Ian is the founder and principal of Fifth Set Investment Advisors LLC. Fifth Set is the result of Ian’s evolution of thought in regard to conventional investment management. His experience and education led him to search for a smarter approach to portfolio management and financial planning.
Prior to founding Fifth Set, Ian conducted fundamental equity research at Citigroup, Credit Lyonnais and CIBC Oppenheimer. Ian earned a BS in Engineering and Public Policy from Washington University and an MBA with concentrations in Finance and Statistics from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Ian is a holder of the Charted Financial Analyst® designation and a member of CFA Institute and CFA Society Stamford. In addition, Ian is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certificant and a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). Ian serves on the Village of Larchmont Finance and Budget Committee.
- Fiduciary relationship with clients
Every action taken on behalf of a client or advice given to a client must always be consistent with the client’s best interests.
Always strive for simplicity and transparency in our client relationships.
- Evidence-based Investing
Investment philosophy will always be driven by the evidence produced by academic research in financial science.
- Protect our clients
Always seek to protect our clients from both external and internal forces that would otherwise push them into taking actions not beneficial to their financial well-being. We believe education and consistency of message are the tools that best protect our clients.
The Story behind Fifth Set
In the mid‐1990s, I began working as an equity research analyst covering Internet, and later, traditional media companies. I was excited to learn about different businesses, create financial statement and valuation models, write research reports and make buy/sell/hold stock recommendations. My anticipated career path was to become an established stock analyst and eventually move to the “buy side” to become a mutual fund or hedge fund portfolio manager. It seemed like a perfect path based on my background in engineering and finance.
A surprising thing happened, though, along the road to portfolio manager heaven. I found that many of the ideas we build investing narratives around turn out not to be true. The premise of fundamental equity research (stock picking) is that by developing a deep understanding of a company’s products, services, finances, competitors, etc., one can select the stocks best positioned for future market outperformance. I found through personal experience the linkage between fundamental analysis and actual stock price movements to be weak at best and possibly non‐existent.
My reservations regarding conventional investment research came to a head when I met the lady who eventually became my wife. At this time in her life, she had amassed a bit of savings sitting in a bank account.
Before investing her savings, I set about rethinking how portfolios should be constructed. It was clear that simply buying a handful of stocks for my potential future wife, crossing my fingers and hoping that one or more of them didn’t blow up was not a reliable investment approach.
Going back through my MBA finance textbooks and research in academic and practitioner resources brought me to a smart and compelling investment approach, suitable for professional clients and future spouses. The principles upon which Fifth Set is built began with that research.
Please see the Investment Principles section of the website to learn more about what I discovered.
Fifth Set Investment Advisors works with a select group of corporate partners to provide smart financial solutions for our clients. By working with these firms, Fifth Set combines independence with a full range of investment management and financial planning resources.
Dimensional Fund Advisors
Dimensional Fund Advisors is a global asset management firm that develops investment solutions for institutions and clients of independent investment advisory firms. Dimensional has a unique investment approach that focuses on implementing the best ideas in financial science. Through a strong connection with the academic community, Dimensional incorporates the findings of leading financial researchers into practical, cost‐effective investment solutions. Dimensional is headquartered in Austin, Texas, and has trading offices across North America, Europe, and Asia, enabling the firm to cover global markets and manage strategies continuously.
TD Ameritrade Institutional
TD Ameritrade Institutional is a leading provider of comprehensive brokerage and custody services to more than 5,000 independent registered investment advisors and their clients. TD’s advanced technology platform, coupled with personal support from a dedicated service team, enables Fifth Set to run its practice more efficiently and effectively while giving us more time with our clients. TD Ameritrade Institutional is a division of TD Ameritrade, Inc.
Portfolio Pathway is a leading provider of web‐based portfolio reporting, account aggregation, and customized portfolio statements. Their next‐generation platform enables Fifth Set to seamlessly manage its back office while providing a rich user experience to its clients.
We serve the following communities in and around Westchester County, NY: Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Scarsdale, New Rochelle, Rye, Rye Brook, Rye Neck, Greenwich, Westchester, Harrison, Port Chester, White Plains and Pelham.