What Makes GK Different?
By Hatem Dhiab
We are often asked: what makes Gerber Kawasaki different?
Diversity, community, and integrity are the bedrock of our firm. These values, and our grit to excel, help answer that quintessential question. In fact, our unique and differentiated culture is the demonstration of those values after years of building the proper processes and roadmap to deliver and advance our mission.
I’ll start with how GK came to be. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, it was evident that the biggest brokerage firms never had their clients’ best interest at heart. The financial crisis gave pause to conventional thinking. As these large firms tarnished their reputation, an opportunity was created for new firms with fresh ideas. Clients deserve modern, unbiased, independent financial advice aligned with their goals and tolerance for risk. A firm where clients' values will match their investments. A new paradigm for wealth and investment management was needed; and Gerber Kawasaki was created to fill that void.
Born in Los Angeles, we wanted to build a firm that reflected the community we serve. Diversity has been woven to our fabric since the first day. Collectively we speak more than eight languages and are represented by as many nationalities while serving many more diverse clients across the country and the globe. Our diversity helps us see and think differently, interact, and communicate more effectively, and just as importantly, get broader insights into global and diverse themes.
As a private company with a singular focus on investment and wealth management, we are committed to intimately understanding our clients and their goals so we can design a personalized strategy that can help turn their desires into reality. We build deep and lasting connections by working to learn more about their ambitions and aspirations. We think holistically about all of their goals and collaborate with their team of accountants, lawyers, and various advisers. Our mission is to simplify their life while helping to maximize and optimize their financial resources and more importantly, their time. We aim for excellence in all levels of service and strive to be trusted, long-term partners. At the core, everything we do is for the benefit of our clients.
In order to help bring the best solutions and strategic thinking, we have made constant learning and continuous improvement pillars at GK. We have achieved the highest levels of education and industry certifications across the firm and allied ourselves with the most successful companies in our industry to complement our capabilities whenever a competency is unavailable in-house. Internally, our team has built a specific and deep knowledge of the different investment themes we follow, helping us stay current and allowing us to spot opportunities from afar.
In investment management, Our Index + Alpha process is based on actively selecting sectors and companies that can thrive regardless of where we are in the economic cycle. We have demonstrated and believe that we can add material value to our clients over the long term by being tactical and strategic on what to own and when to own it. We know that successful active management is not easy and that many, perhaps even the majority, will fail. But that does not mean that the challenge is futile; merely that it is difficult.
Our experience, together with that of other similar firms and partners, suggests that the keys to success are continuous focus on process, rigorous research, and discipline through cycles underpinned by the independence of thought and a long-term perspective. On a weekly basis, we review and assess our thinking and positioning, always digesting new information and when appropriate, making the required adjustments. Small tweaks along the way then lead to better outcomes long- term.
Our equity investment process is founded on the ownership of growing and sustainable businesses. We want to invest in the future and find the best growth opportunities while ignoring the short term pressures of the stock market. Whether owning Tesla, Nvidia or Netflix, we want to champion and invest in the brands and entrepreneurs that are shaping the future and building the industries that are pushing the boundaries of innovation and human ingenuity. We are lucky to interact daily with some of the smartest entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the world, some of whom are our clients.
Thoughtfulness, cooperation, and a focus on quality rather than quantity are the hallmarks of our research process which focuses on future disruptors. Active management requires a willingness to take a differentiated view of companies and construct portfolios that reflect those values.
Furthermore, in a constantly changing and complex world, with challenges ranging from global warming to social injustice, we want to make a difference. So do our clients. Deploying capital thoughtfully and responsibly is a powerful mechanism for change. That’s why we seek out companies whose products and services are part of the solution to these global challenges. In fact, great companies almost always have higher standards in environmental, social, and governance issues, as they seek to have a positive impact. We’re happy to say that most of the leaders we invest in are driven by a mission to not only deliver great products and services - but also to make money. They believe, as we do, that strong social values are not incompatible with success.
Our ongoing commitment to high standards is only possible with robust leadership, independence, and a truly collaborative environment that draws strength from a diversity of opinions. While the rest of our industry continues to suffer from egregious conflicts, debilitating group think, and frankly, mediocrity. We have set a new path forward that proves our guiding thesis: when clients win, we all win.
Thanks for your trust and belief. It’s what keeps us going.
Hatem Dhiab is a Financial Advisor of Santa Monica, Calif-based Gerber Kawasaki Inc., an SEC-registered investment firm with approximately $1.3 billion in assets under management as of 06/30/20. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. Readers shouldn't buy any investment without doing their research to determine if the investments are suitable for their situation. “All investments involve risk and one should consult a financial advisor before making any investments. Past performance is not indicative of future results.”