About

Reppond Investments, INC. is a registered investment advisor located in the beautiful Flathead Valley of Montana.

WHO WE ARE

We manage investments for other financial and investment advisors, and for individuals, and employers. While we love doing business in the Flathead Valley of Montana, our scope of practice is throughout the United States.

Ben Reppond | Owner and Founder

Ben Reppond and his wife moved to the Flathead Valley of Montana in October 2016, and every single day Ben says, “I love Montana.”  He feels fortunate to be able to work with clients not only in the beautiful state of Montana but all over the country.

Ben spent his career in the insurance business in Seattle, where he started and sold three businesses to public companies.  After he sold his last company he had money to invest. The financial advisors he spoke with all wanted him to put his money in the stock market.  This felt too risky to Ben, and he did not take their advice. That decision sent him on a journey to find a way to manage money in such a way that he would not have to take unnecessary risk. The journey included over 15,000 hours of reading and research, and he now feels like he can sleep at night because he has minimized stock market risk. He enjoys helping clients grow their assets while protecting them as much as possible in all market conditions.

Michael Tumolo | Partner

Michael Tumolo is a partner at Reppond Investments, Inc., and is in charge of quantitative research and product development.  Additionally, he works with clients in designing portfolios that best meet their goals.  Michael’s responsibilities include quantifying, testing and validating our investment strategy offerings as well as working with new and existing clients.

Michael has been using his quantitative research tools since 1997. He has traded stocks, ETFs, options, futures, forex and has been developing quantitative models and managing portfolios since 2000 for Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) and research firms. He draws on his extensive experience in strengthening our investment research and client service departments.  

Michael is a U.S. Navy veteran who holds a B.S. in Finance from Columbus University as well as an Associate’s degree in Electronics Engineering. He earned the designation of Chartered Market Technician, awarded from the CMT Association, and is a member of the Algorithmic Traders Association.

PHILOSOPHY

We believe that it is possible to minimize downside stock market risk while achieving acceptable rates of return. We also believe that the use of reasonable fees reflecting the actual work performed is in the best interest of the client (rather than commissions).

HISTORY

Our founder, Ben Reppond, developed a passion for investment management after he sold his company in another industry. His passion began with his search for an investment advisor who could manage his money so that it would be less prone to typical stock market risk. When he was unable to find someone with this discipline, he put his money in money market funds in 2007. Ben saw what happened to those who took the advice he himself was given over the next two years. That confirmed his belief that there must be a better investment strategy than just letting your money ride up and down with the fortunes or misfortunes of the stock market. The investment advisors from whom he received advice seemed to believe in a method of investing that took too much risk for actual returns achieved.

There are many investment advisors from whom financial advice can be sought. Some advisors sell insurance and investment products which come with high commissions. Many investment advisors struggle with balancing the tensions between managing downside risk while still providing an acceptable rate of return to their clients.

 

Ben realized it was necessary to devise a strategy other than that of leaving his money in money market funds in 2009. He intensively researched the development of a strategy that would help achieve his goal of lowering risk while still providing upside participation in the market. This intense and full-time research continued for five years, but the continual refinement of his strategy is relentless. Ben has today spent over 15,000 hours in hard research on this particular question: “What is the best way to minimize stock market risk and still participate in the upside of the market?”

Ben formed an investment advisory firm in 2014 to help like-minded people achieve the same goal. Unlike traditional financial advisors, he would provide the same investment advice to his clients as he was using to manage his own money. He would not follow the traditional path of selling commission products or advise others in a way that would to allow their money ride up and down with the stock market.

WHO ARE OUR CLIENTS?

Ben formed an investment advisory firm in 2014 to help like-minded people achieve the same goal. Unlike traditional financial advisors, he would provide the same investment advice to his clients as he was using to manage his own money. He would not follow the traditional path of selling commission products or advise others in a way that would to allow their money ride up and down with the stock market.

WHY MONTANA?

Ben and his wife, Deborah, moved to the Flathead Valley of Montana in 2016. Life in Montana is much simpler and the pace of life is slower. Advances in technology today allow people to live and work in diverse areas; the Flathead Valley is home to Reppond Investments, Inc.

FIDUCIARY LICENSE

As an Investment Advisor we operate as a fiduciary. This means that we are legally required to act in the best interests of our clients and above our own. We are compensated based on the amount of money we manage using a competitive fee structure. We are licensed with a “Series 65” license, and as stated above, requires us to put the interests of the client ahead of our own.

How can Reppond Investment, INC. help you?

Contact Ben for a complimentary consultation.

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FAQs
Who is Reppond Investments, Inc.?

Reppond Investments, Inc. was founded by Ben Reppond to advise clients on selecting securities and fixed income investment opportunities that we believe are most appropriate based on the firm’s risk-averse portfolio management strategies. He formed the firm order to achieve a level of independence in the advice he provides and in the breadth of investment strategies and services he focuses on to help his clients.

