Taking an end-of-summer break from the usual format and getting to know each other better.
Coming up, we’ll venture behind the scenes of Thrivent Asset Management and hear from a Thrivent insider with a unique perspective.
From Thrivent Asset Management, welcome to episode 36 of Advisor’s Market360™. A podcast for you, the driven financial advisor.
As summer comes to an end, we’ve decided to change things up a bit. While we usually do a deep dive of specific industry topics, this week we are pulling back the curtain to get to know Thrivent Asset Management better by delving into the company’s history and what we do. And while we’re at it, we’d like to get to know you better too! Later, we’ll give you a chance to get in touch with us and share your stories that just might be featured on an upcoming episode. We also have a special guest with us today who works behind the scenes on the podcast – we’ll introduce him soon. So, let’s dive into today’s break from the norm.
Who is Thrivent? Our podcast listeners are scattered across the country, including areas where Thrivent may not have a strong Thrivent presence yet. We may have listeners who associate Thrivent with nothing more than this podcast. So, here’s something we’ve never done: a formal introduction to our company.
Thrivent, the parent company of Thrivent Asset Management, is a diversified financial services organization that, along with investments, provides advice, insurance, banking and generosity solutions and programs to help people make the most of all they’ve been given. At Thrivent, we believe money is a tool, not a goal. We’re here to help our clients achieve financial clarity, enabling lives full of meaning and gratitude.
Here's a little history lesson. The evolution of Thrivent goes back a long time – our predecessors have been around for more than a century! It started as two separate companies focused on life insurance for Lutherans: Aid Association for Lutherans in Wisconsin and Lutheran Brotherhood in Minnesota. Their offerings expanded over the years, including health products and investments. Fast forward to 2001, and these two companies merged into what we now know as Thrivent. Since then, it has extended its offerings to those outside of the Lutheran community and has been adding even more services and products that are focused on serving clients the way they want to be served.
A pertinent example of that is the development and evolution of Thrivent Asset Management and its investment offerings. Between 2016 and 2017, our mutual funds became available as a no-load share class. For the first time, investors could purchase our funds directly, supported by the launch of thriventfunds.com. Shortly after that, we began distributing our funds to third-party financial professionals and intermediaries to share with their clients. In addition to mutual funds, we offer an interval fund, a managed account program, and variable portfolios.
We take pride in being a good partner to financial professionals across the industry. The commentary we provide comes directly from our own experts, including our senior investment leaders. For example, we mention Steve Lowe a lot on the podcast – he’s our Chief Investment Strategist. His contributions make a world of difference in terms of the quality and quantity of content we share. We believe it’s important to make our experts’ insights available in this podcast and through other content.
On one end, you have our take on current market events, and on the other, you have the strategic thinking that goes into actively managing many of our mutual funds. Those are the two key themes we consider as we decide what topics to talk about in the podcast. We also provide content in other mediums at thriventfunds.com, including articles and videos. If you haven’t checked out those resources, we recommend doing so.
Of course, we can’t just talk the talk – discerning advisors will want to know if we’re up to snuff. So, a lightning-round of facts and figures is in order.
Thrivent is ranked 351st on the Fortune 500 as of May 2022, with $189 billion in assets under management and advisement, as of December 31, 2021.1 It’s been given an A++ (superior) rating from A.M. Best, as of June 2022,2 and has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” for 11 consecutive years.3
Within our mutual funds, $28.9 billion are under management, as of December 31, 2021. We have a team of over 130 investment professionals; more than 75% have at least 10 years of experience; and more than 80% hold the CFA designation, an advanced degree, or both. As for our approach, our team has a strong belief in active asset management. The investment philosophy they follow is characterized as being driven by proprietary research, staying true to the funds’ style boxes, and being focused on long-term investing as opposed to short-term trading.
All of these stats and more information are available at thriventfunds.com.
Now for our special guest. We’ve got Ryan here with us today to talk about his role at Thrivent and what makes it a special place for him. We’ve covered a number of interviews on this podcast, but never from this perspective.
