From the June 2008 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

What's In A Name?

Since Dave Root and Carrie Kuntz are partners it might seem strange that the firm is called D.B. Root & Company, and not Root & Kuntz, or alphabetically, Kuntz & Root.

It's a personal matter for Root, but both partners insist it's not about his ego.

"My grandfather had his own financial services business, which he started in 1931, of all times, about two hours north of here in Erie, Pennsylvania. His name was Paul Root and he called his firm P.B. Root and Company. I guess the sentimental link is to my grandfather even though his company no longer exists."

As Dave Root explains it, his grandfather's best friend had founded the Erie Insurance Company and invested the premiums collected on his company's policies in bonds. He suggested to Paul Root that he start a business to broker those bonds.

Kuntz adds that although she and Root founded the firm together in 1994, at first she was not an equal partner, as she is now.

There's another connection to P.B. Root & Company besides the similarity in names. When he graduated from college in the late 1950s David Root, Sr. joined his brother in working in their father's business and in 1996 he joined his son at D.B. Root & Company. He'll be 71 this month and still works a full day, every day, and carries a full load of clients.

"I think the perception, usually among people that don't know us, is that my father started the firm and we are the successors, when, in fact, it has been the opposite," says Dave Root, Jr., who says that working with his father has been wonderful.

"He's been in the business almost 50 years, so he brings a depth of experience and historical background that's very beneficial and keeps us grounded."

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