At Reppond, we believe the investment advisory industry often neglects to disclose adequately the risks versus potential rewards about products and services offered to individual investors.  Ben strives to deliver superior investment advice while being completely transparent regarding known and potential risks to the individual investor. He does this through educational seminars, newsletters, and through the resources found on this website.  Ben is also willing to meet individually with potential clients to discuss their financial needs and goals in light of what he sees regarding current and future potential market risk.

Ben earned his reputation for professional integrity and fiscal soundness during his decades-long career in the financial services industry. He served as a Washington State Insurance Commissioner appointed member of the Board of Advisors. He also built one of the largest employee benefits advisory firms in the United States, serving such local organizations as Overlake Hospital, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Coinstar, T-Mobile, and the Bellevue School District, among others.

Reppond Investments, Inc. is headquartered in Bigfork, Montana.  Recently, he spoke about risk-averse investing to the Montana Governor’s Conference on Aging in Helena, MT.  He is also teaching a class at Flathead Valley Community College on “Understanding the Basics of Stock Market Investing.”

What kind of research took Ben 15,000 hours?
Seeking consistent investment returns with low downside risk may seem easy, but it is difficult to achieve.  It took many hours of disciplined study and research to develop a strategy with the goal to achieve consistent returns while minimizing risk.

In his research, Ben found many differences between the thinking and strategies of the traditional financial planners and those who manage money for the wealthy.  In light of his findings, he narrowed his focus to the methodologies used by the wealthiest investors. In his study, he looked for confirmation of thinking among those investment managers with the best reputations and who were using best practices.  He then had software built to test his ideas until, in his view, the soundest and most risk-averse strategies emerged.

There is likely no shortcut to developing a sound methodology that is designed to achieve consistent returns in the stock market.  For Ben, as it would be for anyone, it took more than 10,000 hours. His research continues today. He now says that the research is up to over 14,000 hours.

How did Ben arrive at investment strategies and what makes them significant?
There are two keys to the development of the investment strategies used by Reppond Investments, Inc.  One, Ben was not willing to accept conventional wisdom that traditional “buy and hold” investing was the best answer.  Simply put, conventional wisdom says that “buy-and-hold” investing is superior to other forms of investing. Ben believes this to be untrue.  He holds that valid and effective ideas for growing wealth while still limiting downside risk can still be discovered.

Secondly, Ben has been willing to spend the time necessary to find and test solid and logical ideas in developing his risk-averse investment strategies.  He says that it takes a lot of time, energy and commitment necessary to do this kind of hard research. He believes that hard research can lead to innovative discoveries that can potentially lower risk in investment strategies.

How does Reppond Investments, Inc. attempt to minimize investment risk during “bear market” conditions?
Actively managed strategies used by Reppond Investments, Inc. utilize money market funds as a defensive tool.  Through a computerized, formula-driven, mechanical model for active management, our actively managed strategies are designed to remain in money market funds during times of increased risk (as determined by our mechanical model).  Our mechanical model provides indicators that tell us when to enter the market during periods of lower risk – which we believe allows us to capitalize on the opportunity for gains. When market risk tends to increase (again as determined by our mechanical model), we return to money market funds to “wait” to enter the market until there is another indicator – a lower risk opportunity to enter the market. These strategies are constructed such that they operate similarly in both “bull” and “bear” market conditions.  This technology allows us to be guided without an emotional component, which is too often present in reactions to stock market conditions.
What advice does Reppond Investments, Inc. give to help one protect against high - or hyperinflation?
Ben believes that hyperinflation has always been the end result of excessive printing of currency without hard assets backing that currency.  Historically, many world economies have collapsed under these conditions.  It seems that politicians tend to ignore history, which may be our best instructor.  China and Russia are buying gold today in record amounts as the preferred strategy for countering the risks associated with the excessive printing of paper money.  Ownership of actual gold and silver is one of the best-known safeguards against the recklessness of central bankers and politicians who insist upon devaluing the currency by printing more money.

Therefore, using some allocation of gold and/or silver can be used as a strategy to hedge amidst these uncertainties.  Ben will recommend an allocation of monies best suited for the details of a client’s particular situation. He will also provide information about ways to purchase and store physical gold and silver. Please keep in mind, all information and ideas should be discussed in detail with Ben prior to implementation.

*Investing in precious metals, like gold and silver coins or bars, is subject multiple risks and is not suitable for all investors. The precious metals market is speculative, unregulated, and volatile and prices for these items may rise or fall over time and there is no guarantee you will not lose money.

Is Reppond Investments, Inc. a fiduciary?
Fiduciaries work in the best interest of the client, while non-fiduciaries need only recommend products that are “suitable” for their clients.  If the advisor makes more money for recommending some products over others, there’s a potential for conflicts of interest, and it is certainly possible that person or firm is not a fiduciary.  

The clearest distinction between those who are fiduciaries and those who are not can be found when comparing an investment advisory firm with a broker/dealer.  The investment advisory firm is a fiduciary and a broker dealer is NOT a fiduciary.

