Employees at Cornerstone Advisors mark the passage of each year with a group photo; no one is left out at the money manager.

Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management

Employees get respect they deserve and offer "undivided loyalty' in return

Fifth place, managers with 20 to 49 employees

“Undivided loyalty” is more than marketing copy at Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management Inc., says Thomas Scalici, CEO of the $5.1 billion money management firm in Bethlehem, Pa.

“It's not just our motto, but it underscores our role as fiduciary to our clients,” which include both defined benefit and defined contribution retirement plans, foundations, endowments and private clients.

“You can't spreadsheet excellence,” says Mr. Scalici, whose 28-person firm just moved to 100% employee-owned and is a first-time winner in Pensions & Investments' Best Places to Work in Money Management survey. “With so much focus on fees and fee compression, leadership, management and creativity have to be the differentiators. We offer the unique ability for each person to create good results and bring passion to what they do.”

Employees agree. “The shareholders and senior-level employees treat everyone with respect no matter what position you are in,” said one employee. “There's such a potential to move up in the organization and they do what they can do get you where you want to be. They want you to succeed, which is wonderful to see.”

Mr. Scalici says this includes structured feedback for employee learning and growth, as well as ad hoc discussions throughout the year. “The culture is going to be a reflection of our leadership,” said Mr. Scalici, and that includes teaching clients and employees about governance and the values of a fiduciary relationship.

“Cornerstone provides amazing opportunities to those who wish to take them and is proactive in removing impediments to growth,” said another employee. “The work environment is challenging and the people we have are high performers. People are also treated with respect and it is not uncommon to hear the leadership tell employees to take care of their families first when issues arise. The team will pick up the slack.”

This article originally appeared in the December 12, 2016 print issue as, "Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management".