Updated: Apr 18
Offering sage advice and experience, the Chief Investment Officer of San Antonio's WCM Wealth Management innovates to help clients plan and strategize for a financially secure future.
April is Financial Literacy Month and a perfect opportunity for people to review how they spend and save and find strategies to improve habits for a brighter financial outlook. Since 1956, a San Antonio family-owned CPA firm, Williams Steinert Mask, works with clients to help them plan and realize their financial goals, garnering a reputation based on its mission of creating a positive impact on the community.
Building Financial Wellness Requires Confidence
It's said experience breeds confidence, and for Compton, offering clients the tools to become confident in their investment strategies is paramount to their success. With a background in business, the Angelo State graduate learned the ins and outs of running successful companies before pivoting to investment management in the 1990s.
"I worked for a family-owned and operated company, ultimately focused in restaurant services," Compton said. "I sold my partnership back to the original family and decided to get into the investment management world and work for Morgan Stanley, learned the business, and then became independent, owning and operating my own investment firm."
In 2011, after working in tandem with Williams Steinert Mask, Compton and the CPA's partners decided to introduce wealth management (now known as WCM Wealth Management) as a division of the firm.
The result? A multifaceted experience for clients looking for strategies to build and sustain financial wellness.
Learning Is Constant and Essential
Education is at the core of Compton's work. The financier stays current on trends through his monthly blog series, "MarketWatch," and clarifies misconceptions younger generations have about the industry.
"Some of the misconceptions from folks, maybe just out of college, is thinking they're coming [into the role] to do a lot of analysis, a lot of individual stock analysis, looking at P&L and predicting growth and revenue…That sort of thing. You don't do a lot of individual core company and stock analyses. There's a whole industry unto itself that have certified analysts, certifications and finance degrees, and so forth. That industry does a pretty good job doing the analysis."
In essence, Compton's advice to recent graduates or those looking to gain experience translates well in any career — be prepared and eager to learn. Though, a client's understanding of the industry is essential as well.
"Clients want [their advisor] to build nice, well-rounded, balanced portfolios and basically manage their risk more...From the client's perspective, I think the biggest misconception would be hoping you have a secret sauce to help them beat the stock market. And the reality is that you see it more in their actions than their words, managing the risk, and managing the expectations is more critical than taking the individual investment."
According to Compton, helping to manage the client's expectations is one reason more colleges and universities are introducing financial planning into the curriculum and creating innovative ways to teach finance fundamentals.
"There are some colleges now, Texas Tech is an example, they have a college of financial planning inside their university. They put that school inside the psychology department, not the business school."
The reason is that financial planning also involves studying the behavioral patterns of clients. At the college level, instructors teach students to manage behaviors and tendencies for smart and consistent financial habits.
"There's a subschool called 'behavioral finance,' and that's where they zero in on the college of financial planning as behavioral finance."
Exploring the Future of Finance
When looking toward the future of money, Compton understands the necessity of a diversified portfolio to attain financial goals realistically.
"I think what it really depends on, to me, it's generational more than anything. There are some baby boomers and older folks getting into the NFTs and crypto, and then there are some millennials, some Gen Z's, and Gen X's that want to be more conservative. But for the most part, you see those new innovative types of thinking in terms of investments."
Compton suggests becoming informed about the products people are interested in before investing.
"There's more information out there, but there's also a psychology. [Some clients] don't weigh the downside, as heavily as they look at the potential upside. In the investing world, for those of us who have been around for a long time, you're always looking at the downside. You start with the risk before you look at the potential gain."
The value of new products allows new ways of evaluating investment strategies.
"Nowadays, because you have all of these other more tactical investments, and people want to see those things in their portfolios, it's caused folks like me to be more creative and design a portfolio that is very purposeful about what we put in, rather than owning three or four things that represent that 60/40 portfolio."
Instead, Compton finds ways to incorporate new and innovative products.
"We may own 12 or 13, or 14 different things inside of a portfolio, and three or four will be tactical. It may be an ETF that tracks Bitcoin, or an ETF that tracks ESG investing, or 5g network investing, or something like that. So, most advisors that I've talked to, that are friends of mine, have built-in a budget for tactical investing inside of their traditional portfolios."