Six Questions with Charlie Stanton '09 BSBA (Finance) '16 MSF
Chief Executive Officer, Valley Asset Management, LLC
Tell us about your work with Valley Asset Management.
After graduating with a finance major in 2009, I worked for a wealth advisor in Tucson. Two years later, I joined a firm as a business appraiser valuing privately held companies for a variety of purposes, including mergers and acquisitions, gift and estate tax, shareholder buyouts, divorce and employee stock ownership plans. Last year, I left my career in valuation to pursue a unique opportunity to run a property management company with an established clientele. Instead of valuing companies, I am now in the position of running a company and working to create value. Fortunately, I get to do this with a close friend, Harry Zeitlin, also a 2016 MSF graduate.
How would you compare your position as an asset manager with your prior position as valuation analyst?
My current position is different from my previous experience but shares a similar skill set. Right now, I am running a small boutique firm that manages about $50 million of commercial real estate in Phoenix and Tucson. As a business appraiser, I was analyzing companies to place a value on them. Now I analyze real estate to provide owners with a deeper level of financial analysis that is informative, actionable and meaningful. My day-to-day duties are quite different from my previous job, but the overall goal is the same: use financial information to measure performance and make informed decisions.
What has surprised you about asset management?
The industry is highly fragmented and there is a general lack of quality financial analysis provided to commercial real estate owners. I see this as an opportunity to provide investors with financial analytics that are informative and meaningful. For example, property managers generally provide owners with a monthly profit and loss statement, balance sheet and aged accounts receivable. We provide this information plus include informative analytics, such as debt coverage ratios or in-place capitalization rates that helps investors make better decisions about the success of their real estate investment.
What does a typical day look like?
We are a small firm and so I wear many hats. A typical day usually starts off with accounting, such as paying invoices, collecting rents, preparing and analyzing financial statements or working on budgets. After that I follow up with tenants and vendors on any property-related issues such as repair and maintenance, site visits or negotiating a new lease. Lastly, we are looking to grow the number of properties under management and so my responsibilities have transitioned into marketing and promoting our services.
What advice do you have for current master’s in finance students ready to start their career?
I have found it important to gain experience that allows you to be of value to others. One way to achieve this is by being a resource of knowledge and know-how. This can be achieved by gaining exposure to as many aspects of business as possible, even if that means you need to get into the weeds or out of your comfort zone. Take on different roles at a company that are outside your normal competencies, even if you don’t get paid. These experiences give you valuable insights to other aspects of business that may come in handy one day. The truly successful people I have met can manage all aspects of a business.