J. Jeffrey Auxier
President and Chief Executive Officer Auxier Asset Management/Auxier Focus Fund
Jeff Auxier offers his clients a 40 year record of performance, a seasoned perspective on every market bump and bubble, a passion for research, and an unprecedented devotion to “eating his own cooking”. That record includes serving as Sr. Portfolio Manager for Smith Barney where he created a business model that demanded higher levels of accountability to investors. Jeff founded and manages the Auxier Focus Fund.
Jeff began lessons in finance early–at age 11, mowing the lawn of Robert Pamplin Senior the former long-time CEO of Georgia Pacific and recipient of the “World’s Top CEO Award”. Mr. Pamplin tutored Jeff on living a life of ethics. As Jeff puts it, “Mr. Pamplin always put his shareholders first and believed business should be transparent. He said the language of business is accounting, and that if you can’t speak the language, you can’t make money.” In 1981, Jeff graduated with honors from the University of Oregon with a degree in Finance and an emphasis on accounting. Immediately, Jeff began calling or personally meeting with some of his investment heroes, long before they became today’s financial rock stars. Names like Warren Buffett. Not yet known as the Oracle of Omaha, Mr. Buffett graciously took several of Jeff’s calls and offered advice, most notably, “Number one don’t lose your principal and number two, never violate the first rule.” To this day, the cornerstone of the Auxier Focus Fund is respect for the power of compounding.
Jeff began his professional career in 1982, at Foster Marshall-American Express (now Smith Barney) in Portland, Oregon. Jeff connected with “value investing” but found the retail brokerage business a challenging environment in which to encourage investors to buy businesses Wall Street despised. So in the late 1980’s Jeff helped Smith Barney create the Portfolio Management Advisory Board. Along with Jamie Dimon—now CEO of JP Morgan Chase—Jeff and other executives formed policies aimed at better serving client interests. “We wanted high levels of disclosure, reasonable fees and no broker compensation for trading the portfolio,” says Jeff. Jeff also served as a member of the Chairman’s Council from 1990 to 1996 and Senior Vice President of Investments and Senior Portfolio Management Director. In a national competition pitting some of the nation’s top performers against each other, Money magazine named Jeff an “All-Star Broker”, two years in a row* (1997/1998.)
In 1998, Jeff realized his professional dream. He left Smith Barney to start his own investment advisory, Auxier Asset Management and, in 1999, the Auxier Focus Fund. From the start, Jeff wanted a fund where the manager is held highly accountable, so he committed to remaining one of the Auxier Focus Fund’s largest shareholders. How many managers invest their entire personal retirement into their own Fund? In Jeff’s case, that’s over 166,000 shares, right on the line with his investors. Jeff instituted company policy that he will not sell a single share while still manager. In addition, his family’s assets are included in the money management portion of Auxier Asset Management. Jeff volunteers GIPS® compliant numbers showing performance back to 1989. And members of the Auxier Asset Mgt. Team also have large percentages of their own personal net worth invested in the Auxier Focus Fund. The small, long-time staff enjoys a “nearly never” meetings policy, instead focusing on aggressive, fundamental research. “Everyone here is focused on performance,” says Jeff. “We’ve all got our own money on the line.”
You don’t survive 40 years in portfolio management and research analysis without a passionate love for research. “We are 90% research, 10% trading. Most investors work the opposite,” says Jeff, who happily devours numbers, spending 8-10 hours each day scrutinizing 20-40 companies per week. He pours over annual reports, trade journals, investment publications, tracking quarterly conference calls, reports and evaluating competitive threats to each franchise. Stocks are aggressively monitored. Says Jeff, “This daily grind-it-out research helped us sail right around the Enron hurricane. Early on we saw that management claims, didn’t square with the numbers. We discovered a balance sheet debt that was completely hidden to most investors. We sold and made money off Enron.” Jeff doesn’t focus on economic trends—as he puts it the “unknowable”—rather crunching through numbers to unearth outstanding companies that have been knocked down with a temporary problem. You can’t predict the future, but you can analyze and discover exemplary companies.
Jeff, his family deliberately live far from the wilds of Wall Street, on a 108 acre farm just outside of Portland, Oregon and just west of the end of the Oregon Trail. Nursery stock, timber and hazelnuts grow abundantly on the fertile hillsides in a valley where 90 percent of the nation’s hazelnut crop is harvested. In the fall of 2006 Jeff harvested a record 90 tons of hazelnuts from his farm. When he’s not researching, you may find Jeff clearing land on his 43- thousand pound Caterpillar D6-C bulldozer or scanning his favorite non-financial website, Bulldozer.com. Jeff also conducts research from his 2,000-acre ranch in the high desert of Central Oregon where antelope, cougar, wild boar, rattlesnakes and coyotes share the wide-open space. Jeff sees similarities in investing on Wall Street and his life on the farm and ranch. “All take extremely hard work and involve consideration of price, value, margin of safety and wise allocation of capital. This lifestyle keeps you humble and focused on the rewards of hard work,” says Jeff. “I’m far from the greed and emotion of Wall Street and able to conduct the kind of independent thinking that keeps us ahead of the pack, not chasing it. I love my job and consider it a stewardship of other people’s hard-earned money. I want to do this the rest of my life.”
