Chad Carlson CFP®, CFA®

Partner, President & Chief Investment Officer

What inspired you to choose wealth management as a career?

My dad worked for an insurance company from graduation until retirement. If you asked him what he would change if he did it all over again, he would choose to be a wealth manager. This came across in the way I grew up. Financial discussions were part of many decisions. Instead of telling me to save/invest, he provided a $200 gift one year to pick a stock, any stock, and track it with him. This type of approach ingrained in me how much financial decisions interact with nearly all elements of life.

What do you enjoy most about your role at BDF?

It’s truly the people I am surrounded by every day. We have an amazing team and amazing clients to work with, where we get to bring about full lives daily. To me, our mission isn’t merely words on a page. I have had the opportunity to live it firsthand, and I’m privileged to make sure we continue to evolve it to create an even better future for all.

How are you helping the firm enhance the client experience?

Every person’s financial and life journey is different. It’s because of these differences that we view clients as true partners and focus on the power of connection and building strong relationships. We look to connect with clients at a moment’s notice to address needs before they even know they are needs. Sharing what’s happening and why it matters to them, and then talking through it together to provide clarity that everyone appreciates. We also leverage new tools to morph the way we meet with clients based upon what is most impactful. In-person meetings still happen regularly, but we have implemented shorter check-ins on a single issue. Clients appreciate connecting, even quicker, with bite-size pieces of information that are fully digestible. It’s about providing our clients with a service experience that is all about when, where, and how they want to connect with us.

What can people expect from BDF in the future?

First and foremost, expect an absolute continuation of care. We exist, not for us, but for you. As I look ahead to the future, it’s all about how we improve the lives of those we touch. In my role, I have to do more than just ensure we’re keeping up with industry trends—we have to stay ahead of them. Before they arise, we have to anticipate needs while growing and maintaining an incredible team that can turn technical understanding into real-world, customized implementation.  We will keep leaning into new technologies so your advisor can spend even more time on service instead of spreadsheets.

What defines your own personal “full life”?

My full life starts and ends with my family. My goal, along with my incredible wife, Maggie, is to raise our four beautiful daughters always to be additive to those around them. We want to create a family that brings about good in our house, our families, our friends, and our community. My full life is making sure every moment spent with them builds them up to be better and better persons tomorrow and recognizing that today is fleeting. So, enjoy the moments, latch onto the memories, and smile, even if there are 17 activities to run to today!

Full Bio

Chad understands that staying stagnant is not in the best interest of BDF’s clients. The firm cannot be reactive and needs to approach clients with transparency and trust. That’s why he believes in a straight, heartfelt approach to business.

After a 15-year career as a wealth manager at BDF, Chad assumed the role of president and chief investment officer (CIO) in 2020. As president, he’s working to enhance the firm’s vision and laying out where BDF is going in the future. This includes working with CI Financial to build upon the firm’s current strengths, expand its geographical reach, and to bring to fruition the strategic reason the firms came together. By aligning with CI, team members and clients know they are not short-term partners; this is a long-term vision that will enhance opportunities for all.

When people trust their investments to BDF, they want to know that consistent thought and care was put into their personal portfolio. As CIO, Chad leads the firm’s investment committee to put the firm’s top thinking to work to develop the best solutions for clients. With a team that looks at portfolio options daily, he aims to ensure clients that they are positioned for better long-term outcomes.

Before joining BDF, Chad spent two years with Goldman Sachs’ private wealth management subsidiary, Ayco Company LP. Performing personal financial planning and preparing individual and trust tax returns for Fortune 500 executives gave him insight into estate planning, corporate benefits, and tax planning.

A Certified Financial Planner™ and a Chartered Financial Analyst®, Chad has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Financial Times, CNBC, LA Times, Smart Money, Dow Jones Newswires, Business Insider, and Investment News. He’s a member of the Financial Planning Association, as well as the leadership team for his church, Bethlehem Lutheran in St. Charles, Illinois. Chad earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from Valparaiso University.

Not one to sit back, Chad won’t let BDF take a reactive role as he proactively works to make the firm stronger for all its stakeholders.

To learn more about how BDF helps its clients enjoy a full life, contact Chad today.