by:  JC Abusaid, President, COO

Let’s get this out of the way first: If you first met me as Halbert Hargrove’s newly hired Operations Manager back in 1996, you would have seen a different hairline. But other than that? I’m the same guy – who completely “got” our chairman Russ Hill’s vision for the firm and seized the opportunity to help build it.

Now I’m looking back on those 25 years of caring, patience, discipline, and very hard work in helping grow HH from seven employees and $250M under management to 44 employees and $3B of AUM. And I realize that my business professors were right. To paraphrase: Hire people who are smarter and better at their job than you are, and success will follow.

But I think this insight is even more profound: You need to give those exceptional people great reasons to stick around. In our business, our people are our lifeblood. It’s because of them that we are where we are – it’s the teamwork and collaboration that fosters what we accomplish for clients. So 25 years later, here are, what I believe, the 10 most compelling reasons our great HH associates choose to put down roots with us:

1.)  We work hard and play hard.

If there’s a project to complete – we all pitch in and do whatever it takes to complete it. And when we’re done, we have lots of fun!  We dress up to celebrate holidays, share happy hours together, and collaborate over friendly competition with trivia. Basically, we value our playtime together.

Even when work gets tough, we try and have fun. Some employees remember dancing on the tables during long hours in our community room – where we spent many hours assembling forms and client paperwork.

2.)  We celebrate associates.

Welcome bashes, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, achieving business successes and additional credentials – we never miss an opportunity to celebrate one another.

We always make sure our new hires are well taken care of and feel welcome.  Aside from the key training and introductions, we make sure they are spoiled with welcome packages, meals, and our senior members of the firm go out of their way to make time to personally connect with them. That’s how we build our in-house family values.

3.)  Food is important to us.

There’s always a great reason to celebrate just about anything with food. Sometimes that reason is ‘Friday’ and ‘just because’, and like many families, we value connecting with each other over a delicious meal. Even as the pandemic threatened these moments, we sent meals to everyone’s home and connected virtually to continue our tradition.

4.)  Employees truly come first.

We work with each individual to understand their strengths and passions and each has their own roadmap within the firm. Together, we figure out the best path – we don’t always get it right at first, but we invest the time to help them get there. When employees know they are valued and respected, we pave a long path forward together.

5.)  Mentoring and education are a priority for all.

Every associate has a mentor. And every associate has the opportunity to grow professionally through education that we help underwrite. We value our employees’ growth trajectories, and we give them the tools to get there. From MBAs to new designations, we financially and pragmatically support our employees to grow their careers.

6.)  We build meaningful relationships with our clients.

At Halbert Hargrove, we’re selective about our clients– we want to work with people that want to work with us. And if a client isn’t a good fit, we don’t try to force it — instead, we send them to someplace that’s better suited for their needs. We also take the time to build long-lasting and enduring relationships with our clients. Our team finds it infinitely rewarding to impact clients’ lives in a meaningful way.

7.)  Innovation is a big part of who we are.

We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our services and create better solutions. We’re not afraid to be industry first leaders. Our technology hardware and equipment for associates is always first-rate. For example, we recently partnered with EagleBrook to provide our clients with direct access to Bitcoin and digital assets, as well as the ability to seamlessly add Bitcoin and crypto assets to our clients’ portfolios in a simple, secure, and compliant investment vehicle.

8.)  HH’s employee benefits are dynamic.

We strive to make our benefits offering on par with some the largest companies in the country, and we continue to adapt them as we grow. We offer flexible schedules for new parents and longer than average maternity and paternity leave. We’ve offered unlimited PTO for years, but we recently added an extra day off every month to pursue social causes as a direct response to employee feedback. And as a result of the pandemic, we increased our childcare reimbursement by 150% and we’re providing associates with one long weekend per month.

9.)  We promote leadership from within.

Every associate has the chance to rise within the firm. We’ve created a lifelong family with opportunities to grow and excel in-house.

For example,  Brian Spinelli was hired as a Client Service Manager, then he became a wealth advisor, then Chair of our Investment Committee,  and is now a senior Wealth Advisor and one of our top producers.

10.)  And last but most important: Our culture is awesome, and we work

hard to maintain it.
Another big aspect of my journey is seeing how the culture now has its own life. What I took from Russ, I fostered and cultivated – in turn, this has been championed by our newer leadership. I see our culture as a silent and powerful guiding force.

The best part about my 25-year journey? Seeing the personal and professional growth of those around me. What gives me a sense of accomplishment is seeing how people I hired and mentored have taken on greater roles and responsibilities, and now perform some of the job functions I once had. And the key is – they do them better than I ever did! I’m sure I’m not the only leader here who feels that way.

Of course, we’re never done making things better. But when we keep a strong focus on making “us” better, Halbert Hargrove’s next successful evolution is guaranteed.


Halbert Hargrove Global Advisors, LLC (“HH”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Long Beach, California. Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information about HH, including our registration status, fees, and services can be found at This blog is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as personalized investment advice. It should not be construed as a solicitation to offer personal securities transactions or provide personalized investment advice. The information provided does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. We recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified attorney and accountant. All opinions or views reflect the judgment of the author as of the publication date and are subject to change without notice. All information presented herein is considered to be accurate at the time of writing, but no warranty of accuracy is given and no liability in respect of any error or omission is accepted.