My F&M

2020: Year in Review

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Dear Clients, Friends, and Valued Partners,

As we begin a new year, many are tempted to move on from 2020 and never look back. It was a year of trials and tribulations for most. Sure, there is some relief in being able to turn the page and begin a new year with fresh optimism and hope for what’s to come, or at least the sentiment that the new year can’t be as bad as the last. (Though it has been a turbulent start to 2021!) Regardless of what the new year holds, each year gone by is time we will never get back, and even in the toughest of years we gain perspective, if nothing else. For all of us, there was more to 2020 than just a pandemic; there were certainly additional difficulties between market volatility, economic uncertainty, and adjustments to everyday life. But there were also successes and good fortune, and while some might say it’s a year they’d rather not remember, I’m guessing it’s one we’ll never forget.  

As we have shared before, the best part of our work is establishing and building relationships with clients, and that has always been enhanced by the opportunities we get to sit down together and talk.  While we work with clients in 33 states and have been accustomed to Zoom meetings for years, many of our clients prefer face to face interaction in our office, this includes those who live locally and those who travel through Cincinnati now and then.  With that in mind, our year began with plans to expand our office space and remodel the lobby and conference rooms. Our primary goal was to upgrade the technology and create spaces that are more inviting and foster the personal conversations that are the nature of our business. We were in the midst of finishing construction and planning an open house when Covid-19 became a serious concern.  We made the decision to close the office and transition to an entirely remote work environment for the safety of our employees, clients, and the community.  Now, more than 10 months later, we have not gotten to use our beautiful conference rooms much, though we have had a mix of employees working both remotely and in the office for a while.  On a positive note, we have gotten much more acquainted with our clients’ homes and they with ours through our computer screens and the wonders of technology that we are all too familiar with.  We are looking forward to welcoming clients back to our office sometime this year and making use of our beautifully renovated space.

While we were all adjusting to our remote work environments and continuing to work hard to serve our clients during a challenging time, we received the devastating news that one of our Foster & Motley family members, Paul Staubach, passed away.  Paul was a pillar of Foster & Motley and the patriarch to a big and loving family.  We shared news of his loss earlier this year – you can click here to read Dave Foster’s touching tribute. What wasn’t shared broadly was the outpouring of messages of support for Paul’s family, our firm, and the heartfelt memories shared by clients and colleagues that knew Paul as a friend in addition to a trusted advisor.  In Paul’s memory, an endowed Evans Scholarship fund was established and quickly received donations exceeding our goal of $125,000.  This scholarship is just one way that Paul’s legacy will live on.

While the challenges were compounding early in 2020, our team never wavered. We rallied around each other to push forward and continued to stay in touch with our clients given the growing number of concerns present.  Remote working was an adjustment, especially with a short timeframe to plan for it, but we made sure to stay connected with each other, maintain our positive culture, and serve our clients to the fullest. Despite the pandemic and rollercoaster ride to stock markets, our list of clients continued to grow. It became apparent that given all the uncertainty, more and more people wanted help with their finances, and we rose to meet that demand. Through Zoom interviews and the occasional masked and distanced meeting at the office, we hired several new employees in 2020, expanding the Foster and Motley family to 38 employees.  Our growth has been a product of the hard work of our employees and the trust of our clients.  We now have the privilege of serving nearly 700 clients (individuals, families, and institutions) and managing over $1.7 billion in assets. We do not take that responsibility lightly, and we thank you for your continued support of Foster & Motley through your referrals to friends, family members, and colleagues. 

In addition to the support and positive feedback from clients, we were honored to receive several awards and accolades in 2020. My personal favorite was being named the winner of Best Places to Work by the Cincinnati Business Courier. It’s a testament to our people and our culture with a focus on doing what’s best for our clients and taking care of each other. We also had the pleasure of being included in a number of rankings by organizations within the financial services industry. Each of these have their own criteria and requirements, which can be seen by clicking on the following links: Advisory HQ’s List of 13 Best Financial Advisors and Wealth Management Firms in Ohio, FA Magazine’s Annual ranking of RIAs where Foster & Motley was included in the top 250, and the CNBC FA 100 which ranked Foster & Motley in the top 100 financial advisory firms in the nation for the second year in a row.

Reflecting on 2020 brings a lot of different emotions.  I won’t go as far as to quote Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” although I guess I just did, but the year was not all bad.  No year can be all bad.  Our firm, our families, and our clients celebrated successes, and we love to celebrate those triumphs together, in person or in spirit!  There were new additions to families – babies, grandbabies, and great-grandbabies.  There were milestone events – graduations, marriages, anniversaries, and retirements.  Promotions were had, new jobs were landed, and businesses were sold.  In a challenging year that changed the way we live, the way we work, and the way we interact with each other, it no doubt helped us grow as well.  So, as we have come upon January to begin another year, we’ll say farewell to the last, knowing 2020 was a year that we’ll never forget.


Zach Horn
Managing Partner/President