Aaron A. Leaman, CFA®
Principal & Chief Investment Officer
Aaron joined Signature Financial Planning in 2005 as Chief Investment Officer after spending 12 years as a project manager at PNC Bank for their Pittsburgh market. Mr. Leaman became a principal at Signature Financial in 2012. He is a licensed financial advisor and Chartered Financial Analyst® charterholder. Aaron also oversees all aspects of portfolio management and the investment selections for the firm while creating customized strategies to suit each client’s unique needs.
Mr. Leaman is a student of modern portfolio theory and a longtime proponent of working to match risk to reward for every investor. As such, Aaron maintains a day-to-day watch over the ever changing conditions in the world economy and its various capital markets to ensure that client portfolios are always properly tuned to their individual goals, investment plans and risk tolerance. He also researches new and emerging companies, technologies and trends to incorporate new ideas and investment opportunities, where appropriate, for the firm’s clients.
Aaron attended Syracuse University and Duquesne University and won a national championship as a collegiate debater. He obtained his Chartered Financial Analyst designation through the CFA Institute. Mr. Leaman is a Registered Rep of Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS) and Investment Advisor Rep of Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), and is securities licensed.
Aaron has served as a youth coach for the Dynamo soccer league and is an active member with his synagogue community. In his leisure time, Aaron enjoys reading, writing, and studying macroeconomic analysis. He and his wife, Amy, live in Squirrel Hill with their son, Ian.
A chat with Aaron
What made you want a career as a financial advisor?
I actually never did. I initially took this job because it was an opportunity to work with friends, and a chance to get out of the corporate environment I had been in previously. It was only once I actually started doing the work that I realized how much I love it, and how well-suited it really is for me. I’ve got just the right amount of math-based OCD to make staring at stock charts all day long something I really, really enjoy.
What do you like best about being a part of SFP family?
The people. Hands down, that’s an easy one. I love my co-workers, and I love our clients. I’ve been privileged to work with and beside some truly wonderful people during my time here, and I’ve never stopped being impressed by the intelligence, integrity, kindness and generosity that I get to see every single day.
How do you want your clients to view their wealth?
I always tell clients that money is a tool, not an end. Your wealth and your portfolio represent options – the ability to live your life and your dreams on your own terms. Managed properly, those tools can serve you throughout your lifetime. If you focus solely on appreciation and accumulation and care only about seeing that bottom line number get larger, then you’re missing the point. What’s truly important is the happiness, freedom and security that money can provide.
On a professional level, what are your biggest accomplishments?
For a job that oftentimes measures success down to the hundredths of a percent, I find that I actually tend to focus more on accomplishments that are a little more nebulous or abstract in nature. I’m incredibly proud of the efficiency and capability we’ve shown here at Signature in managing huge sums of money for many hundreds of clients in an appropriate and creative fashion. I’m proud of the way we treat our clients and our employees, and I’m especially proud of the work we do in the community. Only a purely personal level, passing the CFA exams and obtaining my designation definitely stands out as one of the most difficult and satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s made me a better advisor and a better investor, and now that’s over, I can definitely say how happy I am that I stuck with it.
What do you love to do outside of work?
I am a voracious reader, and I love movies. I also love spending time with my family, playing soccer with my son, and maybe even occasionally getting to use the more creative (non-mathematical) parts of my brain.
What are you passionate about in your personal life?
Cooking. I love to cook. A glass of wine, a little olive oil, some fresh vegetables and a nice cast iron pan is all takes to make me happy. Well, maybe a little bit of garlic, too…
What is your most memorable travel experience?
My honeymoon: 17 days, seven stops, five countries and countless memories. Neither my wife nor I had ever been to Europe before, so we decided to go big and see as much as possible in a single trip. In just over two weeks we toured Dublin, London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice and Cinque Terre. It was an incredible journey, and one we’ll treasure for a lifetime. I’ve also been fortunate enough to visit Europe a few more times with Marc, and we’ve crisscrossed the continent. Most recently we drove through Switzerland and the Alps (magnificent) and caught a U2 show at the Olympic stadium in Barcelona.