We are investment managers with a studied, straightforward approach to building lasting wealth. Our process relies on proprietary research, independent analysis, and knowledge of each client’s goals. We openly share and debate our thinking to provide absolute clarity about how and where we invest.
ABOUT HOW AND
WHERE YOUR MONEY
focus on select
James E. Breece
Stacey M. James
Alina M. Carlson
Robert P. Morgenthau
Paul F. Pfeiffer
John V. Raggio
Robert M. Raich
William G. Spears
Frank A. Weil
We are a highly motivated team of investment professionals conducting proprietary fundamental analysis of individual securities. When selecting investments, we seek to own dynamic businesses with leading and defensible market positions. Our intensive research process seeks securities with positively skewed, asymmetric expected return profiles. Simply put, the absolute expected upside in a more likely “base case” is greater than the absolute expected downside in a less likely “reasonable worst case.”
When constructing portfolios we are not compelled to mirror index style or sector guidelines and our investment universe is not limited by restrictions on market capitalization, geographic domicile or qualifiers like value or growth. Unconstrained portfolios retain the flexibility to adjust to a changing investment landscape.
We believe it is our responsibility to make you comfortable with how your investments are handled.
As a Spears Abacus client, you work directly with the people who manage your portfolio. We give you a clear understanding of how and why we make decisions. Because your money is held by an outside custodian in highly liquid assets, you may access it at any time, for any reason, without prior notification to us. There are no holding periods, gates or restrictions.
Our principals have served individuals and families with substantial wealth for generations. Through experience, we understand how market sentiment and economic conditions shift over time, influencing each client’s timeframe, generational planning goals, and tax profile. Understanding these interactions is an integral part of our process, allowing us to build portfolios that retain the flexibility to adapt to change.
Good, long-term relationships are earned, and we work hard to earn them. At Spears Abacus, you interact directly with our operating principals—the people who own and run the firm. Because we serve a select group of individual and institutional clients, we’re able to provide each with a high level of attention, customization, and personal knowledge.
Chairman and co-founder of Spears Abacus, Bill is a portfolio manager and chairs our firm’s Investment Committee. He has long experience serving as trusted advisor to clients and managing portfolios over multiple market cycles. Bill facilitates the collegial exchange of ideas and effective execution of our investment process.
Bill began his career at Loeb, Rhoades & Company in 1962 and was named a General Partner in 1970. In 1972, Bill founded Spears, Benzak, Salomon & Farrell. After SBSF was purchased by KeyCorp, Bill became Chairman of KeyCorp Asset Management. In 1999, Bill founded Spears, Grisanti & Brown.
Bill received a BA degree from Princeton University in 1960, a MBA from Harvard Business School in 1962 and is a CFA charterholder.
Frank co-founded Spears Abacus in 2007. Frank’s career in investment management, investment banking, law, and government gives us a broad and rare perspective that shapes our investment strategy and helps maintain our network of contacts throughout the private and public sectors.
Frank is Chairman and CEO of Abacus & Associates Inc. He began his career at Loeb, Rhoades in 1962 where he was named General Partner in 1963. Frank joined Paine Webber in 1972 to serve as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. Frank began public service as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for International Trade in 1977. From 1979 to 1983, he was Senior Partner at the law firms of Ginsburg, Feldman, Weil and Bress and Wald, Harkrader and Ross.
Frank received a BA degree from Harvard College in 1953 and a JD from Harvard Law School in 1956.
Rob co-founded Spears Abacus in 2007, and continues as President and Chief Investment Officer of Abacus and Associates, Inc. He serves as our President and functions as a portfolio manager, analyst and client advisor. In addition to portfolio management, he has extensive experience in tax strategy, corporate finance, trust and estate administration, and financial planning.
Rob began his career at Price Waterhouse LLP, where he served on audit teams for a number of Fortune 500 corporations. He continued his practice in accounting as a Principal at Raich, Ende, Malter LLP from 1998-2000. Rob joined Abacus & Associates Inc. in 2001 and was named President and Chief Investment Officer in 2002.
Rob received a BS in Accountancy from Arizona State University in 1992 and a MBA from Columbia Business School in 1998.
