The Spotlight on the Team interview for September 2017 is with Kieran Osborne, who is moving from his role as Senior Portfolio Manager to become Chief Investment Officer at Mission Wealth this year. In this interview, Kieran speaks about what guides his approach, his love for rugby, and what led him to a career in finance. He also discusses tax-efficient asset location, and how it may increase one’s after-tax wealth.
What are a few childhood experiences you had that formed who you are today?
From an early age, my parents instilled in me a sense of how to treat people fairly and with respect: their mantra was always “treat others how you would like to be treated.” That principle continues to guide me today.
My parents also imparted a strong work ethic and taught me the value of a dollar. My brother and I were given a weekly allowance dependent on small jobs around the house (clean the dishes, make our bed), but if we did larger jobs (mow the lawns, clean the car, etc.) we were paid more per job. They incentivized me to take after school jobs: paper boy, milkman (yes, I delivered milk door-to-door), and later when I had my license, pizza deliverer. They let me be in charge of my personal finances from an early age, and focused on the importance of saving: “You could buy this small thing today, but if you want to buy that larger item, you’ll have to save for X weeks.”
How do you like to spend time outside of Mission Wealth?
Having two young kids (a three-year-old and a six-month-old) keeps me very busy outside of work! I love spending quality time with my kids and beautiful wife, and Santa Barbara is an ideal location. Most weekends you can find us at one of the local beaches digging holes, filling buckets with water, building sand castles, swimming and surfing, followed by food at one of the local cafes.
Are you a raving fan of anything – like a sports team or band or school? And why?
Rugby and New Zealand's national team, the All Blacks. Having grown up in New Zealand, I have always been a fan of rugby – I think it’s ingrained in every Kiwi’s DNA! Catching a game in the States comes with its challenges: I can’t count the number of times I’ve stayed up to the early hours to catch an All Blacks game!
Since moving to Santa Barbara, I’ve coached youth league rugby teams as well as refereed a number of games. I also captained the University of Texas rugby team while studying in Austin.
What’s something interesting that people don’t know about you?
As an after-school job growing up, I delivered milk door-to-door from a trolley I pushed around the streets. That's right: until the late 1990s the fine people of Napier, New Zealand, had milk delivered right to their doorstep by teenagers such as myself. In exchange for tokens, we would leave milk either in the back of the mailbox or on the doorstep. I have to say, being a milkman was one of the most prestigious after-school jobs at the time, and when I was promoted to work from the delivery van itself - oh wow, did I have it made!
At Mission Wealth we talk to people all the time about what their goals and aspirations are. So what’s on your bucket list?
My bucket list is definitely travel related. Amongst the places I'd love to visit are: South Africa, South-West France, San Sebastián, Portugal, would love to see more of the Croatian coast, Kauai (looking to travel there in the near-term), Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Vietnam, Philippines ... the list could go on! I'd also like to try sky diving at some point.
What do you think makes you well-suited for your current role?
I've always been a numbers guy, very detail oriented, analytical and curious. I think my relatively calm demeanor also helps - I don't get rattled easily or make hasty decisions. Being interested in numbers naturally led to a career in finance. Having attention to detail is critical: in my role, it's imperative to "dot all your i's and cross all your t's." Analyzing our current investments and new opportunities is something I find a lot of satisfaction in, and I’m always curious to learn more. The opportunity set of investments is ever-evolving and I’m excited for what the future holds for our portfolios.
Is there something about your personality that guides your approach?
At Mission Wealth I'm blessed to work with a wonderful team, and I believe one thing that sets us apart is a core tenet across our team members to put our clients first - day in, day out. It certainly guides my approach on a daily basis. Every decision we make across our various departments is made with our clients' best interests at heart. It’s a guiding principle behind not only my daily routine, but I believe everybody in the firm.
What does a day of work look like to you?
The mornings are typically the busiest trading hours for our department. I like to start the day with a brief update on the markets, major news headlines and economic developments. I check in with the team to get an update from them and then it's trade time: allocation changes, new account implementation, model adjustments, etc., before I begin reviewing and approving other team member trades.
The afternoon is typically more research oriented: existing fund reviews and research as well as new investment ideas and opportunities. I like to leverage our extensive list of investment partners to get updated economic outlooks, most recent research reports and ad-hoc requests on special topics, all of which helps to inform our portfolio management decisions. The afternoon is also spent updating and maintaining our model portfolios and our system settings, so we’re ready for another trading day.
What major projects and initiatives are going to be your focus in the coming years?
How we leverage and adapt to technological changes going forward is going to be extremely important within our industry. I believe we're already ahead of the curve on this front, and I'm excited for the future challenges here.
What is a subject or area of finance that not many people know a lot about, but understanding it could really help their financial picture?
Tax-efficient asset location. Thinking about your accounts as one large portfolio rather than managing each account individually allows you to maximize your after-tax returns. It’s something we focus on whenever investing on behalf of our clients.
Where possible, consider allocating your taxable accounts to more tax-favored growth asset classes offering qualified dividend income (QDI) and tax-free income in the form of municipal bonds; allocate your Roth accounts to high growth, tax-inefficient asset classes; allocate your IRAs to less tax-efficient asset classes that may generate high levels of ordinary income. This may help shelter you from paying too much to Uncle Sam, and ultimately increase your after-tax wealth.