PETER J. SOWDEN, CFA
Atwood & PalmerAssets Under Management – $581 Million
AFG Client Since 2010
- Can you tell us a little about Atwood & Palmer (Who you serve, philosophy)?
a) Atwood & Palmer is an independent RIA. We work with a select group of high net worth clients and some local charitable foundations.
2. You have been a client of The Applied Finance Group (AFG) for over 5 years, what sets AFG apart from other equity research providers?
a) What drew us to AFG was a valuation philosophy that was very similar to our own. In the past, we had done a lot of our own work on ROIC/WACC spreads and discounted cash flow analysis. The AFG methodology married those two together and the software that they provide, allowed us to leverage our time a great deal. We still use our own inputs (assumptions) but the software allows us to create/modify and track intrinsic valuations a lot easier than before.
3. Has AFG helped you reach better investment decisions?
a) Yes – We use their Value Expectations tool a lot in our work. It has not only helped us find interesting investments but also exit investments when some of the economic drivers change.
4. How does AFG’s research process and applications help the investment team save time?
a) We run a lot of screens that employ AFG Company Grades married with some technical analysis. Once we have a list of companies, we can do a quick Value Expectations to see if we are interested in doing further research. This has saved us a lot of time because we are usually able to eliminate a number of opportunities quickly using VE. We then use pro-forma builder to really dig much deeper into the remaining opportunities to see if they are good investments for our clients.
5. Any additional comments about AFG?
a) We have had a great working relationship with AFG. Their on-going training is excellent and we have been very pleased with the additional investments they have made in the platform to make it even better.
6. Atwood & Palmer has grown tremendously over the past five years, any advice you would like to share with growing firms?
a) I think our main advice is to find out what makes your firm unique and then leverage that as much as possible. For our firm, we have purposely elected to work with a small, select group of clients. This has allowed us to spend a great deal of time with our clients above and beyond their investments. By providing this level of service and customized portfolio management, we are able to offer something unique that is important to high net worth clients that they are not able to find at most other firms.
7. We are in an election year, does the outcome play a role in your investment decision process? If so, can you please elaborate?
a) We have found that this is a very good year not to publicly talk about politics 🙂