2021 State of the Company: A Letter from our President

At the end of another eventful year at our firm, we're taking a pause amid year-end deadlines and holiday activities to reflect on the growth and challenges we've collectively navigated this year. Although 2021 didn't fully provide the relief many of us expected (or hoped for), we remain rooted in gratitude for the people - both team members and clients - that helped us get through the year with happy moments and shared experiences.
CWM Looks Ahead

As we look ahead to 2022, we wanted to share some of our plans for the future. If there’s one thing you can always expect from your CWM team, it’s that we’ll remain committed to setting intentional and thoughtful goals to amplify our ability to serve our clients and remain strong partners to others in our community.

One big goal we’ve continued to work toward is scaling our business practices to help more individuals on their path to financial independence, while continuing to provide existing clients with the high-touch, quality, and personalized service you’ve come to expect from us as a family-owned business. Over the next decade, we’re moving toward expanding the assets we manage by 300% through continued involvement with thoughtful investors, so we can help even more people pursue their long-term goals. We’ve implemented new processes and tools via personnel changes, new business structures, and worked on refining the client journey. We’ve also evolved communication plans to meet existing client needs into the future, allowing us to keep pace with innovations and scale responsibly.

New Team Members, Fresh Ideas for Client Support

We’ve always prided ourselves on our expert service, and we’ve certainly been blessed with fantastic team members over the years who have helped define and build CWM into the firm we are today. We know many of our clients are missing the special approach of Sue Thorning and Alan Dillan, who both embarked on their well-deserved retirement journeys this year, personally realizing a primary goal we work toward every day with our clients. Although goodbyes can be bittersweet, Sue and Alan ensured their legacies would be intact through their direct involvement in hiring and training new individuals to take their place. In this way, they’ve been instrumental in bringing new energy into the practice with talented folks who have a long runway ahead of them. Anna Doll, a team member of three years, trained rigorously alongside Sue and exemplifies our focus on thorough and excellent client service, running her department in line with Sue’s vision and rigor, with personal touchpoints at the center of everything she does.

Thoughtful, talented people are our greatest resource, and we look forward to bringing more people to the table to enhance the client experience. We’ve welcomed three new team members over the last twelve months, Molly Winney, Jordan Tuchek, and Jason Heid, and we invite you to get to know them more on the “Our Team” page of our website. Molly supports Anna and the Advisors on our Account Admin team and, as a former Boeing Production Manager with a thoughtful eye, has been a great resource for updating service processes and procedures.

Jordan has joined us as our new Portfolio Administrator, taking the reins from Alan after a lengthy training period. In addition to other projects, he’s a key player in our efforts to implement Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®), which will enhance our performance reporting in the future.

As a licensed, registered associate and Service Advisor with seven years of experience, Jason is equipped to address complex questions and research in-depth planning topics, working alongside CWM advisors while freeing up their time to focus on high-level strategy and client needs. We recognized the need to create this intermediary role through our own intentional planning, and always seek to keep scheduling and client service activities nimble and responsive. Jason is also working to earn his CFP® designation, as is advisor Marc Knauss, and we believe their growth in expertise will provide immense future value for our clients and our firm.

This past summer, we also launched a formal summer internship program, designed to provide real-world experience (not just busy work) in the financial advisory space and support our mission of increasing financial literacy throughout our community.

As our client base grows and we stay on our toes to respond to changes within the rapidly evolving financial industry, we continue to seek ways to expand the breadth and depth of our CWM team members’ expertise. Over the coming year, we have plans to hire another lead advisor and add more personnel in the account admin space. We find great value in welcoming new individuals with diverse expertise who can help us stay atop changes and ensure each client receives timely, thorough, and caring service when they need it.

Our team approach has always been central to our mission, and as you see new faces join the roster, please know that we remain focused on attracting quality team members who prioritize our shared values of client service, thoughtful planning and collaboration.