Host: Welcome to the podcast today, Ryan! We’re excited to have you here.
Ryan: Thanks for having me, and I’m excited to be here!
Host: Can you tell us about yourself? What’s your role at Thrivent?
Ryan: Well, my role is different than any of the other folks who have come and talked on the podcast. I’m not an investment expert by any means, I’m actually more of a creative guy. So, I work in marketing with Thrivent Asset Management. My title is senior designer. We’re a small and mighty team, so I get to work on a lot of different creative things. Anything creative that the division needs, really, I get to work on. So, there’s the podcast that I’m responsible for – not solely, we do actually have a great team that helps us to produce it – and I also run our video production and I work on a lot of different sales and marketing projects, print materials, things like that.
Thrivent’s a really great company. We have a really great team. I’m humbled and honored to be able to represent the company on the podcast today!
Host: Well, the team is lucky to have you! You may not be an expert on investments, but your work is valued all the same. You’ve been here for quite a few years, now. How did you get your start at Thrivent and what has the road looked like for you since?
Ryan: “Quite a few years” – now, if seven years qualifies as “quite a few,” then yeah, I guess that counts, that just makes me feel kind of old though!
So, seven years – I came in during that period of growth that you mentioned earlier when Thrivent Asset Management was establishing itself as its own brand. The launch of the website basically is what I consider to be the start of that. We’re talking about a brand, website, establishing a dedicated marketing team – not just to support the launch, but to help our brand continually grow into the growing company that we know it as today. So yeah, that’s when I came in, back at the start of all that.
Host: Great. I know your family has a history here at Thrivent. Can you tell us a little about that and how it may have impacted your decision to work with the company?
Ryan: Yeah. So, my mom and dad, Julie and Kim, both worked for Thrivent before retiring in 2016. They spent the majority of their careers at Thrivent.
My dad was a financial advisor. He started working in 1993 with Thrivent – actually, it was back in the Lutheran Brotherhood days. He loved his job, he loved the connections that he had with his clients. He really ended up making an impact in the community, I would say. I mean, it’s a small town but a lot of people knew him. It was all about the people for him.
So, for example, there’s a story I wanted to share. There was a woman he helped whose name I don’t want to share out of respect, but we’ll call her Linda. Linda’s husband had died and she was referred to my dad; she needed help with her money, transferring her assets, getting her life insurance squared away, things like that – both immediate needs and getting set up for the future. This isn’t a terribly uncommon situation for advisors, but for Linda, she met my dad recently after her husband had died recent and it was particularly tragic. She was bringing all those emotions with her into my dad’s office. Those kinds of meetings are so hard, I can only imagine. But having an advisor like my dad, who was able to comfort and empathize along with shouldering the burden of getting her assets and insurance in a good place – knowing my dad, I can only imagine it made all the difference in the world. I know I’m biased, I’m the guy’s son, but I think if you met my dad, you would understand.
So, as I talked to my dad in preparation for this, he characterized the actual service that he did for Linda in a business sense as “nothing out of the ordinary,” were his words. But the way he was able to help her, human-to-human, made it one of the most memorable experiences that he was able to take from his career.
Woven into all of this is something that I believe makes Thrivent unique, and also what made my dad the perfect person to be helping Linda. And that is that shared faith, shared values, shared sense of what’s most important in life. Who wouldn’t want to have that represented in their financial advisor? That, to me, is the difference Thrivent can make.
So, that’s my dad. And then my mom, Julie, started working at Thrivent in 2004. She was a community engagement leader, so she worked in the field with advisors and volunteers, connecting communities to advisors and helping to train them for many of the good things that Thrivent does. For example, Thrivent has a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, financing and building homes for people who need them.
That’s my parents, and I tell these stories not only because, well, I love my parents, but also because I believe they demonstrate the best of Thrivent. And now I get the chance to work for the company, and I hope I can make an impact like my parents did and be a part of the same mission in my own way with my unique skills. I’m proud to be working for such a great company.
