OUR FIRM

Criterion Wealth Management is a registered investment advisory firm that serves an intentionally limited number of clients primarily made up of entrepreneurial business owners, established individuals and families, and non-profit organizations.

WHY Are We Here?

After initially meeting in the late 1980s, founding partners Robert Gravette and Mark MacArthur shared similar concerns and disappointments in their experiences with the traditional “Wall Street” business model. As they continued to work independently during the market and economic cycles of the 1990s and early 2000s, they desired to form a uniquely different Wealth Management firm; a firm that puts client interests first and provides a truly personalized, consultative experience. This client-centric mentality was the foundation for the establishment of Criterion Wealth Management.

HOW Do We Do It?

At Criterion, we take a unique consultative approach to wealth management that helps our clients protect, preserve and grow the wealth they’ve worked so hard to build. We develop a comprehensive plan for each client to systematically address their most important financial concerns: Wealth Preservation, Mitigating Taxes, Taking Care of Heirs, Wealth Protection and Charitable Gifting.

Please click on the short video below for an overview of our unique wealth management process.

Unique Investment Opportunities

Another thing that sets Criterion apart is our access to innovative investment opportunities. Along with traditional portfolio management, our business model allows us to invest in diverse, non-correlating market segments not commonly available. We have formed strategic relationships with various private equity, real estate and investment firms as a direct result of our broad and diverse professional experiences. We work alongside this group of key business partners in an effort to bring valuable opportunities to our clients.

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OUR TEAM

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Robert A. Gravette

President

Robert provides overall firm direction, managing key relationships and developing alternative investment opportunities. His background in risk management and strategic wealth planning is foundational to the overall value we bring to each client.
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1. Professional and educational background

The genesis of my career in the financial services goes back to 1989, when I entered the industry as a Registered Representative for John Hancock Financial Services in Beverly Hills, CA. I was able to open and manage a John Hancock Branch office within a few years and expand my business to many business owners in Southern California. In 2000, I was a founding partner of Cirrus Wealth Management, a comprehensive Wealth and Investment management firm. While there, I served as President, overseeing key clients, working with multiple offices in Camarillo, Encino, and Santa Clarita, CA. It was in that endeavor that I became convinced that a more compact, nimble firm with a concentrated staff, and effort was the model that fit my skills and the ability to execute on clients behalf. In 2003, Criterion Wealth Management was established.I received my Business Administration degree in 1989 from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA. I currently hold NASD Series 7, 24, 63, and 65 licenses. I obtained the Registered Financial Consultant (RFC) designation after completing the CFP Professional Educational Program from the College of Financial Planning in 1998.

As an adjunct professor, I have taught courses in Investments, Money and Banking, as well as fundamental business practice at The Master’s College Business Department.

There are various non-profit and community programs that I have been involved in over the years.

2. Person or experience that had a significant influence on your life

My Dad and Grandfather; their impact on me was primarily through observing their lives. They affected my view on character and critical disciplines including work-ethic, integrity, and putting others first just to name a few. I always enjoyed spending time with them and have tried to be intentional in teaching and modeling the same to my kids.

3. Describe your family

I have been married to my incredible wife, Shauna since 1993. She is my best friend and having her by my side for all these years has made life so enjoyable. My son Davy (18), daughter Megan (16), and Katelyn (9) are precious blessings. As an active family, we enjoy sports, taking vacations, and just hanging out together. I am truly a blessed man!

4. Enjoy doing on your off time

Going to the gym, hunting, golf, watching SportsCenter, “tinkering” on my 1932 Ford in my garage, and spending time with my family seem to keep my free time full.

5. Favorite food

Thai, Mexican, and BBQ are right up there on my “favorites”.

6. Special childhood memory

Family vacations, as a child, were indelibly etched in my mind. The simple times of going to new places, being with other families are all good memories.

7. Something about you most people would be surprised by

I used to compete in Ultra marathons. My longest race was 50 miles in the mountains and took just under 12 hours. I enjoyed the challenge, but it has taken a toll on my body over the years. I no longer run!

8. Typical day

Go to gym at 4:30 a.m., after pick up a cup of Peet’s coffee, arrive at the office by 6:00 a.m. for some reading and preparation for the day, meet with clients, take care of pending firm management items, and then leave for kids sporting events or whatever else is going on that day.

9. Career choice

I wanted to be a stock broker ever since considering a career. I received my securities brokers’ license during college. I soon realized this was a “sales” job where success was measured by annual commissions and doggedly constant activity regardless of value. I soon became independent.

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Mark A. MacArthur

Chief Investment Officer

Mark oversees all trading, portfolio construction and monitoring. Additionally, Mark is involved in managing client relationships and key business relationships; particularly with our strategic business partners as we collaborate on various direct investment opportunities.
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1. Professional and educational background

I joined a Chicago-based investment banking firm, which at the time, specialized in Municipal and GNMA bonds. We developed funds and trusts for the major Wall Street and Regional brokerage firms. As the stock market became a greater emphasis for retail investing, we aggressively expanded into stocks. Not long after the collapse of dot com stocks in 2000, I decided to pursue a better understanding of investing for individuals and their financial needs. In 2002, I completed my coursework in financial planning through Metro State University in Denver, CO. This complimented by an undergraduate degree in Business Communications set me on a path to become a wealth manager with my own firm. In 2004, I moved with my wife and four kids back to Southern California and soon joined Bob at Criterion.

