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Business

West Coast Asset Management Hits 10-Year Mark

Among the Santa Barbara-based company's achievements are contributions of more than $350,000 to nonprofits

This month marks 10 years since Kinko’s founder Paul Orfalea founded Santa Barbara-based West Coast Asset Management, in partnership with Lance Helfert, the firm’s president.

With about $200 million under management and a 96 percent client retention rate over its 10 years, WCAM net performance is up 54 percent since inception vs. the Standard & Poor’s of 6.96 percent. WCAM has grown from two partners to a sharp and innovative team of 11, and is proud to report that all co-workers have equity stake in the company.

“Looking back over 10 years, it’s important to recognize the success our company has achieved, considering that we’ve weathered one of the most challenging economic periods since the Great Depression,” Orfalea said. “I’m also proud that our hard work on behalf of our clients has paid off, and that we’re able to give back to our community in whatever way we can — all while having fun and feeling good about the work we do.”

In an effort to make an impact in areas of community need, WCAM has donated more than $350,000 to local nonprofit organizations through its client charity program during its 10 years of operations. WCAM also has been directly involved with more than 150 local nonprofits as corporate partner and advocates for the organizations, including the Dream Foundation, Junior Achievement, the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Foundation, Child Abuse Listening & Mediation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Pepperdine University, Habitat for Humanity and Direct Relief International, to name a few.

In 2009, WCAM made news by achieving Platinum LEED for commercial interiors, the highest level of certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, it has internal “green incentive” policies including going paperless, using chlorine free paper and no bottled water. WCAM is proud to be a carbon neutral company.

“While growing West Coast Asset Management over the past 10 years, we’ve done so with the intention to be responsible stewards of our community,” Helfert said. “We’ve made it a priority to invest in our community and be socially and environmentally conscious. It’s something that our entire team is committed to, both in and out of the office.”

“Before joining the team at West Coast Asset Management, I had the unique perspective of being a client,” said Andrew Firestone, WCAM senior vice president. “The fact that WCAM is a local, independent investment firm that thinks like an entrepreneur first attracted me as a client, and later as a co-worker.”

Other highlights over the company’s 10 years include the publishing of The Entrepreneurial Investor in 2007, a book co-written by Orfalea, Helfert, Atticus Lowe, WCAM’s chief investment officer, and Dean Zatkowski. As part of WCAM’s continuing efforts to improve financial literacy, they developed the “Exclusive Outlook,” a newsletter that now goes out to thousands of subscribers monthly, offering reports and commentary from the principals that shares current events, philosophy, history and personal experiences that influence WCAM’s investment strategies.

— Jennifer Guess is a publicist.

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