Finding automation tools to extend the firm’s capacity
When Loren Walden and Tom Baker founded Blue Oak Capital in the late 1990s, they set out to build on what they’d learned at other investment firms. In particular, they wanted to eliminate all the bureaucracy that interfered with their ability to build great client relationships. So they decided to make their new company as lean as possible: No staff, just partners.
“Blue Oak’s philosophy is to do things better, smarter, faster, more thoughtfully,” said Matt Kenaston, who joined in 2009. He’s one of the firm’s two current employees, both partners. “Even today, it’s considered avant-garde,” Kenaston added. “Many people then and now say that it can’t be done – that we as a firm would run into too many challenges, too many difficulties, and that we would have to add people.”
Of course, eliminating administrative staff doesn’t do away with the paperwork. To make the business structure work, Blue Oak’s partners needed to find smart, sophisticated tools to allow them to automate things like performance reporting, reconciliation, and report building. Building a solid technology infrastructure was crucial to delivering top-notch investment management to clients while also cultivating deep, trust-based relationships.