Unassuming in manner, striking in achievement, former pro-tennis player Dan Goldie manages client assets of $845 million in his unusual RIA practice. He does it with no employees, no marketing, no financial planning or trading software and using only passive vehicles largely from a single fund family, the FA told ThinkAdvisor in an interview.
As a tennis star, he beat Jimmy Connors; and in his 5-1/2 years as a pro — ranking #27 — won four titles and reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals. But shin stress fractures forced his early retirement at age 27.
Fortunately, the foresighted athlete, raised in McLean, Virginia, always had a back-up plan: a career in financial services. And he put it to work as soon as he exited the courts in 1991. With an economics degree from Stanford University — which he’d attended on a tennis scholarship — he reinvented himself as a self-employed RIA affiliate of Loring Ward.
Twenty-seven years later and boasting a diverse book, Dan Goldie Financial Services, in Palo Alto, California, has an account minimum of $1 million and charges a declining 1% of assets.
After two decades practicing solo, within the last few years Goldie took on two FA partners, both independent contractors. He now plans to add more advisors under his banner in the not-too-distant future.
In 2015, Goldie returned to the tennis courts and won 50-plus singles titles. The RIA hadn’t touched a racquet in 24 years.
Here’s how discipline and a notable athlete’s work ethic helped Goldie, 54, succeed on and off the courts:
THINKADVISOR: You have a most unusual practice!
DAN GOLDIE: I’ve heard that. It’s all by design.
A big book with $845 million AUM, 333 clients, 1,194 accounts — but you have no employees. Not even an assistant?
No. I have nobody.
How is outsourcing all back-office and administrative functions to Loring Ward advantageous to you?
It frees me up tremendously to focus on my clients. I don’t have a staff to oversee. I don’t hire or fire anybody. It’s very efficient, and it makes life a lot easier.
To what degree do you rely on advanced technology?
I have cell phones and an Internet connection. I don’t use any software for trading or financial planning. I use an Excel spreadsheet, a calculator and my head — financial planning software isn’t necessary or useful.
With no employees and just you and partner Dirk Gilliard working in the office — David Magnuson, your other partner, is based in Burlingame, California — the space you have must be small.
No, it isn’t. The condominium I own has a suite big enough to hold half a dozen people. There are five offices. So if I have more advisors in the future, the space is available.
Is that a plan?
I think it is. Over the next decade, I might add one or two more advisors. It’s good for succession planning.
Does being a former tennis star help attract clients?
It differentiates me from other advisors. I stand out a little. So it’s an interesting talking point. When a financial advisor is unique in some way, it’s memorable.
What do you do in the way of marketing?