2. Person or experience that had a significant influence on your life

My Dad: the steadfast consistency of his character and discipline in pursuing a life lived for the Lord are qualities I desire. His impact on me is immeasurable. My Grandpa: his quietly strong demeanor combined with his Nebraska-bred work ethic was unforgettable. My memory of him is indelible. Baseball: From 17-23 years old, I was able to travel extensively throughout the country playing ball. It afforded me opportunities to meet unique people, see different cultures and deal with the challenge of a competitive sport. Those experiences have had a lasting impact on me.

3. Describe your family

FUN! I married Erika, my high school sweetheart, in 1992. Her friendship and companionship has blessed me, shaped me, matured me, and uplifted me. I have no interest in contemplating life without her. We have four amazing children; three girls and one boy. Being with Erika and the kids is my absolute favorite place to be. Our kids are pure joy and bring unimaginable fulfillment to our life. We are an active family; enjoying various sports, water-skiing, the beach, etc. We spend much of our time laughing with and at each other. To understand me, you need to meet and be around my spouse and kids. They are my trophy of God’s grace and joy in my life.

4. Enjoy doing on your free time

With four kids, we find our schedule is often determined by their activities, including sports, school, and various events. We are active at our church; it shapes much of our lives. I find working around the house and property is very satisfying. It affords me a change of pace.

Since I was young, I have always loved riding off-road motorcycles. As an adult, I don’t like crashing! That dictates the frequency and speed of my rides. Our family loves to be on the boat and water skiing. Oh, …. we are huge Chicago sports fans. Go Bears! Go Bulls!

5. Favorite Food

A good steak is hard to beat.

6. Special childhood memory

I have too many to list. My childhood was idyllic. With that said, a few that stand out:

a. One summer, we drove in the family van from Los Angeles to New York and back. Seeing the country and meeting new people was very memorable

b. River rafting with my Grandpa on the Klamath River each summer.

c. Attending the LA Car show each year with my Dad, afterwards we would have dinner at The Pantry restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.

7. Something about you most people would be surprised by

I was drafted in 1990 by the St. Louis Cardinals and played three seasons of Minor League baseball.

8. Typical day

My morning starts quite early with some quiet time and reading. Then, with coffee in-hand, I check emails and news. I typically review any outstanding trade orders prior to the market opening and follow the first hour of the market. My wife usually joins me for coffee and reading. When possible, I like to take the kids to school. It allows me a brief time to chat and spend time with them, even if it is only for a few minutes.

Once at the office, pending items with client portfolios are addressed along with updates and information from staff. The day then unfolds with overseeing all portfolios and investing needs by looking at balances, significant cash changes, etc.

9. Career Choice

In college I had a class called “Finance: Money and Banking.” It was both interesting and clear for me to understand the concepts and history behind financial topics. I believe it initiated in me an interest in this business. After a short stint in the healthcare industry, I decided to pursue finance. Not knowing much about the industry, I took an opportunity to join an investment banking firm in Chicago, IL. Moving from Los Angeles to the Midwest did not concern me, as I had moved and traveled all over the country playing baseball. I saw it as a chance to immerse myself at a firm that was small enough for me to be exposed to various areas of investing. Over 20 years later, I think it worked out.

Jason's Individual

Jason Stauffer

Director of Operations

Jason is responsible for development and management of the firm’s operations. He works to ensure everything we do at Criterion furthers our mission of helping clients achieve their financial goals.
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1. Professional and educational background

My background is in public accounting where I served as a trusted business advisor to high net worth individuals and middle-market businesses; I obtained my CPA license in 2009 and I’m a graduate of The Master’s College  with a degree in Accounting.

2. What person or experience has had a significant influence on your life?

My family. Growing up as the oldest of five children I learned how to be responsible and to be an example to others from a very young age.

3. Describe your family

I married the love of my life, Michelle, in 2004 and we have two beautiful children, Zane and Meadow.

4. What do you enjoy doing on your off time

Anything that’s outdoors. My family and I spend our weekends at the beach, in the mountains, playing at the park – you name it.

5. What is your favorite food?

Mexican food and In-N-Out.

6. What is your most special childhood memory?

Summertime.

7. What’s something about you that most people would be surprised by?

I love jalapenos.

8. What’s a typical day look like for you?

Coffee, work, a little more coffee, a little more work, wrestle with the kids, go to bed, repeat.

9. How did you choose this career?

I enjoy helping people and I’m a numbers person so this career was a natural fit.

