Combining Education with a Scientific Approach
Professional Financial Strategies
Certified Financial Planner® Paul Bryon Hill looks for a quality of “teachability” in potential clients. While clients need not learn everything, they are expected to be knowledgeable in the basics of what really matters for success in planning and investing for their lifetime goals.
“They must be smart enough to learn the basics,” he said, emphasizing the importance of education. Hill – president and founder of Rochester, N.Y.based Professional Financial Strategies – relies on research by leading economists, including academics on the board of Dimensional Fund Advisors. “[Some] actually wrote today’s book on investing. While academic research evolves, Wall Street keeps doing what it did 30 years ago, just in another fashion.”
Hill uses an investment strategy drawn from the pioneering work of recent Nobel laureate Eugene Fama to deliver astounding results. Utilizing innovative “multifactor” asset allocations developed by Dimensional Funds Advisors in collaboration with Professor Fama and others, Hill has redefined investing at his firm, and by doing so, he has helped his clients not only survive major market ups and downs over the past 20 years, but even thrive because of them.
Given the disappointing outcomes for most investors during and after the Great Recession and the earlier tech bust – which together have been called a “Lost Decade” by some – his strategies have resulted in solid client results. Hill explained how he began to use a scientific approach after earning an MBA at the University of Rochester’s prestigious Simon Business School. “I was introduced to modern financial economics and advanced investing concepts I never understood before, even though I had earned a CFP,” he said. “I learned to think in a new way.”
How it started
Before Hill earned his MBA, like the majority of financial advisors still do, he sold products using conventional methods, including speculating about “opportunities” or making predictions about stocks, fund managers, the economy and of course, market movements.
Founding Professional Financial in 1993, Hill committed to using a scientific investing approach to planning for clients, a decision criticized by many peers, accustomed to “tried and true” ways. Hill said that his new direction in investing was firmly based on decades of academic empirical re-