Conley Capital Group

phone: (541) 686-1201
fax: (541) 686-1402


What we do

Conley Capital is essentially an asset manager - we help people decide what to invest in and when. We also do some financial planning for clients from time to time, especially when establishing a new relationship. However, most financial planning is reasonably straight-forward and readily available from many sources. The tough part is picking and managing the investments. Our work focuses on determining what offers good value. In other words, we look for what seems cheap at any given time, adjusted for risk and historical context. This often turns out to be something different than most people are currently recommending or buying. We accomplish this by tapping into a network of contacts and sources established over 35 years. We also do extensive reading and research. Much of this happens outside of what most people would consider “conventional” sources or “normal” channels. Because we are not constrained in either thinking or investment choices by large brokerage houses, insurance companies or financial planners' research and product restrictions, you will often find that our ideas are somewhat outside the mainstream. What Conley Capital might suggest may not seem very comfortable to you at first, but because things are seldom what they seem, our ideas often will make sense after you understand and carefully consider the thinking behind them. That being said, they don’t all work all of the time, so carefully evaluating risk is an essential part of our process.

In reality, most investment advice today has its roots in work that originated at the University of Chicago in the 1970s. The Chicago school assumes that markets are rational and efficient because the participants are “rational acting profit maximizers”. In other words, people behave rationally and always act in their own self-interest. However, we believe this is simply not true because markets are made up of people. From the newest neophyte to the most experienced portfolio manager, they all make decisions in emotional ways. If we are correct then the Chicago school of thought, called Modern Portfolio Theory, is largely wrong. The result is that most research, investment advice and recommendations available today simply don’t work very well; in fact, they can be downright dangerous to your financial well-being.

At Conley Capital we believe emerging research in Behavioral Economics better describes how markets function and people behave when making investment decisions. We think we live in a “Reversion to the Mean” world. In simple terms this means that from time to time people's emotions cause the price of various things to get far too expensive; at other times fear causes them to get way too cheap. Eventually, however, prices return to "fair value" or do what's called "revert to the mean". Our 35 years of experience tends to validate this point of view. However, we also know we can be subject to the same emotions. The difference is that we realize this and take it into account when analyzing investments and recommending them to our clients. We apply the same thinking when investing, and sometimes speculating, for our own personal accounts.

Conley Capital does not manage money under power of attorney. Further, we believe that a certain amount of client participation in the decision-making process is essential to the long-term success of everyone involved.

Who we do it for

Conley Capital has about 150 clients at any given time. The typical account has assets between $500,000 and $5,000,000 (though a few are smaller and some are larger). Most of our clients are reasonably conservative investors. Many are retired, in the run up to retirement, have inherited money or sold a business or property. Often people come to Conley Capital at a time of financial change, either because they have recently acquired a lump sum of capital they need help managing, or because they’re dissatisfied with the advice they are currently receiving.

How we do it and what we charge

At Conley Capital we offer a free telephone consultation with Gary Conley to anyone who’s interested in talking with us. Depending on the results of this conversation, we may also offer a brief in-person consultation at no charge. Then, assuming we believe we have value to add, we might offer to do some financial planning, evaluate a current portfolio or make some investment recommendations for a potential new client. We bill by the hour for these services but always establish an agreed-upon maximum charge before we start the work. If both the client and the firm believe it would be mutually beneficial to establish a longer term relationship, Conley Capital would then charge management fees, commissions, or some combination of the two. Whatever arrangement is made, it will be something the client is comfortable with and the firm believes is in the client’s long-term best interest. Above all, our objective is to establish relationships that will stand the test of time.

A final word - Trust

"Trust is a feeling of confidence or a conviction that things can unfold within a dependable framework that embodies order and integrity." (Jon Kabat-Zinn) Trust is in short supply in the financial world these days, a world that is riddled with conflicts of interest, poor quality information (occasionally even disinformation or outright lies) and incompetence. Sometimes this nasty brew is mixed with a little bad faith and a pinch of deception. At Conley Capital we aren’t able to eliminate all the possible conflicts, but we do believe we are reasonably good at spotting incompetence and deception, as well as separating good information from noise. That’s because we’ve collected a lot of scars in the last 35 years. In addition, we always try to remember Occam’s Razor. Occam’s Razor says that the simplest solution to any problem is almost always the best.