Spotlight on AIM Alumni

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downloadJulian A. (Sonny) Lerner a pioneer of fund management, passed away at his home on Thursday March 10, 2016.

Julian will be remembered by many former AIM employees as the founder of the Charter Fund. Speaking about Julian, Bob Graham said it is important to note that the acquisition of the Charter Fund by AIM occurred about the same time as the Weingarten/Constellation funds.

These acquisitions transformed AIM into both a money market and retail firm. "This," recalls Bob, "was our entry into the retail business. We had a few small funds, but by acquiring these funds and keeping their managers who had produced great results we got into the adviser community, promoted these funds and built a name for AIM in the retail business."

Bob recalls that Julian was a key factor in building the business and he represented AIM well. 

It was a win-win situation because it was a tough market. Julian was selling directly and AIM provided the marketing muscle to build the assets in his fund.

Bob Graham 

Lanny Sachnowitz recalls what an honor it was to work for two legendary portfolio managers in Julian and Harry (Hutzler). “My colleagues and I had the chance to serve as understudies to two of the finest stock pickers in the business. I was fortunate to work closely with and ultimately succeed Julian on the Charter Fund, the fund I think he took the most pride in managing since its inception in 1968. A press article about Julian's retirement from managing the fund is available here.

I am sure that Julian would be proud to know that of all the funds AIM launched, acquired, merged or closed, the Invesco Charter Fund endures nearly 50 years on.

Lanny Sachnowitz

Lanny also recalls Julian’s sharp wit and wisdom that far exceeded what can be learned from any finance textbook. Julian was known for his sound intuition about the stock market and developed some simple, but powerful rules that served his shareholders well and made the "Charter story" quite compelling. “He was seriously competitive but never took himself too seriously,” found Lanny. “He was confident in his abilities but was always approachable and respectful of another point of view, especially when it came to delegating portfolio decisions to us young and ambitious "kids." He also had a great sense of humor and I remember accompanying him on a number of marketing trips around the country and admiring his ability to both educate and entertain his audience,” said Lanny.

Dick Berry knew Julian and Peggy and their family for 20 years before AIM acquired Charter and Dick began sharing offices with him. "We were both living in Dallas. I was doing tax-free mutual funds for AIM. It was a comfortable environment. Julian was a little eccentric at times, which made him interesting," recalls Dick.

Dick knew Julian served in WWII, but he had not known any specifics. One day at lunch, Julian was talking about General Patton, and how he was in the infantry walking with the tanks through France into Germany. Someone asked was he afraid? "Are you kidding? Julian replied. "I was walking through Nazi Germany. Of course I was afraid," Dick remembers Julian saying.

Dick echoed Lanny, sharing that Julian was very very competitive. He was a mall walker and he and his wife Peggy were religious about walking the Galleria Mall at about 7a.m. every day. He wanted to outperform everybody. In business, he wanted to outperform all the fund managers, not just those at AIM. He would calculate the funds daily. It was all very friendly and cordial.

If the measure of a life is a measure of love and respect, Julian measured up very well,” shares Lanny. “The enduring memory I have of Julian is that he was so kind and grateful for his family and friends, and for the business opportunities he had in his life.

Lanny Sachnowitz

Yet, despite all he accomplished, he never forgot where he came from,” said Lanny. As Jon Schoolar put it when Lanny shared with him the news of Julian's passing the other day, "he was the best of the best generation.”

Read Julian Lerner's obituary here.

hal barrSales guru Hal Barr turned author spent ten years at AIM from 1995 to 2005, with his final position as Director of Sales Strategy and Planning. "AIM was the highlight of my working career. It was a phenomenal place to work.  Ted Bauer, Bob Graham and Gary Crum drove a sense of community and family. I had not eperienced it before then and I have not experienced it after AIM. When the take over came thorugh it definitely changed the whole complexion of the company. And with the passing of Ted Bauer, the change was complete," reflects Hal.

Now Hal is focused on selling a book he authored. What I learned, shares Hal is that whether you sell widgets or financial services, "it is mostly psychology and art rather than science". Hal spent the last year and a half driving a limo, thereby giving him the down time to write his book. "It was humbling, but it gave me the time to complete a passion. Now I am working with that company to help them grow their business," shares Hal.

His sales knowledge and experience are shared in his book, The First Billion’s The Toughest which is available as a hard cover and an eBook on Kindle. Hal says of his publication:

It is the culmination of 30 years in the profession of sales and highlights the many insights and lessons learned. From first reader reviews , people found it insightful, interesting and valuable in raising their sales to a new level.

Hal Barr, Author

"I learned that you can really craft your skills after one billion. Being in the financial services industry, they come in at the tens and thousands. The book is there to circumvent the 15 years it took me to get the first billion. The second billion took me three years. It takes a lot of time to make the first billion," says Hal.

