Our secret? No secrets.
Information is indeed power, and it is most powerful when shared. We believe in complete transparency, in open-source knowledge. We encourage our clients to question the status quo, and the motives of those who defend it.
In the early 1990s, the founders of Equius Partners left the Wall Street herd to embrace a new approach to investing, based on the recognition that markets and investing science have changed dramatically in the modern era. As one of the first financial planning and investment advisory firms to fully reject traditional active management and adopt a more optimally diversified and structured asset class investing strategy, Equius took the lead and never looked back.
We believe that knowledge is the foundation upon which successful portfolios are built and maintained. Not simply a knowledge of investment principles, but a deeper knowledge of who we all are as individuals and investors. Knowledge leads to confidence and confidence fosters discipline when it is needed most. Adherence to these principles inevitably leads to investment success.
Our investment approach is grounded in the work of Eugene Fama, recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on the efficient market theory. Fama, along with his colleague Ken French, also introduced groundbreaking research demonstrating that markets are multidimensional (in terms of risk and return) and that long-term portfolio results can be enhanced with thoughtful diversification among these dimensions.
Wisdom never gets old.
Everyone on the Equius team believes that adhering to our proven investment principles is the key to your success. We are focused and disciplined, but also realize we must continue to nourish our own intellectual curiosity around new technologies, new research and new generations of investors.
That’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom.
I am a Marin County native, former professional mountain biker, and graduate of Sonoma State University where I received my B.S. in finance.
Before college, I raced mountain bikes at the professional level in some of the most remarkable riding destinations North America has to offer. The experience I gained by competing at the highest level was invaluable, and it was during this period of my life that I decided to independently study finance and psychology. I became enthralled by all of the material I read and by how directly the knowledge I gained could be applied to my own life and the lives of others. As the injuries I sustained while competing became more severe, I decided to go in a different direction professionally and began the path toward earning my degree.
During college I worked as a sales representative for Peloton, where I acquired the skills necessary to better understand someone’s unique needs and perspective in any particular realm. Before long, the joy I found in working alongside prospects and clients confirmed my interest in working toward entering the wealth management industry.
Upon graduating, I knew I wanted to work for a firm that followed proven investment principles while delivering an unmatched clientele experience. This is what attracted me to Equius Partners. I am excited to be integrated into the team and will strive to uphold these core principles throughout my career.
Outside of the office, I can be found exploring the Bay Area, immersing myself in nature (including very cold water), reading, exercising, and enjoying the presence of family and friends.
Mike Bolgatz, J.D.
I have B.A. from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a J.D. from New College School of Law. I am presently member in good standing with the California State Bar Association.
I have extensive background in legal, regulatory and compliance matters related to the securities industry. I believe strongly in data-driven modern economic research, disciplined long-view investing, and active client engagement. My belief in the power of the capital markets is as unshakable as my belief in the ingenuity and dynamism of the human spirit.
In Equius I find the rare culmination of professionalism, science and hard work grounded in a deep understanding of thoughtful investing and what it means to be a true fiduciary. In every way, Equius puts the client first which matches my goal of helping others safely achieve financial independence and security.
My other great passion, and where I learn some of life’s most valuable and inspiring lessons, is helping and mentoring high school aged students who are applying to college, some being first in their family to do so, produce quality admission essays.
I live in Berkeley and have five children, ranging in age from 17 to 27. When not at work, you can usually find me spending time with my family, biking, hiking, or exploring the incredibly beautiful San Francisco Bay Area – usually in search of snacks.
Client Service Manager
I joined Equius Partners in April 2012 after 18 years as an administrative professional in the telecommunications field, where I managed day-to-day operations. As a client service associate, I combine my knowledge of office operations with my high level of customer service to ensure all client service requests are handled with the utmost of professionalism. My interpersonal communication skills, excellent organizational and customer service skills, and keen attention to detail enable me to provide a top-notch service experience to our clients and prospective clients.
