LETTER FROM THE CEO
Oxford’s 2023 Annual Report is an extra special Annual Report. Of course, the previous 42 years of Annual Reports have been special too, but this one is in a category of ONE!
This Annual Report is a tribute to all of our clients, advisor friends, colleagues and Partners who have exhibited true grit, determination, intentional behavior, focus and knowing when to say “no”—all while working long weekends and executing their vision in a manner that ultimately led to a success that would have never been possible without those attributes. These folks do not know what failure means. Of course, they have had failures from time to time, but they pushed the reset button, got up, dusted off their pants and tried and tried again to conquer—and conquer they did. Further, all of our Oxford friends have also conquered in their own unique situations.
Before becoming the Founder and CEO of Oxford, I was born into an aspiring middle-class family in a small town outside of Indianapolis. My father was disabled and my mother was an Executive Assistant at a local small town bank. Both of them, in their own way, were inspirational to me in my dream and desire to become a success.
During high school, I was that kid who refused to wear jeans to school (like all of my classmates wore) and carried a briefcase to class with a subscription to the Wall Street Journal inside. (Can you say nerd?) Thankfully, through my parents, I became acquainted with and eventually worked for a local Shell Oil Jobber in my community. He taught me pretty much everything I needed to know to become a success! His name was Lloyd L. Taylor and he was passionate, detailed, intentional, tough, focused and very successful. He took me under his wing and helped me understand the value of a six-day workweek…How to measure twice and cut once…How to mow grass in perfectly straight lines…How to proof your work before sending it to the customer…How to write everything down you are going to do at the beginning of each day and every week so as to forget nothing. As a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force during World War II, he knew how to be combat-ready every single morning at 7 a.m. I would not trade the training he gave me for anything!
Upon graduating from the IU MBA program, Lloyd suggested to me that if I cold called all the rich people I knew (which were none) for two to three years, I would be good to go for the rest of my career. Consequently, I called the CEOs from the white pages of the phone book who had paid extra to have their companies “extra blackened for attraction.” Thank goodness, this was before voicemail!
The other four early Partners of the firm had the exact same grit, focus and determination in their commitment to our clients and advisors that I was taught and indoctrinated with early in my education and business career. Mike Sears, Jeff Stroman, Debbi Bennett and Dan Fleck were rock stars. With the five of us working as kind of co-founders of the firm, we developed the brand and strategy that has stood the test of time and made it possible for the organization to become the national and significant wealth management firm for affluent families and institutional clients it is today. It all started in a meaningful way with these five Partners. Of course, just like any growing organization, we did occasionally have differences of opinions, but we got through them and came out the other end much smarter and with an outcome that resulted in something thoughtful for our clients and advisor relationships.
Does the above resonate with you, our friends? The reason we have dedicated this year’s Annual Report to grit, determination and hard work is that we know each of you has had to deal with and conquer many of the same things. Or perhaps it was your parents, or your grandparents or your business partner. Maybe it was your spouse, children, lawyers or bankers. Whoever or whatever, nothing great was ever accomplished without hard work and determination. We know that, and because of that we have the opportunity to work with you—we want you to know this is also the reason Oxford is what it is today!
The same firm culture that existed at the beginning still exists today. It is how our Partners function. It is the open-ended questions at many of our board meetings, Partner meetings and retreats. Questions like, “How can we sharpen our brand and provide the best-of-the-best for our clients and our advisor friends?” It is endless and we want it to continue endlessly!
Thank you for your business. Thank you for your support. We know that each of you, or your families or your organizations, have been there and done that. We get it. In our world, given that our voting shares are in a Delaware Dynasty Trust that perpetuates the ownership of the Partners indefinitely, it is essential that we keep our focus. We remake ourselves every couple of years to ensure that we continue to meet and exceed your desire and expectations—and that we continue to be a world-class firm with Midwestern roots that differentiates itself from its broker and private bank competitors. You get it.
I hope you enjoyed looking back on the history of our legacy. We appreciate you!