The company was notified of its inclusion on the 2018 Financial Times 300 in June, and was only one of two Tennessee firms to make this year’s list.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” said Chris Kittrell, who co-founded the company in 2000 with Lytle Rather. “It shows that a lot of what we have done over the last 10 years has gotten us where we are today, and it is very cool to see that recognized nationally in such a prominent publication.
“This award certainly validates our process and our people and how we go about helping others make smart decisions with their money.”
It is the first year Rather & Kittrell has been named to the list, which determines the top 300 registered investment firms among nearly 30,000 nationwide, based on criteria that includes assets under management (average FT 300 manages $4.1 billion in assets) and AUM growth rate, years in existence and compliance records.
Kittrell credits the late Chad Starliper for a lot of the company’s direction and accomplishments. Starliper had been with Rather & Kittrell for 13 years and was its Chief Investment Officer and senior advisor when he died of cancer last year.
“Chad inspired us and led the charge to adopt a fiduciary model,” Kittrell said. “That led us to a comprehensive wealth management approach.
“We certainly would not be where we are today if it had not been for Chad.”
That model includes advising and guiding clients on a wide range of related topics, including investment consulting, wealth transfer, wealth enhancement, wealth protection and charitable giving, among others, he said.
“That (expanded) focus on the financial planning side is what definitely put us over the top,” Kittrell said.
He also credits the company’s 22-member staff for contributing to the honor.
“We are so proud of the team we have built here, and the level of professionalism we have with eight certified financial planners” on staff, Kittrell said.
“The team we have is committed to our clients and serving them well. It’s a special group.”
Kittrell said when he and Rather met 20 years ago, they quickly realized how their methodologies complemented each other’s strong suits.
“We knew there was a better way to do things, and people have responded to it. (Our success) shows how we have been able to simplify a complicated subject and build up the level of trust and responsibility with our clients.
“We have treated them like family.
“I love sharing the news (of being named to the FT 300) with our clients, and they have enjoyed sharing it, too.
“Our clients are the most important part of our story.”