My leadership extends outside Equius as a member of Toast of Petaluma, and I have also been active in leadership in my church. I live in Petaluma with my husband, Ted, and our dog, Teddy, where we enjoy cooking, camping, and spending time with our family and friends. We have participated in and have won barbecue cook-offs! I also love to read, run and walk, and I have participated in a number of half marathons.
Alex Gangl, CFA, CFP®
Director of Financial Planning, Senior Wealth Advisor
I graduated from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 1999 with an honors degree in Mechanical Engineering and have held positions with Magna International, Atlantis Aerospace, Eaton-Yale, Husky Injection Molding Systems and Agilent Technologies.
I left Agilent in 2005 to pursue my passion for helping people in more tangible and personal ways by joining a wealth management firm in San Rafael, CA. There I served clients for 11 years ultimately becoming a Principal and a member of the Investment Committee before leaving to found my own wealth management company in 2018.
Along the way I earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Financial Analyst designations. Respectively, these are widely considered the industry gold standards for excellence in the fields of financial planning and financial markets.
A desire to bring more support and service to clients inspired me to join Equius Partners in 2019. What I really enjoy is helping folks see a path to financial independence and working with them to achieve their most salient life goals.
My wife, three children and I live in Novato where I serve on the board of my children’s school's Parent Teacher Association. When not at work or raising my family, I may be found riding my Onewheel and playing Pickleball. Other interests include mountain biking, snowboarding and camping.
COO, Chief Compliance Officer
I grew up on the Central Coast of California in San Luis Obispo. My experience and accomplishments as a high school and college basketball player helped me develop leadership skills that serve me well at Equius and in other aspects of my life.
At Sutter Health, prior to joining Equius, I was part of a small team that spearheaded the development of a new Labor Management Center responsible for the staffing of three East Bay hospitals. Eventually earning the title of director, I was responsible for overseeing all operations and over 30 staff members associated with the department. I joined Equius in 2016 to guide our business operations and serve as our chief compliance officer.
I have always had a passion for personal finance, and my experience in mentoring, guiding, and leading teams to successful outcomes serves us well at Equius. I’m passionate about what we do for our clients and helping those closest to me achieve financial peace of mind.
I graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in communications. When not at the office, I can be found on the court either playing or coaching basketball or (increasingly) at home with my wife, Kari, and our daughter, Autumn, in Petaluma.
Phil Jonckheer, CFA
My passion for investing came from my dad, a Dutch international banker. I was the first Jonckheer educated in the United States, earning a B.A. from Harvard. My interest in finance led to a Stanford M.B.A. While there, I was inspired by my love of education to attain a master’s in education. Revolutionary researcher Daniel Kahneman, the first psychologist Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, nurtured my fascination with how behavior affects wealth.
With that knowledge, I began my quest to serve others in their best interests. As a growth stock portfolio manager, I learned the follies of stock picking and market timing. As a corporate finance partner with Ernst & Young, I encountered the many faces of risk. In 1991, David Booth, founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors, introduced me to asset class investing, on which I began building Dynamic Funds Management (DFM). In 2007, Jeff Troutner’s TAM Asset Management merged with DFM to form Equius Partners.
My love of community called me to chair Alchemia, serving individuals with disabilities through arts, and Project Redwood, a partnership I founded with my business school class to alleviate poverty. My belief that the most effective way to reduce global poverty is through educating girls and women led me to serve as chair of the board for Daraja, an organization dedicated to schooling Kenyan girls. I also counsel Grace’s Kids, which educates and nourishes Ugandan children, and No Bully, which promotes social and emotional intelligence for children worldwide.
I am blessed with three children, Liz, Will, and Gussie; a son-in-law, Mike; and two granddaughters, Poppy Jane and Willow Roselyn. I am a master swimmer and a budding sailor. My preference for liquid assets includes wines.
I am a fifth-generation Marin native. My first exposure to asset class investing came in 2005 when I interned for Jeff Troutner’s original firm, TAM Asset Management, the summer before my senior year at Gonzaga University. I went on to graduate from Gonzaga in 2006 with a B.A. in finance and, soon after, returned to the Bay Area to begin my career. Over the next 11 years, I sharpened my business acumen, gaining experience in the areas of corporate governance, proxy research, and vote management, as well as in cloud and digital workflow technology.
