The story of L&S Advisors begins in the late 70s. My partner, Ralph “Rick” Scott, and I looked around at our family and friends. Many had found tremendous success in a wide variety of careers. Yet they struggled to find the investment guidance they needed. When they turned to the so-called “professionals,” all too often what they got was an industry focused on pushing products with huge commissions. Whether or not those products were actually in the investors’ best interests seemed to be a secondary concern.
Rick and I knew there had to be a better way. One that was based on a high degree of integrity, transparency, and a more thoughtful style of management. So, we founded L&S Advisors in 1979 in order to help our family and friends and based on the simple, yet profound conviction that, if we put our client’s needs above all else, everyone would benefit.
Ralph “Rick” Scott, left, and Sy Lippman in the early days.
From the beginning, L&S Advisors focused on capital preservation. We believed that, on the whole, the investment industry was overly focused on chasing outsized upside returns. As a consequence, they left investors dangerously exposed to downside losses that could decimate portfolios and take years—and sometimes even decades—from which to recover. We wanted to protect our clients from such devastating losses. So, we made downside protection our top priority.
In our early days, this emphasis on capital preservation led us to investments in private equity partnerships. We focused on those partnerships which minimized our clients’ taxable incomes in hopes of preserving more of their yearly income, rather than lose it through tax liability.
In the mid-80s, following major changes to tax laws, L&S Advisors expanded our expertise and offerings. We started a new fund dedicated to risk arbitrage, a hedge fund style of management which took positions in corporations speculating on the successful completion of a merger or acquisition. Through the experience of running this fund, we became deeply knowledgeable in the interplay between risk and investments.
In the early 90s, our specialized evaluation of risk vs. return culminated in the introduction of an investment style of money management with risk management at its core. This was unusual for its time—a time when buy-and-hold was the dominant philosophy, and riding the markets down was accepted as the cost of investing.
In 1993, L&S Advisors acquired the money management arm of Imperial Bank and increased the assets managed to our unique risk-focused investment styles. Then, in 1997, seeing the benefit of our approach and seeking to add our risk management investment styles to their stable of managers, Merrill Lynch acquired the company.
Eight years later, in 2005, Rick and I decided to return to our roots as an independent boutique firm. We reformed L&S Advisors as a Registered Investment Adviser dedicated to personalized client service. Later that year, we introduced the Tactical Equity Income and Tactical Equity Opportunities strategies which continued our focus on an investment philosophy that puts risk management first.
Ralph “Rick” Scott, left, and Sy Lippman present day.
In 2012, Rick’s son, Jason Scott, joined the team launching a new chapter in the L&S Advisors story. In 2016, we brought Bennett Gross on board to manage all aspects of the firm as well as guide our growth into new opportunities. Seasoned portfolio managers Craig Weston and Ken Malamed and their respective teams also joined the L&S family in 2016. Not only did Bennett, Craig, and Ken bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, but they also provided added capability in the fixed income space which helped shape our now greatly expanded menu of available investment strategies.
As always, we remain committed to our mission to continually be improving both our strategies and our service. We are very excited for the future of L&S Advisors and our continued efforts to help our clients achieve their financial goals.