WHAT WE DO:
“Bahl & Gaynor is a private investment firm and our goal is to always be private, never public. We are one hundred percent employee-owned; all of the portfolio managers and investment professionals who work here, own the company, and we find that this employee ownership is the best value for our clients. It is a hard thing to maintain with the transitions a firm faces as people age and retire, but we’ve put some things in place to ensure that we remain employee-owned and can continue to provide that best client experience. We’re a portfolio management company with a niche in the industry – we invest in dividend-paying and growing stocks. Some companies try to offer all types of products and services, but we feel that our strategy of doing one thing and doing it well works for all our clients, whether an institution or a private client, our slow and steady strategy wins the race in the long run. We are one of the top players in town and in the country; we have clients in all fifty states, but we are headquartered in Cincinnati.
Bahl & Gaynor has a big outsourcing model. Even though we’re a small company, we are regulated by the SEC, which mandates that we must do all the same things the bigger investment companies do; follow all the same guidelines, facilitate all the same security procedures and standards. So we have a lot of technologies in place, more servers and more applications than people in fact. One of my goals is to use technology to create efficiencies in order to not hire more people. We have been able to grow our assets under management and have not had to add people, and we have relied heavily on technology to help us do this. Industry-wide the trend I see is many more businesses going toward outsourcing; getting rid of IT departments, or IT departments using IT vendors. There is no less IT in business, in fact there is more and more reliance on IT and technology, but that reliance is going to the vendors, not internal IT departments.”
Do you see any trade-off between innovation and standardization? Can you give me an example?
“I don’t see standardization as an inhibitor of our innovation here. As a fairly small and nimble company, we are able to innovate and standardize at the same time. We use a lot of technology to facilitate that standardization. One example is the fact that we have completely virtualized all of our desktops, storage and servers - an innovation that has helped with many things like remote access and security. And through this virtualization, everything has been standardized; computers, desktops, operating systems and software, and it’s all pushed out to everyone through virtualization. When I find a product that I want to use because it will help us innovate from an investment standpoint, it’s fairly easy to implement because I don’t have a lot of bureaucracy layers to work through. I can see how standardization could be an issue for some businesses, and seem contradictory to innovating, but for us it hasn’t been an issue.”