Cleves has 26 years of experience in developing investment strategies for wealthy individuals, families, and institutions, and has spoken nationally to industry groups on global asset allocation strategies using institutional arrangements.
What path led you to wealth management?
Like most positions in my career, it was client driven. Clients asked for my advice on discrete areas of wealth management like investment advisory. Therefore, if clients asked for that service, I thought we ought to think about delivering it and figuring out how to do it in a best-in-class way, different from others.
On a personal note, what began the interest into the investment advisory space, was our own family and our own wealth. We looked at stock picking, we looked at indexing, and we looked at the all star team of mutual fund management. The conclusion we came to for our own family was to use the evidence based philosophy to wealth management. Therefore, if we thought it was the right decision for our own family, we think it’s the right answer for our clients as well.
Why did you join TDC?
I graduated from Hillsdale College in 1986 and interviewed with six different companies, of which five made an offer. I was convinced I wouldn’t go into the family business, and my advisor in college asked me what I wanted to do after college. I said I wanted to go into the financial services industry and he asked me why I wasn’t considering going into the family business, to which I replied, “because it’s the family business.” He responded by telling me, “It’s as wrong to go into the family business because it’s the family business as it is not to go into the family business because it’s the family business.” And taking this advice, I let my father make me an offer and have been with TDC ever since.
What most excites you about your work?
This has evolved over the last 30 years. Today what excites me most is seeing and witnessing the evolution of plans put in place 10, 15, 20 and even 30 years ago come to fruition. Whether it’s working with a client who just sold the business he started 30 years ago, or helping a widow navigate her finances recently after her husband passed, or watching the next generation of talent take over the business and grow it in ways that I might not have imagined.
What has been your most rewarding career experience?
Although it’s difficult to choose one, generally speaking, it is the unique ability to watch our business grow in a way where we can help more and more families to be families. Stronger, closer and wiser.
What personal accomplishments are you most proud of?
Personally, my greatest accomplishment is the marriage to my wife Kathy and the success of my five children.
Why do families need to be stronger, closer, and wiser?
The fabric of our very country depends upon the success of the family. The erosion of that very institution has created many of the issues that we deal with today. Many times, wealth compounds the pressure of the success of families being families. Therefore, the important process of planning for wealthy families is critical to the very success and freedom that our country enjoys.
What do you like to do outside of work? What’s your favorite way to spend a weekend?
The most important thing to me, when it comes to my leisure time, is who I spend time with as opposed to what I spend time doing. This usually results in playing golf or tennis with close friends or enjoying some camaraderie and quality time with those important to me. It’s all about the who, not the what.
What are some of your biggest influences?
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t immediately recognize, professionally and personally, the influence my dad had on my life – the founder of our company. Second, my wife Kathy, both personally and spiritually has probably been the biggest influence on me. And third, my experience at Hillsdale College, while I was there as a student, now that I’m a member of the board, and as a parent of three of my five children (two have graduated, one is a current student and two more to come after that).
What is something surprising that people wouldn’t know about you?
I love technology. I just don’t want to learn it.
What is your favorite movie?