The Mutual Fund Store: Investing for the Rest of Us

In the mid-1990s, Adam Bold was an enterprising broker who had developed significant expertise in tracking mutual funds. Dissatisfied with the commission-based trading system, he resolved to shift the investing paradigm to make it more inclusionary. His goal was to help the average investor gain access to the personalized service and asset management typically reserved only for the very wealthy.

In 1996, Bold embarked on the mission of building the first nationally-branded, premier, independent, fee-based investment advisory and asset management services firm. He translated his vision into The Mutual Fund Store. In addition to reflecting its exclusive focus on mutual funds, the name he chose was also part of a concerted effort to demystify the investment process and bring it into a more comfortable neighborhood setting.

Bold was convinced that the move to the fee-based, advisor-client relationship model was the most effective way to produce investment decisions and recommendations made strictly with clients' best interests in mind. A look at the company 14 years later, especially after passing through the nation's recent economic turbulence, shows he obviously had the right idea. Today The Mutual Fund Store network includes more than 70 locations across the U.S., with 100-plus independent Registered Investment Advisors managing over $5 billion in assets for more than 29,000 clients.

The Bay Area is home to three Mutual Fund Stores - in Pleasanton, in Santa Clara, and a satellite office in San Rafael. The Hacienda site, at 5684 Stoneridge Drive, will celebrate its sixth anniversary in January.

"Our investment philosophy is simple but rigorously applied," says Hacienda's Senior Investment Advisor Sean O'Bannon, whose credentials include the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designations. "Mutual funds represent a perfect combination of upside opportunity and risk management. By offering diversified risk across a broad number of holdings, they help to reduce the impact that any one company's value will have on a fund."

With some 20,000 funds out there, O'Bannon and his colleagues help their clients select those with consistent performance over time. "One of Adam Bold's guiding principles is that if investors are going to take the risk of the market, they owe it to themselves to be in the best fund," he remarks. "Our independence means we have no allegiance to any one fund in particular. Our emphasis is on finding very good fund managers. We look at their track record, how long they've been there, and the reputation of the firms they've worked for. And to keep things straightforward, we charge a simple, all-inclusive fee, eliminating the financial product sales game."

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