Evolving Technology to Maintain Efficiency and Client Service

Our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the lifeblood of our organization, helping us track and manage calls, emails, meetings, service activities, and client conversations. Our integrated tech stack allows us to create summaries and action steps, so nothing falls through the cracks, while also allowing shared team access to allow for more cohesive service across the organization. What does this mean to you as a client? It means more people are better equipped to serve you, and have your needs met in a timely manner. Our current system has served us well for years, but as we close out 2021, we’ll be migrating to a new platform with enhanced options to allow higher security, more efficient team access, and greater ability to scale with new tools and upgrades.

We’ll launch the new system just ahead of the new year to support client households in 2022 and beyond. Although this is more of an internal update, we’re also looking to launch a new client portal later next year. The new portal will have an updated interface and more options for clients to stay up to date on important account data and communications.

The pandemic also showed us how valuable it can be to have increased digital access points. We’ll continue to offer virtual appointments for everyone – whether you live in another state, another country, or just can’t (or don’t wish to) take time to drive and fight traffic; we’re here for you. We’re continuing to learn lessons as we venture more into the digital space, and we’re polishing our online document sharing, forms, and signature process to create a better virtual onboarding experience for our clients.

Refining the Client Journey to Eliminate Roadblocks and Provide Customized Care

As part of our commitment to client service, we’ve continued to refine our client journey with customizable paths for clients at similar life stages and needs. We’ve designed each client path as an intentional journey, to start off each relationship on the right foot and evolve as priorities and needs shift over time.

Over the last 18 months, we launched two new service segments: Starting Strong and Staying Strong.

Starting Strong is a program designed specifically for those just starting out in their careers, and some members of this program are the adult children of our clients, helping with intergenerational finance and legacy planning. Made possible through our ability to scale with all our technology and structural updates, it was born from an idea that’s been present since the founding of CWM: That everyone can be successful if they have the right expertise, plan, and steps in place – especially if they start early. CWM advisor Marc Knauss has been instrumental in developing this program, and as a firm we’ll continue to work to help young investors pursue their life goals.

We created Staying Strong to help provide service to those already fully in retirement, in the distribution phase of life, and with less complex financial and estate planning needs. This paired-back service model, most often utilized by the senior family members of existing clients, is intended to help make the most of their remaining finances to support a fulfilling retirement.

While we’ve launched these new programs, we remain unwaveringly focused on our Impact, Core, and Emerging clients. We look forward to rolling out enhanced tools and offerings, as well as hosting more events to deepen relationships and honor those who thoughtfully and proactively commit to their financial and life objectives.

As part of those efforts, we’ve created new events and programs to share market insights, and we’ve evolved our client communications to ensure you can remain up to date when and where you’d like to connect. Whether you prefer to engage via video, newsletter, blog posts, or social media, we’ve got you covered.

In 2021, we launched video on our new YouTube channel, full of digestible learning points on topics from how we make our portfolio positioning decisions to retirement savings strategies for all ages. We’re continuing to build our video and article library for clients, industry partners and others in your networks, and have enhanced our social media outreach so that important industry, client and team updates are available across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Of course, our periodic e-newsletters are still the best, most centralized place to view new articles, videos, and event announcements.

Finally, there is no substitute for engaging in person (safely)! Don’t miss out on our upcoming Thirdlies, afternoon teas, and concerts coming down the pike in 2022. From fun and educational events to getting together to raise money for our favorite causes, we’re always looking for more opportunities to engage with our CWM community.

Remaining Focused on Our Purpose

With all of these changes in mind, we remain focused on our purpose of helping clients thoughtfully pursue their goals. As we scale and grow, new opportunities arise to refine our processes and create better systems of care for everyone – existing clients, new clients, and team members. We thank you for trusting us to support your journey, allowing us to help you live richly, and we wish you all happy holidays and a great end to 2021. We’ll be here to support you in the new year and beyond.

PS - One of the best ways we get better is to hear from our clients. If you have questions or comments about the above or other ideas to share, feel free to email me. I would love to have a conversation!

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