Member of the Month: Vance Barse


Who are you, Vance Barse? 

I am the amalgamation of dichotomous stereotypes, and have been told I unintentionally challenge the status quo given my eclectic passions that often aren’t associated with one another.  I like big words, too.

I was actually first introduced to polo while dining at Scalini’s about a decade ago.  My intellectual curiosity prompted me to attend a match to learn more about the game and I was immediately hooked, so I became a social member.  Polo is an endeavor one must experience first-hand to truly value its inherent thrill.  Given my L4-L5 back issue, I’ve been afraid of playing but several members this season have convinced me to take my first lesson.  Topo, are you reading this?

A few years after becoming a social member, the firm for which I was working moved me (against my will, I might add) from San Diego to Florida.  Not many members know this, but I travelled full-time for years consulting the top private wealth advisors at family offices, RIAs, wire houses, etc.  I travelled to multiple cities each week and thus had no time to enjoy polo as I did at home here in San Diego.

Life took an unexpected turn when my grandmother “Red,” with whom I was very close, had a major stroke.  The docs told me she couldn’t walk, could barely talk, and needless to say was miserable, so I resigned from my career to go spend time with her in the nursing home during what we thought would be her rehabilitation period.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months, and it became apparent that she was permanently immobilized and never going home.  In that time we shared together, she and I had countless heart-to-heart discussions on life, spirituality, family, happiness, and what truly matters in life.  She emphasized how none of our material possessions can be taken to the “other side” and stressed the importance of living the life we want to live, not the life we or others think we have to live.

After she transitioned, I decided to ride across the country on one of my Harleys to make up for the lost time sacrificed while living out of a suitcase.  It was an amazing journey!  I rode to Manhattan, Miami, Chicago, the Space Needle, Yellowstone, the Ryman Auditorium, Colorado Rockies, Old Faithful, Mt. Rushmore, Jackson Hole, and ended up back here in my beloved San Diego.  As soon as my feet hit the sand, the decision to move back was made and that was a year ago this month.

As fate would have it, I decided to leverage the expertise acquired in my career and join Manning Wealth Management, a San Diego-based registered investment advisor that is affiliated with Commonwealth Financial Network®.  Commonwealth is one of my former client firms (and in my opinion, the best broker-dealer out there!).

Oh, and I love ZZ Top, Vivaldi, smoking cigars, black-tie events, riding my Harleys, stand-up comedy, really really strong coffee, and above all else, the always amazing Jodi Fliss.


What do you do?

I provide a much more personal approach to comprehensive investment services.  In addition to investment management, my firm specializes in unique strategies designed to help alleviate income and estate tax issues and works closely with clients’ CPAs and estate attorneys in doing so.  There are a number of strategies and services of which individuals and families are unaware.  All that is needed is the opportunity to learn more about their situation to identify where we can be of service and we often compliment the financial planning that has been done by their current advisor and work in conjunction with other advisors.


What can you tell us about the current market?

Quite a bit, but I’ll try to keep it short.  I actually have a free Economic Insights newsletter to which readers can subscribe by emailing me at .  The newsletter is educational, easy to read, features my media appearances, and keeps readers in-the-know on current happenings in the economy.

Speaking of which, we are at a very unique time from an historical perspective because for several years, the Federal Reserve has stimulated our economy via Quantitative Easing and by keeping interest rates (specifically the fed funds rate) artificially low.  To ensure I don’t sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher, allow me to paraphrase: essentially, the Fed’s efforts have allowed the U.S. economy to live Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way,” which has been great, and we now have good fundamentals.  But this “free” party, like all parties, must come to an end, and the difficulty is that we can’t just end a multi-year party cold turkey without experiencing a hangover of epic magnitude.  The Fed needs to end this party slowly, gradually, and methodically, and I suspect it will.

Markets recently declined worldwide, but the U.S. should continue to fare well because of the overall structure of the economy, strong currency, and limited financial exposure.  As I write this, the Fed announced today that it will leave rates unchanged due to financial market instability and low inflation.  China has played a significant role in the volatility of the global economy, particularly with its unexpected devaluation of the Yuan, and China will likely be a source of further uncertainty and volatility.  One thing that should be of concern to investors is the negative impact rising interest rates will have on bonds.  Way too much to write here, but I am happy to share some insights over a Buzz Box and/or cigar.  These and other topics are covered in my newsletter, so I hope readers reach out to subscribe.


Who are your firms’ clients? Who are your potential clients? Who can benefit from your services?

My firm’s core clients are business owners, executives, and high-net-worth individuals and families.  The aspect I value most in serving as a fiduciary is the opportunity to be of service to a broad range of individuals with whom I share similar interests.  As of now, I don’t have a minimum and I’ve structured this intentionally to allow the opportunity to serve people of varying financial situations for the long-term in guiding them in achieving their financial goals.  Most people can benefit from the services I provide, whether it be a rollover 401(k) or IRA situation, an “up and coming” entrepreneur, or a high-net-worth individual or family.  I often hear “…I have an investment person,” and one of my core competencies is investment management, but I’ve found that in most cases there is room to work adjunctively with a current advisor.  This can benefit a client by providing the comprehensive, holistic financial planning services in which my firm specializes.

I am saddened because we only have one week left in this polo this season—what am I going to do on Sundays now?—but I hope to see all the familiar faces of fellow polo enthusiasts between this season and next!  One last thing, please do me a personal favor: don’t text and drive.


Vance Barse offers securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. He is located at 401 B Street, Suite 2300, San Diego, CA 92101 and can be reached at 619-237-9977.