Mutual fund loads are totally avoidable. They’re essentially a sales charge, paid by the investor to compensate the broker or financial advisor who sold the fund.  According to time.com, a front-end loaded fund charges you a fee (generally between 3% and 8.5%) when you buy shares of that fund, while a back-end loaded fund charges a fee when you sell shares (typically between 3% and 6%).  How can a broker or financial advisor be a fiduciary if they are receiving an upfront sales commission to sell a particular product?

As a registered investment adviser, Reppond Investments, Inc. operates as a true fiduciary under a.  This registration requires that the advisor do what is in the best interest of the client – ahead of their own interests.  Reppond does not accept commissions and does not sell products that pay any form of compensation to Ben Reppond or Reppond Investments, Inc.

How does Reppond Investments, Inc. get paid?
It is entirely possible that a financial advisor is receiving some combination of commissions, hourly fees, and  a fee based on the value of assets they are managing. Clients do not have to work with advisors who sell commission products and can look for “fee only advisors”.  Fee only advisors might charge a fee as a percentage of your assets, a flat fee for services or an hourly fee. The client should know any and all direct and indirect fees they will be paying.  

Make sure that you are working with a “fee-only advisor” who is not compensated by any form of commissions. The industry is clever about disguising various ways of making money from client assets – both implicit and explicit. It’s important to review the disclosure documents (Form ADV 2) that are required to be provided to every potential client of a registered advisory firm.

Reppond Investments, Inc. only charges a fee based on assets under management and does not use commission based products or accept commissions of any kind.  The maximum fee is 1.5% per year and can be lower based on amount of assets being managed.

What services do I receive for the fee charged?
It is entirely appropriate for a client to ask, “What am I really getting for the money I am paying?”

Reppond Investments, Inc. uses an active investment management approach.  This means that the client’s account is monitored on a continual basis to determine how much of the client’s assets should be exposed to the market, based on a complex set of criteria.  The purpose of this is to attempt to optimize performance and minimize risk. The client pays for this level of attention to their account.

The client gets access to reporting software that allows them to monitor their accounts real-time in a manner that is easy to understand.

Finally, the client has access to Ben Reppond during normal business hours to be able to talk with him about their individual situation, the markets in general or general business or financial advice.

How will our relationship work?
The client will receive a monthly report detailing the performance of their investment account and Ben Reppond’s view of the past and present market conditions – plus his view of what will likely be the drivers of future market conditions.  This is not a “canned” report written by someone else to give the appearance that this is somehow coming from Ben Reppond. It is written by Ben and reflects his views of market conditions at that moment in time.

It is recommended that the client have periodic meetings with Ben Reppond to talk about changing circumstances, views and needs.  The frequency will depend on each client’s situation and desires.

What is the investment philosophy of Reppond Investments, Inc.?
It’s important to ensure you have the same investment philosophy as your financial advisor. Reppond Investments, Inc. uses a philosophy of actively managing a client’s account in order to potentially take advantage of market upside while seeking to minimize market downside risk.

Whether a client uses a conservative, moderate or more aggressive investing approach, we believe managing downside risk is the key to more optimal rates of return.

What asset allocation will you use?
Reppond Investments, Inc. does not use a conventional asset allocation approach, but instead, uses active management to determine when it is believed to be the most advantageous for the client to be “in the market” and when to not be “in the market”.  When a client’s funds are “in the market,” Reppond uses an index fund such as one which tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the NASDAQ 100. The asset mixture of the index fund has been carefully analyzed to determine if it is the one which is most optimal for current market conditions.  This is part of the research for which the client is paying.

Traditional asset allocation models focus more on the mix of assets, but Reppond focuses more on when it is most advantageous for the client to have market exposure and when it is not.

What custodians does Reppond Investments, Inc. use?

Reppond Investments, Inc. uses two independent and nationally recognized custodians – TD Ameritrade Institutional and Nationwide Financial.

What investment benchmarks do you use?
Financial advisors should use benchmarks that directly relate to what they’re invested in, or be able to explain why they don’t.

Reppond Investments, Inc. uses the S&P 500 as its benchmark.  Our goal is to outperform the benchmark over time, especially on a risk-adjusted basis.  Risk-adjusted return refines an investment’s return by measuring how much risk is involved in producing that return, which is generally expressed as a number or rating.

What tax hit do I face if I choose Reppond Investments, Inc.?
Reppond Investments, Inc. uses active management for managing client assets.  When assets are part of an IRA or Roth IRA, investment gains are shielded from tax as long as they stay within the IRA.  Therefore, there are no taxes due when client accounts experience a gain and the assets stay within the IRA or Roth IRA.

When the Nationwide tax deferred flat-fee annuity is used, taxes are also deferred – even if the client account experiences investment gains along the way.  When money is withdrawn from the annuity, the gains are taxed first. The amount the client started with (the basis) is never taxed when it is withdrawn.

In other words, all of the gains that a person has in their account under either of these structures is either completely tax free (with a Roth IRA) or is tax deferred and is not taxable in the current tax year, as long as the assets stay inside these structures with these custodians.