Yumiko's Individual

Yumiko Odama

Executive Assistant

Yumiko supports administrative and portfolio maintenance on a day to day basis. Interacting with key business partners, Yumiko monitors performance software data and reporting and communicates with TD Ameritrade’s various departments to maintain consistent and accurate data in our system. Additionally, Yumiko supports the firm’s goal of excellent client service by communicating with clients for scheduling and servicing their needs.
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1. Person or experience that had a significant influence on your life

My Mom; she taught me how to be a strong, independent woman. I have great respect for her and the commitment she made to our family.

2. Something about you most people would be surprised by

I love fresh and salt water fish aquariums. My Dad operated a fish aquarium store when I was young. I have always been fascinated by marine life and the hobby of containing them in tanks is something I really enjoy. I currently have a 100 gallon tank in my home.

3. Enjoy doing on your free time

I always enjoy time with my family. With two young children at home, they require time and I am happy to give it.

4. Favorite Food

Italian of any kind is good with me.

5. Best Vacation

Supercross (stadium Motorcross); on many weekends in the fall and winter, you can find us camping in the desert or mountains with friends who also enjoy riding off-road motorcycles and ATVs. Motorcycles have been part of my life for a long time.

6. Special childhood memory

As a child, I loved going to my Grandpa’s house in Monterey, California. Traveling up the coast and spending summer days with him was like being in a whole different world. That area of California is so unique and beautiful.

7. Favorite sport to watch

Supercross (stadium Motorcross); on many weekends in the winter & fall, you can find us camping in the desert or mountains with friends who also enjoy riding off-road motorcycles and ATVs. Motorcycles have been part of my life for a long time.

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Rose Smith

Administrative Assistant

Rose provides support to the wealth management team to help clients achieve their financial goals. With a friendly, professional attitude and demeanor, she develops good relationships with clients to address their most pressing financial needs and concerns. Rose has a professional background in the graphic arts industry, and she is responsible for the firm’s marketing materials and web presence.

FAQs

Who do you serve?

We partner with successful individuals and organizations who value the wealth stewardship approach. Large concentrations of our clients are business owners, specialty physicians, and non-profit institutions.

What makes you different?

We only work with a select group of clients for whom we can have a major financial impact. We provide significant value to each client because we listen to their specific financial needs and wants. This is often a dynamic aspect of our client relationships; one that fosters collaboration, regular contact and proactive action resulting in peace of mind and realized expectations. Our unique consultative approach to wealth management allows us to address each client’s specific needs and goals that extends beyond their investments.

What is your Investment Philosophy?

Criterion Wealth Management bases all investment decisions on first-hand knowledge and understanding of client stated risk, as well as experiential understanding of risk tolerance for various client profiles.  Portfolio volatility and absolute risk is managed through portfolio construction and ongoing tactical maintenance at portfolio, asset and investment levels.  We are committed to our core principals of Investment Philosophy which include:

• Capital preservation
• Efficient diversification
• Use of alternative investments
• Consistent returns and cash flow
• Transparency and simplicity

Our disciplined and hands-on business model is implemented through a concise emphasis on efficiencies in both cost and performance.  Our independent approach allows us to take an objective look at markets and opportunities, void of any corporate or relational bias.  The utilization of multiple asset categories allows for broad diversification while maintaining the ability to garner beneficial and premium returns over time.  These categories include cash, stocks, bonds, hedge funds and various alternative strategies.

What are the costs involved?

We are a fee-based Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) governed by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). SEC law requires us to outline our fee-structure in a filing called ADV*. Primary costs are associated as a percentage of assets under management. Occasionally fees can change when they are affected by non-managed assets held in the account or when it is in the best interest of the client to calculate fees differently based on investment needs.

We are not a broker, therefore we do not typically profit from trading securities. Transaction costs are generally passed to the client and negotiated by Criterion to ensure our clients receive the lowest institutional cost available. Certain products used to balance portfolios may incur a commission.

Are your portfolios standardized or customized?

Our model portfolios serve as a refining tool for allocation and rebalancing purposes, not a mindless pie chart stamped onto valuable dollars. Each client is unique in their needs and wants and requires a portfolio that fits those needs and wants.

What are your returns?

Returns are unique to each client and vary based on a myriad of factors. Our primary goal is to offer our clients an investment portfolio that provides the best opportunity for meeting their financial goals.

 

How do clients access their accounts?

We use a third party custodian who provides online access to monthly statements, current balances and positions, transaction history, etc. We currently utilize TD Ameritrade, Inc. as our primary custodian. We believe in the highest standards of transparency and strive to ensure that our clients have easy access to all their relevant account information.

What is your minimum account size?

In order to deliver on our promise of providing clients with a major financial impact we require a minimum account size of $1,000,000.

How do you handle clients not in the Los Angeles area?

Our clients are located throughout the United States. It is not unusual for us to travel to them as we schedule regular visits. The various technologies we utilize allow the geographic differences to have no impact on our ability to manage and maintain our relationships. When it is important and beneficial to be with clients in person, we make it a priority.