Greenwood Gearhart's Lisa Brown Plays Lead Part in Portfolio Strategies

Greenwood Gearhart's Lisa Brown Plays Lead Part in Portfolio Strategies
Lisa A. Brown • President, Greenwood Gearhart Inc. (Bob Coleman)

Lisa A. Brown last month was named president and partner of Greenwood Gearhart Inc. of Fayetteville, a wealth management and investment firm led by CEO Brock Gearhart. She is also the company’s chief compliance officer and oversees operations, service offerings and client experience initiatives.

Brown began working for Greenwood Gearhart, formerly M.A. Greenwood & Associates, in 2001. In 2006, she pursued other business interests, including working in a leadership role with Houston Financial, an office of Northwestern Mutual. She returned to Greenwood Gearhart in 2016 as director of financial planning and became chief operating officer in 2019. The firm says it has about $800 million in assets under management and clients in 33 states.

Brown received a Bachelor of Science in business administration in financial management in 2002 from the University of Arkansas. She became a certified financial planner in 2013.

Your firm has its roots in Mary Ann Greenwood’s M.A. Greenwood & Associates. In what ways does Greenwood Gearhart carry her legacy?

Mary Ann founded the firm with the core principles that we still carry today. We have always served as a fiduciary for our clients and have always been fee-based. As a condition of working for our firm, our team members’ public portfolio assets are required to be invested alongside our clients’. Most of our industry is moving in this direction, but our firm has always operated in this manner.

Mary Ann was a real pioneer for our industry. She also instilled in our core values a philanthropic mindset that we carry forward today. Mary Ann also set a culture of what we call “fanatical attention to detail.” We apply this value to all aspects of our work to ensure that our clients receive the best we have to offer.

How are women positioned in such a male-dominated industry?

Our firm has more female team members than male, which is a rare dynamic in our industry. On a daily basis, I see how varying talents between men and women can be so complementary and ultimately greatly benefit the clients we serve. I think leaders in our industry can be open-minded and offer more opportunities in roles that men traditionally fill. Diversity in leadership and career paths can provide a broader perspective.

How do you advise clients seeking to protect assets in times of inflation? Or potential global conflict?

Inflation and global unrest are very real concerns right now. First, every financial plan we create reviews the impact of inflation over time to ensure that client assets are managed in a way that allows them to meet their financial desires throughout their lives. We also create stress test scenarios in every plan to plan for market volatility and varying life circumstances. As we manage client assets, our portfolio management team has constructed portfolios with holdings that represent strong, well-financed companies that are positioned to withstand economic and market variations. As simple as it sounds, the most prudent course in times of stress is to stay the course and manage a solid long-term plan.

What is the most common question you are hearing from clients? And what’s the answer?

Ultimately, clients want to know that they are going to be OK financially and be able to accomplish the life goals that are important to them. The definition of being OK is different for everyone, which means the answer is different. The best thing we can do is provide sound advice and manage with clients through their evolving life situation. We don’t have a set it and forget it strategy, but rather create flexible solutions that allow us to manage with clients over time.