When Ian Jameson first entered the advisory space in 2007, he had no idea his career would be shaped by exposing systemic fraud. Alongside his colleague Matt, Ian discovered the agency the pair started at was committing fraud against its clients. Both Ian and Matt were deeply impacted by this shake-up, inspired to go on to found their own firm that would maintain the highest level of integrity and always work within the best interest of clients.
After overcoming the initial shock of their discovery, Ian and Matt quickly joined forces with a common passion and mission to better serve clients. They began working under the then-Principal of American Capital Advisory, bringing in a modest 12M AUM to the firm and immediately taking over key operational elements. As Ian puts it “we added an additional partner in 2014 and by 2017, the prior principal had passed on ownership responsibilities to myself and Matt.”
Since taking over ACA’s operations, Ian and his partners have driven a strong, intentional approach to transparency and prioritizing client relationships. “Having lived through the financial crisis and seeing first-hand how different brokers operated during that time,” as Ian tells it, “I realized that being honest and transparent with people is truly a differentiator in this industry.” This focus has earned ACA a notable reputation for just that: unwavering integrity driving superior client outcomes.
“Having lived through the financial crisis and seeing first-hand how different brokers operated during that time, I realized that being honest and transparent with people is truly a differentiator in this industry.”
Splitting headquarters between two small towns in Virginia and Idaho, ACA has never had the typical “high-growth for growth’s sake” approach. Rather, ACA prides itself on its unique “lights on, doors open” approach. Ian explains “All of our new business comes from word of mouth recommendations from our current clients. For ACA, it’s important that people in town understand how we do things, the caliber of firm we run, and how much we value transparency. We have a reputation for always having our door open and our lights on–locals know we’re here for them when they need us.”
When it comes to working with clients, Ian and his partners take a holistic, long-term approach. “We understand that life isn’t static and clients’ needs change over time. This is why we focus on building a long-term, trust-based relationship with clients.” At ACA, client relationships are so strong that clients rarely call during times of market volatility: “We encourage clients to have an open dialogue and always reach out with any finance-related questions. But we find that on average, over 80% of clients are able to ride market waves simply based on the trust we built with them in our planning and capabilities alone.” Ian and his partners’ investment philosophy is that sometimes what others may dismiss as boring is actually quite good. They leverage mostly ETF and mutual fund models which consistently produce long-term returns for their clients. Ian said “we believe that markets are efficient long-term, and there are only a few different factors you can control to impact long-term financial outcomes.”
“We understand that life isn’t static and clients’ needs change over time. This is why we focus on building a long-term, trust-based relationship with clients.”
ACA plans to continue growing their team with the same deliberate thoughtfulness that led to their expansion thus far. Ian added “We’ve housed some ongoing conversations about adding additional partners, and it’s nice to be in a position to be selective about growth and how we want to approach that.” Ian also emphasized the important role having a solid technology foundation has played in ACA’s ability to operate efficiently and scale. “We built our technology stack from the ground up in 2015. Because Bridge supports our firm’s back-end, so our advisors don’t have a heavy workload, and it allows us to grow really efficiently.”
“We built our technology stack from the ground up in 2015. Because Bridge supports our firm’s back-end, so our advisors don’t have a heavy workload, and it allows us to grow really efficiently.”
When it comes to growing their team, Ian makes it clear that integrity will always remain ACA’s number one priority. “For us, cultural fit is the most important. We must be able to verify that anyone we bring into the firm acts with integrity within their business. Overall, we’re looking for a true partnership.” Together, ACA’s current team serves a strong, growing client base with one key differentiator–an unrelenting dedication to positive client outcomes backed by a reputation for being available when clients need help most.