FIC History

A Letter from Dan Danford

“At Family Investment Center, we consider you as a true member of our family. Today, I wanted to share some personal stories with you about my family.

There’s sincere joy in seeing clients find freedom through financial success. When I think about it, I return to some early lessons from my dad, lawnmowers, night classes, and other moments along my own path.

We didn’t have a lot when I grew up near Corby Pond in St. Joseph. Maybe that’s why my father was so deliberate in encouraging me to save money and think about what makes a business successful. During one lesson, for example, he charged a small rent whenever I used the family lawnmower to cut yards for neighbors. I learned about the cost side of profitability, although the lesson was veiled in slight annoyance and lots of questions.

After high school, I decided to attend Missouri Western State University, mainly because of a group of my friends pledged a fraternity together. Later, after Chris and I married, I returned to night school and earned an MBA® from Northwest Missouri State University. I was selling office supplies for Craig Mannschreck in the daytime, and hitting the books at night. I learned about aligning actions toward really wanting something, even when it required some sheer grit.

Earning my MBA® took me to First National Bank as a trust officer. I spent the next 15 years working for banks, including 10 years as a senior officer at a trust company I chartered with some colleagues. In 1998, I broke away to start Family Investment Center. Today, we manage over $100 million for clients in a dozen different states. I knew then what I wanted to do for people, and I haven’t waivered since we helped our first client more than 15 years ago.

I still learn lessons daily from this journey that spans four banks and several decades. Today I’m a Ph.D. candidate at Kansas State University, and it’s been a thrill to dig in deeper to important revelations about money, including the intricate ways that a person’s behavior is a key element – perhaps the key element – for personal financial success.

In many ways, it’s taken me full circle back to my father’s simple lessons decades ago. What we do at Family Investment Center is help people identify what they want, what the journey will cost, and work with them to implement steps to get there.

I’m grateful for every step, and grateful for the opportunity to help you and your family along your journey. I’d be delighted to hear your story … stop by for coffee at our office anytime.”

Then and Now: Dan Danford, left, in the early phases of his extensive career.
Today, he carries forward lessons learned across the decades in a unique, commission-free setting.


How we started:
The beginnings of Family Investment Center ... Insights from Dan Danford:


“I started working as a trust officer in St. Joseph in 1984. I spent the next several years in trust departments before chartering The Trust Company of St. Joseph with colleagues in 1987. I broke away from them to start Family Investment Center in 1998. Family Investment Center is completely unique in this region.

My vision was to capture the best of two worlds. The trust business was highly-regulated in the banking world. Safe and prudent, perhaps, but lacking some of the investment savvy available through other investment industry channels. As a Registered Investment Advisor, we could preserve that safe and prudent fiduciary standard without giving up investment opportunities.

Essentially, we are portfolio managers
Our key client portfolios range from $100,000 to nearly $10,000,000, and our regulator is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  All of our filings, disclosures, and regulatory history are easily available through the SEC websiteWe exercise local discretion to build and monitor investment portfolios. 

Transparency is cornerstone to our business. There are no hidden fees or corporate alliances. Our licensed advisors work as a team for each client and not a single penny of revenue comes from product sales or transaction fees.

A common misunderstanding about banks is that because they’re associated with money, they can help clients wisely invest it. Any investment services offered through a bank are ancillary to its core business of lending. Lending is where banks put their best people, hardware, and expertise. Sure, they offer checking and savings accounts because they need depositors to have money to lend. Many banks will dole out investment services in their lobbies, but this isn’t where the bulk of their most valuable talent and resources will be aimed.

People looking for investment education or advice are better served by a firm specializing in that sole purpose, whose team focuses on investment management goals for clients each and every day. If offering investment-planning services is what a firm does, the employees can devote all their energy and experience to that sole purpose. This is where our excellence lies.”

Read more here about Dan Danford and the Family Investment Center team, as featured across national news and media sources.

If you’re ready for investment advisor service that really is different,  contact us today.


“A few innovators jump right in, and almost everyone else pulls the old ‘wait and see.’ A few people never try anything new.” What do community farmers have to share about investment philosophies? Read more in Dan Danford’s piece “Positive Change.” 








The Changing Roles of the Investor and the Investment Advisor
How “Conflicted Advice” is Changing the Conversation About Investment Success
(A Whitepaper)

Family Investment Center is a Registered Investment Advisor under the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and are regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. My colleagues and I have watched carefully as both the SEC and Department of Labor have wrestled with new rules and regulations. We stand as a beacon for the idea that a fiduciary standard does not eliminate quality investment advice for middle-class people in mid-America. Family Investment Center has always operated under a strict fiduciary standard, and both our clients and firm prosper. We recently crafted this whitepaper to highlight how proposed changes will benefit investors. The paper offers a brief analysis of the rules and some practical implications. This is a complex situation, and we hope you will read and share this information from genuine practitioners who are already making the fiduciary standard work.

Who's talking about us? Check out our Media Mentions.

"It's nice to be part of a team that genuinely puts clients' interests first." – Laura Price, Investment Advisor