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Investment firm cracks Nelson

Medley & Brown one of ‘World’s Best Money Managers’

RIDGELAND — This is not the first time Medley & Brown Financial Advisors has made the top 20 list of the World’s Best Money Managers and it likely will not be the last, concluded Cecil Brown, one of the firm’s principals.

The investment counseling firm which offers advisory and asset management services to individuals, families, small businesses, foundations and retirement plans, has appeared in the Nelson’s Investment Management Network top 20 International Balance Portfolio category for last quarter, last year and the last three years.

All investment managers who participate in the Nelson Investment Manager Database and whose performance meets Nelson’s minimum criteria are eligible to participate in the network. Every quarter, the database collects performance data from more than 1,500 investment managers and more than 4,500 portfolios. Nelson Information, a division of Thomson Financial, has been providing information and software to the global institutional investment market for over two years.

And though Medley & Brown frequently makes the top 20 list, that is by no means their goal.

“Our clients want consistent above average performance and that’s what we try to give them,” Brown said.

Medley & Brown manage about $130 million total and when they report to Nelson’s Investment Management Network they have to send all their portfolios; they aren’t allowed to simply pick and choose those what have done the best.

But just because their goal ultimately is to serve their clients, not to crack the top 20, doesn’t mean that they’re not proud.

“It’s nice to know that you’re doing a good job,” Brown said.

For the last 10 or 12 years Medley & Brown has been reporting to Nelson’s Investment Management Network on the Association for Investment Management and Research’s standards. Brown said performing well among the nation’s best money managers is just a confirmation to the firm that they are doing a good job for their clients.

“We’re not in competition with anyone,” he said. “We’re just trying to do a good job for our clients that is above average in the long-term.”

Tim C. Medley, who is responsible for setting and implementing the financial and investment policy for their clients, started the firm in 1981. He soon changed his method of doing business, though, making Medley & Brown a fee-only money manager.

“We don’t have a bias toward any of our clients,” Brown said. “He (Medley) changed his way of doing business and developed the idea of using no-load mutual funds to access bonds and international equities. Then he decided he was going to find the best mutual funds in the country.”

Today every one of the firm’s principals know the fund managers of everyone they deal with, something Brown says is very helpful. “If we have questions we can pick up the phone and ask,” he said.

Most of Medley & Brown’s clients are high-networth people or those who want to be high networth, and are saving for retirement, and looking for a money manager who is not tied to a particular group of mutual funds.

“We are not risk takers,” Brown explained. “Our clients are long-term investors. We buy a group of mutual funds and never sell one.”

Of course, that does not always happen, but all their clients are long-term investors.

“We look at our clients as friends and do our best to try to find an above-average rate of return,” he said. “We’re shooting for the long-term, not trying to hit home runs but trying to hit a lot of singles.”

It’s likely that their new clients reciprocate that feeling of friendship, considering other clients referred most of them to the firm.

The philosophy of Medley & Brown is simple: over a long period of time, professional money managers will do a better job of investing money than will individuals whose expertise is in other areas. For that reason, they select top money managers with proven records in their mutual funds and then match them with clients based on investment objectives.

Investment assets may be divided among cash and cash equivalents, corporate, government and mutual bonds, international stocks and U.S. common stocks. Assets may be reallocated at periodic intervals among asset classes to maintain appropriate percentages.

Principals in the firm include Securities and Exchange Commission registered investment advisor Medley, CPA and former State of Mississippi chief fiscal officer Brown and former Atlanta Falcons vice president and CFO Kevin Anthony.

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.

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