I joined Equius in August 2017, fulfilling my longtime goal of returning to the firm that had intrigued me as an intern. I bring experience and perspective to my role as a relationship manager and feel an undeniable sense of purpose helping our clients achieve their goals.
I grew up sailing the San Francisco Bay, mountain biking on Mt. Tamalpais, and playing lacrosse for Marin Catholic High School. When not working, I love being outside enjoying everything the beautiful Bay Area has to offer, including sailing, hiking, wakeboarding, and restoring classic cars.
Delivering outstanding customer service has always been an essential part of a day’s work for me. I am responsible for all office procedures, and I get to use my organizational skills to ensure smooth operations in a busy environment. I regularly find myself drawing upon my entrepreneurial skills, education in business and accounting, and experiences working with giants in the entertainment industry.
Equius is such a unique company because the team shares a common vision for excellence, and will never grow too big to not know each client personally. The number of referral clients speaks volumes about the loyalty and trust Equius has earned over the years.
After studying accounting at New Mexico State University, I diligently worked my way from Los Angeles to New York, before finally landing in beautiful Marin County, earning my graduate gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) along the way. My beautiful family includes two vivacious daughters, Evangeline and Beatrix, and two dynamic dachshunds, Stella and Josie. Together, we enjoy exploring all that Northern California has to offer, from the expansive beaches to the glorious redwood trees, making friends everywhere we go.
Founding Partner, Chief Investment Officer
I graduated from Indiana University with a B.S. in business administration and a major in finance. I started my career in 1980 as a stockbroker.
At a major Wall Street firm, I became one of the first and most successful brokers nationwide to specialize in evaluating and recommending independent, fee-based investment advisors to my clients. This was my first step toward taking a more consultative and fiduciary (rather than transactional) approach to working with investors. A significant part of this effort involved preparing quarterly portfolio performance reports of time-weighted rates of return (the standard today) using the recently introduced Apple Macintosh computer and spreadsheet software. This was virtually unheard of in the brokerage industry then and is still rare today. In 1988, I joined one of my recommended advisory firms in its new San Francisco office.
In 1992, I founded TAM Asset Management to introduce serious investors to the long-term benefits of indexing and asset class investing. TAM was one of the first independent investment advisory firms to fully reject stock picking and market timing in managing client portfolios. In mid-1993, my monthly publication, TAM Review (now named AssetClass), was launched to inspire investors (and other advisors) to apply more modern methods of achieving long-term investment success. In 2007, I merged TAM with Dynamic Funds Management to form Equius Partners.
I am married to my high school sweetheart, Kathy, and live in San Rafael. I have four children and nine grandchildren (with one more on the way!). I thoroughly enjoy mountain biking on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County and the mountains around Lake Tahoe, sea kayaking on San Francisco Bay, snowboarding and backpacking in the Sierras, and scuba diving wherever the water is warm.
Managing Partner, Senior Wealth Advisor
I joined Equius Partners in 2006 after earning my B.S. in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, where I was awarded a commercial pilot instrument rating for single- and multi-engine airplanes.
My passion for our business and the science of finance motivated me to earn a master’s in finance from Golden Gate University. At Equius, I’m responsible for a significant portion of our relationships as well as leading and mentoring our team of advisors.
I live in the beautiful water community of Bel Marin Keys in Novato, CA with my wife, Kori, and our three children, Johnie Lee, Quint, and Charli. When not at work, I’m likely to be found running Stinson Beach with my family and dogs, Maverik, mountain biking Marin County’s trails, snowboarding the Sierras, or showing friends and family the beauty of Northern California from 10,000 feet.
David Wootton, AIF®
Senior Wealth Advisor
I joined the Equius Partners team in September 2009, shortly after earning a B.A. in economics with a minor in cognitive science from the University of California, Los Angeles.
