The Times West Virginian

November 17, 2013

‘Superlative’ service goal at Kettering Investment Strategies

By Jessica Borders
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Kettering Investment Strategies LLC is providing personal, “superlative” service to help clients accomplish their goals.

Owner/president Matt Kettering opened the business, which is an affiliate of Raymond James Financial Services, at 1408 Country Club Road in Fairmont at the beginning of August. He is also a financial advisor for Raymond James Financial Services.

For the previous 13 years, he served as a financial advisor for Edward Jones in Fairmont. Beth Williams, who worked with Kettering at Edward Jones, has taken on the role of director of branch operations for Kettering Investment Strategies.

This independent, full-service financial advisory firm targets three different groups: retirees and pre-retirees, small business owners, and high net worth families and entities.

“We wanted to be able to kind of focus on our top client relationships to try to be able to really serve them even more deeply than before,” Kettering said. “I think we’re going to be able to keep our clients better informed, adhering to a sound financial strategy that’s specific to their needs.”

He said the business has defined a clear, three-step investment process that includes understanding the client’s current financial situation, designing a strategy that has an appropriate amount of risk and corresponding investment choice, and maintaining the plan and adjusting as needed.

The firm wants to help clients take advantage of opportunities that have good value from a historical perspective, which can be hard to find in today’s difficult investing climate. With interest rates almost at zero and stocks at historical highs, Kettering Investment Strategies is working to make sure clients are aware of this unique, current environment and are able to adapt, Kettering said.

When clients come to the office, they get a very friendly, interactive experience, he said. The conference room offers an atmosphere that is professional but not formal, with no desks in the room, which helps the clients to be open and comfortable.

With the help of a 55-inch flat-screen TV and special software, people can see their financial plan come together before their eyes and understand how the different variables will affect their long-term plan. They can look at when they want to retire, how long they plan on living, their assets, their risk tolerance and more, Kettering said.

“I think we have the best financial planning tools available in the industry,” he said.

The aspect of choice is also important. Kettering Investment Strategies offers high-quality, conservative stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Clients can add alternative investments to diversify their portfolio and reduce the risk, Kettering said.

“I like helping people solve problems in a conservative way,” he said. “I think communication has a lot to do with that, not just from my side but being able to listen. That really allows us to use the tools that we have to put together a plan that really works for the client.” 

Kettering said the transition to the new business is going well, and the firm is staying busy. Within the next three to six months, he plans to open a satellite office in Bend, Ore., where there are opportunities to keep the same focus but expand the business.

He and his wife Adrian, who is from Oregon, live in Fairmont with their children Paxon, 8, and Foster, 5.

Matt grew up in Fairmont and went to college at Duke University in North Carolina. Before his financial career, he taught high school for four years in Florida and also taught abroad for a year in Korea.

His father, Jim Kettering, has been a financier his whole life. Matt worked with his dad at Edward Jones for four years, which he said was an invaluable learning experience for him.

Getting started in this field during the downturn of 2000 to 2002, after the tech bubble burst, was also a good time to learn conservative strategies and about managing risk appropriately, Matt said.

He and his brother Paul Kettering, who is part of Kettering Delligatti Law Offices in downtown Fairmont, are the fourth generation of the family to run businesses in the Friendly City.

In the early- to mid-1920s, their late great-grandfather, Harry Earl Kettering, started Kettering Baking Co. in Fairmont. Their grandfather, the late James R. Kettering Sr., was also involved in Kettering Baking Co., as well as their father Jim before he became an Edward Jones broker.

Kettering Investment Strategies LLC is open Monday through Friday. For more information, call 304-363-3555.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.