Host: So, in some ways, you were born to work at Thrivent!
Ryan: Well, you can’t fight destiny.
And also, I just wanted to say too, this isn’t just about Thrivent, either. I know that we have advisors working for other companies that are listening – this is about how critical it is to have financial advisors, fellow humans in communities all over who can fill a tremendous need of bringing financial clarity and purposeful, really purposeful, service to people who need it.
Host: Well, thanks for taking a step into the spotlight and bringing it full circle!
Ryan: And thank you – it’s been a pleasure.
On that note, now we want to provide an opportunity to connect with our listeners. We know a lot of you tune in to this podcast and keep coming back for more, which means you must be enjoying it or finding it useful. So, what we want to know is, well, you.
What do you want to hear on this podcast? Are there any burning topics you want us to cover?
We’d love to make this podcast more of a two-way dialogue to the extent that we’re able. So, we’re presenting you, our audience of advisors, the chance to get your stories out there. Want to be featured for the work you do as a financial advisor? Do you have stories you’d like to share from your career? Maybe there’s a time when you were able to come through for a client in a big way, or maybe even changed lives by helping to turn around a family’s financial reality. We want to feature your stories in future episodes.
So, let’s chat. Share your story with us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure to include a note of permission for us to share it here in the podcast. We’re not only looking for stories! We also find your feedback about the podcast very valuable. How are we doing? We’re talking about the good, the bad, the ugly, and whatever else you may have on your mind.
We hope that we’ve made it clear that we appreciate advisors for everything they do, no matter who they work with or what company they work for. This year has been hard for all of you and your clients, and we know how difficult the job can be. Not only during this wild year, but throughout the pandemic as well. You all deserve recognition for the dedication you put into your jobs. So, thank you.
And as always, thank you for listening to this episode of Advisor’s Market360™. We hope you enjoyed a fresh approach to this week’s show! All episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. Let us know what you thought of this break from the status quo, and as mentioned earlier, tell us what you’d like to hear covered in future episodes. Email us at email@example.com. You can also learn more about us at thriventfunds.com and find other items of interest to you, the driven financial advisor. Bye for now.
1The figure provided for Thrivent’s assets under management and advisement is as of December 31, 2021 and includes the Thrivent General Account (which manages surplus and the assets backing our life insurance, fixed annuity and health products), variable subaccount portfolios (primarily connected to variable annuities and variable universal life insurance), mutual funds and other assets related to our affiliates and other subsidiaries.
2The credit rating is based on Thrivent’s financial strength and claims-paying ability, and does not apply to investment product performance.
3Thrivent was named as one of the “World’s Most Ethical Companies” by Ethisphere. “World's Most Ethical Companies” and “Ethisphere” names and marks are registered trademarks of Ethisphere LLC. For details, visit Ethisphere.com.
Investing involves risks, including the possible loss of principal. The prospectus and summary prospectus contain more complete information on the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the fund, and other information, which investors should read and consider carefully before investing. Prospectuses and, when applicable, summary prospectuses are available by calling 800-521-5308.
The information presented does not consider your firm’s or clients’ investment objectives and may not be suitable for all investors. This material should not be construed as investment advice, a recommendation to purchase or sell specific securities, or to adopt any particular investment strategy. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, investment, accounting, legal or tax advice.
Thrivent Mutual Funds, Thrivent Series Fund, Inc. and Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund are distributed by Thrivent Distributors, LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC. Thrivent Asset Management, LLC, an SEC-registered investment adviser, is the investment adviser for Thrivent Mutual Funds and Thrivent Church Loan and Income Fund. Thrivent Asset Management also provides sponsors of managed accounts with non-discretionary investment advice in the form of model portfolios. Thrivent Series Fund, Inc. are advised by Thrivent, an SEC-registered investment adviser. Thrivent Distributors, LLC and Thrivent Asset Management, LLC are both subsidiaries of Thrivent, the marketing name for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.