Compass Investment Advisors opened in September 2009 at 46 S. State St. by President Daniel W. Rowles and Managing Partner William G. Ryon. The business aims to provide investment guidance to retirement-aged persons, taking an active approach with a lot of communication in the process.


With a poor stigma surrounding large investment banks in recent years, two local businessmen have opened an investment firm with the idea of bringing a personal touch back to the industry.

Compass Investment Advisors opened in September 2009 at 46 S. State St., Dover, by Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor Daniel W. Rowles, president, and Managing Partner William G. Ryon.

The two men, who have 32 years of investment banking experience between them, sat down with the Dover Post March 15 to discuss Compass and its investment services.

Q In a time where the economy has been so poor, what made this the right period to open your business?

A Ryon: We are independently-minded advisors. Given the economic events of the past couple of years, we felt we needed the freedom to be able to manage client portfolios and our business in a way that we thought added real value to our client’s lives and allowed us to grow a sustainable practice.

Q With the stigma that has surrounded big banks in recent years, do you find more people are willing to choose a small investment firm?

A Rowles: When we made the transition, we did worry if clients would feel secure with a smaller firm, but once they realized that technology and account insurances have really leveled the playing field between large and small companies they quickly gained a sense of security. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, they know what’s important is the relationship between the advisor and the client. If that foundation is strong everything else is simply technical.

Q What is your portfolio management strategy?

A Rowles: Our whole philosophy is based around being active. We do not practice “set it and forget it” type investing. There are two schools of thought. There is active management and then passive management, where a client would come in and just want to put a portfolio together, set it and forget it, and let the market take care of it. We feel this breeds non-communication with the advisor and the client. Our clients rely on us to convey to them how domestic and global events affect their portfolios and to advise them on changes as needed and to communicate with them constantly, through monthly phone calls and annual review meeting.

Q Does the active management technique become more important in times of financial turmoil?

A Rowles: Yes. This philosophy is what got our clients through 2008 with minimal damage relative to the overall market. We have to constantly talk to clients and they enjoyed that communication and that guidance that advisors should give in the toughest times. That’s when we do our best work, is in the toughest times when our clients need advice the most.

Q How do you ensure that you can always have that open communication?

A Rowles: We are growing, but we have in our mind a cap on the number of clients we can handle without it negatively impacting client service. This is something we think about a great deal so we have this cap idea to prevent our relationships from becoming unmanageable.

Ryon: The test in the cap is, can we get to all of our clients in one day? As long as we can answer yes to that, then we’re OK.

Q What demographic does Compass gear itself toward and why?

A Ryon: Our clients are primarily folks who are within sight of retirement or already are retired. We create portfolios designed to generate income for them in retirement. Our clients are going to need to have this money for a very long time. Now that they’re retired, they need a paycheck replacement, so we essentially become their outsourced payroll department by distributing income to them usually on a monthly basis directly to their bank accounts. While they’re off doing the things that they enjoy, we are working to make sure they get the income they need. We try to put our clients in a position where they can get a good return but also work hard to make sure they don’t get hurt. It’s about preserving the wealth they spent their lives creating and making sure that money is now producing income for them during their retirement years.

ADDRESS 46 S. State St.
HOURS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, or by appointment
PHONE 526-2557
EMAIL compass.dan@ridgewayconger.com or compass.bill@ridgewayconger.com

Email Brian Citino at brian.citino@doverpost.com