Our Secret Sauce

A note from Founder Kevin Tanner

Saratoga Research & Investment Management has a unique work environment and culture. While our company has grown over the years and we now occupy four adjacent office spaces, we still don't have private offices. We prefer an open office atmosphere that comfortably meshes nature with state of the art technology. Our downtown Saratoga home resembles a think tank fused with NASA's mission control, a library and a tree house with just a hint of a locker room. We believe that this environment fosters direct communication, enhances accountability and stimulates camaraderie.

Personal bonds are an integral part of SaratogaRIM, and the trust and respect I have for my teammates runs deep; I believe that our personal histories have a lot to do with what makes us a cohesive, unique and effective team.

Family: My brother Jim has been by my side since I founded this firm in 1995. With Jim running operations, especially in the early years, I was able to focus my energy on developing our investment philosophy and the process through which it is implemented. Today, that philosophy and process are cornerstones of the foundation on which our firm is built. My daughter Samantha was only four when SaratogaRIM was founded, and she has grown up witnessing the firm's evolution. I had always hoped she would be interested in joining the firm, and after obtaining her degree in Communication Studies from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she officially joined the team.

Friendship: I met George in seventh grade at Saint Andrew's here in Saratoga. In high school I introduced myself to John, quarterback for a cross-town rival, by sacking him; we later became good friends. Mark and I were fraternity brothers at Santa Clara. While at Santa Clara my brother Jim introduced me to his fascinating deaf rugby teammate from Hong Kong named Steve. Jim later introduced me to another friend of his: Travis. Aileen worked closely with Jim and I at Smith Barney in the 1990s as the branch operations manager, and later Maria worked closely with Aileen, who provided the introduction. My daughter introduced me to Andrew during their time at Cal Poly.

Team Sports: The vast majority of our team is made up of former college athletes, and even now fitness and sports are an important part of many of our lives. We weightlift, ride bikes, jog, run marathons, paddle kayaks, do yoga and play tennis, rugby or flag football. In my case, football has been important in my life – as a player and as a coach. I was a football coach at Saratoga High School for 23 years, and in no small part has my coaching experience shaped the evolution of this firm.

As a defensive coordinator at an academically-oriented high school I met many talented scholar athletes, including Adam Oreglia, Adam Sato, Joe, Marc, Mathew, Matt Casas, Matt Keating, Phil and Robert. As their football coach I had the unique opportunity to work closely with them during their formative years. I saw their academic capabilities, evaluated their work ethics and observed how they coped with adversity. I've seen them play hurt, rally to steal victory from defeat and mature into exactly the sort of disciplined, smart, hard-working teammates I believe I needed to reach my potential as an investor. But most important of all, I know each of them well enough to have the absolute trust and confidence in them to be team players and to always do the right thing. This stuff can’t be learned from resumes or interviews. 

I have built this firm with an eye firmly on the future. Twenty years from now the younger generation at our firm will be the same age as our more senior teammates are today. Our work environment, culture and chemistry foster perpetual continuity. As we learn and grow together through continuous execution of our investment process and absolute commitments to life-long learning, we only expect to get better and better over time. I am confident that SaratogaRIM is well positioned to serve our clients and prosper long after I am gone. 

- Kevin