Our Core Philosophies
#1: Put clients first
#2: Be your primary wealthcare provider
#3: Be transparent
#4: Keep costs down
#5: Minimize taxes
#1: Put clients first
We know that every financial firm says it puts clients first, and many actually do. But this isn’t always the case, as brokers, for example, are not always required to put client interests first. At KCS, we always follow the fiduciary standard, which embodies the legal requirement that a client’s interest is paramount. We take on this responsibility willingly, even when not required, because we believe that this is how the advisor-client relationship should be.
#2: Be your primary wealthcare provider
The parallels between primary healthcare and wealth management (wealthcare) are striking. It takes a team to manage both health and wealth, which is why KCS strives to coordinate with all your financial consultants (CPA, insurance agent, estate attorney, etc.). This coordination aims to ensure that you receive not only consistent advice, but also integrated advice (between your financial consultants). This process aims to avoid adverse advice interactions-such as investing your accounts too conservatively even though you have a large life insurance policy, or too aggressively when college tuition is right around the corner-just as good medical coordination helps prevent adverse drug interactions.
Part of being the “hub” of your financial life is getting to know you and your family as people. You’re not a collection of facts and figures; you are a unique individual with goals, dreams and aspirations, all of which impact your finances. Knowing you as a person makes us better wealth managers.
Another aspect of acting as your financial hub is making sure we’re available to you as a resource for all your major financial decisions. Since the vast majority of our clients don’t pay hourly, you can call or email us without worrying that the time clock will start ticking. So…if you’re thinking of buying or refinancing a home, purchasing or leasing a car, applying for college financial aid…call us. We’re here to help.
#3: Be transparent
We believe that your financial advisor should have a vested interest in maximizing your wealth, and that you should know exactly what you are paying for.
How costs are determined: Toward that end, we typically charge for our services based on a percentage of your assets; we find most clients prefer such an arrangement, as this ensures that we share the common goal of maximizing the value of your assets. These costs cover all our services-financial planning and investment management, meeting, phone calls, e-mails, etc. Any other costs not paid to KCS, such as transaction charges, are also clearly disclosed.
While we most often recommend the “all-in-one” approach described above, we also offer hourly, flat fee or commission-based services if you prefer to work with us this way.
#4: Keep costs down
In managing advisory accounts, we are never compensated for purchasing a specific security or financial product on behalf of a client. We believe that being paid for completing a transaction in your account would misalign our interests, which is why we tie our compensation to your account values. Our fee only increases when your accounts grow, so it’s to everyone’s benefit to keep external costs and transactions fees to a minimum.
We always seek to minimize the costs that you pay. We do this in several ways:
- Minimizing transactions costs by using Fidelity’s discount brokerage services and no-transaction-fee ETFs or funds when appropriate
#5: Minimize taxes
We believe that while paying taxes is every citizen’s duty, there’s no need to pay more than the law requires. Thus, we work hard to reduce our client’s tax burdens-including taxes on investments, earned income and estate transfers-to their legal minimum.
People are averse to unpleasant surprises, especially a higher-than-expected tax bill. We have heard stories from clients, who previously had relationships with other advisors, about unexpectedly large capital gains or dividend tax bills from their investment accounts. At KCS, we strive to avoid such tax mishaps, and instead to surprise with lower tax bills.
Ken Waltzer, MD, MPH, AIF®, CFA, CFP® — Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Laura Gilman, PFP, MBA, CFP® — Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Gayle Fuhr — Director of Client Service and Compliance
Nick Nejad, CFA® — Director of Investment Research
Scott Gaynor, CFP®, AIF® — Director of Financial Planning
Michelle Silliman — Director of Operations
Kellie Weidenheimer — Administrative Associate
Ken Waltzer, MD, MPH, AIF, CFA®, CFP®
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
Although wealth management represents a second career for Dr. Waltzer, he is no stranger to finance. Ken has been studying finance and investing since 1975, has invested for his own account since 1977, and has managed a family investment partnership since 1997. In 2004, he put aside his other business pursuits to devote full time to wealth management, founding Kenfield Capital Strategies, one of the predecessor firms of KCS Wealth Advisory.