Paul joined Spears Abacus as a Principal, portfolio manager and equity analyst in 2009. He has spent his entire career in the investment management business and has managed client portfolios since 1977. Paul’s long experience and growth-oriented perspective add depth to our team.
Paul began his career in 1972 as an analyst in the Investment Services Department of Goldman Sachs & Company. In 1977, the business was reorganized as an affiliate of Goldman Sachs called McCowan Associates. Paul was promoted to Partner and subsequently worked for the new entity as a portfolio manager and analyst for over 20 years. In 2002, after four years as a Partner with Eagle Growth Investors, Paul joined MB Investment Partners as lead manager of the firm’s Growth Equity Strategy.
Paul received a BA degree from the University of Washington in 1972 and a MBA from New York University Stern School of Business in 1975.
Steve joined Spears Abacus in 2009 as a Principal, leading our business development and client services effort. He also serves on our Investment Committee. Formerly the senior partner of a multi-generation family business, Steve brings peer experience to our client services practice. His career has focused on public equity markets since 1991.
Steve began his career as a corporate finance Associate at Kidder Peabody in 1987. In 1989, he became a General Partner at Jacobson Partners, a New York private equity firm. In 1991, Steve joined Walter N. Frank & Co., his family’s New York Stock Exchange specialist business and was elevated to co-Managing Partner in 1995. In 2002, Spear Leeds & Kellogg Specialists (a division of Goldman Sachs) acquired Walter N. Frank & Co. Steve was subsequently promoted to Vice Chairman and appointed Floor Governor of the NYSE.
Steve received a BA degree from Duke University in 1985, and a MBA from Columbia Business School in 1987.
Jeb is an original member of the Spears Abacus team and a Principal in the firm. He is a portfolio manager, equity analyst and a member of our Investment Committee. While Jeb’s primary focus is organizing our equity research efforts he is also a significant contributor to our corporate credit research. He became a CFA charterholder in 2009.
Jeb received a BA from Kenyon College in 2004.
Michele Cleary joined Spears Abacus in 2013. She is a Principal and Director of Operations and Administration. Her primary role is to focus on our operations and client service function. She manages our trade, settlement and compliance operations. Michele began her career at Ark Asset Management. She worked in various roles there, and was the Director of Client Administration prior to her departure in 2009. Michele joined Lazard Wealth Management in 2009 as the Director of Operations where she was responsible for building and managing all operational aspects of the start-up wealth management business.
Michele received a BA from Rutgers University in 1983.
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Having joined Spears Abacus in 2009 as an equity trader, Stacey is a key member of our operations team and is responsible for executing portfolio trades. Stacey also assists in the research efforts by preparing twice daily macroeconomic news and research updates for our portfolio holdings and monitored securities.
Stacey began her career as an Institutional Equity Assistant at Bear Stearns in 2000 and was promoted to a trading position on the Special Equity Transactions Desk in 2003. Stacey moved to the Reserve Funds in 2004 as a Money Market trader prior to joining Security Asset Management as the firm’s sole trader in 2005. At SAM, Stacey was responsible for all trading in large-cap equities and fixed income for the firm’s institutional and individual clients.
Stacey received a BA from SUNY Oneonta in 2000.
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Marge joined Spears Abacus in 2007. She is a Principal and Chief Financial Officer. Her primary role is ensuring clients continue to experience the competent administrative service they have come to expect from us. Marge and her staff fulfill requests for transfers, reports, and information with care and diligence.
Starting with Spears, Benzak, Salomon and Farrell in 1986, Marge has dedicated her career to investment management finance and administration.
Marge received a BA and a MBA from the University of Connecticut in 1982 and 1991, respectively.
John joined Spears Abacus in 2008 as a bond analyst and portfolio manager. He is a Principal in the firm. John’s credit background and perspective add value to the firm’s investment capability in stocks as well as bonds.
Prior to joining Spears Abacus, John was a Portfolio Associate at BNY Mellon starting in 2006.
John received a BA from the University of Richmond in 2006 and a Certificate in Investment Banking from New York University in 2008. He became a CFA charterholder in 2013.
