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Investment policy embraces client-advisor relationship

Two men smiling for a photo

"I was miserable just calling an 800 service." That's what corporate real estate advisor Bob Cooper said of his former charitable fund administrator.

The administrator was the same national financial services firm that managed his donor-advised fund. It was located hundreds of miles away from Akron, far away from the community and nonprofits Bob loved.  

Bob was eager to bring both his financial and charitable investing back to Akron, so he took advantage of a new community foundation policy that offers individuals and companies the opportunity to use their existing investment advisor to manage the assets of large donor-directed funds.

Dale Koblenzer, wealth management advisor in Merrill Lynch's Akron office, is one of Bob's advisors. He also oversees the investments of the Robert and Regina Cooper Fund, which the couple established in November 2011. 

According to Dale, the new policy speaks to the core of the client-advisor relationship and offers an attractive option for many of his clients.

"Many times I'll have a 20- or 30-year relationship with a client, and we will have a strong trust built between us," he said. "Working with the community foundation keeps that relationship alive. It's a nice triangle of services: the client's money, my investment advisement, and the foundation's charitable expertise."

Steve Schloenbach, Akron Community Foundation's vice president and chief financial officer, said that sentiment is what initiated the policy.

"We've heard many people say they wouldn't be able to be as charitable if it weren't for their longtime family financial advisor, who helped them manage their wealth. This policy enables them to continue working with that trusted advisor. It's another example of how Akron Community Foundation is listening to the needs of the charitable people we serve," he said. 

It also gives fundholders like Bob and Regina the opportunity to experience the fruits of their generosity firsthand. 

"We live in a results-driven society," Dale said. "So if my client can see the effects of his investment – see it, visit it and touch it – that creates a much stronger connection."

Bob couldn't agree more. 

"I'm thrilled to have our money working in the community where it belongs," he said. "Local management appreciates my business and looks out for me. All things being equal, it's hard to believe anyone would want to do it differently."

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