fernwood Investment Management: By Scott Pickard
Even today, after 32 highly successful years in financial services and with an enviable client roster, Tom Reilly will still tell you he always thought he’d be a physician.
The son of Irish immigrants (his parents operated a successful medical textbook store); Reilly came north from Philadelphia to take pre-med
“When the client’s interests come first, that’s how trust is earned.” Tom Reilly Founder and Portfolio Manager
courses at Boston College. In 1976, on a lark, he stopped into a downtown job fair sponsored by financial services colossus, Merrill Lynch.
Wealth Management strategies for a select clientele
He was hired and his journey began. The would-be MD certainly made the most of what was supposed to be a temporary opportunity, eventually eschewing medical school to flourish in the world of high finance and ultimately be in position to launch his own company. Four years ago, he established Fernwood Investment Management, LLC, headquartered in Quincy. Tom set up shop right in his own backyard; he resides in Hingham with his wife, Dianne, and four children. “I was confident in my ambitions early on in life,” Reilly says with typical straight-shooting candor. “The beauty of this business is that there’s an opportunity to learn something new every day.” Reilly absorbed plenty of knowledge in his 22 years with Merrill Lynch and a subsequent five years with Bainco International. So, when it came time to hang out his own financial services shingle, it wasn’t difficult to lay out a corporate mission and vision that would resonate with those looking for seasoned investment guidance. “Very few people have my depth of experience in dealing with so many aspects of this business,” he says. “I think of myself as an ombudsman for my clients, whether they have questions about selling a business, estate planning, or making a substantial gift to a child or grandchild. More than anything, I want to help people in these situations.”
Fernwood provides the kind of personalized, customized service to its clients that is typically seen at other financial institutions for client accounts worth $20 million or more.
Fernwood’s three-pronged organizational mantra is simple: Reilly describes it as trust, service, and performance, with trust being paramount. “When the client’s interests come first, that’s how trust is earned,” he says, describing a “holistic” approach that stresses knowing as much as possible about his clients and their lives in order to make intelligent investment decisions on their behalf.
In a business that’s all about relationships, Reilly has created and continues to nurture many. With slightly more than $150 million in assets currently under management, he says he’s “blessed by the fact that my clients want me to preserve and carefully grow what
photo: Johnathan F. Warburg
they already have.”
Tom Reilly’s track record
Grace Maynard Office Manager
Cheryl Smith director of Client Services
speaks for itself. His passion for his work and confidence in his abilities are obvious, and he has surrounded himself with an impressive team whose members share his vision.
Frederick Warburg Investment Associate Kristen Holland Investment Associate
One such client, Donald Pogorzelski, speaks for many when he describes his relationship with Reilly and Fernwood. “He has successfully differentiated my portfolio to my wife’s and my satisfaction and comfort. Over the years, he has helped us with trusts, insurance issues, and extensive estate and charitable planning that have enabled us to rest easy regarding our investments. It’s all a function of Tom’s understanding of our investment interests and the significant level of trust we have developed over the years.”
Fernwood is right-sized for the level of quality service he and his staff strive to provide. In fact, he says, the company provides the kind of personalized, customized service to its clients that is typically seen at other financial institutions for client accounts worth $20 million or more.
In terms of service, Reilly’s Fernwood Investment team has noteworthy depth, with more than three decade’s worth of experience in financial services, NASD licenses in trading and investments, and a special interest in research. The company also maintains a deep commitment to availability and accessibility. Happily describing himself as “tethered to a Blackberry and a cell phone,” Reilly uses the analogy of the old-time family doctor in describing what he can offer his clients. “Often when people contact us, they’re anxious about something. Just like when I was sick as a kid – and my mom would call our doctor – she was relieved just talking to him. We can help put our clients at ease just by being there to answer their call.”
trust. One example Reilly proudly cites is Fernwood’s appearance
Many of today’s average investors, he says, have been so spooked by almost-daily media accounts that seem to indicate there’s no safe place to invest or they’re desperate for perspectives they can on a broadcast of Channel 5’s “Chronicle” a couple of years ago when producers were seeking an independent, expert voice to put the mutual-fund trading debacle in perspective. But ultimately, Reilly considers himself fortunate that he has many grateful clients who voluntarily refer Fernwood to family and friends. “People will share their investment worries with others who they trust in their social circle,” Reilly explains. “They may be getting ready to retire, or have recently received an inheritance, or even been diagnosed with a serious illness, and they’re legitimately worried about what those situations might mean to their financial future in the con-
As the company’s managing member, Reilly’s primary responsibili-
text of everything they see and read about investing. Sometimes
ties involve selection and management of securities, including tra-
people confide that they feel they’ve never been treated well by
ditional asset classes such as stocks and bonds, and non-traditional
their investment advisor. Occasionally, they’re just frustrated by the
investments such as private equities, venture capital, real estate, and
impersonal nature of the organizations managing their portfolios.
hedge funds that result in a well-rounded portfolio based on a
Somebody who knows Fernwood will suggest to people in those
client’s tolerance for risk. He’s clear about an investment philoso-
situations that they contact us. We’re willing to dedicate the time
phy that adheres to a long-term, fundamentally driven discipline
to be able to say that we know what’s going on in our clients’ lives. ”
to achieve above-market rates of return with below-market risk. Fernwood prides itself on having a global understanding of investing clients’ assets. For savvy investors who are looking ahead, Fernwood sees enormous opportunity to benefit from growth around the globe, specifically related to the demand for raw materials and energy in places like Brazil, Russia, China and India. In addition, US healthcare, technology, and aerospace companies are well-positioned for growth in foreign markets.
Tom Reilly’s track record speaks for itself. His passion for his work and confidence in his abilities are obvious, and he has surrounded himself with an impressive team whose members share his vision. Fernwood knows its clients as thoroughly as it knows its business, and when the guy in charge brags about learning something new every day, those clients are the clear beneficiaries of that acquired wisdom.
Fernwood Investment Management, LLC
In a business that’s all about relationships, Reilly has created and continues to nurture many. With slightly more than $150 million in assets currently under management, he says he’s “blessed by the fact that my clients want me to preserve and carefully grow what they already have.” With the company currently numbering 85 client families (and accepting more), Fernwood seeks to attract those with at least $1 million in liquid assets or with the potential to reach that level in the near term. Reilly says EARLY AUTUMN
400 Crown Colony Drive Quincy 617.376.4750 www.fernwoodinvestment.com email: email@example.com