Read an excerpt from the book below:

"That is what sales is all about — it is making people feel comfortable with the decisions they make. If you would admit it, we are all engaged in wide varieties of activities that are in essence sales each day, be it trying to make a point during a board meeting in your workplace, or persuading our kids to heed our advice. Probably, the biggest sales proposition you will ever make is persuading someone to marry us; it is simply an attempt to sell something — love — to a person to whom you are attracted. I mean seriously, it does not get any bigger than that. To say we hate selling may be true, since we are all involved in selling each day of our lives, we could tell that understanding the Art, Science and Method of sales can help us become more successful in any endeavor we pursue."

Make an advance purchase at  As ever, we are proud of the talented individuals of AIM and their great accomplishments.

Helping Hands

Jan 21 2016

With this article we are sharing an outstanding story about Mandy, the daughter of Ronnie Stein, a former AIM employee.

Mandy, after graduating from the University of Texas in May 2013, transformed her passion to make a difference into reality by creating Neema International, a non profit organization that’s primary focus is investing in the lives of East Africa’s promising youth through education and sustainable building projects.

stein big

From a very early age, Mandy knew she wanted to make a difference in the world. After an initial vacation to Kenya in 2007, Mandy had the opportunity to return to Africa the summer of 2011 (after her Sophomore year of college) for a five-week structured volunteer program called Cross Cultural Solutions. Mandy fell in love with Tanzania and it’s people and this was the beginning of a very special relationship with the Tuleeni Orphanage in the remote village of Rau, located in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania.

The Tuleeni Orphanage is home to nearly one hundred orphaned and/or vulnerable children. Through the support of hundreds upon hundreds of donors, Mandy and Neema International are sending over seventy-five children to private school this year, up 50% from each of the previous two years that Neema Int’l has been involved. This incredible support has also allowed Neema Int’l to build the brand new Tuleeni Orphans’ Home and Tuleeni Academy in it’s new location of Uru, another village in the shadows of Mt Kilimanjaro.


The momentum we are experiencing as we begin 2016 is phenomenal. So many of our AIM friends have become part of the Neema family, and the work and progress that is being done is happening even quicker than we could have ever expected.

Ronnie Stein on Neema International

Says Ronnie. “We are looking so forward to the grand opening this Spring and reaching even more children than before”.

The Tuleeni Orphanage was featured on CBS for the 26th annual Courage in Sports show, which had a huge spotlight on Mandy and her orphanage as part of their segment on another outstanding youth, Austin Gutwein, Founder of Hoops of Hope.

Read about Mandy’s work as Executive Director of Neema International and her dedicated work on behalf of the Tuleeni Orphanage on her website ( Follow Neema International on Facebook and Instagram for an up to date look into the work of the organization.


Do you believe you are just lucky or that you are just that good?

J-Vibe Online Magazine meets with the most fascinating people, and one theme that seems to come up in most conversations is that extremely successful, humble and intelligent people who have created change believe they have just been lucky. Jim Salners, an actor and one of the first 50 employees at AIM Management, believes that being lucky is due to persistence. We just think it’s because he’s that good.

Read the full story here.


Solidarity not Charity
Whether in Cambodia, Botswana or Afghanistan, Polly Ahrendts has found that women are able to create opportunities that make sense in their respective communities, helping hundreds of thousands of people to live better lives.

Twelve years ago, shares Polly in her TEDxABQ Talk (when you click the link, Polly's talk is ten minutes long and is at 3H21M time stamp so three hours 21 minutes into the video), I was engaged in my own personal struggle. “My personal tool kit was not working for me anymore. I left the investment world, moved to New Mexico and as I looked for ways to connect and give back, I stumbled upon a path toward transformation.”


Everything just clicked and the whole world opened up.

Through her involvement with the International Folk Art Market in Sante Fe, New Mexico and the power of film (password: handmade), Polly discovered that access to marketplaces provided a gateway to a better life for women artists. When conscious consumers purchase authentic handmade art directly from the artisans it can be life-changing for everyone involved.

“Everything just clicked and the whole world opened up. This began for me when I began to appreciate the art and humanity of the handmade,” shares Polly. In the video from the TedxABQ Talk, Polly stands on stage wearing the silk scarf a Cambodian weaved and a tunic made by women living in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Hope and Freedom
By moving forward, Polly explains, there is hope. Financial independence means freedom for these women and their families.

Against the Odds
Through Polly’s journey of discovery, she learned that these artists and entrepreneurs are the second largest employer in the developing world. At festivals like the one in Sante Fe, these women earn in a weekend what would normally require five to ten years. “This,” said Polly, “is what access can do. Given the means, these women work against all the odds to better themselves.”