> Acropolis

A Place Of Strength In Good Times And Bad

Acropolis is a fee-only wealth advisor, serving individual investors, institutional investors and 401(k) plan sponsors. In an industry where high-quality, objective advice is difficult to come by, Acropolis helps investors find peace of mind relative to their long-term finances. Acropolis makes a difference by acting in a fiduciary capacity, which means putting clients’ interests above its own.

In times of war in ancient Greece, everyone in Athens gathered at the safest place, the Acropolis, the rocky outcropping where the Parthenon sits. In times of prosperity, the Acropolis was where scholars and philosophers gathered to discuss higher ideas. So, in both good times and bad, the Acropolis was the place to be.

Acropolis Investment Management models itself after this philosophy, striving to be both defensible and opportunistic, a place of strength regardless of the markets and the economy.

In 2003, Acropolis developed an innovative piece of software called the Acropolis Financial Forecaster™. A highly interactive advanced statistical analysis tool, it allowed portfolio managers to sit with their clients and work through clients’ finances in real time. While similar tools are available today, Acropolis was among the first to create comprehensive software to answer the three important questions about retirement: Am I saving enough for retirement? When can I afford to retire? How much can I spend in retirement?

“We wanted to empower clients to make informed decisions on their retirement planning,” says Mike Lissner, a founding partner of Acropolis. “And by doing this interactively in real-time, we empowered individuals to see how their decisions would impact their goals.”

Acropolis’ strength of character became even more apparent during the 2008 financial crisis by accomplishing three key things: the firm maintained over 99% client retention, it maintained those clients’ investment strategies, and it also kept all of its employees.

“It was as challenging as it was important,” Mike says. “The partners made our clients and our employees the priority; we led by taking pay cuts in order to avoid laying off employees. The partners stressed that we are all in this together.”

Even today, such a philosophy informs much of the firm’s actions.

“We eat our own cooking,” Mike likes to say. “We invest our money alongside our clients’, using the same investment approach, philosophy, and strategy.”

Such a practice may seem common to most people, but a recent Vanguard report indicated that over 50% of mutual fund managers did not invest any of their own money in the funds they managed. But Acropolis has the track record to prove its philosophy is sound. In 2013, Acropolis passed $1 billion in assets under management (AUM), and today, the firm stands at over $1.5 billion in AUM.

There are over 10,000 registered investment advisors and Acropolis is one of just a few hundred firms with the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence (CEFEX) certification. In any field, a fiduciary is a party that puts its clients’ interests above its own. In finance, becoming a CEFEX certified fiduciary is costly—in terms of time and money—but it is important to Acropolis to earn the distinction.

“Attorneys are fiduciaries, as are accountants and doctors—and most people think that all financial advisors are fiduciaries,” Mike explains. “But the vast majority of financial advisors are not fiduciaries. To better serve our clients, A PLACE OF STRENGTH IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD we wanted to have third-party verification helping us to improve ourselves and verifying our commitment to best practices.”

This ethos of transparency runs throughout the firm. In addition to printing its fees clearly on quarterly client reports (it’s actually on a page by itself so that there can be no confusion), all advisors have access to a customer relationship management software, allowing employees to serve clients even if their specific advisor is unavailable. Acropolis also uses an open floor plan for their employees, partners included. According to Mike, “we all sit in one big open room, no offices or cubicles.”

“We will continue to build an environment that is very inclusive of employees and clients and one that reflects that we are a team,” reflects Mike. “When one of us is successful, we are all successful.”

Acropolis Investment Management

(636) 449-4900
14567 N Outer Forty Rd Suite 200 Chesterfield, MO 63017

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