As published in Citiwire USA
Jake Martin 02 October 2019, 09:16
Fairlight Advisors will focus on serving the nonprofit space.
Industry veterans Katharine Earhart and Maya Tussing have teamed up to launch Fairlight Advisors, an independent Belmont, Calif.-based RIA focused on serving philanthropic organizations and individuals.
Earhart and Tussing most recently opened and led the San Francisco office for Alesco Advisors, a $3.3 billion Pittsford, N.Y.-based firm, where they had worked since March 2016. They previously worked together at BlackRock and a predecessor firm, Barclays Global Investors.
Fairlight’s services range from short-term consulting engagements to ongoing investment management, depending on client requirements. Earhart, a San Francisco Bay Area native, and Tussing, a longtime area resident, said they are positioned to combine their experience with a strong working knowledge of the region’s nonprofit ecosystem.
Earhart said Farlight will be maintaining a partnership with Alesco despite breaking away to start an independent firm.
‘Over the past few months, we had been talking to Alesco and it just made more sense for us to go out on our own,’ she said. ‘They will continue to partner with us on investment strategies.’
While at BlackRock, Tussing had led the firm’s US Institutional Index Asset Allocation business.
‘Economic uncertainty and the recent tax law changes make it a critical time for philanthropic leaders to reassess their financial strategy,’ Tussing said. ‘We take great satisfaction that we can potentially deliver solutions for nonprofits based on programs used by some of the most respected financial services companies.’
Prior to BlackRock, where she was head of the iShares Connect Program for institutional clients, Earhart worked for Charles Schwab in various capacities in its retail business.
Earhart said there is a growing need for investment advisors to provide guidance to nonprofit clients with the increased use of donor-advised funds and other philanthropic strategies.
‘Because they are nonprofit they need to reinvest any kind of proceeds or revenue in the organization, she said. ‘It’s equally important to make sure they have what we call a “911 cash fund” as well as longer term savings they can rely on to cover a shortfall in case of a market downturn or a donor passing away unexpectedly.’
Additionally, Earhart said the firm has a couple of prospects on the nonprofit side who are interested in working with Fairlight for their retirement plans.
‘Many of them are underserved by the existing landscape,’ she said, adding these firms have expressed they are being overlooked by the large asset managers.
Fairlight’s registration with the State of California was approved this week and the firm has not yet reported any assets under management.