After having begun his professional career in Seattle and on the East Coast, Christopher Malde, owner of Malde Capital Management LLC, says living in Spokane is a dream come true.
Malde, 36, grew up in Ellensburg, Wash., and attended Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business and went to work for Premera Blue Cross, in Seattle.
Nearly two years later, he and his wife, Jessica, looking for adventure, "threw a dart on the map and ended up in New Hampshire," where Malde says he worked three years in corporate finance, banking, accounting, and risk management.
"I had always had an interest in investing," he says.
In pursuit of that interest, he landed a job as a research analyst with a Connecticut-based hedge fund.
"I learned a lot and became their chief financial officer," he says.
Along the way, the couple, now with three children, grew weary of the East Coast life and decided to move nearer the West Coast, namely Spokane, where Malde joined Hart Capital Management Inc. in 2016 and founded his own firm earlier this year.
"Spokane has been a really nice balance of being big, everything that you're looking for but still having very much a small-town feel," he says.
He currently has a home office and meets with clients on their turf.
His target market is clients ages 35 to 45, although Malde says he has a few clients on the older side of that range.
"The average client is 41 or 42," he says. "They might not have as much to invest now as they would 30 years from now, but I can grow with them and help guide them along the way and make sure that they have everything set up that they should."
Malde contends many studies show a large number of Americans aren't prepared for retirement.
"I like helping them, providing transparent, thoughtful expertise to investors to make sure they feel comfortable about their financial future."
Malde says clients appreciate his approach.
"Being an independent investment adviser, I don't have any incentives to sell them any products. It's just purely what I feel will work best for them," he asserts, adding, "I'm less of a salesman and more of a pure investor and just try to get their money working for them."
The young firm's client growth rate is respectable, Malde contends.
"It's definitely a marathon instead of a sprint, but I'm pleased so far," he says.
He advises other young professionals looking to be leaders to be open to new opportunities.
"Saying 'yes' opens doors and creates great experiences," Malde says. "Things have a way of coming back around and being helpful."
Malde says young professionals also can take on leadership roles lending their talents to community programs. "There's lots of opportunity to get involved," he says.
Malde, for example, is a mentor with the nonprofit Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest.
He's also a guest lecturer at WSU's business school and has helped advise WSU teams competing in the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge competition.
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