David Denniston, CFA
After being in the financial services industry for over ten years, I’ve seen and been through a lot. Below, you will learn about me by how I started in finance, what motivates me, and where I am now. I look forward to learning more about your life journey!
My initial interest in finance was through exposure via my great uncle Phil and great aunt Margaret. They were regular folks- he worked for Union Pacific and she was a secretary for Pabst brewery. Unfortunately, their young son, Marty, died at the age of two and they became consumed with one goal in life- to become millionaires and keen investors. They saved every month and slowly realized their goals many times over. It wasn’t because they came into a windfall or created a business- it was because of their steady savings that they were financially successful.
I remember visiting their beautiful ocean-view home in Redondo Beach watching the stock-ticker scrolling at the bottom of the screen while playing with legos and He-Man toys. I had no idea what the heck it was all about, but I determined from a very young age that I wanted to be successful just like them. To do so, I needed to learn how they made their money… by investing in the financial markets.
I started out in the industry as an intern for an independent financial advisor in Seattle, WA and learned the ropes. It fueled my passion and stoked the fires of my interest to continue. I loved learning about mutual funds, stocks, and bonds and being involved in the selection process. My boss was wonderful and encouraged me throughout the process.
As I continued in my journey, I graduated Cum Laude from Seattle Pacific University in 2003 with a BA in Business Administration/Finance emphasis. I also got married to my wonderful wife, Cyrena right out of college. I was offered a position with my previous boss, but instead decided to stake out my own future by starting with Edward Jones.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, I hit the road with the gospel of finance! I knew I could help people and service them better than others. I believed in faith that things would turn out well. In retrospect, I was book smart but lacking real-world experience and the sales savvy to succeed coming out of college. I went door-to-door soliciting new clients and boy was it tough! I followed the Ed Jones formula- making 25 contacts daily.
I endured through many rejections- so numerous I can still hear doors shutting in my face. I did gain in the number of clients I served, but I was mentally worn down by the end of a year of the process.
One day, I sat pondering my future. At this important fork in the road, I surveyed a number of potential paths. I considered being a firefighter and enrolled in a volunteer position in King County District 44. (This lasted approximately a year)
At the same time, I found a new position as a financial advisor/paraplanner with an independent RIA in Bellevue, WA. I brought several of my clients with Edward Jones with me. At the time, the company only had two employees- myself and another young man and about $30 million under management. I grew in knowledge and ability.
I decided, through the encouragement of my employer, to increase my education. I decided to enroll as a CFA Candidate in 2005 through the CFA Institute. After several years of grueling work and exams, I was awarded the prestigious CFA designation in September 2009.
Meanwhile, I continued to grow in responsibility. I oversaw the investment models and account management as well as growing in clients and assets. The company grew to having a handful of employees. I personally managed over $10 million in assets for my clients while overseeing another $90 million for the company. I grew to desire partnership and a stake to secure my long-term future. At the time, my boss was going through a lot of personal issues and did not want to make such a decision nor could guarantee my future. I decided to evaluate my options.
By June 2008, I explored several ways of buying into partnerships with various organizations and the best opportunity was half-way across the country in Minnesota. To my pleasant surprise, approximately 30 of my clients from Seattle stuck with me. I cherish them greatly and see most of them on a quarterly basis face-to-face in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is still extremely important to me and I’m working on establishing a branch office in either Seattle or Portland via an additional partnership.
Today, I serve about 100 clients and hope to serve up to 100 more. I am personally managing over $30 million for my clients.
However, I'm not alone! I have a whole team of incredibly smart people that I work with at The Capital Advisory Group.
Since joining the Capital Advisory Group partnership, in addition to being a financial advisor assisting clients, I am the CEO & Chief Investment Officer. I specialize in asset allocation and head the investment research and manage due diligence requirements.
So what's my role in the company? For the CEO role, I pay the bills and set the vision for the company. I have to tell you... hiring is hard stuff!
On top of that, the CIO role has a lot of responsibility as well. Besides our buy-and-hold strategy, I have been instrumental in developing our proprietary timing systems and I am responsible for overseeing & implementing our investment strategies. My ultimate goal is to help reduce market risk and help minimize the fluctuating value of other assets in times that we perceive as risky and increase stock market exposure in times that we perceive as less risky.
For me, helping you make the most of your financial assets is my passion. I enjoy guiding my clients as they implement strategies to meet their financial goals. I work with clients across a whole variety of spectrums from paramedics to corporate managers and executives to to doctors. Some work with me on an assets under management basis while others work with me on a flat fee.
Since I work with quite a few doctors, many clients are residents, fellows, and attending physicians within the first 20 years of their career and we work to keep costs to a minimum.
In the past, I enjoyed being actively involved in the community through organizations like Toastmasters International, Lion’s Club, and as a board member of the Bloomington Community Foundation. Today, I'm really focused on growing the businesses- but I still volunteer at my church as a 'Security guy'. Got to protect those donut holes!
I continued to be blessed with my family- my wife Cyrena, twelve-year old daughter Gabrielle who is in 7th Grade, and our newest addition daughter Evangeline (born 4 months premature!) who was born in May 2012 at a weight of 12.5 oz (3.5 oz shy of 1 pound).I was awarded the prestigious CFA designation in September 2009.