Today’s news is a two-for-one deal, introducing our new team member PJ McDaniel, as well as Hillfolio™, our ground-breaking new digital platform. We’d be hard-pressed to decide which we’re more excited about! Fortunately, we don’t have to. In a perfect pairing, PJ has joined our St. Louis office to oversee the new service.
What’s Hillfolio? We’re glad you asked! Hillfolio will bring evidence-based investing and institutional-level portfolio management to a wider audience, including those who might not otherwise be able to experience the high-touch care we strive to make the hallmark of every investor’s experience here at HIG. We’ll be covering it in more detail in the months ahead; for now, call it one of our most ambitious dreams being realized.
Back to PJ. Although new to the team, his relationship with us began six years ago, when he and Matt Hall both began serving on the Saint Louis Club board. Besides bonding over their status as the group’s “young guys,” they also became co-mentors, each learning from the other’s perspectives.
PJ had spent more than a decade in alternative investment sales. As he consulted with financial advisors across the country, he kept seeing huge variations in the quality of advice investors were receiving … and it bothered him. From Matt, he grew to appreciate the powerful differences a fiduciary mindset and efficient evidence-based investing can bring to people’s investment outcomes.
“I am excited to play a direct role in moving more people into evidence-based investing,” says PJ. “Once you understand that you cannot predict the markets, you get to focus your time on family, friends and other activities that make life enjoyable.”
For Matt, PJ’s experience in launching and growing new businesses was equally inspirational.
Call it fate or just good timing, but as PJ found himself increasingly uncomfortable in his career, we were beginning to seriously advance our Hillfolio platform, to the point where we needed a new team member to become its full-time champion. That’s when we and PJ realized we had a unique opportunity to join forces on our shared dream to put logic, data and evidence to work for every investor.
In addition to his 13-year career as a financial professional and an advisor to advisor firms, PJ holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Regis University. He also was selected to attend a “Semester at Sea” program where he studied international finance. Married in 2008, PJ and his wife have grown “the McDaniel tribe” to a party of five, including their three boys Jack (6), Patrick (4) and Henry (2). His wife is an accomplished evidence-based dietitian, cookbook author, corporate wellness guru, and media spokesperson who you may have seen on St. Louis’ local Fox 2 station.
When he’s not working or parenting, PJ can be found running, swimming or playing a round of golf. During his college years, he was a caddy at an exclusive country club, where he had the opportunity to caddy for Tiger Woods, then-sitting President Clinton, and countless other characters. Reflecting on the experience, PJ says, “Whether you watch a pro player or the leader of the free world duff a chip, it reminds you that we’re all human. The real eye-opener is how people handle or recover from their mistakes.” This is a lesson he hopes to instill in his boys as they grow old enough to take on summer jobs of their own.
Please join us in welcoming PJ to the HIG team … and watch for unfolding Hillfolio news to come!
We’ve all been there, done that: When the markets grow volatile, they can literally make your stomach churn. As a team member of Hill Investment Group, I know better than to get too hung up on the never-ending breaking news in the popular financial press, but I do still find it helpful to read the perspectives of other thought leaders who are as committed as we are to evidence-based investing.
Here are two such pieces published during the recent jolts of market volatility. I found them helpful; I hope you do too:
“When Investing in Stocks Makes You Feel Like Throwing Up and You Do It Anyway,” by Jason Zweig of The Wall Street Journal
Zweig reflects on how awful it felt to stay invested during the Great Recession, but how glad he is now that he overcame his deepest doubts: “A happy few investors, among them Warren Buffett, his business partner Charles Munger and their mentor Benjamin Graham, may have long-term thinking built into them by nature. The rest of us have to cultivate it by nurture.”
“Some alternatives to Evidence-Based Investing,” by Josh Brown, the Reformed Broker
Satire can be a great healer. Here, Brown lists some of the “better” tactics people use instead of evidence-based investing and concludes: “The harvestable errors of emotionally unaware people in the marketplace are a bumper crop for the patient, the sane and the disciplined.” Tough but true love about the wisdom of evidence-based investing.
Back in February, Rick Hill posted his reflections on why he’s not yet retired from his lengthy career as a financial professional. “Why am I still here?” he asked. “Because I am still in a great place!”
I, for one, am glad he is still here. We may tease him about his white hair, but from my first encounter with Rick in 2012 (which I still remember vividly – we talked about my alma mater Trinity University and San Antonio), he has shaped many of my own personal and professional values. Had Rick instead opted for spending every day on the golf course, I’d be poorer for it – this much I know.
I’m not the only young buck who has been inspired by Rick, the mentor. Check out this recent post: “This Lesson I Learned from a 75-Year-Old Man Might Earn You a Career.” It’s about Rick, written by one of our past summer interns, Dominic Vaiana. In sharing a few of his own takeaways from his internship with us, Dominic wrote that Rick “oozes wisdom and has a contagious energy that people half his age do not.”
I hope that 20-somethings will be saying the same about me when I’m 75 and still working at Hill Investment Group. That sounds more rewarding than any day on the links.