J. Edward Auxier
Ed joined AAM full time in August 2017 after graduating from Oregon State University with a degree in Agriculture Business. Ed is pursuing accreditation as a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA), and is currently a CFA Level II Candidate.
Director of Portfolio Services
32 years experience in the investment management and brokerage industries.
After graduating with a Language degree from the University of Oregon, Chrisi began her career at Smith Barney Harris Upham & Company, Inc. in 1989. Chrisi started as a receptionist and quickly advanced to a position as Sales Assistant for a group of brokers. She later accepted a position as a Client Service Assistant for a highly regarded portfolio manager, obtained her Series 7 and 63 licenses in 1994 and was promoted to Registered Associate. She began working with Jeff Auxier at Smith Barney Shearson in 1997, and has been with Auxier Asset Management since its inception. Chrisi specializes in client service and administration.
Virginia (Ginny) Clausen
Client Relations & Accounting
Over 36 years experience in the financial and business consulting fields.
Ginny started her career in Banking and has experience with Investments, Accounting and Sales. For the last 15 years she has had her own bookkeeping business with many clients from different industries giving her a diverse background in financial and business consulting. Ginny has provided bookkeeping and business consulting services to AAM since its inception. We were pleased to have Ginny join AAM as a full time team member in December of 2015.
Client Relations & Administrative Services
Amy has been with Auxier Asset Management since November of 2002. While at the office she assists with a multitude of day to day operations including but not limited to client relations, marketing and scheduling. She graduated from Washington State University with her Masters in Broadcast Journalism and prior to that earned her bachelor’s degree in Communications with a minor in Public Administration from University of Puget Sound.
Mitchell graduated from Oregon State University with degrees in Finance and Accounting as well as a minor in Economics. He began working at AAM as a research analyst in June 2019. Mitchell plans to pursue his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification.
Over 41 years of experience in the brokerage and investment consulting fields.
Rita began her career working on the floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. In 1986, she moved to Oregon and continued her career in the brokerage business, obtaining her Series 7 license. She worked both in the trading department and back office operations of two local brokerage firms, as well as for two local investment consulting firms. Rita has extensive experience in operations, portfolio management systems, and client performance reporting. Rita’s duties at Auxier Asset Management include trading, portfolio management systems and client service.
Peggy R. Straw
Director of Advisor and Client Services
40 years of experience in the securities industry.
Peggy began her financial career in 1982 at E.F. Hutton in Portland, Oregon. In 1987 she was recruited to Prudential-Bache Securities as Branch Administrative Manager. After five years in management at Prudential-Bache, she returned to Hutton (now Salomon Smith Barney), as a Senior Sales Assistant. While at Smith Barney, Peggy worked for a Senior Vice President of Investments who exclusively handled the employee stock purchase plan and cashless exercise program of a leading technology corporation. She was responsible for all trading activity for the corporate client’s 2,000+ domestic and international employees, as well as for 1,000 additional retail clients. She obtained her Series 7 & 63 licenses and was promoted to Registered Associate in 1997. Peggy has known Jeff Auxier professionally since 1991 and made the move to AAM in January of 2001, where she specializes in client service.
Lillian M. Widolff
Operations & Compliance Manager
29 years experience in the Financial Services Industry.
Lillian began her career in 1993 with AXA Advisors, LLC (Then “The Equitable”) as a sales associate, providing a full range of financial products and services. In 1998 she accepted a position as Branch Operations Manager with AXA Advisors, LLC, followed by a promotion in 2000 to Branch Compliance Specialist & Technology Manager. Lillian joined AAM in July of 2003, where she oversees the firm’s Compliance Program and serves as Operations Manager.
Auxier Asset Management LLC is a registered investment advisor with the SEC. Auxier Asset Management claims compliance with the Global Investment Standards (GIPS®). To obtain a compliant presentation and / or the firm’s list of composite descriptions, please contact us at (800)835-9556 or [email protected].
* Money’s All Star Brokers were selected based on the following: Survey was created and conducted by Junius Ellis, writer for Money. He asked industry professionals to nominate brokers at firms other than their own. Candidates had to be willing to take new accounts of $150,000 or less, to have records clear of disciplinary or other disclosure events (FINRA), to display attributes (subjective and determined by the writer for the publication) such as accountability and independent thinking. Additionally, those listed as All Stars customarily base their recommendations on their own independent research, personally own the stocks on their buy lists, avoid selling most brokerage products (“whose gold-plated fees can weigh down client’s returns”) and give commission discounts to regular customers. From there, Mr. Ellis made his final selection of Money’s All Star Brokers based solely on the returns of the stock selections submitted by the brokers. Stocks of all categories were considered. Brokers participating did not pay a fee to participate. The All Star B6roker rating is not indicative of future performance.