While a student at UCLA, I focused on the behavioral aspects of economics and investing. I was intrigued by the failure of active management and too many stories of investor woe, and my desire to help right this wrong immediately drew me to Equius’ investment philosophy. Our evidence-based approach and thoughtful counseling reduces stress for our clients by helping them remain confident and disciplined through all market cycles. As a relationship manager, my priority is to provide an exceptional investment experience to our clients.
I currently live in San Francisco. In my time outside the office, I enjoy hiking and backpacking along the California coast, playing pickup soccer in Golden Gate Park, and training for the Dipsea, the oldest trail race in America.
I am an Equius client of 25 years who founded, ran, and eventually sold Lux Design, San Francisco. My business rewarded me and my family well, but it was because of my adoption of an Equius-based, asset class portfolio and life plan that I was able to find financial serenity and retire at 48.
The very traits that made me successful as an entrepreneurial business person-being active, making gut-based decisions could have very well been my financial undoing had I not been introduced to Equius by my CPA. Thankfully, I soon embraced the notion of working with the power of markets, not trying to outwit them, and instead redirecting my energies to enjoying the richer things in life, like my 15-year-old daughter, Kathryn.
After a few years with an overabundance of time, I approached Jeff, Phil, and TJ, suggesting I help them spread the good word of Equius. Currently, I am working to better understand other clients' perspectives on Equius and helping lead the growth of our business.
Jason Zahorenko, AIF®
Senior Wealth Advisor
I graduated from Arizona State University with a B.S. in finance and have over nineteen years' experience in the wealth management industry. Prior to joining Equius Partners in 2007, I began my career at Charles Schwab.
My passion at Equius is to help clients by sharing my knowledge of modern investing principles with them and then aligning those principles with their goals and aspirations. I take great satisfaction in helping people achieve successful financial outcomes and feel my greatest offering to our clients is to help alleviate the anxiety and stress of investing.
I live in Novato with my wife, Lisa, and enjoy cycling and mountain biking in my spare time. I have participated in a number of cycling events, including one that traverses the great state of Iowa.
By sharing our knowledge of modern investing principles with you, and by aligning those principles with your personal goals and aspirations, we help develop the confidence and discipline necessary for you to achieve superior results through all market cycles.
Our no-nonsense approach to investing is a refreshing change for investors who have been dissatisfied with traditional investment firms. Our clients include educators, physicians, attorneys, business owners, and retirees. Some have modest income and wealth. Others have more. They are fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters; trustees, charities, 401(k) plans, foundations, and endowments.
Portfolio & Behavior Management
We build and maintain sound portfolios and handle the challenges associated with long-term investing through effective listening and professional counsel. We work hard at changing behavior that may have undermined investment progress in the past.
Customized Financial Planning
While our core principles are unwavering, we recognize that every investor is different. So, we design plans that are tailored to your needs, your goals, and your life aspirations.
Generational Wealth Counseling
Creating a plan to transfer wealth generationally can be complex and emotionally challenging. We take all the time necessary to understand your true intentions, and work with you to create a plan that provides lasting financial comfort for your family and other potential beneficiaries of your wealth and values.
Retirement Plan Solution
Whatever your vision of the ideal retirement, you will need a long-term plan that ensures stable and sustainable income regardless of unexpected life events or market circumstances. If you are a corporate plan sponsor, we offer modern, lower-cost solutions to meet your employees’ goals and your fiduciary responsibility
Working with Equius
Not surprisingly, it’s different for everyone. Let’s dive deep to determine what wealth means to you, in relation to your current investments, ambitions and aspirations. Once we define it, we will help you achieve it.
Based on our initial conversations with you, we create a strategic roadmap for your financial journey. We share our knowledge and confidence in a way—and at a pace—that suits your particular situation. We consider a lifelong commitment to learning and practicing core investment principles as essential to your success.
Once your investment plan is in place, we schedule annual performance reviews and regular check-ins. As market conditions change, we manage your portfolio according to the plan (always considering taxes and other costs). As your life changes, we recommend changes that address your changing needs. Ours is a collaborative approach with one goal in mind: providing you with the stable, comfortable, predictable, and successful advisory relationship you deserve.