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Embarking on the Journey

Founding of DCM - Greg Donaldson

“I started Donaldson Capital Management (DCM) because I wanted to return to the old-fashioned way of doing business. Using discipline, patience, and humility to build relationships with great people and always serve their interests first.

“I started Donaldson Capital Management because I wanted to return to the old-fashioned way of doing business. Using discipline, patience, and humility to build relationships with great people and always serve their interests first.

"Our company has changed dramatically in the last 25 years. We have grown from a very small firm in Evansville with most of our clients in or near Evansville, to one that has clients in 46 states and three other regional offices. The one thing that has not changed is our client-centered approach. If anything over the years, we have found many new ways of being helpful to our clients as they move through the various stages of their life. At the gut level, DCM has been a form of ministry for me. I have served a flock of folks for many years. I have lived with them through the good times and the not so good. I believe DCM has been a good shepherd to many folks, but I’m the one who has been most blessed. It has been my pleasure to watch the DCM family grow in size, expertise, and experience. The greatest blessing is that we get to serve people who live very interesting and challenging lives."

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1995
1997

Building A Distinct Foundation

Management Strategies – Mike Hull

"When I joined Greg Donaldson in 1997, Laura Roop was already in place, building our first efforts at enhancing the experience DCM clients would have. At the start, we had two equity styles for managing money, both focused around dividends. Later named Cornerstone and Capital Builder, they initially created to meet the needs of retirees.

"When I joined Greg Donaldson in 1997, Laura Roop was already in place, building our first efforts at enhancing the experience DCM clients would have. At the start, we had two equity styles for managing money, both focused around dividends. Later named Cornerstone and Capital Builder, they initially created to meet the needs of retirees.

"Our Cornerstone strategy selected companies with higher than average dividend yields and that kept those dividends growing every year. In 2000, the stock market fell by 10%; it grew by 13% and continued to outperform the market over the next two years. Its dividends had held it up.

"With our Capital Builder strategy, we chose companies with histories of dividend growth, but, as a tradeoff, had a lower dividend yield. It produced less cash, but did grow its dividends and, therefore, its stock prices, faster.

"As we were about to announce these strategies, we discovered many people forced into early retirement could not draw enough dividends from either of these portfolios to meet their expenses. So, we created a portfolio that would produce an even higher dividend yield as safely as possible. From this idea grew Income Builder, rounding out our investment strategies."

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September 11th

DCM Comes Together - Beth Dietsch and Rick Roop

"As many people have said, we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the moment 9/11 occurred. From my recollection, the first attack was before I reached the office and shortly after I arrived, the second trade tower had been hit. As the events continued to unfold, we were all huddled around the only TV in the office watching in total disbelief.

"As many people have said, we remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the moment 9/11 occurred. From my recollection, the first attack was before I reached the office and shortly after I arrived, the second trade tower had been hit. As the events continued to unfold, we were all huddled around the only TV in the office watching in total disbelief.

"During this time, DCM had nine employees. It became quickly apparent how important it was to reach out to our clients. Not only to express our prayers for those affected and reinforce how resilient we are as a nation but to offer our understanding of how stocks and bonds typically react during catastrophic events. We sent out a letter to our clients that same day, letting them know we were here for them, whatever comes." - Beth Dietsch

"When Americans feel that some of their most trusted institutions have failed them, faith is what is left when all else has evaporated. It fills the gap when we do not know what is going to happen next. It’s the choice to go on living our lives, even in the face of such negativity and uncertainty brought about by the news media. It’s the willingness to take a risk and to get back on our feet and get back into the market, even when the odds appear overwhelmingly adverse." -Rick Roop

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2001
2002

Ciavon Hartman Joins

Colleagues Turn Matchmakers

When Ciavon started at DCM, right out of school and single, a few of us here made it our unsolicited mission to find someone worthy of her.

When Ciavon started at DCM, right out of school and single, a few of us here made it our unsolicited mission to find someone worthy of her.

After months of brainstorming, one day the Captain (Greg) announced he’d found the one. He’d noticed a man at church, the son of a friend he had known for years, and it hit him that this person was perfect for Ciavon. He was a kind, gentle man named Matt and was just her type. After a little persuasion, both parties agreed to a blind date.

