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Navigating Our World

"Navigating Our World"—NOW for short—started as the theme of Brown Advisory’s first client conference, held in 2008 to celebrate our 10th anniversary as an independent firm. Fifteen years on, as we recognize our 25th anniversary, the intention and force behind our desire to help our clients and colleagues navigate our world remain just as important as ever.

The stage on which our clients and colleagues live their lives, on which communities gather together, and on which we conduct our business feels as crowded, noisy and, at times, contentious as it has ever been. The polarization of so many issues and the pressure from both sides to “win” have pushed people and organizations to yell louder and to be more absolute in their positions. “Always” and “never” signal strength and conviction, whereas the ideas of compromise and nuance indicate weakness.

We see this dogmatism in many of the issues that consume the investment news cycle: inflation and the measures needed to control it; the banking crisis and measures to mitigate future liquidity issues; the war in Ukraine and how best to support the sovereignty of its people; sustainable investing and the politicization of the practice; and working from home and how to maintain a connected culture, among so many others. Entrenchment on these issues is celebrated and amplified across the media and political landscape—anger and outrage are great ways to generate attention, clicks and money.


"Skepticism and scrutiny of sustainable investing are entirely appropriate. We must remain vigilant of greenwashing and, at the same time, raise the bar on what we can expect from our investments. We believe that some of the most exciting business models in today’s market are those that are helping to solve some of our thorniest sustainability challenges. Meanwhile, because businesses—and hence investment returns—depend on natural resources, a stable climate and stable societies, the long-term sustainability of these elements should be a key consideration in capital allocation. As investors, we would argue that assessing all of the information about a potential investment generates better returns for our clients."

Chair of Sustainable Investing and Co-Portfolio Manager, Large-Cap Sustainable Growth Strategy

karina funk



Our job as a firm and thus as colleagues is to resist these pressures. We must think practically, rationally and without bias when making decisions for, and on behalf of, our clients’ best interests—not based on any personal agenda. This takes practice, patience and humility—we need to make intentional efforts to listen. This is the foundation of what NOW has become for us, and the value it can provide for clients—a forum and outlet for us to challenge our convictions, to seek outside and diversifying perspectives, and to test the first principles we use in our decision-making.

We will continue to share our thoughts on these issues for clients through our NOW podcast, regional NOW conferences and in written publications. Just as importantly, we need to give our colleagues the right forums to talk about them—our morning meeting is one space that works particularly well.



"In this time when we see what other people are struggling with, including in places such as Ukraine, Turkey and Syria, we have a lot to be thankful for. We’re in a position to make a difference, so try to help people who are having a tough time—however you are able, do it."

Portfolio Manager

terry beaty



The quotes you see here are two examples of how we are attempting to provide context to these issues. The quote from Karina Funk, our Chair of Sustainable Investing and the Co-Portfolio Manager of our Large-Cap Sustainable Growth strategy, comes from an article she wrote late in 2022 as attacks on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing intensified. It also reflects on the opposite pressure to ride its momentum for commercial gain by “greenwashing” investment products. The quote from Terry Beaty, a portfolio manager in our Washington, D.C., office, comes from our morning meeting on February 16, 2023, where he shared reflections on his more than five decades of experience investing for clients.

Not one of us has all the answers. We are convinced that the most effective way to navigate these challenging times and complex markets is to seek fresh perspectives, challenge established convictions, and above all, listen and reflect. Through collaboration, innovation and humility, we can raise the future—for all of us—together.

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