A Rational Response to Irrational Markets

Investment advisor Chris Gibson

Investment adviser Chris Gibson says a career in the field of finance was practically inevitable for her. She calls it “the family business.”

Says Gibson, “I grew up reading the stock tables with my father and grandfather.” Her dad was an accountant for ARAMCO, the Arabian-American Oil Company in Saudi Arabia, her grandfather was senior vice president for John Hancock, and her great-grandfather was an investment banker in New York City.

Gibson spent 20 years in the world of Wall Street as an advisor at Bear Stearns and Alex Brown & Sons before starting Gibson Group Advisors, LLC seven years ago. “I executed large institutional orders and retail orders for a multitude of clients and corporate finance/mergers and acquisitions,” she says. Among the hundreds of deals she participated in were IPOs for Oracle Corp. and Dallas Semiconductor (now Maxim).

Today, Gibson Advisors’ broker dealer is Sorrento Pacific Financial, and her registered investment advisor is Partnervest Advisory.

Gibson says the biggest challenges she faces in her business are finding the time and talent to support clients’ ever-changing needs, and meeting the extraordinary compliance requirements of such a heavily regulated business. She uses technology to reduce the burden wherever possible, including software to confirm appointments and electronic signatures to help expedite document handling.

“I couldn’t manage my business nearly as effectively without the increased use of technology, specifically electronic to-do lists and reminders,” she says. Recently, Gibson adds, the company has shifted to iPhone 4s, iPads and the iCloud for seamless integration of data. Notes Gibson, “They are also a lot more fun to use.”

Another challenge is finding the right talent to support Gibson Advisors. “Interestingly, I have found that identifying individuals with more right-brain, artistic perspectives bring a balance to our left-brain environment that yields a more creative, open perspective.

Gibson says the market crash and the recession have forced changes in her practice, principally more communication with clients. She has issued an open invitation to clients to call and discuss their fears, which, she says, are magnified at the moment, “when markets are swooning.”

“What I have found,” she says, “is that a rational response to clients in the face of irrational markets helps us steer in a steady direction,” she says. “We have been able to add to positions during oversold conditions, and that has paid benefits in performance.”

Gibson plans to communicate even more directly with clients in the coming year, specifically in the realm of retirement. She’s planning a monthly newsletter for clients and prospects, which will include government and tax code changes affecting investors, particularly as they relate to retirement planning. She’s also planning to overhaul the Gibson Advisors website with more direct links to governmental actions surrounding retirement, as well as other useful financial sites.

Three principles underlie Gibson’s investment advice.

  1. Reasonableness will prevail, she says. “That means, don’t get too excited by the ups and down of the market, and stick to the investment needs of every particular client.”
  2. “Money is personal. It really needs to be customized for every individual client.”
  3. “My last tip is, follow the first tip. Allocate funds prudently and deliberately across asset classes, capitalizations (meaning large companies and small companies), geographies, as well as dividend and income generation.”
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