When I arrived at Aldrich (formerly AKT) in the fall of 1994, I was only two years removed from school and still searching for my future within the CPA industry. I pursued a position with the firm after graduation but was originally turned away due to a lack of experience. But the people I met during my initial round of interviews, paired with Aldrich’s reputation, created such a powerful impression that I developed a great desire to have a career here. So, through pure persistence, I eventually convinced them to give me a chance.
While I had some experience in my first job doing taxes and retirement plan administration, at Aldrich I was gaining necessary experience towards my license by working on audits and reviews of businesses. Despite it being interesting work with many great people, it wasn’t providing the passion that I yearned for in my professional services career.
Fortunately, Aldrich was very entrepreneurial and had a history of taking calculated risks on young people with a passion to create. My passion, as it turned out, was in wealth management. My initial interest for this was generated from some early opportunities I was given to work with retirement plans, mostly on the administration side. After getting a taste of the markets and beginning to see how money management worked, I was hooked.
There were a few things happening at Aldrich back in the late 90s that caused us to take a look at getting into the business of wealth management. The first was a strong desire to diversify our lines of business away from the traditional compliance work that drove our practice. Secondly, we had a number of larger clients transitioning their businesses and coming to us for help with the proceeds. These factors, along with the strong passion that one of my colleagues, Doug Davison, and I had for wealth management, led to the beginning of Aldrich Wealth (formerly AKT Wealth Advisors) in May of 1998.
Since we were beginning the business with not much besides a strong passion for what we were doing and many great relationships we had established over the years, it was tough sledding out of the gates. We had many items to address in the early years, including gaining experience, understanding the regulatory environment, creating infrastructure and traversing volatile markets. We also had to convince our clients to put their faith in a wealth management firm that had nothing under management and no prior experience.
With a great love for what we were doing and foundation created by the guiding principles and people of Aldrich, we began the construction of what exists today. Some of the principles we established early on that still exist today were driven by shortcomings of the industry at the time. They included:
- Maintaining an advocacy for our clients by creating independence.
- Delivering services that our clients needed instead of selling them something.
- Creating a strong value proposition with many facets.
- Building strong relationships with our clients by listening and understanding them.
We set an initial vision to manage a billion dollars. This, to us, would define the successful execution of the guiding principles. This goal turned out to be very visionary as, 20 years later, we sit here with $1 billion of assets under management.
While this brief story merely depicts the start of our journey, there have been many notable contributions to our growth over the years. Many great people have improved what we do and how we do it, and hundreds of amazing clients have placed their trust in us. But the passions and principles that ignited our beginning still burn brightly within Aldrich Wealth and are a reminder of our story. The entrepreneurial spirit and love for serving our clients that exist in our people today will drive us to provide more success for our clients and a stronger business in the years to come.
Meet the Author
Scott Barchus, CPA, PFS
K. Scott Barchus joined Aldrich in 1994 and founded Aldrich Wealth and Aldrich Retirement Solutions in 1998. His primary responsibilities include firm management in his role as president of both companies. Scott has a broad array of expertise in both the corporate retirement plan industry and in areas related to working with high-net-worth individuals. Scott…
- Certified Public Accountant
- Personal Financial Specialist
- High-net worth individuals
- Investment management
- Financial planning
- Fiduciary responsibility
- Corporate plan design and administration