Summit Financial, a prominent financial services firm for top independent and breakaway advisors, has partnered with Seeds, a new ESG-investment platform that allows financial advisors to assess the personal values of clients and automatically design tailored sustainable investment solutions that align those values with financial goals. Summit has supported the development of Seeds, which became available to Summit advisors as the platform’s exclusive first users as of July 15, 2020.
The partnership comes as ESG investing steadily gains popularity and investor dollars. Research from Harvard University found nearly three-quarters of retail and institutional investors dedicated a portion of their portfolios to companies with ESG principles in 2019, up from 48% in 2017. Seeds Chief Executive Officer Zach Conway began building the platform, with the backing of Summit’s executive team, after searching for viable ESG investment solutions for his wealth management clients and found most existing offerings failed to provide a comprehensive resource for advisors.
"In order to be successful in today’s environment, advisors need technology-enabled tools and resources that allow them to deliver customized solutions for clients," said Stan Gregor, Chief Executive Officer at Summit Financial and an early champion of Seeds’ development. "Summit’s mission is to empower advisor growth, and the launch of Seeds is a natural extension of this philosophy."
Gregor believes Seeds’ inclusion in Summit’s broader SummitVantage offering to advisors will continue to position the firm as a cutting-edge thought leader. "As ESG demand continues to rise, Seeds will stand apart by delivering truly customized ESG portfolios that disrupt many of the current ‘greenwashed’ solutions," said Gregor. "All while improving the overall experience between advisors and clients."
Conway, who also serves as Managing Director of Conway Wealth Group, which has been on the Summit platform for over three decades, believes a full-service investment and technology platform best supports advisors in creating a unique client experience around values-based investing. The Seeds platform combines a predefined methodology analyzing thousands of publicly-traded companies based on environmental, social and governance risk factors with a proprietary qualitative layer that defines the client’s end position, along with continual active management. The Seeds team is led by several industry veterans including Kristen O’Grady, who serves as Chief Operating Officer, Randy Haase, who serves as Chief Investment Officer, and Michael Conway, co-founder and Chairman.
"Advisors to this point have not felt equipped to really engage in conversations around personal values, and yet clients increasingly demand values-aligned portfolios," said Conway. "Seeds is a scalable solution for advisors that facilitates a proactive discussion on ESG investing, walks clients through a defined process to uncover how they prioritize personal values, then analyzes the current portfolio to see whether or not the investment allocation aligns with those stated values. We are excited to launch with Summit and to support the firm in bringing this solution to their advisors and clients."
Joe Spada, CFP®, has been a leading Private Wealth Advisor at Summit Financial for more than 35 years. "My goal as an advisor is to provide the best possible advice and experience to clients. In having leading-edge tools like Seeds, along with everything else we can offer through Summit, I know I’m fully equipped to deliver. As a firm and as advisors, we’re focused on staying ahead of the curve. The time is right for Seeds."
The partnership with Seeds comes as Summit approaches the second anniversary of its partnership with Merchant Investment Management, announced in August 2018. In the last year, Summit has grown its presence in the financial services industry, appointing several new team members in key financial planning, tax and insurance specialties to support its growing network of advisors across the country. Advisors interested in aligning with Summit should visit www.SummitFinancial.com.
View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200806005594/en/