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Minority brokerage firm offers increased speed and flexibility

NEW YORK - For experienced investment managers who have a hard time getting a large investment company to move faster and with more agility to accommodate customers, the answer is to start a new company. That new company is SeaCrest Investment Management.

SeaCrest is a completely minority-owned company that was started by high-level managers from Morgan Stanley and other major investment companies. This new company will be flexible enough to assist with investments from Indian country as well as any other investor client.

The company was started by Richard Sanchez, Filipino, and Rajesh Gupta, East Indian. Sanchez said when one of the top managers at Morgan Stanley retired to work in a family business, Lynn Rapp was put on board. Rapp, Oglala Lakota, is now the managing director of SeaCrest.

''I was frustrated at institutions that were not very flexible,'' Rapp said. She would promise tribes something and the large firm of Morgan Stanley could not bend to offer more flexibility for tribal governments, but Rapp said she was happy to now be with a company that can accommodate tribal needs.

''We can make our programs fit what we know the client will need, and we will respect sovereignty,'' Rapp said.

Sanchez said Rapp was one of the top financial advisers at Morgan Stanley, ''but she couldn't get an organization that large moving with any speed.''

''We believe that being a minority-owned company firm will have the ability to have the people listen to what we do, but we believe the performance will get us the business,'' Sanchez said.

He said SeaCrest can provide clients who are underinvested due to a general lack of knowledge with an investment program.

SeaCrest has a large cap growth and has various international portfolios. One individual handles international portfolios and another handles higher net-worth clients.

One of the investments from which some tribes can benefit is with a minor's trust account, for example. SeaCrest can be flexible enough to find what the tribe is looking for, whether there is a need for available cash or if the tribe wants a risk profile.

''We will sit down and understand those risk profiles,'' Sanchez said.

''We would find the proper investment to help with investment needs. Lynn [Rapp] certainly understands and has done this for years with Morgan Stanley. We can be more flexible dealing with some of the nations and are able to understand the differences and be flexible enough to work with them,'' Sanchez said.

SeaCrest brings experience to the table. Sanchez and Gupta each have 23 years of experience in the financial management field; another partner who started the company, Ronald Lenihan, brings in 20 years of experience with Morgan Stanley and Lenihan was the COO for Morgan Stanley's Korean office; and Rapp brings 22 years of experience to the firm.

Not all partners or managers are minorities, but the company is minority-owned. SeaCrest, according to Sanchez, will not work exclusively with minority businesses or individuals, but many companies that have a large minority employee base are looking for minority-owned asset management.

''We believe it is our performance that will give us the business, our experience is deep,'' Sanchez said.

The company claim is that it is small enough to take the time to understand what a tribe or other investor needs, yet it has the experience to tailor an investment plan.

Rapp said she will be able to meet the specific need for tribal investment dollars.

''We can offer what the tribes need and not what the institution has to sell,'' Rapp said.

For more information about SeaCrest, visit www.seacrestim.com.