As we look to the fourth quarter of 2013 and into 2014, I want highlight the progress that we’ve made in this past year to enhance every aspect of the services we deliver. We’re proud of the relationships we have built and the reputation we have achieved, but we’re not satisfied. We know we can do more, and we can do better.
One of the most visible accomplishments of the last year has been our additional team members. We have increased our staff by 30 percent by adding a Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer, another portfolio manager and a securities analyst, and an entire Business Services department. Each person we have hired has exceptional skills and has quickly become a valued member of our team.
In technology, we have invested heavily in our contact management system and data storage capabilities. Our goal is to access and process data faster and more efficiently, while enhancing security. We’ve purchased iPads for each employee, which gives us access to key information and software on the go. We invested in DocuSign technology so that our clients can sign via a secure system without having to bring in paper documents or deliver them to our offices.
Investing is at the heart of what we do, so we have added new research services. Our dedicated portfolio managers and financial analyst utilize these cutting-edge tools to make the best recommendations for you and your financial goals.
In operations, we overhauled the look of our quarterly financial statements so that they are easier to understand, and we began to provide portfolio information and other updates through secure online messages and databases. To help keep you updated on our activities and our ideas, we launched a weekly “Economic Outlook” that is delivered every Monday morning, and we have expanded our newsletter into a quarterly magazine. We have even changed our stationery in an effort to update our look!
Speaking of appearances, this summer we completed a new project that will be highly visible the next time you visit our offices. We remodeled our suite and added three new conference rooms. These new conference rooms are different sizes—smaller for most meetings, and larger for multi-generational family meetings—and each has full video technology.
Of course, our interest in you goes beyond new conference rooms and updated stationery. We have added client-appreciation events to thank you for all your support you have given us in our 27 years of service. On July 4th, we welcomed more than 325 of our clients and families to downtown Baltimore’s Center Club for an evening of fun, food and fireworks. BWFA has also made charity a major focus, as indicated by our commitment to the following organizations: Green Spring Tennis and Educational Foundation, Wings of Hope, 2 Miles for 2 Hearts, and Consumer Credit Counseling of Maryland. We are always interested in supporting additional groups in our community, too.
One more thing I’d like to add. Each of the improvements I mentioned have either come from your direct feedback or from our Client Advisory Board that meets quarterly. I want to express my deep gratitude to the Advisory Board members and everyone else who has contacted us with ideas about how to improve the level of service we provide to you. It reflects your confidence that we are listening to you.
I am very proud to be leading the BWFA team. I can’t wait to do even more. At BWFA, it’s all about being the “best and not the biggest.”