Rick’s business career began at the early age of 14 when he traded antiques and collectibles. He scoured yard sales and attended auctions to search for anything with hidden value. Those items were resold to dealers directly and to the public through antique shows and swap meets. The money he earned help finance his undergraduate education.
Rick earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Rhode Island, holds a Master of Science in finance from Michigan’s Walsh College where he also taught as an adjunct professor, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder through the CFA Institute.
Rick served on active duty in the US Marines after graduating from college in 1980. He received his Naval wings of gold in 1983 and flew fighter jets all over the world. He logged over one thousand hours of tactical flight time, including operations aboard aircraft carriers. Rick also deployed overseas as a forward air controller with an infantry battalion.
As a reservist, Rick formed and commanded a unit that assisted local area recruiters. The unit became a model for other Marine reserve recruiting units across the nation. Rick retired from the Marines after twenty years combined active duty and reserve service.
Rick’s investment career began in 1989 as a broker at a traditional Wall Street firm. It was an exciting time to enter the industry. Rapid technological changes and sound monetary policy resulted in an economic boom and surging stock market.
Rick learned a lot during the ten years he was employed in the brokerage industry; unfortunately, the culture was not what he expected. Recognition on Wall Street was gained by exceeding sales goals rather than exceeding client expectations. Brokers were encouraged to sell products and services that had high commissions and fees, and to push securities the company was unloading from it’s own account.
Rick’s research on the performance gap between investor returns and market returns showed this was not a winning strategy for his clients. This created an ethical dilemma for Rick and he considered leaving the investment industry.
Rick’s Aha! moment came in 1996 when reading John Bogle’s first book, “Bogle on Mutual Funds.” Bogle was the founder of the Vanguard Group and the de facto father of index fund investing. It was a pivot point. Rick realized he was on the wrong side of the industry and began planning a new investment company where client needs come first.
First Company a Big Success
In 1999, in conjunction with publishing his first book about why people should avoid most Wall Street advice and invest in index funds, Rick launched one of the nations’ first low-fee investment management firms, Portfolio Solutions®, LLC. His mission was to provide every client with honest advice, full transparency, and charge a low fee for managing portfolios.
This novel concept was highly successful. Assets under management grew rapidly as hundreds of people came to the company seeking a better investment solution. Word of low-cost advising continued to spread through Rick’s books, blogs and countless speaking opportunities. Rick brought on a young business partner to help, and together they built an infrastructure for growth.
By 2015, the firm was managing over $1.5 billion for more than 600 clients nationwide. Through this time, Rick retained full investment control as head of the Investment Committee while his partner focused on operations and a dedicated advisory team took care of client relationships.
Private Investor Freezes Rick Out
Rick unfortunately no longer directs investment policy at Portfolio Solutions® and has no affiliation with the firm. He was frozen out by a private equity investor who in early 2015 purchased the interest of his partner.
The new partner, James S. Gladney, took over operations and formally agreed that Rick would retain control over investment research and portfolio management. Gladney soon reneged on his agreement and proceeded to oppress Rick’s ownership interest, stripping him of investment authority and usurping Rick’s intellectual property.
These wrongful acts led to Rick’s abrupt departure from the firm and a lawsuit against Gladney. In 2018, a legal judgement was rendered in Rick’s favor. Gladney was ordered to purchase Rick’s remaining interest, pay damages and return Rick’s intellectual property. The order also stipulated a short non-compete that ends in April 2019.
Core-4® Investing: Rick’s New Company
Core-4® Investing is Rick’s new enterprise and will renew focus on the awareness and use of simple low-cost investment strategies. At the center of this firm will be Core-4® Portfolios, a free service providing simple model portfolios under the domain Core-4.com (not yet active).
Core-4.com will host an adviser referral service called the Core-4® Adviser Alliance. Interested investors will be directed to conflict-free investment advisers, financial planners and low-fee portfolio managers. Rick is currently talking with firms that have an interest in the Core-4® Adviser Alliance program. Interested parties should contact Rick to discuss ideas.
Publishing and Speaking
Rick continues to publish articles and books that help spread the benefits of low-cost investing. He has already authored hundreds of articles and six books, including All About Index Funds, All About Asset Allocation, The ETF Book, and The Power of Passive Investing. Rick also co-authored a research paper on index investing that won the S&P Dow Jones Indices 3rd Annual SPIVA Award.
Rick shares his broad expertise in a variety of media, including many financial and business publications, newspapers, blogs, and radio shows. His insights appear frequently in such media outlets as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times, Barron’s, Money, Smart Money, Kiplinger’s, The Motley Fool, CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business. Most notably, he writes for Forbes.com and is a key member of the Bogleheads “brain trust”, a community inspired by the philosophy of John C. Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group of mutual funds.
Moreover, Rick is a nationally recognized speaker who presents regularly at industry and investor conferences. During these speaking engagements, he discusses his investment philosophy and shares his “tight-fisted” strategy for capturing market returns at a very low cost.