Ask Floyd Tyler why he started Preserver Partners and its in-house mutual fund and his answer might surprise you.
“I didn’t grow up with a lot and we were poor by most definitions, and there were no conversations about mutual funds or investing or saving because we didn’t have the money,” Tyler said.
“I wanted to help change that for other people…economic disparities, the widening racial wealth gap, all of that stuff doesn’t change unless people have the economic wherewithal to build wealth.”
So Tyler, a Ph.D. in finance who’d worked as a partner and director of research for a large local investment firm for a decade and taught finance at the University of Memphis, created something he didn’t see in the marketplace: an, African American-owned, institutional-quality firm. In 2009, he founded Preserver Partners.
“I had this vision for a firm that did very well by its clients in terms of generating good returns and one that reflected my values,” Tyler said.
Preserver Partner’s mutual fund offers individual investors access to institutional quality investments that individual investors couldn’t otherwise access.
In 2010, Dana Pointer, a longtime Vice President at FTN Financial, joined the firm as Chief Operating & Compliance Officer. As a native Memphian like Tyler, she felt compelled to make her hometown better.
“We have a commitment to raising the level of financial literacy in every client we work with,” Pointer said. “We say ‘here are some different ways of thinking about your financial health and well-being, and here are some tools.’ For some people, our mutual fund is a good tool.”
While the $170 million firm boasts numerous high net worth individuals and institutional investors, Pointer says they love working with smaller and first-time investors.
“For many clients, it takes a lot of time and thought before making the decision to invest. We understand that investing is a big step,” Pointer said. “So, when we sit at the table or have conversations with people before their first investment, there are a lot of questions and you can hear and feel the hesitancy they have because it’s something brand new.”
In 2016, they started a mutual fund that now accepts clients who may have as little as $500 to invest initially. There are only four African-American-owned mutual fund companies in the U.S.
Pointer and Tyler say they see a unique role for an African-American-owned and managed company like theirs.
“In our community, the African-American community, there are a lot of trust issues around money, where people have been schemed or treated poorly before,” Tyler said. “We want to be a high quality investment firm that people can trust and know that their money is being managed well by high integrity people that they can see in the community and who are involved in the community.”
“When they see the returns and their assets actually grow, they’re smiling and they feel proud to have started this new part of their financial life and achieving their financial goals. It’s very satisfying,” Tyler said “That’s where our passion comes from.”