The first date was a huge success, and with the very well-timed DCM Christmas party the following week, Matt quickly became a fixture around DCM. They were engaged two years to the day of their blind date and in September of 2007 they were married. Greg and Joyce Donaldson hosted their couple’s shower, Mike and Carol Hull gifted their wedding cake and the rest of DCM helped however we could. Fast forward 13 years and two kids later, they’re still going strong. Captain Greg was right – Matt was, and is, perfect for Ciavon.

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A New Home Base

Expanding to First Street

The move to the new offices, our current space, happened quite smoothly. It was a great upgrade with good views for the eight DCMers we had then.

The move to the new offices, our current space, happened quite smoothly. It was a great upgrade with good views for the eight DCMers we had then.

Within a couple of years, it became apparent we needed more space, so we expanded, adding three more offices. In true DCM fashion, we used each of these moves and expansions as an excuse for an open house for our Evansville clients.

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2001
2002

Celebrating 10 years of DCM

Growing Our Business Together

By our ten-year anniversary, DCM had eight employees and 16 DCM kids. We served nearly 300 families in 28 states and the District of Columbia with total assets approaching $300 million. Indiana continued to be the state where we had the most clients, but we gained a larger presence in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida.

By our ten-year anniversary, DCM had eight employees and 16 DCM kids. We served nearly 300 families in 28 states and the District of Columbia with total assets approaching $300 million. Indiana continued to be the state where we had the most clients, but we gained a larger presence in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida.

As Mike Hull said then, and rings true today, "Over the next twenty years, more people than ever before will be retiring with a fixed sum of money that must last them the rest of their lives. Unless they become investors instead of speculators, and unless they learn how to invest for income as opposed to purely capital gains, retirement will be a nightmare for them. Our job is to reach them and share our story."

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The Great Recession

Staying Steady in Every Climate

The Financial Crisis was the worst economic crash since the Great Depression, yet most of our portfolio companies, excluding financials, continued to increase dividends. 70% of the companies in our portfolio, 18 of the 26, increased their dividends from 2008 to 2009.

The Financial Crisis was the worst economic crash since the Great Depression, yet most of our portfolio companies, excluding financials, continued to increase dividends. 70% of the companies in our portfolio, 18 of the 26, increased their dividends from 2008 to 2009.

"I joined Donaldson in 2007, the day before Countrywide Mortgage imploded and the financial and mortgage crisis began with a sickening thud. I was impressed then and ever since with the way my colleagues filtered out the panic in the market and focused on the facts that would let us protect our clients. Putting the client first, second, and always was clearly deeply rooted in the firm’s culture." -Randy Alsman

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2001
2012

Facebook IPO

A Social Shift – Kyle Markle

"Given the size of Facebook’s IPO, and the fact it was one the first of its kind to go public, many thought the next tech bubble was on the horizon. Based on the weak initial few months of trading post-IPO, this seemed accurate. While we followed its IPO and understood the potential implications on the market, a start-up like Facebook didn’t fit in with any of our investment strategies. Some clients wanted to buy into the IPO, but our participation was very muted.

"Given the size of Facebook’s IPO, and the fact it was one the first of its kind to go public, many thought the next tech bubble was on the horizon. Based on the weak initial few months of trading post-IPO, this seemed accurate. While we followed its IPO and understood the potential implications on the market, a start-up like Facebook didn’t fit in with any of our investment strategies. Some clients wanted to buy into the IPO, but our participation was very muted.

"As it became clear their revenue model was real and could have staying power, the initial negative trend reversed in 2013 and hasn’t slowed much since. Facebook, among others including Amazon, Netflix and Apple, has revolutionized the way we live and work. Indeed, they forced us to find new ways of valuing stocks that do not pay a dividend but have the capability of doing so. Their dominance continues and has allowed other ideas to blossom into real businesses that further change the way we live."

