After spending several years at a partner based firm, Bryan Cannon knew he wanted something different for his RIA career. “We had 12 or 13 partners at the time, and I was working circles around everyone else and due to this, I felt that the company was not having the desired impact I had expected. Therefore, I decided to start my own firm and run it alongside my brother’s tax business.” Bryan emphasized that his ability to now marry the two separate firms–wealth management and tax and accounting–to deliver consistent value by helping to drive efficiencies and avoid missed tax planning opportunities for his clients was the most significant key differentiator.
Bryan sees this as a unique component of their client experience: “As a client, you’re going to have gaps if you work with a tax advisor who does not understand wealth management, and conversely the same problem will occur if you work with a financial advisor who does not understand and integrate tax implications into their planning. At Cannon, having everything under one roof helps ensure that nothing is missed and that we offer a full-service solution for our clients.”
Beyond a comprehensive planning solution, Cannon Advisors also has a unique investment philosophy in which the goal is upside opportunity with downside risk protection built in. Their approach is founded on active management backed by deep technical analysis. Bryan explains, “We leverage mostly stocks and ETFs, with little mutual funds at all. We want to be able to better understand and control what our clients are invested in and for how long. It’s a very growth-oriented process, with a distinct eye for downside protection.”
It’s notable that Bryan’s journey of developing his unique investment philosophy with impressive downside risk metrics came about over time. “Early on in my career as an advisor, I didn’t always actively invest and trade stocks and ETFs. Back then I was more into putting clients into a mutual fund model like every other advisor; however, after the crash in 2008 when everything seemed to drop, I knew there had to be a better way. I began a quest to research and figure out a better way to help our clients not become victims of riding the ups and downs in the market, especially during retirement when it most counts. I began to study and deeply understand the art of technical analysis within asset management. Now, with my approach at Cannon Advisors, I have created a strategy of balancing growth with protection, which has taken years of practice to master.”
Bryan’s developed approach to asset management was never more important than when COVID first hit. As the COVID pandemic began to unfold in early 2020, it was one of many times Cannon has come through for clients and gave them peace of mind that their finances are being managed for risk. “When the pandemic hit, the market dropped over 30% at its low; however our clients were only down less than a third of that amount. Our goal at Cannon is to take folks off of the rollercoaster ride and put them on a more palatable escalator ride.” In fact, as a result of their approach to managing clients through the rough waters of the pandemic, it enabled Cannon to grow their client base more rapidly than ever. “We picked up more clients in the month of March (2020) alone because of how we proactively helped our clients navigate through the market’s volatility. We always aim to protect and preserve on the downside; however, we want to hang with the market on the upside as well. If we can do this consistently over time, clients should be very happy.”
Cannon Advisors’ full-service approach and dedication to actively managing risk for clients has led to impressive AUM growth over the years. However, the firm eventually reached an inflection point where Bryan realized that having his team of advisors bear the burden of sales and marketing was hindering the business’ ability to continue to scale. Bryan knew that he would have to invest in building sales and marketing infrastructure which would allow advisors to focus 100% on client service. As Bryan puts it:
“I wanted to take the heavy lifting off our financial advisors’ shoulders. I wanted to relieve that burden, so they can focus their time on consulting with the clients. We were at a point where back-end operations were consuming our time which needed to be spent with clients. I knew I needed to invest back into our business in order to get to the next level.”
Bryan began working with a marketing consultant to build and implement a scalable approach to marketing his firm’s services. The process of building an automated marketing machine has been time-intensive and expensive, but Bryan feels confident it will be his firm’s growth-factor in moving forward. In fact, Cannon Advisors plans to double their practice assets within 12-18 months based on the marketing infrastructure his team is putting into place.
“We’ve basically taken our static website and transformed it into a lead machine. We’ve created videos that showcase our philosophy and added site content that really shows who we are and what we do for clients. The trust this brings to potential clients is not easily measured yet it will become invaluable to growing our business.” In addition to a revamped website, Bryan’s team has also begun delivering timely, high-relevant content to clients and prospects based on their financial life stage. Bryan explains “clients under age of 40 might get unique messaging about college planning and the value of early savings, clients 55+ may receive content geared towards retirement, and in 62+ group there’s a lot of social security and Medicare planning content.”
Outside of newly-built marketing efforts, Cannon has been making improvements in other areas of the firm as well. For example, Bryan deployed Bridge, making use of ecosystem partners along the way to manage the operations and trading issues the firm had been facing. As Bryan puts it “With Bridge, we’re able to leverage their data resources and tech ecosystem for a better trading experience, and that’s been huge for us. Instead of managing accounts, we’re managing strategies, without the bureaucracies of a large institution—we run our own portfolios. Now we’re able to technically trade and control the individual investment decisions.”
Cannon is not slowing down their growth and launch of innovative tactics. For example, in addition to evolving their client approach and offering, Bryan also recently worked with a third party to audit Cannon Advisors’ performance. “We were able to beat the market in 2020 net of fees, but more importantly we beat it with a lot less downside risk and volatility.” Another exciting initiative has been the launch of Markets ‘N5, a bi-weekly video series which covers what’s going on in the market. “We launched Markets ‘N5 so our clients will understand what we’re doing and why, so that everyone is on the same page.” For those interested in following Cannon’s ongoing expanded efforts, be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
Cannon Advisors and Cannon Tax & Accounting are separately owned and operated entities. Client information is not shared between the two entities without prior approval. Cannon Advisors and Cannon Tax & Accounting do not revenue share nor do they compensate each other for client referrals.
Securities offered through Regulus Financial Group, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cannon Advisors, a State of North Carolina Registered Investment Advisor. Cannon Advisors is independent of Regulus Financial Group, LLC.