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History of Soltis
Unlike some corporate histories, where founders are driven by a capitalistic strategy focused on providing shareholders with above market returns, the history of Soltis is different since the root of the decision to start the company was founded in a dedication to better align the interests of investors with those working for the investor to provide a competitive rate of return; a focus that is built on removing conflicts of interest in the investment business.
In the fall of 1992, Lon Henderson received an invitation from a friend, Hyrum Smith, founder of Franklin Quest, to manage the wealth that was recently generated by bringing his company public. The two had served together on a philanthropic venture and come to trust each other. Hyrum’s invitation was to have Lon leave his current employment with a nationally recognized money management firm and become the “gatekeeper” of his family’s recently created wealth. Although intrigued and flattered by the offer, Lon was motivated to do more than serve a single client, but rather construct a business model that was unique within the financial service industry. Founding the firm under the mission of a fee-only, non-conflict of interest financial service company became the passion.
Mr. Henderson had worked for a leading financial service company; an entity that was considered a pioneer using a fee-based money management model. The model allowed clients to depart from the traditional commission structured compensation environment to a fee-based environment which was more client-friendly and conducive for fee transparency. Mr. Henderson had experienced success in selecting and utilizing the skills of nationally renowned money managers to manage his clients’ money on a fee-based platform. He applied his company’s proprietary process which helped reduce the inherent conflict-of-interest that existed. In his current employ, Lon was an early adopter of the fee-based money management structure; a strategy that was emerging in the later 80s and early 90s as a preferred way of doing business among sophisticated clients. Having a commitment to engage the leading asset money managers, Lon recognized early that although the fee-based structure was preferred by his clients, limitations existed due to the control of access to other leading money managers outside of his firm’s purview. Gaining greater access to additional talented money managers utilized by competing financial firms like Fidelity or Goldman Sachs, fueled Lon’s passion to propose a course slightly different than the invitation of his friend; a course adjustment that would be the impetus to build something unique, hopefully benefiting clients in creating, building, and managing wealth for decades to come.
Intrigued with the opportunity to leave his current firm and create an entity that was structured without the inherent conflicts-of-interest, Lon recommended a counter proposal to his friend. The plan was to build a company that is incentivized to manage wealth in a transparent fee environment, without the biases and aggressive approaches of the traditional Wall Street firms. The revised concept was to collectively join resources and structure a firm that could both manage Hyrum’s individual wealth, plus offer the service to others seeking a non-conflict approach of managing assets. To this aim, the new firm could also fulfill Hyrum request to have a gatekeeper for his family’s wealth.
Lon joined with competent professionals to aid in the dream of building a money management business that was based on a fee-only model. Paramount to those who joined the cause was Hal Anderson, a bright, skilled executive who had corporate experience in finance and banking. His decision to join Soltis was critical to its future. Together with other professionals the firm began to acquire clients and develop new products and services focused initially on the high net worth market, evolving later to retirement plan consulting. Fortunately, the early employees of Soltis recognized that a major evolution was occurring in the financial service industry. The challenge of building a money management business that was solely dependent on a fee-only service model was ominous and difficult; but the approach and strategy has ultimately been part of a money management revolution that advisors and clients witnessed over the past two decades.
On March 7th, 1993 Smith Henderson and Associates, the predecessor to Soltis Investment Advisors, was formed. Since the beginning the Soltis team has strived to provide value in the financial services market. Led by the executive leadership of Lon Henderson, Hal Anderson, Tyler Wilkinson, and Kim Anderson the firm today is serving a clientele through the continental U.S., managing over one billion dollars for retail, institutional, public and private clients.