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DCM Passes $1 Billion in Assets

Breaking the Billion Dollar Barrier

One billion in assets under management was a huge milestone for all of us. We couldn’t have reached this point without our wonderful clients who trust us with their assets and refer us to those they care about most. Our main goal is to take excellent care of our clients, and we always put servicing our current clients ahead of adding more. We look to grow, but we want that growth to be controlled so our service levels remain high, as we owe this to those who got us where we are today.

2015
2015

In the Heart of the Heart of It All

Opening Up Shop in Columbus – Ron Patberg

"When opening our office in Columbus, we wanted it to be a mirror of Evansville. We chose the same paint colors, the same trim, the same overall DCM look and feel – we wanted clients to walk in and know, no matter the location, they were getting the same DCM experience.

"When opening our office in Columbus, we wanted it to be a mirror of Evansville. We chose the same paint colors, the same trim, the same overall DCM look and feel – we wanted clients to walk in and know, no matter the location, they were getting the same DCM experience.

"Our goal is to be an office that people really know, understand and trust. An office that people think of when they need financial planning and investment management."

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2015

DCM Adds Six CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ professionals led by Brandon Roop and Kyle Markle

Creating a More Comprehensive Service

The investment management industry has been in a long shift from focusing solely on investments towards a more comprehensive model that addresses each aspect of a client’s financial life.

The investment management industry has been in a long shift from focusing solely on investments towards a more comprehensive model that addresses each aspect of a client’s financial life.

The introduction of a dedicated team of financial planners is a direct reflection of our need to evolve with our clients’ needs. Even a top-performing advisor can’t be an expert in every aspect of investment management, retirement income, tax and estate planning. With more CFPs on staff as advisors and financial planning associates, we put our best foot forward to keep clients on track to achieve their goals and objectives.

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2016

QuantD Investment Strategy Is Developed

Modeling with Our Values in Mind

Going back to the 1990s, we've had quantitative models to screen for new investment ideas and alert us when a current investment might warrant a sale. These models, when back-tested, worked so well that we set out to create an automated, rules-driven strategy that would perform as well as, or better than, our actively managed strategies. With that intention, QuantD was formed.

Going back to the 1990s, we've had quantitative models to screen for new investment ideas and alert us when a current investment might warrant a sale. These models, when back-tested, worked so well that we set out to create an automated, rules-driven strategy that would perform as well as, or better than, our actively managed strategies. With that intention, QuantD was formed.

QuantD’s most interesting, and important, features are that it both selects the stocks with the best buy candidates, selects the best stocks to sell, and grades prospect stocks and bonds. process. It has a formula that takes several macroeconomic data points and combines them into what we call the “cash trigger,” a systematic process for moving away from stocks andinto government bonds if certain criteria are met. This formula is built to potentially minimize downside risk. If we can partially reproduce the downside protection that bonds provide without their negative impact on future returns, we may be a step closer to solving the problem that ultra-low interest rate environments pose to our clients’ income.

As we move forward, QuantD will continue to grow and evolve. However, the fundamental ideas that DCM has always believed in will never change. QuantD subscribes to those same ideas: Quality, Value, and Momentum. They are the building blocks of QuantD and will always be – regardless of how they are specifically measured.

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2018

Internal Efficiencies

Allocating Resources toward Technology & Enablement

Continuous improvement is not limited to what our clients see. Donaldson team members seek to offer high service standards whether their contributions are client-facing or internal. Blake Alsman, Senior Investment Advisor, led efforts to rebuild and improve internal systems and processes as VP of Enablement from 2018 to 2021. Blake’s work equipped DCM as a firm to be resilient and prepared ahead of the pandemic, making our business processes stronger so we could better support clients throughout 2020 and early 2021.

Continuous improvement is not limited to what our clients see. Donaldson team members seek to offer high service standards whether their contributions are client-facing or internal. Blake Alsman, Senior Investment Advisor, led efforts to rebuild and improve internal systems and processes as VP of Enablement from 2018 to 2021. Blake’s work equipped DCM as a firm to be resilient and prepared ahead of the pandemic, making our business processes stronger so we could better support clients throughout 2020 and early 2021.

Defining the Culture of DCM

Committing to Our Core Values

At Donaldson, we know we hold an immense responsibility to our clients as we guide them on their financial journey. That’s why we’ve always done all we can to truly make a positive impact in their lives each day. In 2015, we came together to formally define the ideals that embody DCM and make them our guiding force.

