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by Mark Delfino, CEO

A lion used to prowl about a field in which four oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.

     United we stand, divided we fall.  

From: The Four Oxen and the Lion by Aesop, 6th Century B.C.


This is the first known reference to the phrase “United we stand, divided we fall.”  More than two millennia later in 1768, Founding Father John Dickinson wrote “The Liberty Song,” a pre-American Revolutionary War song that offers the earliest known publication of this phrase which subsequently became a patriotic slogan appearing prominently throughout U.S. history.

Though this phrase has strong roots in American patriotism, I share it here in the context of the work we do at HoyleCohen. I have found that this philosophy has taken on new meaning during pandemic and is shaping the way we serve clients and support each other.

One Firm.  We think of ourselves as one firm that stands united in trying to bring our best to clients each day.  When the pandemic hit, we knew we would be challenged, but we felt well prepared to rise up to whatever lay ahead. Our teams worked especially hard in 2020 to support our clients despite the adjustment to a new normal.  Recent survey results reveal that that those efforts were largely successful.  It was a difficult year, but I was pleased to see these results in light of the circumstances.

More United.  On the other side of the coin, we also learned that we are not united enough.  Financial markets experienced volatility we had not seen in over a decade and our remote work environment forced us to adapt more processes and train more team members than ever before.  While our firm ethos has always supported a collaborative spirit and shared best practices, it became clear that this was not enough.  Many of our historic processes were not uniform across departments and offices.  Such diversity made it difficult to train staff and time-consuming to improve methodology.  Other seemingly innocuous process differences slowed our ability to implement quickly or make use of good ideas across the firm.  In short, we realized that a more united approach to how we serve each client would make it easier to bring our collective best to all clients.

What will this mean for clients?

More value.  We intend to build a platform of core capabilities and common processes that can be better leveraged by any team member to serve any client anywhere.  The end goal is for us to deliver more value to more clients.

More efficiency.  We are currently implementing common workflows in order to greatly improve the productivity of our advisory teams.  Less time spent on routine administrative activities will give advisory team members more time to interact with clients in meaningful and impactful ways.

More commonality.  A more united approach will result in more standardization.  Most of this should represent subtle change from a client perspective or remain behind-the-scenes entirely.  But clients will see changes to certain processes, procedures and reports in the spirit of creating an approach that can better benefit all. We know that even small changes can feel meaningful, and we are committed to transparency in our evolution so each client understands what we are doing and why.

Same trusted advice. The trusted advice that comes from deep personal relationships is one thing we won’t change.  We will always put each client’s best interests first and we will always strive for a deeper understanding of those things you value most.

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We start 2021 united in a vision to create a more closely aligned, high-performance organization that works in harmony to elevate the lives of each client and team member.  Like Aesop’s Greece, the HoyleCohen of the future won’t be built in a day.  But, if we stand united I am confident we can harness the full power of our growing firm and passionate professionals for the betterment of all of our clients.

United We Stand, United We’ll Serve

Mark Delfino

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