Morningstar Magazine - August/September 2018 - 71

at a time when the firm was adopting a financial
planning model. Merrill offered a more open
architecture compared with the proprietary
investment products of Amex. At Merrill, Chevry
faced a daunting task: Assemble a book of
business in excess of $12 million in two years.
"I didn't know how a kid from Quincy with parents
from Haiti was ever going to do it, but I did
it." He worked countless hours and weekends.
"I was a cold-calling fiend. I ate, slept, and
breathed trying to be successful in getting through
that program. It was something I really wanted."
He achieved the goal and ever since has steadily
built his book of business, now about $70 million
in assets. His clients are mostly high net
worth, with an average of $2 million to $3 million
in assets. He also manages a 401(k) for clients
with $500,000 to $1 million.
Breaking Away
Chevry also values independence and left Merrill
in 2004 for Coburn & Meredith, his current firm.

Graham Chevry, wealth management advisor and
senior vice president of investments with Coburn
& Meredith.
How he caught our eye: Made transition
from social worker to building a book of business
of about $70 million.
Career path: Studied sociology at University
of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Joined
Merrill Lynch in 1997. He went independent in
2004, joining Coburn & Meredith.
Personal: Lives with his wife in the Marina Bay
neighborhood of Quincy, Mass. Has run the
Boston Marathon twice and works out religiously
five times a week by weight training, cycling, and
doing Bikram yoga. Unwinds by cruising
Boston Bay with his wife on the Stephanie,
a 23-foot Boston Whaler boat.
Favorite Funds: For large-cap stocks: Fidelity
Contrafund FCNTX; fixed income: Segall Bryant &
Hamill Plus Bond WIIBX and iShares 20+ Year
Treasury Bond ETF TLT; small cap: Alger Small Cap
Focus AOFIX; growth and income: American
Funds Washington Mutual AWSHX.

While Merrill had an open architecture with
respect to investments, Chevry says he
still felt there was an expectation to hawk products
such as credit cards and mortgages.
Coburn & Meredith gives him a platform with
respected custodians in Fidelity and First
Clearing and access to specialized services such as
tax, insurance, and estate planning. "Before,
if you weren't with the big wirehouses, you were
a nobody," he says. "Now you are seeing
a lot of great advisors go independent because of
the allure and benefit of that independence
of thought."
Chevry, senior vice president of investments at
Coburn, uses a process that he has dubbed "CHIP,"
or the "client hallmark implementation process."
It starts with a relaxed first meeting to get
to know each other. There's no talk of products or
investments, but he uses it to find out more
about what a prospect is looking for in an advisor,
and he discusses his philosophies, strategies,
and methodologies. Taking notes, he fires
away with questions: How does the client handle
money? Does the client save? What areas
does the client wish to improve on? What are
areas of concern? What's the family structure?
He then waits two or three days before following
up to see if the prospects want to continue
with him. In some cases, Chevry decides he's not
a good fit. If he and the prospective client are
a match, Chevry gathers financial information and
goals in a second meeting, and then later
presents a customized plan. After that, he makes
the investments and monitors the approach.
It's when times get tough that advisors show their
true colors, he says. Having a plan for clients
helped Chevry persuade many of them to
stay the course after the crash in 2008. He told
them that unless things go back to the
Stone Age, they should be buying. He emphasized
stocks where he could selectively capture
good companies that had been violently oversold.
The strategy paid off for his clients who stuck
to the plan. "With chaos, there's opportunity," he
says. "If you were willing to be disciplined,
structured, and have a game plan, you made a
lot of money between 2009 and now."

Giving the Big Picture
Chevry, 45, also helps clients with Morningstar
Advisor Workstation, in part with performance
reporting, showing them ways a portfolio can
generate income by running cash-flow scenarios.
He also uses Advisor Workstation for reconciliation. It allows Chevry to monitor those client
assets that are outside of his purview, such
as a 401(k) plan, an insurance policy, or a pension.

"It truly gives a big picture of the client," he says.
"We want to know what exactly the other hand is
doing, and that it is doing it appropriately to
get to their end goal. Clients appreciate it, because
they know you're there for the right reasons."
For equity exposure, Chevry also uses a blend of
mutual funds for active management and
exchange-traded funds for passive exposure to
the market and individual sectors. His approach
takes a top-down view of the economy
and examines where the business cycle is today,
leading him to now overweight areas such as
information technology, healthcare, and consumer
discretionary. He also likes financials due to
the prospects of rising interest rates. "Where you
are in the market cycle really dictates where
you should be based in terms of sectors," he says.
Beyond investing, Chevry seeks to do more by
helping clients with complicated endeavors
such as estate planning, diversifying concentrated
stock positions, or how to best collar a large
equity holding.
He checks in with clients periodically, using CRM
software to keep track. It keeps people
more at ease. "They know I'm watching the store,"
he says. "That is the message I'm trying to
send out there. When you do that, you have fewer
impulsive calls."
Just like his early days as a social worker, Chevry
keeps on checking in, mentoring, guiding,
teaching, but with a different audience. "With
a process, strategy, and a plan, you can see things
through," he says. K
Charles Keenan is a freelance financial journalist.

global.morningstar.com/Morningstarmagazine

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Contents
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Morningstar Magazine - August/September 2018 - Contents
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