Graeme Campbell: Delivering Tailored Wealth Management Solutions

Women in Wealth Management

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In modern society, money has become the most common means of measuring wealth. Originally though, wealth was anything of value to a person from livestock to land. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, measured wealth based on wheat. Herding cultures used sheep, horses, or cattle as their measures of wealth.

Today, wealth has come far from horses and cattle, with people spending their entire lives working and slogging in order to accumulate resources to lead a comfortable and secure life. As humans have evolved, so have our needs. We all strive for more. We want bigger houses and faster and more efficient cars and nicer vacations and experiences to name a few. The fact is that accumulating wealth is a very important priority in most people’s lives in the United States.

This raises a next set of questions. How does one accumulate wealth? Once accumulated, how do we ensure that it is being developed purposefully and not just sitting around or going towards taxes? With the scores of investment avenues out there today, which ones are most appropriate? Fortunately, New York-based Barrett Asset Management has been helping people answer these questions and achieve their financial goals since 1937.

Going into its 85th year in wealth and investment management, Barrett focuses on the preservation and growth of wealth for individuals, families, trusts, and non-profit institutions. M. L. Graeme Campbell, CFP®, MBA, Executive Partner and Managing Director at Barrett states, “Currently, we manage approximately $2.5 Billion in assets for our clients. We focus on the growth and preservation of wealth, and we have been putting our clients first—working to help each of them achieve their goals and aspirations.”

“The next generation of leadership at Barrett, which crosses over at least 3 and 4 generations of clients, brings a collaborative and inclusive style of management. Maximizing the strengths of the team has been paramount.”

Client-centric Approach

Back in the 1930s, the firm’s founder, C. Redington Barrett, recognized that no one investment strategy worked for all investors. He also believed that building long-term client relationships were going to be his biggest asset. Thus, he sought to create a firm dedicated to understanding and meeting clients’ individual investment needs, implementing a vision that is followed to this day.

Guided by Barrett’s motto—Independent Thinking. Tailored Solutions—since the very beginning, Barrett Asset Management has been committed to the delivery of extraordinary client experiences, “Which has been a hallmark of our firm since its founding and remains an endearing value that we honor with each client interaction,” says Campbell. A multi-generational firm serving multi-generational wealth, Barrett draws its success from a disciplined process of client-centric service, investment research, analysis, and strategy.

“We work to understand and appreciate the complexity each client faces at the intersection of their wealth and the many other important facets of their lives.” Each investment portfolio is created based on the client’s distinct objectives for their income and growth goals. Working closely with each client, this team of finance professionals designs a detailed strategic overview of the client’s overall situation and their objectives to blueprint the wealth management roadmap for them.

Multi-disciplined Squad

“Our clients rely on us for our expertise and objectivity and value us to be their advocate in an ever-changing wealth and investment landscape.” Addressing every need and concern, at the core, a team of highly experienced portfolio managers, client servicing specialists and wealth management professionals work as a unit to bring tailored solutions to each client.

Working in close collaboration with each other, the Barrett team works to gain a thorough understanding of their clients’ expectations and objectives. The tenure of this multi-disciplined teamwork also brings decades of institutional knowledge internally, and continuity externally. Per Campbell, “The next generation of leadership at Barrett, which crosses over at least 3 and 4 generations of clients, brings a collaborative and inclusive style of management. Maximizing the strengths of the team has been paramount.”

Each employee of the firm has a common purpose that binds them to the organization, and each other. “Yes, we each have our life experiences and challenges—but we bring our full selves to our work and the relationships we serve.  All of us here are pursuing our passion, which is the consistent delivery of an exceptional client experience. This is something we define as elevating the success of those we are privileged to serve; however, our clients may define that success themselves,” says Campbell.

Graeme’s Story

Graeme has been an investment and wealth management professional for more than 20 years. She joined Barrett in 2017, before which she was Senior Vice President and Director of Wealth Management at Inverness Counsel. “Barrett, its leadership, team, clients, and culture all resonated with me—fit is incredibly important, not just for professionals, but for the clients and the firms they elect to engage with. After my due diligence, Barrett, the team, and the clients’ needs felt right and there was an opportunity to serve as part of the leadership team and provide depth to the broader team, she shares.

Here, she serves as an advocate for wealth creators and their families, specializing in collaborating with multi‐generational family relationships and their other trusted advisors to create tailored wealth solutions. In addition to serving as a member of the firm’s Investment Committee, she is also a Portfolio Manager.

Graeme has been recognized numerous times by the wealth management industry for her deep knowledge, strategic expertise, and passion to serve her clients. Not to mention, she has also been selected by Private Asset Management as one of “The 50 Most Influential Women in Private Wealth.”

Outside of the office, Campbell serves on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater, Skidmore College, as well as a public charity that focuses on youth and entrepreneurship. She is a passionate advocate for financial literacy and entrepreneurship for both youth and wealth creators. When not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, and raising her two young children. She enjoys travel, athletics, music and visiting Maine, where she grew up.

Graeme Campbell: Delivering Tailored Wealth Management Solutions
M. L. Graeme Campbell

Shaking Up the Industry

For as long as she can remember, Graeme always admired women who had found original autonomy in their purpose, made that purpose actionable and had an impact on the world around them. “Those who embraced and were able to maintain their authenticity inspire me most. There are so many special women, among them: Muriel Sibert, Madeleine Albright, Lucy Skidmore, and Coco Chanel,” she shares. Inspired by these women, ever since she was young, Graeme knew she wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of people—and the one way she was going to do that was by breaking down old barriers.

An Industry known for its diversity problem, the wealth and investment management sector has come a long way, thanks in part to the likes of Graeme. Not only has there been a significant transfer of wealth—with women challenging traditional boundaries and accumulating their own assets—but there has also been a change in tide within the industry itself. Since women tend to lead with empathy, some research even suggests that women make better wealth advisors than men. We need to see more diversity at the table.

Despite all the transformation however, the truth is that there is still some way to go till the gender bias in the wealth management industry is resolved. For instance, at a typical finance firm, it is easy to notice that although there are many women client servicing roles, they still remain underrepresented in advisory roles. Well aware of this persisting issue, Graeme has been known to go out of her way to mentor women and help them realize their potential.

“These efforts are a blend of quantitative and qualitative considerations,” states Campbell. “Guiding them through their pursuit of acquiring knowledge, helping empower others to have their voice heard, recognize strengths and help folks be at their best. I encourage others to continue to learn, pursue industry accreditations, such as a CFA or CFP, develop team based collaborative skills, find mentors and champions, as well as find their superpower. We each have a superpower,” she says smiling.

Onwards

Looking to the future, Graeme and her team of finance, wealth advisor and service maestros continue to provide exceptional wealth management service to each of their clients. Drawing from a heritage in client-centric wealth management, backed by the drive to succeed, and driven by a team of some of the most capable asset and wealth management professionals in the country, Barrett Asset Management will continue to stand tall.  In collaboration with the firm’s recent partner and owner, CI Financial, Barrett hopes to continue to augment its strengths, stay authentic to its mission in supporting and servicing clients, and continue to evolve its resources to stay relevant for many years to come.

As for Campbell, through her various initiatives, she continues to pave the way for the leaders of the future. To other women on their professional journeys, she says, “Follow your professional interests and passions, and should those bring you to the wealth and investment management industry, embrace it.”

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