Basic Info

Niall Gannon
Contributor Status:
Initial Contribution Date:

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Financial Services, Writing
Personal Career Headline:
Ultra-high-net-worth Private Wealth Advisor & Author

My AdVert

Career Snapshot:

Niall J. Gannon is a Private Wealth Advisor to ultra-high-net-worth investors and lead member of the Gannon Group. He has been recognized as one of the nations top 100 Financial Advisors by Barrons and Registered Rep. He is the author of Tailored Wealth Management: Exploring the Cause and Effect of Financial Success (Palgrave Macmillan; 2019) and Investing Strategies for the High Net-Worth Investor: Maximize Returns on Taxable Portfolios (McGraw-Hill, 2009). In 2018 he published The Efficient Valuation Hypothesis in Seeking Alpha.

Niall has appeared on CNBC & National Public Radio and been quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Barrons. His research has been featured or quoted in ten books and academic articles by other authors. Niall has addressed the CFA Institute, Institute for Private Investors, Portfolio Management Institute, Family Office Exchange and Tiger 21.

Niall is affiliated through various roles with the Institute for Private Investors, CFA® Institute Committee for Investment Policy, The Papal Foundation, Roman Catholic Foundation, and Cor Jesu Academy. He co-founded the Rev. James Kisero Childrens clinic in the village of Bolo, Kenya. He is a past board member of Junior Achievement, Connections to Success, St. Louis Variety, St. Louis Irish Arts and the Annual Catholic Appeal.

Niall received the Silver Congressional Award, Presidents Volunteer Service Award, alumnus of the year at The Citadel School of Business, PMI Portfolio Manager of the Year Award, and is a member of The Order of St. Louis the King. He is a graduate of The Citadel and served in the US Army Reserve as an M1-Abrams tank platoon commander.

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My AdVice

How did you get into the industry?:

I entered the financial advisory business at the age of 23 and it was an unusual path that brought the opportunity. In the summer of 1991, having recently been commissioned as an officer in the US Army, I was awaiting orders to report to active duty to the Armor School at Ft. Knox (Tanks). I was doing odd jobs during this time, one of which was as a violin teacher.

One of the parents of one of my students, Pat Kearns, was the manager of a Shearson Lehman Brothers office in St. Louis and despite my pending service, he offered me an internship and the chance to compete for a slot in the firms training program. That was 27 years ago. I have never changed seats or firms.

Emerging industry trends?:

The investing public has been hurt by myths and errors with respect to public markets. They have been led to believe that they always go up if you have patience. The research I have been sharing in the public domain on the Efficient Valuation Hypothesis proves that stock prices are not random, nor do they perform under a gravitational force that pushes them up over time. Rather, markets and the prices of individual companies within them reflect the economics of the businesses themselves and the price an investor pays for them. I found that stock performance over time is predictable given the price you pay and the future profits of the business. Marry this to a natural risk aversion that all of us display at times this research allows investors to better understand the difference between stocks and bonds, risk and reward, and make better planning decisions going forward.

Industry opportunities and challenges?:

The compounded annual return on the S&P 500 for the 20 years ended Dec. 2018 was 5.05%, under-performing investor expectations by half. Treasuries and municipal bonds out-performed stocks over this time period. Most investors missed the free lunch that the bond market offered, and still fail to recognize their mistake investing in line with the status quo rather than learning from their mistakes.

Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?:

I have always and will continue to fight for attractive returns on capital net of all taxes and fees. This shouldnt be a unique model in the US but it is. Taxes are completely ignored by the vast majority of advisors, fund managers, and investors. You can only eat what is left after you pay taxes and fees.

What's next for the Business in the near future?:

I have a passion for starting a new debate within the public domain about portfolio management and forward looking assumptions. Writing Tailored Wealth Management was my way to do this. Time will either prove these theories and practices to be correct OR I will have incited a new debate that brings the investment community to a better place than it finds itself presently.

Your key initiatives for the success of the Business? Greatest Accomplishment?:

1. Study and constantly refine the investment process.

2. Admit your mistakes.

3. Seek out opinions of those who disagree with you.

4. Approach the process with humility more than arrogance.

5. Rinse, and Repeat.

Your most difficult moment at the Business? (and what did you learn?):

In August of 1999, our model showed that equities had reached a new peak in valuation, higher than in 1987 or 1929. High grade bonds sported yields of 5-6%. The Great Boom Ahead and Stocks for the Long Run were two books flying off the shelves stating that markets would roar forward after the Y2K milestone was reached. We were advising clients (especially the over 50s) to reduce equity exposure, pay off their mortgages, and increase allocations to lower risk assets. If we were wrong, it would cost investors hundreds of millions in lost opportunity. We acted any way and am glad we did.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?:

Hearing the words, “thank you for everything” from a long time client on their deathbed is the highest compliment an advisor could ever receive. I strive to earn that privilege every day in the work we do for clients.

How do you motivate others?:

I am a huge fan of TED talks. My group meets weekly and I will periodically share one of my favorites from David Steindl-Rast on gratitude, Shawn Achor on positive thinking, or Sam Berns on the secret to living a happy life.

Career advice to those in your industry?:

There are thousands of investors who are seeking an ethical, skilled, compassionate advisor who will help them navigate the path to savings, income, and retirement. If the advisor is willing to work on those three skills daily, they will be rewarded as a function of the harvest they yield for their clients. Mediocrity and incompetence abounds in the financial advisory business. It is worth the fight to become a great and trusted advisor.

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