Volume 94 No. 2 - February 2023
It’s Two Years Later and Look How We Have Grown!
Although the tools used to provide our investment service evolve and improve over time, the care and diligence with which we do so, remain the same. Two years ago, Investment Counsel merged with LaFleur & Godfrey (“L&G”), a Grand Rapids-based wealth management company with its own proud, decades-long history. This union brought together the best of both worlds, combining two well-respected firms known for their investment acumen, operational expertise, and steadfast commitment to always put clients first.
Today, our unified firm gives us additional resources that benefit you directly. We have increased the depth of our investment, operational and service teams, and are able to provide more comprehensive financial planning when appropriate. We proudly look back on this merger as a pivotal moment in our history, and we are excited to continue growing and evolving as we work towards our goal, as stated in our Mission, of helping our clients realize their financial dreams.
For years, we have embraced a tradition rooted in research, service, and solutions that has served our clients for lifetimes and across generations. That tradition continues today at Investment Counsel, now a division of LaFleur & Godfrey, where our clients continue to value the objective advice, personalized service, and customized portfolios that they have come to expect from our team. It has been nearly two years since we joined forces and want to highlight some of the benefits of our combined firm.
Relationship Management Team: It’s our service team that forms the face of our firm that our clients interact with every time they call or contact us with a question or request. Chris Walker, Todd Fridline, and Aaron Ritsema continue to service clients through diligent portfolio management, research, and client service. Our added resources through LaFleur & Godfrey give us more time to focus on the things that are important to you, our valued clients.
Chris, Todd, and Aaron execute our firm’s time-tested investment strategy that has defined our success for decades: buy, hold, consistently monitor, and rebalance when appropriate. That strategy has served our firm and its clients well for years and through all stages of the business cycle. Our combined team assists this process in many ways, including our Investment Committee and Operations Team.
Investment Committee: Our combined investment committee meets monthly and includes Chris, Todd, Aaron, Dan VanTimmeren, and John Koczara. To our investment committee, Dan brings nearly forty years of financial services experience. Dan currently serves as a Managing Partner and Senior Portfolio Manager. Prior to joining the firm in 2007, Dan served as Chief Investment Officer at Bayside Capital Management and earlier as an investment officer at First Michigan Bank Corporation. Dan also sits on the board of Grace Adventures and the Kent County Hospital Foundation. John Koczara serves as a Managing Partner and Senior Portfolio Manager and has more than thirty years of investment management experience. Before joining LaFleur & Godfrey in 2013, John co-managed two large-cap equity portfolios at a local registered investment advisory firm and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Every month, our investment committee meets to discuss the economy and markets. During every meeting, we review a sector of the market and examine the stocks that the firm holds in that sector. Armed with an analysis of each of those stocks, we consider each company’s recent earnings, and monitor important metrics such as the balance sheet, management execution, and company outlook. This is part of our process of consistent monitoring, to ensure that client portfolios are well positioned for the economic environment we expect in the near-to-medium-term future.
This team of five investment advisors also provides depth of team. Prior to Chris leading Investment Counsel for years, the firm was led by three investment advisors during the second half of the 20th century. This expansion to five advisors is a return to the firm’s roots as an investment company with multiple advisors who bring diverse perspectives and capabilities to the firm.
Operations Team: Since our inception, we have always prioritized client service. Our merger with LaFleur & Godfrey has reaffirmed this commitment and enhanced our ability to meet with clients and answer their questions. Our operations team supports us so we can support you. Led by John Dice, our Chief Operating Officer, our operations team includes Kelli Hoogerland, Kristen Armock, and Kimberly Hauenstein. You may occasionally hear from Kimberly, Kelli, or Kristen regarding client service items.
Kimberly, Senior Client Services and Trading Associate, meticulously prepares the mailings we send to our clients, and assists with other client service and compliance items. Kelli, Head Equity Trader and Assistant Portfolio Manager, has been with LaFleur & Godfrey since 1988, and brings decades of experience and deep understanding of our custodians to our team. Kristen, Senior Operations Associate, is an expert in areas of performance reporting, billing, and more.
Our Focus Remains our Clients
Today, as a combined firm, we can truly concentrate on our three core functions: portfolio management, research, and client service. We are now bolstered by the team behind us that helps with back-office functions such as running the website, compliance, accounts payable, and other realities of business that are mostly invisible, but very much needed for us to effectively serve you.
In a time where many businesses look to automation and AI, we have increased and improved our personalized investment service for our clients. We remain committed to the core tenets that have formed our firm since the beginning and will continue doing what we state in our Vision—establish multi-generational peace-of-mind by delivering proven wealth and investment solutions.
The Investment Letter - Feedback
We are always looking for ways to improve our service and examine how we connect with our clients. This month, we ask for your feedback on our monthly newsletter. We have provided a link to a simple survey below which asks a few questions related to our Investment Letter. All feedback is welcome, and you can submit feedback via the link, email, or a phone call.
Investment Counsel Inc., a Division of LaFleur & Godfrey, is a registered investment adviser. Registration does not imply government endorsement or that the advisor has attained a level of skill or training. Information presented is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered specific investment advice, does not take into consideration your specific situation, and does not intend to make an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any securities or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and are not guaranteed. Be sure to consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. *This newsletter was offered by our predecessor, Investment Counsel, Inc. from 1929 to 2021.