Who We Are

Sterling Group and 3D Asset Management

Prior to forming a business together, Tom and Brian shared a view that most individual and institutional investors got flawed advice. The vast majority of investment portfolios were actively managed – advisors or brokers attempted to pick superior stocks and mutual funds or they tried to improve results by anticipating the market. Textbooks contained considerable evidence over time that most funds failed to beat an appropriate benchmark. There were books such as “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” and “Winning the Loser’s Game” that came to the same conclusion. None of this seemed to impact the popularity of active management. In fact, with few exceptions, the business models of most fund companies and brokerage firms were based on active management.

In 2006 Tom and Brian learned of a fund company Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) that was based on the same academic research that was so critical of the active management industry. During their due diligence, it became clear that DFA’s philosophy went farther than simply favoring index funds.  DFA’s investment approach used low cost asset class funds not index funds. Portfolios were constructed on the 3 factor model which favored value stocks and small cap stocks. The overall approach was compelling.

After completing their due diligence, Tom and Brian decided to build a retail investment business around DFA’s approach.  It would be predicated on educating investors on how to be a better long term investor. Access to DFA was an issue. DFA only allows a select group of Registered Investment Advisor’s to offer DFA funds to retail clients. Brian and Tom interviewed several RIA’s with DFA access and decided on 3D Asset Management (3D) located in Hartford CT. The principals of 3D had extensive industry experience as well as experience with DFA.

Brian and Tom became Investment Advisor Representatives of 3D. They formed Sterling Group to coordinate their personal retail sales and marketing efforts. Scott Hawley became an Investment Advisor Representative in 2016.