If you walk into the office of Wagstaff Lodefink & Associates in the University Club Building, don't ask for David unless you add a last name.
The two men for whom the company was named are both named David, and in August, David A. Hammer joined the investment advisory firm to add more confusion to the problem.Three of the principals having the same first name apparently hasn't hurt because WLA now manages $40 million in assets, a far cry from the $3 million when the company first started in 1984.
In 1975, Wagstaff and Sam Stewart co-founded Wasatch Advisors, a regional investment advisory company. But Wagstaff was more conservative than Stewart in advising companies about their investment portfolios, so in 1984 he formed WLA with Lodefink.
Lodefink's investment career dates back to 1970 when he worked for the Utah State Retirement System as an equity analyst managing the common stock portfolio. In 1973 he got a job as the chief investment officer for the Washington State Investment Board where he managed retirement, insurance and college endowment funds.
In 1980 he formed Dave Lodefink Associates, a sole proprietorship investment company, in Olympia, Wash., but in 1984 returned to Utah and hooked up with Wagstaff.
Hammer, who had been a vice president of First Security Bank of Utah, switched to WLA and is now the director of equity research.
Hammer was a common stock analyst for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., became chief financial officer of the American Mutual Liability Insurance Co. and moved to Salt Lake City in 1986 where he took the job with the bank.
The three Davids claim they are advising clients on investments in a way no other company is doing. It's called asset allocation, and they use computer models to look at future possible distribution of returns on stock, bonds and money market certificates to determine the probability of stock and bonds outperforming money market certificates or each other.
Their goal is to give the client an optimal portfolio mix, which can change at any time. Using a computer model to help in selecting which stocks to purchase, the three analysts start with 1,700 companies, analyze the quality, size and debt/equity ratio, boil the list down to 50-100 companies, examine the risk adjusted rates of return relative to the market and finally come down to 20-25 companies.
Especially interesting are overlooked companies with undervalued stock, Wagstaff said. In each instance, WLA uses a conservative approach in advising clients on investments, continually monitoring the progress of portfolios by computer.