They want to know that an advisor will not let them get completely crushed by not paying attention to their portfolios."

The firm also works with retirees and families, and it does generational planning. His practice has been mainly fee-only for the past decade and entirely fee-only since early 2010. In keeping with his view that an advisor should not lose sight of each client's objectives, Mulvihill prefers to do much of his own investment research. A junior associate assists him, but Mulvihill's methodology involves a good amount of hands-on research into individual stocks.

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