2022 State of the Company: A Letter from Our President

As we prepare to wrap up 2022, it's time again to stop and reflect. We at CWM have learned and accomplished so much during these historic times, and we're filled with gratitude and appreciation for you - our clients who trust us to weather this storm with you.
CWM Looks Ahead

We’re also grateful for our amazing team members, who remain as dedicated as ever to providing intentional, high-touch client service.

Looking ahead, we want to share our plans for the new year and take stock of where we’ve been. While this year didn’t see an end to market uncertainty on a global scale, we’ve taken some important steps forward to make 2023 a great year for client experience at CWM.

Investing in the CWM client experience

This was a year of intentionally investing in strategic initiatives supported by new technology platforms to boost the CWM client experience now – and allow us to maintain quality, communication, and connection as we grow in the future.

Here’s a look the technology upgrades we’ve been implementing over several months and will continue to roll out in Q1 of the new year:

  • Our new client portal and mobile app. The user-friendly new platform allows you to find more of the info you need easily and quickly, either online or on your smartphone, without making a phone call. (Although you are always welcome to call – we love hearing from you!) The app also lets you securely store documents like estate plans, wills, and tax documents.
  • Expanded meeting options. We’ll continue to offer flexible virtual appointments and events to improve accessibility for those of you who can’t – or don’t wish to – travel to the CWM office or to one of our Thirdly event spaces.
  • Our new CRM (client relationship management) software. While this tool mostly works behind the scenes, it fuels our ability to provide swift answers to your questions, putting information and in-depth client data right at our fingertips. The new CRM offers higher security, more efficient team access, and greater ability to scale with new tools and upgrades.
  • Our new data aggregation and trading center: Another behind-the-scenes update, our new data aggregation and trading platform will help us more efficiently pull data from many custodians to provide consolidating performance, billing, money movement, compliance, block trading, and reporting across all our client households. This is one of our most exciting developments internally – providing team members with even more real-time data and allowing us to automate and streamline many of the current manual processes in the office. In time we hope this translates to more energy and focus to take care of you!

All these changes may seem small from the outside, but collectively they position CWM to accommodate more data and more clients without compromising quality of service.

Nurturing our team

As a family business, it’s important that our CWM team find a sense of purpose and meaning when they come to work every day. And we want to be sure we’re creating an environment for professional development and fulfillment, which sets the stage for superior client service. This year, we’ve proudly invested in our incredible team through:

  • Employee profit sharing. Launched in February, our profit-sharing program promotes investment in CWM’s mission at every level and has been a great step for elevating our culture.
  • The GYST program. Developed by productivity coach Elise Enriquez, GYST has helped our team maximize efficiency and be our best selves both at work and in our personal lives. Elise’s approach takes a holistic view of the team, challenging conventional expectations that work is our only motivator. By infusing energy and focus into our full lives, inside and outside the office, we can work toward several goals at once and strive for a healthy balance.
  • CultureWise. This tool for intentional culture development focuses on defining the fundamental behaviors that drive success at CWM, establishing a series of rituals to ingrain those fundamentals, and practicing them on a regular basis. We kicked off CultureWise at a team retreat in 2022, and we’ve been revisiting our fundamentals every week and showcasing them on our social channels.

At the senior end of the professional development spectrum, Marc Knauss and Jason Heid have spent the past year tirelessly prepping for the Certified Financial Planner™ exam: A marathon 6-hour, 170-question test that’s the equivalent of a bar exam, but for finance professionals. We are pleased to share that in November they both passed and earned the credential of CFP®, arguably the highest designation in the financial planning world. More CFPs on staff will enable us to serve more clients with more complex planning, and most importantly, enhance the quality of service we can provide each individual or family through collaboration and depth of experience.

Recognizing that our physical work environment is also a key to success, we finished building out the “Hub”, our nickname for the workspaces in the center of the CWM office. This area is designed to promote collaboration while also reducing distraction, organized with the goal of giving the team the right tools to be successful. It’s more spacious than the current team needs, leaving us room to grow in the coming year(s).

Looking back

Ultimately, the biggest challenge in 2022 was the overall market and economy. These are truly unprecedented times, and not even the most seasoned financial professionals have a rulebook for such conditions. We’ve been working all year on multiple fronts to show up for you, capture upside performance where possible, and maintain the defensive positioning we believe necessary to avoid catastrophic losses.

Times like these are a good reminder that while many factors are outside our control, we can take charge of other aspects in our financial lives. It’s a good time to focus on planning and strategy: What can we plan for? Where can we shift our mental and material resources? CWM prioritizes coordinating with other professionals like estate attorneys to ensure your retirement plans and relevant documents are accurate and up to date.

While nobody can predict what will happen in 2023 and beyond, CWM’s promise to you is that we’re in this with you – watching, analyzing, identifying upcoming trends and taking proactive action.

Looking ahead

One of the big lessons I learned in 2022 is that tumultuous times often have delayed aftereffects. The uncertainty of the past few years came to a head for me in 2022, and I found myself pulled in so many directions that it was sometimes challenging to focus and prioritize. That’s why one of my overarching goals for 2023 is to simplify. Many of the initiatives we pushed forward in 2022 set us up for more efficient and scalable processes, and this coming year we’ll be focusing on a narrower scope of continued improvements.

We’re almost over the finish line in our long journey toward implementing Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®), which will enhance our performance reporting and differentiate us even more in the boutique financial planning space. Becoming GIPS-compliant will enable us to talk about our results in a more dynamic way while complying with reporting requirements, offering us better tools for conversations with current and prospective clients.

We’re also continuing to evaluate the impact of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s new Marketing Rule, which went into effect on November 4. In an ever-constricting regulatory environment, navigating new rules is an ongoing endeavor. CWM is committed to maintaining compliance and going above and beyond with ethical and transparent communication, and I’m confident we’ll adapt and navigate these new regulations alongside our partners at Schwab and IFG.

As we focus on simplification, it’s important to elevate a few key priorities for our renewed focus. At the top of our list this coming year is high-touch client service. My goal is for us to deliver for our clients and for ourselves, using the tools we’ve invested in to make smart choices with our time and resources and achieve great things while staying balanced. We aim to embody this sense of balance in the same way that we approach our service philosophy for you – Live Intentionally. Live Richly. - helping our clients, our team, and our families thoughtfully reach their goals.

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