This summer I interned in Chicago at the Marc J. Lane Wealth Management Group (MJL), a privately held LLC. This corporation consists of four separate but affiliated firms:
- The Law Offices of Marc J. Lane
- Marc J. Lane Investment Management, Inc. (Investment Advisory)
- Marc J. Lane & Company (Broker–Dealer)
- Marc J. Lane Risk Management (Insurance Agency)
Marc J. Lane provides a strategic, multidisciplinary approach to legal, tax, investment, corporate, estate, and insurance planning.
Because MJL is a small company, approximately 20 employees, I participated in many roles at the firm. I learned about fiduciary responsibility, compliance and reporting standards, and maintaining portfolios while seeking to maximize risk-adjusted returns.
My mentor was a portfolio manager who graduated with a finance degree five years ago and is currently studying for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam. He assigned and oversaw my work, served as a resource, and explained the nuances within the firm. He demonstrated computer programs the company uses including NetX360, IW Financial, Advent AXYS, and Microsoft Excel.
My daily routine was split between the Investment Advisory firm and the Broker-Dealer firm. The Investment Advisory side, which is fee based, follows a model portfolio determined by the firm’s senior management. All clients have a $500,000 initial minimum to open an account. My responsibilities included updating clients’ performance charts each day, ensuring that assets were allocated appropriately, and tracking each account’s growth. I updated client portfolio records after trades, cash additions, and distributions. Using Microsoft Excel, I identified accounts that required rebalancing and determined how much of each holding should be bought or sold in order to maintain clients’ target equity range.
The Broker-Dealer side, which is commission based, closely follows the MJL portfolio model but not every client has the same portfolio and there is no required minimum dollar amount. Accounts are tailored to the client’s risk tolerance, objectives, and unique social and environmental concerns. Because MJL Investment Management helps clients select alternative securities based on their social values, certain accounts do not fit the model portfolio and require extra research. My role included conducting ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) research to help socially conscious clients align their investment portfolios with their own specific core-beliefs. I performed cost-basis analyses and created charts providing an overview of individual accounts before the broker-dealer suggested modifications to a client.
After working at MJL, I realized that a career in finance is a viable option for me. I found it particularly rewarding when an equity recommendation was approved based on my research. Although I found working from 9am to 5pm exhausting, the days went quickly. I learned how to monitor and evaluate clients’ accounts and realized how important it is to have a broader understanding of the social sciences in addition to a financial background.
Photo Credit: US National Archives