Our Firm's History
Back in the 1980s, our founder, Vincent A. Schiavi, was frustrated with a financial industry that catered primarily to institutions and the ultra-wealthy. While these large investors received enough attention to manage risk and create sustainable wealth, individuals were typically provided with cookie-cutter financial planning and investment recommendations which were often product sales in disguise.
These concerns about industry practices inspired our founder to create something better. In 1983, he formed one of the very first fee-only and fiduciary-based firms in Delaware: Schiavi & Company. Here’s the full story.
The origins of Schiavi + Dattani can be traced back to 1982 when Vincent A. Schiavi was working for Hewlett Packard and noticed that fellow employees were not taking advantage of the company’s employee stock purchase plan. The plan allowed employees to dedicate some of their pay to buying HP stock at a discount. They could turn around and sell the stock if they wanted or keep it as part of their investments.
At about that time the financial service industry was starting to use the term “financial planning”. What Vincent found was that insurance companies and brokerage firms were using financial planning as a way of marketing their services and by extension their products. Financial service representatives earned a substantial part of their pay from the commissions paid when products like whole life insurance, annuities, mutual fund shares, and various limited partnership units were sold. Were they always right for the client? No. Did every personal financial problem require a product sale as a solution? No.
Vincent came across a new group that was forming. They wanted to provide financial advice but in a manner that was less conflicted than getting paid by selling products. They wanted to be paid a fee from clients and not a commission from product providers. They wanted to align their interests with the interests of clients. They wanted to be the clients’ financial gun for hire so to speak. They would vet financial opportunities, investigate solutions to problems that did not require products. These advisors would review all financial aspects of a client’s life including cash flow, debt management, insurance protection, investment management, income tax planning, education cost funding, retirement planning, and even estate planning.