Spotlight On: Theodore Bovard, Founding Partner & CEO, Fort Pitt Capital Group

Spotlight On: Theodore Bovard, Founding Partner & CEO, Fort Pitt Capital Group

2 min read November 2022 — Invest: spoke with Theodore Bovard, founding partner & CEO of Fort Pitt Capital Group, to discuss how retirement planning is evolving in the current economic climate and why inflation shouldn’t be a long-term concern for clients. “People have to remember that these are short-term issues and that investment is a marathon, not a sprint,” he said.

What have been your key takeaways from the past year?

Even as the markets have had a tough time, we are always marrying excellent service with goal-oriented client results. Our goal is to help more people with great solutions and that is the core of our growth model. Although things have taken a dip during 2022, we hit $5 billion at the end of 2021 and our organic growth has been key, having added 22 employees over the past four years. We want to balance service to clients with peace of mind and make sure our employees have a great place to come to work with clearly defined career ladders to ensure our employees continue to grow with us. That gives us a very strong referral-based recruiting model. With our growth culture, we have to be accountable and have an ownership mindset, which means better service and, in turn, a better life for our clients. 

What is your current assessment of the market?

We haven’t seen inflation like this since the early 1980s but what people forget is how well the markets did coming out of that. Similarly, I believe the Fed is doing a good job of navigating something they haven’t had to manage in over 40 years, so I’m willing to give them more leeway than most pundits.

It’ll take time to normalize from this inflation because there is such a dynamic combination of factors at work. Supply chain issues are still very real and will take a while to work through. There are still new COVID-19 variants that we have to be on the lookout for. And we simply can’t ignore the impact Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on the geopolitical stage. Additionally, the energy crisis in Europe, where energy prices have multiplied by six in certain places, is far more severe than people in the U.S. realize. 

If anything, it’s amazing the markets aren’t down a bit more than they are. A big reason is the low unemployment rate. That will have to go up in order to tamp down inflation and it will continue to be a key metric for the Fed. People have to remember that these are short-term issues and that investment is a marathon, not a sprint. 

What are some common themes you are seeing emerge from the current economy?

At the end of the day, we want our clients to do what they want. Our biggest achievement is that none of our clients have had to come out of retirement or get a part-time job to support their savings. We fit cash flow situations based on portfolio and lifestyle and build out a long-term plan. We make three- to five-year stock market projections because we know that we’ll hit ups and downs, even if we don’t know when. When economic times get tough, it’s typical for clients to get skittish and start moving money but we always remind them about compounding. Every down market has always had a rebound and that will continue to be the case. That’s why I use the marathon metaphor. We can’t time the market; we have to strategize each mile along the way. That’s an easier lesson for people who’ve had savings built up for decades but it takes some extra counsel for younger investors who’ve already experienced the 2008 recession and the economic situation now. It’s a volatile time but in my experience it always gets better.   

What makes Pittsburgh a unique and lucrative market for businesses and residents?

Pittsburgh still has the small-town feel, where you can build great relationships over the years, but it’s big enough to have access to a number of great elements, including the arts, universities, medical care, and job opportunities. There are a lot of great financial advisers and fantastic accounting and legal firms, along with one of the best medical centers in the country. All the other universities feed into that and it brings in great talent from all over the country, and as business owners, we are fortunate to be able to tap into that as we hire and offer opportunities for our employees to grow along with us.

In the community, we take giving back very seriously. I give a lot of credit to all the firms in the city that give money back to the community. We’ve been a part of the Brave American Classic to support veterans and we’re proud of our work with Wesley Family Services. Our clients and employees refer charities and nonprofits, so we give our people days to do charitable work and volunteer. We’ve been fortunate to be a part of these things for years.

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