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My Philosophy of Business and Life


By President and Founder Claude Ohanesian

As the President and Founder of CGO Wealth Management, I am sometimes asked to deliver speeches about myself to local groups, detailing how I got started in the field of investment advising and my philosophy of business, and life. I’d like to share those views with you now.

My thoughts on money and the value of persistence  and hard work are a direct reflection of my childhood. My father was an immigrant to America. We were solidly lower, middle class. While he didn’t  amass much in the way of material wealth, he always shared his spiritual outlook on life as he found a way to provide his family with what we needed to survive. From an early age, he instilled in me something far more valuable than mere wealth: an appreciation of the things money can’t buy. He taught me the importance of charity and giving back to your community. I learned from his example that ethics can’t be bought and should never be compromised. I also learned early on to respect money and vowed if I ever acquired it, I would use it as a tool in a manner consistent with my values.

I take pride in the fact I worked my way through school, graduating from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri with a double major in English and Business. I was lucky enough to be the youngest person hired by E.F. Hutton & Co., at age 21. I later went on to work for 28 years as an investment advisor at Smith Barney, managing nearly $275 million in assets. In 2006, I became a charter member of Vista, a who’s who of advisors at Smith Barney and represented the top 1% of the firm as a Director’s Council member for 10 years. In addition, I was Managing Director from 2008 to 2010.

That year, I formed my own Registered Investment Advisory firm, CGO Wealth Management, LLC in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, Illinois. I took the opportunity to infuse my philosophy of investing, and of life, into the DNA of my burgeoning firm. This incorporates a core set of principles, which includes being ethical while taking life seriously; being introspective; choosing to live life as an optimist because pessimism gets me nowhere; realizing that life is short; and instead of striving for perfection (which is not possible) aiming for continuous improvement.

I take my role as a provider and advisor seriously. My measure of success is when I am adding value to any equation in which I am involved, whether it’s working with CGO clients to build, maintain and protect their wealth or volunteering my time with worthwhile organizations like the Armenian Apostolic Church of America and the Epilepsy Cure Foundation, or serving as president of the Fatherhood Educational Institute or on the board of directors for Kobbe College Corporation.

I place a tremendous value in relationships and feel a sense of humble gratitude that my life’s journey has enabled me to develop and nurture a series of wonderful relationships with family, friends, coworkers and clients.