Dennis Criteser

As a Investment Advisory Representative (IAR) with Compass Investments, LLC, I manage investments for people who would rather not take on the task themselves.

I came to this work in a circuitous fashion, spending much of my pre-50s in the world of the arts, both as Program Director of Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco and as a studio “artist” producing and recording albums for myself and others. I was motivated by Art, not by Money. In the back of my mind, I knew I would someday inherit a fine collection of classic cars restored by my father over the course of twenty years, two with me as his assistant.

In the early 1990s, it started sinking in that my father would not live forever. I began studying money and investments in order to honor my father’s eventual gift – I wanted to understand money and how to handle it intelligently.

While I started as a math major at Stanford University in 1969, I left that subject to pursue other worlds. Studying investments was a return to a part of me I’d left behind. I studied the academic literature on finance (research that is driven by a desire to find out what is and isn’t so, not by the desire to sell products), and combined that with hands-on investing. I eventually reached a point where I wanted to use my understanding and deep interest to help bridge the worlds of Art and Money. Since 2000 I have worked as a IAR helping artists, musicians, and other creative types to manage and understand their investments.

My core work is investment management, but I sometimes help clients understand issues related to taxes, inheritance, divorce, real estate, insurance, college planning and retirement planning. My investment approach reflects the answers to two primary questions: 1) what is the current economic environment regarding growth and inflation? 2) given the economic environment, which investments perform best and which worst?

Using exchange-traded funds (ETFs), I then construct portfolios that have the highest probability of giving good risk-adjusted returns. I am very concerned with avoiding significant drawdowns. My work is based on rigorous quantitative, bottom-up and macro analysis supplied by independent research firm Hedgeye in Stamford, CT.