Kara Knaack, Marketing & Communcations Coordinator
April 22, 2022
How did two entrepreneurial financial planners who desired an educational culture, not a sales culture, turn their vision into a 25-year old company?
Johnne Syverson and David Strege formed what is now Syverson Strege in 1997 with their collective vision to start a fee-only financial planning company based on servant leadership and integrity.
Syverson Strege is elated to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year! But more than anything, they are grateful for the trust-based relationships they have formed with their clients, nonprofit partners, dedicated staff members, and the communities they serve.
This milestone celebrates 25 years of a commitment to each client to honor their values, their purpose, and the “why” of their legacy through sound financial planning and investment management.
Johnne describes the history of Syverson Strege in his own words:
“In 1989, the financial planning firm in which I was a partner had an opportunity to merge with a multi-discipline financial services firm where David Strege worked as the sole financial planner.
“David was one of the youngest Chartered Financial Analysts® charterholders in the country and received his CFA in his 20’s. At the time, most people didn’t obtain the designation until they were 40.
“I liked the planning side and David liked the investment side so we worked well together there for 8 years. We both had similar faith backgrounds and core values. We decided to purchase our financial planning division from the larger firm in 1997 to form what is now Syverson Strege. We wanted to build our company around an advisory culture, not a sales culture.
“We aimed to focus on education and to take that knowledge to an understandable form for the clients. Our goal was to first understand the clients and then to create comprehensive, understandable, values-based financial plans on a fee-only basis with no commissions or product sales.”
Over the years, Syverson Strege has been committed to help bring clarity and understanding to deliver comprehensive planning and advisory services to their clients. David Strege reiterates this commitment in his statement, “Syverson Strege has a team of people who look out for other people’s interests first. We hope this mentality and commonality will continue for the next 25+ years.”
The founders of Syverson Strege each brought something special to the table: David’s understanding of investments and Johnne’s knowledge in comprehensive planning and customer-centered care and service. With those solid backgrounds and a shared set of values and faith, Johnne and David joined forces and launched Syverson Strege in 1997.
From the very beginning, Syverson Strege was founded on the uncompromising adherence to strong morals and ethics. When faced with the opportunity to form Syverson Strege, instead of leaving and taking their existing clients with them, Johnne and David chose to buy out the financial planning division from their former company because it was the right and honest thing to do, despite being the more expensive and difficult option.
Over the years, Johnne and David and the rest of the team have weathered economic upturns and downturns in their clients’ lives as well as their lives as business owners. The 2008 economic recession proved to be an especially challenging time. During that time when the net worth of clients decreased, it proved to be a very challenging time for the company.
The company emerged from that economic storm stronger as Syverson Strege financial planners have always been well versed in planning for the ebbs and flows that go along with fluctuations in the economy. With increased client communication during that challenging time, Syverson Strege feels that clients came away feeling reassured knowing that they were caring for their futures.
Although Johnne and David still serve a major role in the firm, leadership has shifted to Managing Director Lance Gunkel and his leadership team. Lance shares a matching point of view, “The foundation of the firm is that client relationships are not transactional – short-term and held in isolation. Instead, we choose long-term relationships where decisions are made by understanding the whole of the client and their goals, whether they are financial or personal in nature. We always have our door open for clients, through both good and bad times. When this all comes together, it’s the client’s relief and contentment that makes me the proudest. It’s wonderful to watch client goals become a reality.”
While it’s hard to know what the future holds for the next 25 years, Lance says this about his vision for Syverson Strege, “I’m excited to watch us as we serve future generations of our clients and grow along with them. While technology will undoubtedly change our internal operations and the ways in which we communicate with clients, our passion to empower clients, employees, and our community will remain steadfast.”
Syverson Strege believes that their clients’ life goals are their highest priority. Their promise to clients is to provide long-term, compassionate, responsible stewardship of their resources. Syverson Strege humbly thanks their clients for trusting them with their story and allowing them to be a part of their clients’ legacies. Without their trust, this 25-year milestone would not have been possible!
Nearly 80 families have been with Syverson Strege for the entire 25 years, and they currently serve over 500 valued clients. Now that’s something to celebrate! Happy 25th anniversary to Syverson Strege!