Prior to founding Kenfield, Ken had been a practicing Internist and served as Coordinator of Preventive Care for Southern California Kaiser-Permanente. In 1998 he founded ConvergenceHealth, which provides web-based preventive care services. He remained its part-time Chief Medical Officer until 2013.
Ken has earned several financial designations since 2004. He is a CFA charterholder, having passed all three levels in 18 months, the shortest period possible. The Chartered Financial Analyst designation is conferred by the CFA Institute, and is the primary credential recognizing expertise in financial analysis and portfolio management. More recently, Ken became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER certificant. This designation identifies individuals who have met the experience and ethical requirements of the CFP Board, have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP Certification Examination. In addition, Ken holds the ACCREDITED INVESTMENT FIDUCIARY (AIF) designation, awarded by the Center for Fiduciary Studies associated with the University of Pittsburgh. This credential certifies completion of formal training in investment fiduciary responsibility.
Ken’s prior education includes a B.A. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard College, an M.D. from Baylor College of Medicine, and an M.P.H. from Harvard School of Public Health. He completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Cambridge Hospital of Harvard Medical School.
Ken is active with a number of charities and other community organizations. He has been a board member of Step Up on Second, which provides services and permanent supportive housing for the mentally ill homeless, since 2009, and has also served as its Treasurer. He has been an active member of the Rotary Club of Santa Monica since 2004, and is currently their Treasurer and Chairman Emeritus of their International Wine Festival, a charitable fundraising event, as well as Chair of their Music Committee. Ken is also a member of Planned Giving Advisory Counsels for both OPCC and WISE and Healthy Aging. In the evening, Ken can often be found at the City Club of Los Angeles, where he serves on several member committees and was previously Chair of the Wine and Spirits Society. On Monday evenings, however, Ken sings Bass with Westside Voices an a capella singing group.
Ken has been married to Jennifer Waltzer, CPA, MBA for over 20 years. They share their home with two Siamese cats, Moka and Java. In addition to wine and charity work, Ken enjoys road bicycling, ballroom dancing and, of course, playing, singing, and listening to music.
Laura Gilman, PFP, MBA, CFP®
Co-Founder and Managing Partner
CA Insurance License #0E61376
Laura Gilman is Co-Founder and Managing Partner of KCS Wealth Advisory. Additionally, she has been the President of LGA Financial, Inc. since 2004. Laura started LGA Financial with the goal of assisting individuals and small businesses in planning for their long-term financial goals. Services she provides include comprehensive financial planning, asset allocation & investment management, risk analysis & management, tax planning, cash flow management and estate planning.
Laura has worked at numerous financial institutions over the past 20 years, including Investment & Commercial Banks, Money Management Firms, Accounting Firms, Private Investment Partnerships and Venture Capital Institutions, focusing primarily on the corporate end of these businesses. She has contributed to the operational and management improvements of various departments including finance, accounting, operations, investor relations and compliance as well as engaged in product development for Money Management institutions. In April of 2004, Laura decided to leave the corporate world behind and dedicate herself full-time to finding solutions to the numerous financial needs of her individual clients.
Laura has a BA in Economics from Brandeis University, an MBA in Finance and Accounting from New York University Stern School of Business and has earned her Professional Designation in Personal Financial Planning (PFP) from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is also a Certified Public Accountant, licensed in the State of New York and a CFP Professional.
Director of Client Service and Compliance
Gayle serves as the Director of Client Services and Compliance at KCS, and is our “go-to” person for client accounts and administrative issues. Gayle has previous experience in accounting as a bookkeeper at a major law firm, and brings 25 plus years of securities industry experience to KCS Wealth Advisory. She was previously affiliated with Financial Network Investment Corporation and National Planning Corporation. Her previous education includes an Associate in Arts degree in creative writing from Los Angeles City College, and she worked briefly in the hair salon industry.
A native of Los Angeles, Gayle is a published writer of fiction and a performance artist. Gayle has published short stories, poetry and prose in various anthologies, as well as in periodicals, newsletters and magazines. She was the recipient of the National Library of Poetry’s “Editor’s Choice Award” for outstanding achievement in poetry and also received first honorable mention in a short story contest. In 2013, she published her first children’s book “Grandma Ruby and Me.”
