Paul Carlson and Thomas Fautrel – Seventy2 Capital
A one-time rising star in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1998 to 2002, Paul Carlson earned the respect of educators by spearheading such initiatives as early childhood development, smaller class sizes and teacher training, but has long since found another calling in the investment world.
“What I care about is helping people, in a very concrete way, plan their financial future,” says the charismatic Carlson, who’s been better able to do just that since 2016, having left the big financial wirehouses to co-found Seventy2 Capital, a wealth management firm in Bethesda, Maryland.
His sentiment is shared by the other co-founder, Thomas Fautrel, also a veteran of the major firms who wanted a more personal interaction with clients. He has it now, and relishes the ability to assist high net-worth individuals and families, as well as small businesses and nonprofit institutions, in navigating the vagaries of the contemporary markets in planning their financial future.
“It comes down to making an impact,” says Fautrel who, like Carlson, has a wall of impressive professional designations. “There’s something much more intimate about being with a couple or family, mapping out how they manage their kids’ education, prepare for retirement or even contribute to the causes that they most care about.”
They do the math
Their investment philosophy is largely based on what financial folks refer to as the Rule of 72 that figures in the firm’s name. As for the rule itself, that numeral is divided by the annual rate of return on an investment to obtain the approximate number of years required for doubling of assets.
For a most simplified example, say a client were to invest $100 with compounding interest at 9 percent per annum. The rule of 72 provides for 72 divided by 9 percent equals 8 years for the initial sum to be worth $200.
Only at Seventy2 Capital, the firm isn’t being asked to invest $100. Much larger money is at stake. But whatever the amount and whoever the client, the process gets underway with the mapping of a strategy that can be adjusted, depending on what’s happening in the financial world.
“First and foremost, everything we do centers around meeting the financial objectives of our clients,” Carlson tells Vision amid the Wall Street uncertainty of 2018’s first quarter. “Once we have an understanding of a client’s goals and risk-profile—how much volatility can they take—we pursue core portfolios that align with the client’s objectives. We put those strategies in place and review and adjust as the market environment or life circumstances change.”
A team approach
Carlson and Fautrel are quick to tout the 11 carefully selected professionals who comprise the rest of the Seventy2 team.
Perhaps a client is struggling through a life-changing event such as the death of a spouse or a divorce. That man or woman would be well-advised to meet with Joy Lomibao, the vice president of client relations, whose resume includes over two decades experience with such firms as Morgan Stanley, Campbell Wealth Management, Sun Trust Investment Services, Wachovia Securities and First Union.
She works closely with high net-worth clients, often on a day-to-day basis, during what may be the most stressful times in their lives.
Or there may be a client mulling retirement and estate planning options against current financial needs. A Certified Financial Planner® and former FINRA regulator, Assistant Vice President John Benjamin provides understanding of both the industry and the investment options available.
Like other members of Seventy2 Capital, including the co-founders, he boasts a Morgan Stanley background, but midway through his professional life also opted for the more personal approach of a boutique firm.
Another vice president, Michael Levitsky, has compiled an impressive record of serving the corporate executives and equity partners of successful businesses as well as professionals who make up a significant constituency in the Seventy2 Capital client base. Investment research and portfolio construction, along with developing custom-tailored investment strategies, are among the specialties of this young man who graduated from the University of Maryland with dual degrees—a BA in economics and a BS in finance and international business.
“I’d be hard-pressed to find another office with as much experience and diversity as ours,” says Fautrel, who primarily advises Fortune 500 executives on retirement options and diversifying concentrated stock positions. “They’re all a cut above the rest and are eager to help our clients capitalize upon their success.”
Wall Street rollercoaster
Then there are the firm’s outside partners that include the venerable CPA firm Halt, Buzas & Powell and the law firm Krame & Biggin.
Halt, Buzas & Powell has long served as Seventy2’s accountant and strategic partner, the two firms co-hosting educational events for clients on such topics as tax reform and the fiduciary responsibilities of nonprofits. Seventy2 has served as Halt, Buzas & Powell’s investment planning and advisory planner, and the two firms often refer clients to each other.
“Together we are able to serve an individual, family, business owner and nonprofits in their holistic investment and tax-planning needs,” assures Brandy Corcoran Carlson, Seventy2’s head of strategic initiatives.
Then there’s Ed Biggin of Krame & Biggin, who assists Seventy2 on the legal aspects of estate planning and trusts. The firm has been a resource in such areas as special needs trusts for clients who have loved ones with disabilities, and also weighs in on estate planning, guardianships, probate and tax planning.
It takes such teamwork, experience and diversity to make sense of today’s investment environment, Seventy2’s co-founders say. While it’s typical for financial professionals to say the markets have never been tougher to gauge, Carlson and Fautrel concede that the early part of 2018 seemed rife with more variables than usual.
The Federal Reserve, trade wars, tariffs, political chaos, a falling Dow Jones and, perhaps most alarmingly, hot spots such as North Korea and the Middle East, had Carlson and Fautrel hedging client risk with low risk, low yield investments.
But they’ll maintain confidence in a long-term market approach.
“We’re optimistic about the markets, although we haven’t seen this kind of volatility in a while,” Carlson says. “We want to make sure our clients are making money. The equity returns will be positive this year, but we’re spending a lot more time looking at positions that are more defensive in nature.”
So, as football coaches are wont to say, sometimes the best defense is a good offense. At any rate, Seventy2 Capital’s clients have a strong team working on their behalf, one that won’t prosper unless they do.
They’re all in this together and, as Carlson and Fautrel remind, that may not be the case at the major financial wirehouses where this duo so soured on the conflicts that could arise.
“The difference between there and here is everyone who works with us in service to our clients has no other agenda,” Carlson says. “Our only agenda is to help our clients meet their financial goals. Tom and I wanted more control over the process than we had at Morgan Stanley, and we have it here. We’re accountable to our clients only.”
Showcase your feature on your website with a custom “As Featured in Vision” badge that links directly to your article!
Copy and paste this script into your page coding (ideally right before the closing