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Company focuses on the right fit for clients

Rochester Business Journal
December 18, 2015

Alesco Advisors LLC has grown for the past 15 years with one principle in mind: always doing what is right for clients.

That is the idea with which James Gould founded the Pittsford-based investment firm in 2000. Its foundation emphasizes close connections with each client and an investment program that keeps each individual’s needs in mind.

For Gould, that means going against an industry tendency to push investment ideas on clients.

“A lot of money managers have a particular investment style they embrace, and many of them have a tendency to make that a one-size-fits-all,” says Gould, the firm’s president. “But that’s not how it works. There are so many different needs out there, and each case needs to be looked at individually.”

The approach has been successful, Gould says. The company has seen favorable investment results against its peers, bringing what he said is continual growth in assets under advisement. Gould also has had success by early adoption of passive investment strategies, an idea that has since picked up in popularity.

“We’ve embraced utilization of passive investments since our inception,” he says. “Some people misconstrue this that investment people aren’t doing anything, but the underlying investment vehicle is tied to an index, so it replicates the S&P 500. We use a lot of those index-centric investments to build our client portfolio.”

The firm has close to $2.7 billion in assets under advisement. It has had success within the industry as well. In August it was named by Forbes as a Top 100 Wealth Manager, an honor Gould says is a result of the company’s “client-centered, conflict-free approach to managing assets.”

Maintaining close connections to clients can sometimes take finesse, Gould says. The firm works both with institutional and individual clients, and the differing approaches of those two client bases means the company has to double down on its hands-on approach when the economy hits turbulence.

“Our institutional clients are more like foundations and endowments, and they tend not to be overly shaken when there’s an economic downturn,” he says. “The individuals we work with, our high-net-worth client base, are more sensitive to when the markets are weaker.

“That’s when we really have to spend a lot of time and be more proactive in contacting clients, letting them know what’s going on and reassuring them that the markets will recover.”

There have been other factors contributing to the growth of the firm, Gould says, including a lower fee structure than competitors. The company also has been able to leverage its employees well.

“We’ve added only maybe four or five jobs in the last few years while our company has tripled in size,” Gould says.

The company has some 19 employees, flat with a year ago and up from 15 in 2011. Revenue, however, jumped 23.7 percent in 2014 and is projected to grow 18.7 percent in 2015, company officials say.

But as it has grown, Alesco Advisors has not strayed from its principles of service to clients.

“Our company’s focus on service, integrity and value in an industry where those attributes are hard to come by has led to strong organic growth,” says Todd Green, the company’s chief investment officer. “We plan on continuing with our core values and looking to expand within our marketplace, bringing what we think is a better investment offering than competing investors can.”

Gould says he envisions more growth, and the company has in place a long-term strategic plan with specific targets. This expansion will continue to come at a measured rate, he adds.

“What we’re trying to do is grow at a good rate but also one that’s manageable,” Gould says. “We need to be able to maintain that service focus on our clients. We do expect to grow significantly over the next five to 10 years, and we’ve already identified needs in different calendar years with adding to our head count.”

Alesco Advisors LLC
SEC-registered investment adviser
Year founded: 2000
2015 ranking: 69
Top executive: James Gould, president
Current employment: 19
Headquarters: Pittsford

12/18/15 (c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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