Brian Yacktman has had a passion for investing for as long as he can remember. Born in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, the son of a former Morningstar Manager of the Year, investment principles were taught alongside the ABCs and 123s. Stock and market analysis discussions were commonplace around the dinner table.
In the summer of 1984, the Yacktman family took a vacation to the sunny beaches of California. The family stayed in an apartment complex just a few blocks from the beach. Fond memories were created from that vacation, and one memory in particular set Brian on his destined career path.
Each day Brian's father would leave the apartment for a while to "go to work." Brian wanted to join him to see what he was doing during that time. After some begging, his father took him to his temporary "office" - a payphone a block from the apartment! When the phone call was finished, the young inquisitive boy asked his father what he was doing. As they walked back to the apartment, Don explained that he was calling his broker to see what was happening in the stock market. He said he was buying shares of Clorox for his clients at $3 per share - it had a price earnings ratio of ten and a five percent dividend yield. This obviously meant nothing to a little boy and his father knew it. He tried to explain to his son that when you buy stock in a company, you become a part owner of the business. Still, not understanding, he finally went on to explain something any child would understand. "If I use money to purchase shares in McDonald's, then every time people go to McDonald's and buy happy meals, as a part-owner of the business, I make some money, and so does everyone else who owns shares," Don enthusiastically told his son. Something clicked for the youngster, and from that day, a passion for investing was sparked.
Through the years, Brian's exposure to the investment world continued, and by 1998 he began managing money. He continued to hone his skills throughout his educational years. He attended Brigham Young University, graduating cum laude with a Bachelors of Science degree in economics, which was followed up by graduating in the top of his MBA class. He also gained invaluable experience working at his father's firm, Yacktman Asset Management. While he was there, he began to develop his own investment strategy by adding upon the foundation already built. With this knowledge and experience, and his father's blessing, Brian followed once again in his father's footsteps to create his own investment advisory firm.
While investing is a passion of his, what really motivates Brian Yacktman in the investment industry is the opportunity to help others achieve their financial goals and ultimately their own dreams. As the manager of YCG, Brian wanted to break away from the pack of investment advisors not only in investment strategies and performance, but more importantly, he wanted to put the emphasis back on the individual and customer service. He understands and respects the great trust and responsibility that is bestowed upon an investment advisor, and thus YCG's primary goal is to not only live up to, but exceed, those expectations.
In preparing to open the doors of YCG, many other talented industry professionals were consulted in the process. One of those professionals was Will Kruger, the current CEO of YCG.
Born in England and raised in South Africa, Will moved to the United States in 2001 to attend Brigham Young University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. He provides a wealth of knowledge and experience as a former Investment Associate with the Private Banking & Investment Group at Merrill Lynch located in Los Angeles, California. While at Merrill Lynch, Will was an integral part of a 20-person team that managed over $10 billion serving high net worth individuals, foundations, and endowments. "Working with Brian and starting our own investment advisory firm was a chance of a life-time and an opportunity that could not be missed" Will explains.
In 2007, YCG was officially formed, and quickly grew amidst challenges in the global market place.
In 2012, YCG continued to expand by bringing on Elliott Savage as a Portfolio Manager to supplement Brian and Will’s investment expertise. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Elliott began reading about investing at the age of 12 and used the savings from his first summer job at 16 to buy a share of Berkshire Hathaway Class B stock. Clearly hooked, he continued to invest throughout high school and during college as a Fund Manager for the student-run investment club at the University of Virginia, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Cognitive Science and with a minor in Biology. After college, he continued to hone his finance and accounting skills as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney in New York. He moved to Dallas, Texas, in 2003 when he got the opportunity to help start up Highside Capital, a long/short equity hedge fund. During his tenure at Highside, Elliott worked first as a generalist, then as an analyst in the Global Retail Group, and finally as the primary analyst in the Global Financials Group. During his career as an investor, Elliott has studied many different strategies but none resonated as strongly as YCG’s focus on owning high quality, capital-lite franchises for the long term but, importantly, with a willingness to trade down on a portion of the portfolio when the long term return is sufficiently high to justify the extra risk. So when he got the opportunity to partner with Brian and Will at YCG, he couldn’t pass it up.
For more information, see Strategies.