The Whole Truth Podcast: An Intriguing Look Inside Boutique Management
Listen to learn more about Steve Owen’s viewpoints and what sets The London Company apart in the industry.
About The Whole Truth Podcast for Financial Professionals
Steve Seid and Kurt Dupuis, Regional Vice Presidents, explore the challenges and opportunities that financial professionals face today. With interviews from clients, subject matter experts and other industry professionals, The Whole Truth strives to be timely, actionable and concise with a promise to always leave on a high note. Learn More.
Kurt Dupuis: Welcome to The Whole Truth, where two wholesalers help financial professionals build great practices and thrive in a rapidly changing industry. We’ll bring you the stories and voices from those on the front lines of this change and we’ll have some fun along the way.
Steve Seid: We’re building a community of financial professionals who are growing, forward-thinking and want to get better. Thanks for listening and contributing to the discussion.
Disclosure: The views expressed herein are those of the participants and not those of Touchstone Investments. We are joined by Steve Owen, CEO of The London Company, a sub-advisor of Touchstone Securities, Inc.
Kurt Dupuis: And welcome to The Whole Truth, from Atlanta, Georgia, I’m Kurt Dupuis, and we have a bit of a twofer for you today, so two interviews, one person. The myth, the man, the legend is Steve Owen, a former colleague of ours that ran our institutional sales department for a number of years and was very successful until he ended up taking a CEO role with one of the sub-advisors with which we work.
So in part one of the conversation, we’re really talking about asset managers and we’re sort of answering a couple of questions. First of all, what is table stakes? What does everybody have or should have? And if they don’t have it, that kind of indicates a red flag. But what we’re all trying to find and the question that we’re all trying to answer is this thing of “edge”. Who’s got the edge? How did they get the edge? How did they maintain the edge? So a lot of great questions and thoughts around how he thinks about the world and all of his learnings through talking about different asset managers.
And then we’ll transition to a more recent conversation where we talked about him in the role of CEO. What have been the challenges that he expected? What have been the challenges that he doesn’t expect? So all great questions and content coming from a guy that’s really, really bright, but also a really good communicator and has a storied history with us at Touchstone. It’s a conversation you won’t want to miss.
So as always, reach out to us at the email@example.com if you have any questions or comments or criticisms for Steve. And also smash that subscribe button on your favorite podcast app. And if you feel so inclined, write us a review on Apple Podcast. It helps others find the show. Without further ado, here’s our conversation with Steve Owen.
Steve Seid: And welcome everybody. We are delighted, delighted to have Steve Owen on the show. Steve Owen of The London Company. A lot of folks that listen to this podcast would’ve heard that name before, a prominent boutique manager. Steve, is it even reasonable to call you guys boutique anymore?
Steve Owen: Yeah, I mean, we’re a small boutique in Richmond, Virginia. I still think of this as a institutional boutique.
Steve Seid: So despite the prominence of the firm, that absolutely makes sense to call you guys a boutique. So let me set up the premise here. Let’s assume you’re looking at a bunch of really good investments, the returns and what they’ve been able to generate for clients over time and they all look good. You got a handful of them. What is it that you do to go beyond the numbers? And we have a gentleman on the phone who I just introduced, who’s probably the best person I could think of to help us think through that. Why don’t you just kind of jump in with kind of an overview of your background?
Steve Owen: Yeah, sure. Guys, thanks for having me. So by way of introduction, I’ve always had a passion for the investment business. I guess when I was younger I just didn’t recognize it. And so thinking back to getting into the investment business, I started out with an undergrad in engineering, thinking I wanted to be an engineer, but investments was just something I did on the side. So I realized after getting three-fourths of the way through an engineering degree, that’s not the career path I wanted to pursue. So, of course I got a dotcom job in year 2000. I was-
Kurt Dupuis: Great timing.
Steve Owen: … laid off. Yeah, great timing. I was laid off before I even started, if that’s even possible. So ended up getting an MBA with a concentration in finance. Found myself in 2002 on the sales side, very quickly moved over to money manager or sub-advisor research, did that for a little while. Left Touchstone for a couple years to go work at an asset management consulting firm where I did money manager selection and then model portfolio construction. And then in 2007 I was recruited back to Touchstone to help build out and lead an institutional distribution. I did that for 13 years and in the spring of 2020 I left to become the CEO of The London Company based in Richmond, Virginia.
Kurt Dupuis: What ended up drawing you over to The London Company?
Steve Owen: Yeah, great question. I’ve always wanted to run an investment business and when the opportunity comes up to be the CEO of one of my favorite investment boutiques of all time, I mean that’s a really hard thing to say no to. I have complete respect for the founder, a guy named Steve Goddard, a legend, an underserved legend in his own right, his entire investment team, differentiated process, just the focus on investment excellence, the phenomenal culture.