Bob joined Spears Abacus as a Principal in 2011. His wide-ranging responsibilities include portfolio management, client advisory services, and business development. Bob is a member of the Investment Committee.
Bob started his investment career as a portfolio manager at Shearson/American Express in 1982 and moved to Lazard Freres & Co. in 1990 in the same capacity. He was named partner in 1993 and became global head of distribution of Lazard Asset Management. After a brief stint as President of Private Advisory Services at Bank of America, Bob founded NorthRoad Capital Management, an international and global equity manager, which he sold to Madison Investment Advisors at the end of 2010.
Bob received a BA from Amherst College in 1979.
Alina joined Spears Abacus in 2016 as a Marketing Associate. Her role includes implementing new financial planning tools, tracking client data and client reporting.
Alina was previously a Client Administration Associate at The Permal Group, now EnTrustPermal, beginning in 2011. She coordinated the onboarding and maintenance of funds and direct client accounts across the firm.
Alina received a BA from St. Lawrence University in 2011.
Spears Abacus Advisors LLC (SA) prepares a quarterly letter that SA sends to its clients along with an individual summary of each client’s account. Each letter includes a discussion of economic and market conditions along with a summary of how such conditions are affecting SA’s management of its portfolio. Visitors to SA’s website are welcome to browse through the archive of past quarterly letters posted on the SA website. However, please note that these letters are prepared for review by SA clients who are familiar with SA’s overall investment portfolio. Accordingly, these letters should not be relied upon as investment advice. Any mention of particular stocks or companies does not constitute and should not be considered an investment recommendation by SA. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Current performance may be higher or lower. Any forward-looking statement in an SA client letter is inherently uncertain and cannot be relied upon as a statement of actual performance. If you would like to learn more about SA and its investment program, please Contact Us.
In 1901, Aaron Norman sold his one-third interest in Sears Roebuck & Co. Thereafter, Norman invested his assets to both preserve and increase his wealth for his descendants. Five generations later, Norman’s family continues this task through a single family office, now named Abacus & Associates.
In 2007, Abacus and their longtime adviser, Bill Spears, founded Spears Abacus to offer their services to a wider pool of clients. Their shared vision for Spears Abacus was to offer high net worth and select institutional clients a unique advisory experience—one characterized by sophisticated research and direct relationships with the owners and operators of the firm.
Spears Abacus Advisors LLC
147 East 48th Street
New York, NY, 10017
For more information, contact:
…investing in dynamic businesses with leading and defensible market positions
…making investment decisions based on proprietary fundamental analysis
…focusing on opportunities that we believe will offer favorable asymmetric return profiles over a three year time period and which possess catalysts to unlock value
…separating investment analysis from current market consensus
…constructing a focused portfolio of 25 – 30 holdings that represent a spectrum of risk
…remaining in cash when better opportunities do not exist
…the best way for individuals to invest in fixed income is through separately managed accounts, not bond funds
…fixed income risk is the sum of all risk—not simply credit or interest rate risk
…shifting between fixed income strategies when the market provides opportunities is a better approach than a static allocation
~ Invest opportunistically in fixed income and hybrid securities
~ Focus on investments that we believe offer potential for equity type returns
~ Invest in state specific tax-exempt bonds of high quality municipalities to enhance income and dampen volatility
~ Invest in the senior debt of large, high credit rated corporate issuers
~ Invest in U.S. Government securities of various maturities
~ Offers maximum liquidity
By allocating funds to a combination of the strategies that we offer, an investor is able to take a balanced approach in order to meet his or her risk tolerance and financial needs.
We work with our clients by discussing investment objectives and risks in order to come up with allocations well suited to them.
In our experience, a tolerance for volatility and a long term orientation maximize investment returns. However, short term spending needs and risk parameters often conflict with long term aspirations.
Total return portfolios balance the long term dynamic return patterns of equity ownership with the low volatility income properties of static yield investments such as bonds. Hybrid securities such as high yield bonds, convertible securities, preferred stocks, MLPs and REITs are also used to capture exposure to both growth and yield.
We tailor the allocation of assets between dynamic and static return investments for each client. Asset mix is based on the individual client’s needs for income and liquidity, tolerances for risk and volatility, and specific tax situation.