History of the Firm

Strategic Asset Management, Inc., formerly known as Hamilton, Flower & Kell, Inc., and Hamilton, McKewen & Flower, was founded May 1, 1981 in Upper Arlington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus.  Initially, the firm was a broad based financial planning and investment management firm.  In the early years, it also had a specialty niche of consulting with dentists in managing their practices.  As the years past, the firm gradually became more specialized in the investment management arena.  In 1987, our investment management division successfully removed all client exposure to the U.S. equities on Friday, October 16, the day before Black Monday (Crash of 87, S&P 500 -20.47%).  This series of events lead to a significant increase in interest for our investment services.  Shortly thereafter, the decision was made to specialize in our investment management services exclusively.

In 1991, we established a relationship with Charles Schwab & Company whereby they would provide custodian services for our clients.  They had pioneered a mutual fund network, allowing us to purchase funds from different investment companies within the same client account.  This was a brilliant concept and monumental for our firm and clients.  Shortly thereafter, we retained the services of Advent Software, which provided high-end investment management accounting and reporting software services.  As such, we were able to electronically link to Charles Schwab by downloading all transactions on a daily basis into our Advent reporting system.  This enabled us to keep track and manage large volumes of trades almost instantaneously.  Ever since we established our relationship with Schwab, they have consistently improved their services to our clients and exceeded our expectations.

The 1990’s was an incredible decade of unprecedented market success.  Stocks rose significantly and consistently.  Our firm and clients benefited greatly from this period but unfortunately, it led to the tech bubble and investor over confidence by the end of the decade.  A three year bear market ensued (2000 – 2002) which ravaged the portfolios of almost all investors.  Again, the discipline of our investor protection mechanisms helped our clients avoid much of the impact of the bear market.  The next five years (2003-2007) was clear sailing and very profitable for investors.  However, this period led to easy credit in which consumers and the U.S. government over indulged.  The year 2008 marked the next big bear market, caused by declining real estate prices, a glut of upside down mortgage loans, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers.  At its worst point, the market had declined 54%.  Fortunately, we were able to avoid much of the decline with the discipline of our defensive strategy.  Even though everyone thought the world was coming to an end, the market proceeded to advance over 100% over the next two years.  In 2011, the market took a dive during July and August, primarily due to the near default of our government and downgrade of the U.S. credit rating.  Thankfully, our clients were once again spared the full wrath of the bear market.

In summary, we have experienced numerous significant bear markets in the last 30 years.  It is noteworthy that there have been major advances after each decline, even though pessimism was at a peak.  Pure and simple, our success has been due to proactively minimizing the down periods and then taking advantage of the rising trends, regardless of the prevailing fear of the moment.  We see no reason this strategy, executed properly, will not continue to be a very successful for our clients.