“If we had decided not to leave, ultimately there would have been a breaking point.” – DJ Windle
About Windle Wealth
DJ Windle started his career in the financial services world in 2008 but quickly realized that the large firm environment was “not [his] cup of tea.” He launched Windle Wealth in 2014, custodying first at LPL and then switching to TD Ameritrade. The firm has four employees, serves 320 households representing over $150m in AUM, and has grown at roughly 33% per year for the past 5 years.
Windle Wealth adds $2-$5m AUM per month without “niching down” or a dime spent on marketing. How?
Simplified Wealth Management. These words sit front and center on the Windle Wealth site and the team lives up to them every single day. DJ explains that “[We] use an individual dividend paying stock model that’s easy to explain to clients. It’s simplistic, and it works for everybody.” In an industry known for its inaccessible “financial speak”, this easily-explained approach to wealth management appeals to an increasing number of clients. Jan Taylor, the Windle Wealth Chaos Coordinator notes, “So many of our clients tell me that they love how DJ keeps everything simple, understandable, and relatable.”
Simplicity is the overarching personality of the firm, and the staff feel like that is one of the many reasons Windle Wealth has grown so quickly. “When I interviewed, DJ told me that they spent no money on marketing—referrals constituted 100% of new growth,” Taylor said. “My marketing background caused me to be more than a little skeptical of his claim, but after being here for almost two years – he’s right!”
Coming from a firm where the primary focus was selling financial products, Taylor was shocked when DJ told her he didn’t want any “selling” or “calls to action” in their social media content. She continues, “Our clients appreciate the fact that they don’t have to fight off a full-court financial products press when they work with us.” Taylor believes that is one reason current clients are so eager to refer their friends and relatives.
In addition to the relaxed atmosphere, clients are also treated to exceptional customer service from the staff. Team members have been known to take paperwork to clients for signatures, to take clients to government offices to help set up SSI or military payments, to hand deliver special gifts, and to go out of their way to make every encounter with their clients memorable and enjoyable.
"We serve over 300 households – and we treat every single one of them as if they are family.”
The firm’s ability to develop and maintain these relationships is the cornerstone of their success. Unfortunately, over the past few months, the influence of the Schwab acquisition and impending transition has put additional stress on the firm’s ability to meet their own standards, and in some cases, has directly impacted clients.
Over the past 5 months, the firm has dealt with what they described as an inordinate amount of processing delays, incoherent phone support, a lack of follow-up, backtracking, and canceled outgoing distributions – adding a significant amount of extra work for the team.
"It basically feels like when someone puts in their two weeks... those last few days, they're just completely checked out."
This transition was a long time in the making, as DJ was the first advisor to join the Altruist platform
In 2018, before Altruist had any sort of product to speak of, founder and CEO Jason Wenk reached out to DJ over Twitter. DJ recalls the interaction, “Sort of out of the blue, Jason asked me if I wanted to check out what he was building.
"I always thought custodians were archaic – why can a client open an account in Robinhood in under 5 minutes, but it takes us two weeks?”
Five years later, he’s moving over everything he can before Labor Day.
Altruist cuts their operational workload by 50%
Digital account opening, funding, and transfers means the firms staff “can have an account opened in less than 30 seconds. With most firms, if you’re lucky it’s 24-48 hours. It could be a week or two if they’re behind.” With the new system in place, the team is designing an onboarding process that has accounts opened and funds transferred by the time the client walks out the door or hangs up the phone.
"We get asked by clients, 'how long is this going to take?' and it feels great to be able to say, 'it'll be done as soon as you leave the office."
Another area where the team is enjoying substantial time savings is with Altruist’s chat-based customer service. A staff member at Windle Wealth says, “Live chat has been a game-changer. Even if something is difficult I like that I can walk away and get pinged when the team has the answer. It’s much better than waiting on hold for 30-45 minutes.”
DJ’s rebalancing efforts have been reduced from a few days to a few clicks
With TD, he had to manually process and review trades. “When you’re placing 5,000-10,000 trades per quarter, it can be a time-consuming and tedious process.” Now, with Altruist, he can set up his custom model and his rebalancing preferences and monitor at his discretion.
"With Altruist, it’s much easier to manage rebalancing at the account level. It’ll only place a trade if it makes sense for the account, not an arbitrary rebalancing period– it’s much more specific to the client even with the same portfolio.”
What’s next for Windle Wealth?
In the short term, they’re moving everything they can over to Altruist. The team is still waiting on a few features and account types but have enjoyed Altruist’s responsiveness regarding feature requests.
"That experience of sharing our needs as a firm with Altruist usually gets met with ‘Okay’. And then next thing you know there’s an engineer on a video call. We don’t get that anywhere else.”
To continue growing the firm, DJ recognizes that he’ll eventually need to add another advisor. But he says, “that’s less important now that Altruist exists.”
“Every advisor I’ve shown Altruist to has the same response: holy crap.”
When asked to summarize his impression of how things have developed over the past four years he said:
"Who comes out of nowhere and builds a new custodian that now competes with Schwab and Fidelity? To me, that alone should tell you to get your money away from some of these other places. If Altruist can do that in 4 years, what the hell can they do in 10?”
This testimonial was given by a current client or investor. Neither Altruist nor its affiliates paid for this testimonial, but we do earn revenue from financial advisors who use our software, from assets invested through our broker-dealer (Altruist Financial LLC) and assets invested in models or other services made available by our registered investment adviser (Altruist LLC).
As of the date of this testimonial, the promoting advisor received compensation or other benefits from Altruist through the promoting advisor’s participation in one or more of Altruist’s various programs, which created a conflict of interest on the promoting advisor’s part and may have influenced the view(s) expressed by the promoting advisor. For more details on program compensation and benefits and related conflicts of interest, please visit altruist.com/RIA-testimonial. For additional information about the promoting advisor’s conflicts of interest when expressing its views about Altruist or Altruist’s affiliates, please see the promoting advisor’s advisory program brochures, available at https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.
This testimonial may not represent the experience of others and it is not a guarantee of results. Views expressed are those of Windle Wealth and are not necessarily those of Altruist.