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Cornerstone: Bringing Insight, Influence and Integrity to Asset Management in Pa.

Fall 2018 Catalyst

Cornerstone is one of the nation’s leading independent investment consulting firms managing nearly $6 billion of client assets. The company’s mission is to build and preserve the assets of institutions and wealthy families, now and into the future. Its success is based on navigating complex financial decisions on behalf of its clients. Cornerstone’s mission is laid out right in its tagline: Insight. Influence. Integrity.


Cornerstone focuses on three lines of business — Institutional Consulting, Private Wealth Management and Insurance Consulting. Cornerstone is a 100 percent employee-owned, 30-person firm with clients in 25+ states across the U.S. The firm’s clientele includes entrepreneurs, not-for-profits, corporations, municipalities and various national and statewide associations. Cornerstone comprises two operating companies, Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management, LLC, its investment consulting arm, and Cornerstone Institutional Investors, LLC, an insurance agency.


Over the last two years, Cornerstone has been nationally recognized by Barron’s, Pensions & Investments, the National Association of Plan Advisors, and Financial Advisor Magazine. Cornerstone’s standing as the 54th largest national Outsourced Chief Investment Officer by Pensions & Investments is a source of pride; however, its ranking by the same source as one of the Best Places to Work in Money Management is even more important to them. This ranking is based on survey responses from the company’s employees and reaffirms the belief that Cornerstone’s culture helps to attract and retain extraordinary employees to serve its clients.[1]


As CEO, Thomas J. Scalici, said, “Cornerstone is our life’s work. I like to say that our clients are the DNA of our firm, but what sometimes goes unmentioned is that our employees are vital organs that keep the organization going strong. Our clients have high expectations for us, but our internal expectations are much greater than theirs. Without our employees showing up every day fully focused on serving our clients, we would never have gotten to where we are, or more importantly, where we want to go.”


In 2016, Cornerstone implemented an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, meaning that every eligible employee is an equity partner in the company and can benefit from the growth of the firm. For most of Cornerstone’s history, the firm has been employee-owned, but two years ago, the four shareholders acknowledged that the next generation of Cornerstone was prepared to ascend into more prominent positions of leadership and therefore deserved to benefit from the firm’s growth. The company has served several ESOP companies in its role as a consultant and recognizes the ESOP as a valuable solution to the complexities of succession planning.


Cornerstone serves many types of clients, but they all have two things in common: they believe that a fiduciary decision-making process puts them in the best position for success and that risk-management techniques are crucial to the long-run outcomes they wish to achieve. The firm has been a discretionary co-fiduciary (also known as an OCIO, Deposit Administrator, ERISA 3(21), among other names) for clients since its founding. It serves in this capacity for dozens of endowments, hundreds of retirement plans, and various Pennsylvania counties and municipalities.


Since its inception, the firm has worked with the owners of privately held businesses, with services ranging from assisting with cash management to corporate retirement plans to personal liquid assets. With almost $1 billion in private client assets, Cornerstone can act as an outsourced family office — the firm’s Corner Office service model — or as an extension of an existing family office. Besides investment capabilities, the firm provides life insurance services for families of extreme wealth, as well as asset aggregation and performance reporting.


Cornerstone does not sell product; it sells process. This means that clients can expect and will receive independent advice which is customized to their needs. So long as goals and expectations are properly set, Cornerstone’s investment process can be applied to any pool of assets.


“The next decade in the capital markets won’t look like the last decade [since the Great Recession],” says Cornerstone President, Malcolm L. “Skip” Cowen II. “It will be up to independent firms like Cornerstone to stay ahead of continually more complex financial markets and prepare our clients to be good fiduciaries for their assets. I believe that we are positioned to continue to do just that.”


[1] Inclusion in rankings and surveys does not imply anything about a particular client’s experience or investment results with Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management, LLC.


2018 Barron’s Top Institutional Consultants

The Barron’s Top Institutional Consultant list was based on a range of criteria, including institutional investment assets managed by the company’s financial advising team; revenue generated by those assets; the number of clients the team serves; the number of team members and their regulatory records; and the advanced, professional designations and accomplishments of the team.


2018 Pensions & Investments OCIO Ranking

The Pensions & Investment OCIO list ranks firms based on institutional assets in outsourced investment programs, in millions. The data gathered is based off of May 31, 2018 assets under management. For more information, please visit:


2017 Pensions & Investments Largest Investment Consultants Ranking

The Pensions & Investment Largest Investments Consultant list ranks firms based on institutional assets under advisement. The data gathered is based off of June 30, 2016 assets under management.


2018 Financial Advisor Magazine (FA Mag) Annual RIA Ranking

FA Magazine invites all independent registered investment advisors to participate who meet certain criteria.  Firms are ranked based on assets under management as of year-end 2017 ADV filings. To be eligible for the ranking, firms must be independent registered investment advisors and file their own ADV statement with the SEC and provide financial planning and related services to individual clients. For more information, please visit: — -ranking-2018-39594.html?section=133.


2017 Financial Advisor Magazine (FA Mag) Largest RIA Ranking

FA Magazine invites all independent registered investment advisors to participate who meet certain criteria.  Firms are ranked based on assets under management as of year-end 2016 ADV filings. To be eligible for the ranking, firms must be independent registered investment advisors and file their own ADV statement with the SEC and provide financial planning and related services to individual clients. Corporate RIA firms and investment advisor representatives (IARs) are not eligible for this ranking.


2017 NAPA Top DC Advisor Teams

The NAPA Top 100 DC Wholesalers list was selected based on votes casted by several thousand advisors from a list of nearly 600 wholesalers nominated by NAPA Firm Partner record keepers and DCIOs. For more information, please visit


2017 Best Places to Work in Money Management

Pensions & Investments partnered with Best Companies Group, an independent research firm specializing in identifying great places to work, to conduct a two-part survey of employers and their employees. The first part, worth 25 percent of the total score, consisted of evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophy, systems, and demographics. The second part, worth 75 percent of the total evaluation, involved an employee survey designed to measure employee experience. For a complete list of the 2017 Pensions & Investments Best Places to Work in Money Management winners and write-ups, go to


Securities offered through M Holdings Securities, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisory Services are offered through Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management, LLC.


Cornerstone Institutional Investors, LLC is a member of M Financial Group. Please go to for further details regarding this relationship.


Cornerstone Advisors Asset Management, LLC and Cornerstone Institutional Investors, LLC are independently owned and operated.

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