In 2020, David Stevens opened Stevens Capital Partners (SCP) in Omaha with 100 clients and approximately $100 million in assets under management. Nearly three years later, SCP has grown exponentially and now serves 300 clients, representing over $220 million in assets under management.
Building A Career
Stevens started his career at TD Ameritrade in the late 1990s and spent over 20 years cultivating his career in the financial services industry.
“Cutting ties with TD Ameritrade to open my own independent advisory firm wasn’t easy, but it was a necessity to be able to better serve my clients and have greater flexibility and autonomy,” Stevens said.
Before opening his firm, Stevens held several positions at TD Ameritrade, where he worked in three major divisions of the brokerage firm, including operations, retail distribution and institutional. Given this unparalleled opportunity, he learned all aspects of the business.
“The breadth and depth of the knowledge I acquired at TD Ameritrade has been instrumental to SCP’s growth,” Stevens said.
His career was launched at TD Ameritrade when — as a 19-year-old college student, wearing his father’s suit because he didn’t have one of his own — he applied for a summer job in the mailroom.
Somehow, he got the wrong application, and after taking a series of analytical tests and scoring high, he was offered a job—but not in the mailroom.
“I was a 19-year-old kid from Bellevue, home for the summer from college, working with retired military personnel and MBAs,” Stevens said. “It was a great experience. I loved every minute of it.”
After graduating from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Stevens returned to TD Ameritrade, and 20 years later he was the firm’s No. 1 financial adviser in the nation. At the time the ranking was based on total guidance of assets being professionally managed by advice solutions introduced by Stevens and provided by TD Ameritrade, including third-party and internal solutions.
His TD Ameritrade experience was the impetus for starting SCP. He wanted to offer clients a fee-only, independent, registered investment advisor (RIA) who could advise on a breadth of topics without constraints or limitations.
“I’m focused on making a positive difference in the lives of the individuals and families I work with for years to come,” Stevens said.
Stevens foresees expanding the business in terms of the services offered and the number of employees. His goal is for SCP to take on additional clients and be a one-stop solution for clients’ needs.
“Advisers are drawn to independence because they want greater autonomy and the ability to build equity in their own business,” Stevens said. “While these benefits factored into my decision to launch SCP, the primary reason was to be 100% fiduciary and 100% fee-only.”
Stevens credits his firm’s success to his discipline and commitment to staying at the forefront of investing and advising. He is an avid reader and invests one to two hours every morning studying the markets, and he reads three to four books each month, a lifelong passion instilled into him by his parents. Self-study and continuing education are critical to help him keep up with what is happening in this ever-evolving industry.
Stevens is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Personal Finance Advisors (NAPFA), an organization for fee-only advisers.
He also believes in mentorship and paying it forward, having benefited firsthand from individuals who provided invaluable guidance to him over the years.
“I have a couple of great mentors who have built large financial planning practices and continue to act as a sounding board for all of my endeavors,” he said.
When hiring people, Stevens seeks individuals that embody what he calls the three C’s — credentials, confidence, and caring.
“It’s difficult, especially in my industry, to find people with all three,” he said. “Finding the right people, people who have the three C’s, is the biggest challenge, but also the greatest reward when we find somebody who meets those criteria and joins our team.”
Stevens has long tried to stay ahead of industry trends and believes in offering, when possible, holistic financial planning to his clients under one roof. For his part, Stevens is looking forward to the continued growth of his RIA and building a lasting organization that will take care of clients for the rest of their lives.
“I view this as a 30-year partnership, and I sincerely mean that,” Stevens said. “At SCP, we guide each individual or family, creating a comprehensive financial plan based on their personal goals. To further SCP’s impact, our firm maintains a 10% pledge, where 10% of net profits go to charitable causes such as health care for low-income families and fighting human trafficking.”
Stevens graduated from UNL and holds Series 7 and Series 66 securities licenses. He is also a Certified Financial Planner and a member of the Financial Planning Association of Nebraska.
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