Our Conflicts of Interest: We haven’t found any yet

(but if we discover one, we’ll let you know)

Full disclosure of our conflicts of interest: there are none.

When we created IMA, we wanted it to be a firm that we ourselves would be happy to be clients of. So while we have a monetary interest like any other for-profit business on this planet, we aligned these interests with yours.

The monetary value of our fee goes up and down with your portfolio; thus our incentive is to grow your portfolio. If clients are not happy with IMA they can leave any time and thus stop paying us. Our incentive is to do the best job possible to grow our clients’ accounts and provide incredible service to retain them.

The only fee you will pay to IMA is the management fee that we agreed upon when you became a client (found in your management agreement and each quarterly statement). Our fees are billed quarterly based on your account value on the last day of the quarter. There are no fees to open or close an account.

Brokerage firms don’t pay us any kickbacks. We don’t buy mutual funds for clients; but even if we did, they still wouldn’t pay us anything to invest in them.

Wall Street is famous for manufacturing products they’d like you to buy but that they wouldn’t consume themselves. We don’t do that. We strongly believe in what we do and follow this philosophy: If a particular stock is good for our clients, it should be good for us.

So we eat our own cooking. Vitaliy’s personal and family accounts (wife and three kids) are managed by IMA. Stocks that are bought or sold in your accounts are automatically bought or sold for Vitaliy’s son, Jonah, his daughters, Hannah and Mia Sarah, his wife, Rachel, and Vitaliy himself. Mike Conn and his family mostly own the same stocks as his clients.

We never buy or sell stocks in our personal accounts ahead of our clients – that would be illegal and simply unethical and wrong.

We also have the incentive to grow IMA by gaining new clients. However, it is much easier to grow the firm when you retain existing clients, so that’s our greatest incentive. As of October 2021 we manage $300 million. Paradoxical as it may sound, we don’t have ambitions to manage billions (Vitaliy wrote about that here). At some point we will put the brakes on our growth by limiting the number of accounts we accept each quarter and/or by raising the minimum account size.

We’ll strive hard to grow your wealth by following the investment process that we have developed and improved over decades. Just like any investment firm, we cannot guarantee future success. Here is what we can guarantee: if we make mistakes they won’t happen because of indifference or misaligned incentives. We are in the same boat with you and are sailing to the same destination.

Michael Conn, CFA
Vitaliy Katsenelson, CFA
Investment Management Associates, Inc. - A Premier Value Investing Firm