Russ King began his career as a trainee for Walston and Company in 1973 and went on to become a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley. After years of careful examination of the financial industry, he found some flaws. He disliked the conflicts of interest he saw all around him. How could a company be in the business of both selling financial products and advising clients on the best investments? Wouldn’t there be a bias toward promoting the products they sell? The hidden marketing fees were another problem.
Thinking he could do better by clients, Russ started White Pine Investment Company in 1997. He reviewed many possible business structures and settled on a Registered Investment Advisor format which has a fiduciary responsibility to act solely in the best interests of its clients. At White Pine, this means that the only method of payment is an investment management fee; there are no incentives for the company to sell products as there are no products to sell. In addition, he instituted a policy that employee portfolios would mirror those of clients’ and have the same fee structure, thereby aligning everyone’s interests.
Names are important, and Russ wanted to choose a memorable one which would represent good business values. Having completed the master gardener program at MSU, he realized that trees are the backbone of almost every landscape. It seemed natural to turn to trees for inspiration. It had to be a tree that could withstand storms and disease, a tree with durability to represent perseverance through the challenges of life. He reasoned that the name should reflect the beauty of the state in which most of his clients live (or have lived)…Michigan. This thinking led him to choose the beautiful Eastern white pine (pinus strobus) for the name, White Pine Investment Company.
The foundation of White Pine is the meaningful relationships Russ shares with his clients. He knows that careful listening and questioning about clients’ specific needs and goals informs his ability to act accordingly on their behalf. This cycle of listening, reflecting, and acting has led to decades-long relationships built on trust. Many of these professional relationships have turned into friendships and dozens of clients have now been working with Russ since well before he established White Pine. They appreciate his integrity, honesty, and wise counsel.
When looking to hire, Russ takes his time, knowing that a good fit is essential. Russ has created a unique atmosphere at White Pine, and he takes care to preserve that environment by finding people who share his beliefs not only about business but about life. In 2010, he met Tony, and after eighteen months of thoughtful conversations, dinners, golf games, and family introductions, he became convinced of their common values and vision for the future of White Pine. From Tony’s perspective, he saw in Russ a man committed to serving his clients instead of selling to them. He saw a company that fostered the highest possible professional standards by creating a work environment centered on the work family Russ created in the office and the personal families they went home to each night. He was all in.
Working together since 2012, Tony and Russ have modernized all aspects of the company with upgraded financial planning software, streamlined trading operations, more robust disaster recovery, and enhanced modeling capabilities. White Pine has thrived as clients benefit from their longstanding, rock solid relationship with Russ and Tony’s technical knowhow and portfolio management skills.
People who are intimidated by financial markets are denied their substantial portfolio-growing power. This is where Will comes in as business development officer. After determining his desire to do well by clients would be best served through the caring, professional relationships evident at White Pine, he joined efforts with Russ and Tony in 2018. Russ, Tony, and Will strive to serve their clients by creating a highly successful, honorable company that bases every decision on clients’ needs.
From knowing where you are when we first meet to figuring out where you would like to go, honest, open, and clear communication is vital to our relationship. Every quarter, a newsletter will update you on our current investing ideas. You will also get a call from us to check in with how things are going on your end. Every 12-18 months, we will do a financial review to ensure that your plan continues to meet your needs. At any time and for any reason, you are welcome to call or come in.
Financial stability is built on a solid plan, but a plan should not be set in stone. Changes in your circumstances or goals might necessitate alterations to your financial plan. We anticipate these natural evolutions of family situations, health, work, and priorities, and adjustments are made as needed. When life’s surprises occur, you will have confidence that the relationship we build together will support and guide you past any obstacles in the road.
It takes time to build a relationship.
With each direct answer, with each follow-through, and with each connection, trust is built.
Most clients begin with a phone call during which we start with the basics. You will ask questions. We will listen and provide straightforward answers. A visit usually follows. We will get to know one another, and you will consider whether we are a good fit for you.
When you’re ready (and perhaps today is the day), please give us call. We look forward to getting to know you and helping you plan for your future.
17199 LAUREL PARK
LIVONIA, MI 48152
T: 734 464 2532
F: 734 464 2838