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RCM: The Next Generation

Let’s be honest for a moment—there is a general mistrust when it comes to money managers. The Bernie Madoffs of the world kind of ruined it for the good guys. Movies like Wall Street and the Enron scandal certainly didn’t help create a positive image of investors, either. Take those perceptions and pair them with what we know—or think we know—about Corporate America and we’re left with a bad taste in our mouths.

Now imagine a place where none of that applies—a place for skilled and experienced professionals with a real passion for their jobs. If you think it doesn’t exist, or that those people don’t exist, think again. RCM Asset Management is such a place, and they make sure to hire only such people.

We talked to three of those passionate, experienced people:

Marc Grens, the Executive Director of Business Strategy for RCM’s Financial Services department.

Mike Cavanaugh, who describes himself as the “HR guy” who’s always making sure his employees are happy and productive. He also heads up RCM Cares, a social and community outreach program.

Sara Baris, an attorney in charge of Business Solutions, heads aspects like corporate benefits, 401K’s, and provides financial, legal, and organizational consulting.

Although they’re in charge of different departments so their duties are different, one thing is very clear; although we interviewed them separately, their answers, and their feelings, aligned.

What was the inspiration behind RCM?

MG: RCM is made up of a group of individuals who have become extremely wise over the years in how things should and should not be done. Many of us have worked at large corporate firms and been burned by them, so we all sort of came together to form a group of ethical people who value trust and transparency.

I’ve worked at eight firms in the past twelve years so I know all the inner workings of Corporate America. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur rather than a warm body that spoke when spoken to. In my time on the other side, I’ve pissed off a lot of stodgy businessmen because I wasn’t a “yes man” and I didn’t have a filter, and I refused to be a corporate zombie. People are fed up with the traditional shiny shoes, perfect haircut, clean shaved “bankers model,” and I wanted a company that refused to hire drones; I wanted a company where inspiring people worked and inspired clients came.

MC: I was a floor trader at the Chicago Board of Trade for about five years. After I left, I learned the ropes of “off the floor” trading at a small online future startup. In 2006 I made the change from futures to equities and assisted with the building of BrokersXpress, which was eventually bought by Charles Schwab.

One day we got a 90-day eviction notice from them with no prior warning, no mention that this might be coming, nothing. After that I started Know Your Options, Inc. and merged with RCM so our clients could get the whole picture: futures, equities, corporate benefits, 401K’s, the works.

What makes RCM different than any other company of its kind?

SB: I started at RCM as a law clerk and when I graduated I stayed on and worked up to the wealth management division and then I took on a more operational and consulting role at Business Solutions.

We work as a concierge service in a lot of ways—we come in as a team and help our clients wherever they’re struggling, whether they need help optimizing their revenue streams, drafting comprehensive business plans, or sorting out their legal paperwork.

Trust is the most important part of the client relationship; we come in and work from our clients’ offices and we create a personal experience. I don’t agree with people who say “it’s not personal; it’s business.” This is their money, their company—it’s personal to them, and we understand that.

The people I work with love it, they’re passionate, and they’re dedicated. It’s a rare thing to see in our field, but it’s what the company was founded on, and RCM has stuck to its roots.

MC: Whenever people ask me to describe RCM I always say it’s the next generation of financial services. We don’t align our goals with ourselves; we align our goals with our clients. That’s a major reason we’re a private company. We don’t want to answer to stockholders; we don’t want to report to anybody. We want to have long-term relationships with our clients, and we actually do what the other guys say they’ll do.

MG: In-house transparency is the key to our success. We keep our employees happy, we make sure they want to stay and we make sure that we’re running our ship effectively as we continue to grow. The workplace environment is not predatory and we do not compete with each other. We bring in creative people who specialize and excel in different departments to make ours a well-rounded business.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

SB: Being able to tell the future. That would be very helpful.

MC: The ability to make up new superpowers, and to create planets and alternate universes.

MG: I would say I’d want to have unlimited superpowers, but that’s cheating, so I would say the ability to fly. I literally dream about flying on a consistent basis.

What’s next for RCM?

SB: Growth. We’ve been in a flux while we were getting everything in place, and now we’re beginning to see a growth in numbers, and our goal is to use that growth to drive our business.

MC: We’re continuing to grow while we manage our clientele and employees. We just opened up futures offices in Miami and Louisville so that’s kept us busy. We’re always looking for new opportunities. We don’t say no. If somebody wants to meet with us we’ll make sure to sit down and have a conversation with them, and we want to make sure people know how available we are to them.

MG: We’re growing our name as the next generation business model, and we’re building a reputation for outperforming our competition on every level. I want us to be globally known with offices in every major city.

Describe RCM in one word.

SB: Evolving

MC: Helpful

MG: Resilient

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