“When we formed Coastal Bridge Advisors, our objective was to put the client first, providing a real alternative to the big banks and brokerage houses. We were intent on creating a new business model. As for the timing – well, that’s another story.”
Kevin Burns, a founding partner of Coastal Bridge Advisors, often smiles when he talks about how the company has thrived after being born in the throes of the financial meltdown of 2008.
“It might have seemed counterintuitive to start a new investment advisory firm when the economy appeared to be in crisis, but to our team, it made perfect sense. We knew that the time was right to provide better client service, personalized and sophisticated guidance, as well as coordinated advice delivery – to make sure the client’s needs were always met.
“Our objective was to put the client first, providing a real alternative to the big banks and brokerage houses. We were intent on creating a new business model and the timing turned out to be just right.”
Bill Loftus, another founding partner, adds, “That’s why Coastal Bridge Advisors was created – to provide better client service, personalized and sophisticated guidance, as well as coordinated advice delivery – to make sure the client’s needs were always met.
“We had been working for decades at some of the biggest financial institutions in the country where we got a hard-earned education in the financial advisory business. As we looked around, we saw that the industry was evolving, so we sought to build a client-centric business rooted in greater transparency and truly objective advice. The traditional approach was just too complicated. We felt our clients deserved better.”
Another veteran advisor, Jim Pratt-Heaney, joined them to set up shop in Westport, CT in October 2008, while the country was reeling from financial chaos.
Jim says, “It was a challenging time – for investors and for us. Even though each of us had been in the business for 30 years, we were starting all over again. Our major asset was our passion to meet our clients’ needs at the highest level possible. Sometimes, I pinch myself when I look at what we’ve accomplished by sticking to the core principle of cutting through the complexity to make financial stewardship simple and effective for our clients. Or, as we say, to ‘Uncomplicate It.’
“Along with Westport, we now have an office in Los Angeles where advisors David James and Kimberly Nelson support our growing client base. They are an important part of the awesome team we’ve built to help us thrive into the future. We’ve also grown in national market ranking. According to Cerulli, an industry research company, Coastal Bridge Advisors now ranks amongst the top 4% of Registered Investment Advisers in the country as measured by assets under management (AUM). This is especially gratifying considering there are more than 18,000 retail-focused firms in this industry. “
Mike Kazakewich, a fourth partner, was with the team from inception and brought with him his deep experience in planning, one of the foundations of the company’s success.
Mike adds, “Our clients are looking for us to manage more than just money. We pride ourselves on our ability to coordinate all elements of our clients’ financial lives. We’re focused on helping our clients balance better living today with a comfortable retirement and smooth transfer of intergenerational wealth.”
As Coastal Bridge Advisors grew, it needed professional management to make sure its commitment to superior service continued to flourish. That’s when Jeff Fuhrman, joined, bringing his well-rounded experience as an investment banker and C-level executive to the firm.
Now President of Coastal Bridge Advisors, Jeff says, “Before I joined the firm, I did a deep dive into the marketplace and was surprised by how complicated many firms made it for their clients. I recognized lots of moving parts including investment management, tax strategies, estate planning, insurance, philanthropy, liquidity events, and the overriding need to make sure that spouses, children and even grandchildren are properly cared for.
“When I spoke with the partners about how they handled this, they would say, ‘we uncomplicate it’ for our clients and I got stuck on the phrase. ‘Uncomplicate it’ became our mantra and has now become an official slogan of the firm.”
As Coastal Bridge Advisors continued to grow, its talent roster grew too. More professionals joined the team, each bringing their own strengths and experience. With a growing team, the firm found itself in the enviable position of promoting from within.
Growing From Within
Jeff explains, “One notable example, Emily Clare Cafasso, joined Coastal Bridge Advisors soon after its inception and has capably performed in virtually every function in the organization. Combining these skills with her exceptional client relations made her the ideal candidate to become an advisor.”
This growing team has attracted even more clients who enjoy the vigilant support team, the customized planning solutions, the independence and objectivity of advice, and the ready availability of their advisors at all times.
Looking ahead, Kevin Burns sees an even brighter future for Coastal Bridge Advisors, “It’s just getting more complex out there all the time. New investment strategies, tax law changes, globalization, healthcare issues, and wealth transfer – just to name a few.
“When I think about how we’re going to serve our clients by continuing to do what we do best – provide objective, innovative, and customized solutions in clear terms to provide them with greater control of their lives, I simply say, ‘Uncomplicate It’.”