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Banking & Finance

Feb. 20 - The Fiduciary Group Celebrates 50-Year Anniversary

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

February 20, 2020 - The Fiduciary Group will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2020. The team at The Fiduciary Group is dedicated to helping clients build their wealth over the long-term through sound planning, useful advice and disciplined investment management. 

Since its founding in 1970 by Lee Butler, a respected Savannah banking executive, The Fiduciary Group has followed the fiduciary model, putting client interests first and offering objective financial advice. He worked for many years in the trust department of a large bank, managing and administering families’ assets across generations.

Lee Butler recognized the need for independence from banks, brokers and financial products in order to serve as a fiduciary advisor. As a result, the firm was founded on the belief that it should serve clients without affiliations with banks, brokers or financial products that could potentially divide loyalties. 

“Starting my own business required more than simply replicating what I had done as a bank trust officer,” Lee Butler said. “I wanted to adopt what was right about the trust system and to concentrate on offering impartial advice. We developed a special niche in assisting Savannah’s leading families in the management of their finances and the transfer of assets from one generation to the next.”

Lee Butler’s son, Malcolm Butler, joined the firm in 1980 after graduating from Duke University. He earned a JD from University of Georgia School of Law in 1985 and became President and CEO of The Fiduciary Group in 1998. 

“Since the beginning, we have upheld competency, integrity and transparency as our core values,” Malcolm Butler explained. “We have a deep respect for the past while remaining focused on the future. We believe our broad expertise and collaborative thinking result in better investment decisions and more meaningful solutions to a wide range of our clients’ needs.”

In 1985, the firm managed $40 million in assets and had a team of three. The firm now manages over $1.1 billion in assets (as of 12/31/2019) and has a team of 14 accomplished financial professionals serving high net-worth individuals and families, business owners, company 401(k) plans, trusts and nonprofit organizations.

Originally located at 18 E. Oglethorpe Ave. in downtown Savannah, The Fiduciary Group moved to its current location at 310 Commercial Dr. in 1999.

In 2003, Chief Investment Officer Joel Goodman joined the firm, followed in 2006 by Chief Retirement and Planning Officer Julia Butler. 

“We are truly a Savannah success story,” said Julia Butler. “Over the years, The Fiduciary Group has grown from a locally owned family business to a world-class wealth management firm serving families and companies throughout the Southeast and beyond.”

Lee Butler retired from active management of client accounts in 2008. That same year, Scott McGhie, CFA, CPA, joined The Fiduciary Group as a Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor. 

Lee Butler’s granddaughter, Bess Butler, joined the firm in 2017 and currently serves as an Associate Investment Advisor, bringing a third generation of wealth managers to The Fiduciary Group.

Today, the firm’s managing partners include Malcolm Butler, JD, President and CEO; Joel Goodman, CFA, Chief Investment Officer; Scott McGhie, CFA, CPA, Director of Portfolio Management; and Julia Butler, CFP, JD, MBA, CFEI, Chief Retirement and Planning Officer.

“The key to our success over the past five decades has been adherence to our core values of integrity, competency and undivided loyalty to our clients’ best interests,” Malcolm Butler said. “We’ve built a team and a culture that will thrive for generations to come. We look forward to serving clients and exceeding expectations for the next 50 years and beyond.’’ 

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