At Donaldson, we know we hold an immense responsibility to our clients as we guide them on their financial journey. That’s why we’ve always done all we can to truly make a positive impact in their lives each day. In 2015, we came together to formally define the ideals that embody DCM and make them our guiding force.

Together, we determined the nine core Donaldson values are: development, impact, family, servant hearts, faith, excellence, unity, integrity and passion. With unwavering energy and conviction, our team has committed each of these to their work, fully integrating them into our strategy from top to bottom. As a result, we bring our passion and strength to our clients and our own teams every day with more intention and greater respect.

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2018
2019

Retirement Plan Services Is Formed

New Service Line, Same Principles

Over the years we’ve assisted a handful of small business owner clients manage their employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. Wealth management was our focus, but we always try to make anything our clients need possible. As these requests continued to grow, we noticed our distinct approach led to several advantages for both us and our clients.

Over the years we’ve assisted a handful of small business owner clients manage their employer-sponsored 401(k) plans. Wealth management was our focus, but we always try to make anything our clients need possible. As these requests continued to grow, we noticed our distinct approach led to several advantages for both us and our clients.

Just as on the wealth side, in retirement planning we can act as a 3(38) discretionary fiduciary. We are able to offload the plan sponsor’s investment liability they are personally on the hook for. And unlike wealth, contributions are made to the plan every time a payroll is run for a company. This sometimes can be up to four times a month, allowing for exponential growth of these assets, much larger than that of wealth management.

In 2019, we decided to make retirement plan services a new branch of DCM. RPS will grow alongside DCM, showcasing our robust offerings with experts dedicated to providing excellent service. We’re proud of how far we’ve been able to go for our clients and look forward to expanding our offerings alongside their needs.

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Delivering More for Our Clients

Financial Planning – Sarah Moore

"Most publicly traded global asset managers tend to love middle management. With that structure comes a lot of delegation and projects that distract from directly serving clients. When I joined DCM, I was shocked how differently we allocated our time – with respect for each other and with the client always top of mind. When my colleagues ask for my help, I know it’s important to them because it’s important to a client.

"Most publicly traded global asset managers tend to love middle management. With that structure comes a lot of delegation and projects that distract from directly serving clients. When I joined DCM, I was shocked how differently we allocated our time – with respect for each other and with the client always top of mind. When my colleagues ask for my help, I know it’s important to them because it’s important to a client.

"In my experience, there has been a huge disconnect between what clients want and what advisors were able to provide because the people running the business didn’t have the same goals as the clients. I thought if I could be more involved in the resource decisions, I could try to create a better client experience. So, that’s what DCM has given me the freedom to do. To manage clients with a blank slate to rework how we deliver financial planning at DCM.

"I spent most of my first few months listening and quietly evaluating business models and technology. I think this steady approach has meshed well with our culture. We’re open to ideas, but highly discriminating. And when we commit to something, you better believe it’s going to happen. My team is already growing and well on our way to making a more cohesive and comprehensive experience for our clients."

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2019

COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Coming Together Through It All

Thanks to our agile and determined team, and the right technology, we’ve been able to continue working with each other and clients, no matter where we are. Client services has continued throughout the pandemic with no pause in performance.

Although there have been many adjustments, this year has shown us all how well we are able to take care of each other, in every circumstance. Despite everything, our team and clients came together to finish a Habitat for Humanity home, built to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Among many other things to come, we look forward to its formal dedication in 2021.

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2020

A Truly Landmark Year

Coming Together Through It All

Thanks to our agile and determined team, and the right technology, we’ve been able to continue working with each other and clients, no matter where we are. Client services has continued throughout the pandemic with no pause in performance.

And although there have been countless unforeseeable obstacles, we still reached 2 billion in assets in 2020. We’re exceedingly grateful we were able to reach this milestone in such uncertain times. We couldn’t have done it without our incredible clients who trusted us for every step of this journey. Through it all, our priorities have remained the same, to lead our clients on a steady path from where they are to where they want to be.

2020