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James appears in the 

Top 100 People in Finance

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James E. Demmert

James Demmert is equal parts investment expert, philanthropist, and advocate for the greater good. As Marin County’s Citizen of the Year, an award-winning author, and founder and managing partner of Main Street Research, a boutique wealth management firm selected as one of the 2019 Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors by the Financial Times, his passion for industry and community is manifest in a company that embodies his commitment to both. “I strongly believe that it is better to have a prosperous society than to have a struggling one,” he shares.

With a degree from Harvard University, James began his career 35 years ago, managing money for institutional and individual investors. After eight years of serving clients as a specialist in all aspects of investment management, including equity and fixed income research, trading and portfolio management, with particular expertise in macroeconomic research and risk management, he realized that his passion lay where he could help make a real difference. “I enjoyed managing money for institutional investors, but what I loved was managing money for families because it was more satisfying. I want to make sure money lasts people for their entire lives, and for foundations, lasts for generations,” he explains. “This desire drove me to expand into wealth management, evolving from investment to a more holistic approach.”

In 1993, James launched California-based Main Street Research to serve exactly these clients. The firm specializes in managing money for wealthy families and foundations with an approach that focuses heavily on research and risk management to both build and protect the wealth of their clients. As a registered investment advisor of $1.1 billion across 500 relationships, the company is known for doing well in bad markets through its risk-management tools and an approach driven by the mission to employ the strategies that will best serve its clients, regardless of market conditions. “We’re global investors, so we invest all over the world and in all kinds of sectors, and we use individual securities, stocks, bonds, whereas most people use mutual funds—whatever will benefit our clients the most.”

With experience in the areas of retirement, financial, estate and tax planning, James serves not only as steward of a burgeoning company ranked among the Top 50 Fastest-Growing Firms by Financial Advisor Magazine in 2016, but as an active portfolio manager for some of the firm’s larger clients. Still, with all his success, James remains devoted to giving back by sharing his knowledge—and his money—with local and global communities.

While Main Street Research gives a percentage of its profits to different organizations around the world that give back to their communities, James shares his expertise through a library of articles on finance and investment management published in the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, BusinessWeek, Fortune, and others. He is also a sought-after speaker on the subject of investment topics and an award-winning author of two books, Journey To Wealth, which reflects on his personal journey, and The Sustainable Endowment, which focuses on endowments. He is also a member of Forbes Finance Council, Foundation Source, The CFA Institute, and the Financial Planning Association.


James Demmert

Founder and Managing Partner — Main Street Research

30 Liberty Ship Way, 3rd Floor

Sausalito, CA 94965


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