There have been two defining moments
that have led to the founding of Optima Asset Management.
As a rookie stockbroker in Dallas, our founder Nolan Jones was very close to losing his job with a Wall Street firm. The firm expected brokers to produce a minimum amount of commissions for the firm and Nolan had not met his quotas. Many of his clients were family and friends, and he believed in protecting their assets, not maximizing commissions.
One evening, Nolan was called into the Manager’s office and questioned why he did not sell a firm product to his clients. Nolan said the product was junk and refused to push it on his clients. Nolan and the Manager got into a heated discussion about how his future at the firm depended on him selling these types of products. Despite being close to losing his job and having to support his wife and 2 kids, Nolan told his Manager that he was going to always do the right thing for his clients even if it cost him his job.
An intern was in the office at that time and overheard the conversation. He went home and told his father who was in the process of selling his business. The father became a client of Nolan’s and his assets were large enough that Nolan was able to save his job. The client-first approach led Nolan to have the firm’s largest book of business in the Dallas region.
Since Nolan had amassed such a large book of business, he got to know many of the senior executives in the firm. Several of these executives believed that Nolan’s approach of managing assets, not selling products was the future of the industry.
Nolan was asked to make a presentation to the Executive Board of how he managed his clients and why he believed that this would be best for the firm moving forward. His presentation left the board split. Some of the forward thinkers, agreed with Nolan while the “Dial for Dollars” old guard was against the idea. The old guard won and Nolan’s approach was rejected. Several of the executives who agreed with Nolan soon resigned from the firm.
Seeing that things would not change and that the client’s best interest would never be a priority, Nolan left to start his own firm. He wanted to protect his clients from these Wall Street firms.