Our Founder

My journey began with the transition from fascination to a mission. Fascinations drove a thirst for knowledge in science and math (in academia) and then to data processing, computers, and mutual funds (in business). Along the way, I was exposed to vice presidents in different organizations, and I decided that was what I wanted! I wanted to be a vice president that represented the intellect, knowledge, and power to make major decisions. This became my mission.

I studied the culture of vice presidents and learned what they knew and how they reasoned. I replicated how they behaved, what they read, how they spoke, and even what they wore. Within five years, I was one of them.

The path to becoming a vice president had its hurdles. The first was my own family and friends, who first scoffed at the notion. They all worked for vice presidents and had no idea that it was possible to achieve that status. They were proud of my accomplishments, but vice president seemed out of reach. This fear did not deter me.

As for race, I have always been an outsider. In Guatemala I was an outsider because my mother was from Jamaica. In Jamaica I was an outsider because I was from Guatemala. In New York I was not American. Race was secondary to these cultural hurdles. My arrogant attitude blinded me to the difficulties I faced. I wanted to be a vice president and genuinely believed that all the hurdles would be overcome if I remained focused on the mission and not on the hurdles.

LSH Portrait 2020-07-22 (1)

After becoming a vice president and then a senior vice president, my mission was accomplished but my ambition continued to burn. I had become disenchanted with corporate life and the ethical compromises that dominated that life. I wanted to be a success with an ethical foundation.

Having participated in building three new businesses from the ground up (as a vice president), the path was obvious: build another. But I would control this one, and it would be ethical or it would fail.

Thus, DALBAR was founded.

The first clients were people I knew from my previous career. The mutual fund industry in 1976 was a tight-knit group of a few hundred people, and they were more than willing to discuss their needs and issues, and I was delighted to propose solutions. One friend had the idea of passing municipal bond tax advantages to mutual fund investors, another wanted an accounting system, and a third sought to replace their transfer agent system. These ideas became DALBAR’s first undertakings.

The idea of creating standards in support of research then evolved as the mutual fund and retirement industries grew. DALBAR stepped up when opportunities were recognized and created momentary solutions as well as others that have lasted for decades.

Standards led to the need for recognition when the standards were achieved. The hallmark of a DALBAR award was introduced and has become widely recognized as a symbol of excellence.

    –    Louis S. Harvey

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