In addition to writing and performing, Gayle loves to travel. She learned how to use her imagination in a different way when spending time in Europe with a group of women writers. The vibration of sounds when listening to heels against cobblestone in Paris and the lushness of the countryside in the South of France brought new dimensions to her short stories. Gayle lives in Playa Del Rey with Verna, her partner of 10 plus years.
Nick Nejad, CFA®
Director of Investment Research
Nick performs investment research and analysis for KCS, and is a member of the firm’s Investment Committee. He assists Dr. Waltzer in security selection, managing client portfolios and developing investment models. He also performs a number of other operational and servicing functions. Nick is a CFA charterholder, having passed all three levels on the first attempt, and is a licensed investment adviser representative in California.
Prior to joining KCS, Nick worked as a Research Associate at Hotchkis & Wiley Capital Management, where he focused on investments in the industrial and consumer discretionary sectors. Prior to that, he worked as a Junior Equity Analyst and Client Service Associate for Del Rey Global Investors, a global investment management firm based in Los Angeles. Earlier in his career, Nick served in analyst roles for Bank of America, Baker Street Capital Management, and Sempra Energy, and also wrote for the Motley Fool. His interest in investing began from a young age—he has been managing money for his family since 2005 and writing about investing since 2006.
Nick grew up in Los Angeles and holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Aside from investing, Nick is also an avid reader and he enjoys playing basketball (he has played with 4 NBA stars), running and yoga.
Scott Gaynor, CFP®, AIF®
Director of Financial Planning
Scott provides a comprehensive approach to wealth management to help clients achieve their overall goals and objectives. He begins each relationship with a conversation to help uncover and establish a road map to move ahead. He focuses on financial planning, investments and retirement strategies.
He is a Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner and is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary ®. He earned the Certified Financial Planner ™ certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. after completing the CFP® professional certificate program through UCLA Extension. He has been awarded the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF) professional designation from fi360. He holds Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses and is a licensed insurance agent. Scott has spent his previous seven years in the financial industry at Merrill Lynch and Signature Estate & Investment Advisors, LLC (SEIA).
Scott is a graduate of Sonoma State University, where he majored in Finance and minored in Economics. While at Sonoma State, he was Captain of the Sonoma State Men’s Tennis Team, was awarded the Sonoma State University Alumni Association’s Outstanding Male Student Athlete of the Year Award, and received the Dr. William K. Crowley Award for Academic Achievement.
Scott currently resides in Santa Monica. He continues to enjoy playing competitive tennis in USTA Leagues through Southern California and is an active member of the Santa Monica chapter of Rotary International.
Director of Operations
Michelle oversees the Operations department, which is responsible for monitoring the daily activities of account administration such as account opening, trade activity and reconciliation, client reporting, corporate actions and cash flows. Michelle is a day-to-day contact for clients for any questions that arise and is the primary contact for routine information requests.
Prior to Joining KCS Wealth Advisory as the Director of Operations, Michelle was a Middle Operations Associate at Los Angeles Capital Management, and before that, a Senior Associate at both Guggenheim Partners and Capital Group Companies. Michelle received a BA from the University of Southern California.
Kellie handles administrative duties and assists with client relations at KCS. She keeps our growing office running smoothly, and helps us stay organized by taking on the responsibility of document and database management for the firm.
Kellie graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. Following graduation, she worked for VSE Corporation, a government subcontractor. Kellie later worked as an assistant in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of New Mexico. She came to Kenfield after spending several years raising her daughter.
Kellie moved to the Los Angeles area in 1998 with her family. She and Randy have been married for more than 25 years. Their daughter, Shannon, started college in New York City in August of 2010. Kellie recently started doing volunteer work with the LA Conservation Corps’ SEA Lab in Redondo Beach. She helps in the nursery, growing native Southern California plants that are used to replace invasive, non-native plants around the Los Angeles basin. Kellie also enjoys taking bike rides along the beach and seeing the rotating exhibits at local museums.