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we have a simple mission

Always put our clients' interests ahead of our own.
Commons Capital Advisors About Icon

About us

Commons Capital Advisors is a private wealth management firm founded on the belief that we can greatly improve on the traditional Wall Street relationship. While economies of scale may substantially benefit financial institutions, they also create potential costs in the form of conflicts of interest. Our independence frees us from those biases and allows us to focus on what is important — you.

michael manschot

Managing Director
Portfolio Manager

malik a.smith, csna, cltc

First Vice President
Private Wealth Advisor

jonathan d. straus, csna

Founding Principal
Portfolio Manager

rose m. thompson, crpc®

Vice President
Private Wealth Advisor

awards & recognition

2011 — 2018

Boston Magazine FIVE Star Wealth Manager Award

2012 — 2018

Barron's Top Independent Advisor Summit

2012 — 2018

Private Wealth Management Award — Boston Area

2014 — 2018

Women's Choice® Award — Financial Advisor

2011 — 2018

Massachusetts Excellence Award — Financial Services

2011 — 2016

Insurance Counselors & Consultants Award

2011 — 2018

Boston Magazine FIVE Star Wealth Manager Award

2012 — 2018

Barron's Top Independent Advisor Summit

2012 — 2018

Private Wealth Management Award — Boston Area

2014 — 2018

Women's Choice® Award — Financial Advisor

2011 — 2018

Massachusetts Excellence Award — Financial Services

2011 — 2016

Insurance Counselors & Consultants Award

Our Principles

The call for greater transparency and objectivity on the part of financial services providers continues to resound among individuals and organizations, seeking to protect and grow family wealth and business assets.

We structure our wealth management practice to emphasize client relationships over sales. Our professionals serve as your single point of contact and are directly accountable for your satisfaction. We demonstrate this by following distinct guiding principles:

Act in the best interest of the client

We provide advice and recommendations that are only in the client's best interest. We do this because it is proper, ethical and right. All of our principles are consistent with this philosophy and our way of conducting business.

Focus on professional advice, not products

We are client-centric, which means we focus on delivering sound advice and targeted solutions, not on selling financial products. The only incentive we have in offering particular solutions is whether the client's best interest will be served.

Deliver attentive, individualized service

We provide a high level of personal attention. We make a point of getting to know each client and learning what is important to him or her. Developing personalized insight is key to providing appropriate advice and service.

Practice what we preach

We invest our personal and firm assets based on the same set of investment principles and using the same or comparable securities that we recommend to our clients.

Provide full disclosure and transparency

Management fees are fully disclosed and clearly explained. We give answers in plain English, with whatever level of detail you seek.

Follow a fiduciary standard of care

We follow a fiduciary duty standard of care, which is the highest legal duty of care. We have a legal responsibility to act in your best interest. This is a much higher standard than the less stringent "suitability standard" which most major brokerage firms are subject to.

Our Process

As our client, you will benefit from a collaborative relationship that addresses and anticipates your needs. We follow a rigorous and disciplined wealth management process that provides a structured approach while allowing for careful customization as your unique needs and situation dictate.


An effective wealth management plan starts with getting to know each other. Tell us a little about yourself. We are good listeners. This will organically segue us into completing a thorough analysis of your entire financial life to accurately identify your short and long-term goals, thus establishing a solid foundation for your plan and our relationship.

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We construct an Investment Policy Statement, which is your wealth management blueprint. We show how variations to your asset allocation might impact your risk exposure or return expectations. Together, we agree on the most appropriate strategy. This may include a balance between fixed income and equity, for example, as well as private equity, hedge funds, real estate and real-return assets, as appropriate. We believe this is a crucial step that, in many cases, is overlooked.

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With a documented and agreed upon strategy set forth in the investment policy statement, we can begin to put your plan into action. Implementation may involve making changes to an existing asset allocation or executing a new one. We have the particular expertise required to invest directly in individual securities. This approach gives us more freedom to effectuate our investment ideas efficiently and cost-effectively, while retaining full control over the process.

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Review & Rebalance

True value lies in responding and adapting to the ever-changing financial landscape and your dynamic needs. By remaining engaged, we can proactively address these changes. Your relationship with us is based on accountability. We’ll track your progress and make adjustments as necessary. The frequency and method of communication will be set solely to accommodate you.

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Our Philosophy

Our investment philosophy is based upon a scientific approach to disciplined investing established under the Modern Portfolio Theory. We believe in a long-term strategic approach to asset allocation with tactical adjustments as secular shifts occur in the financial markets. Academic research suggests that the decision to allocate total assets among various asset classes will outweigh security selection and other decisions that impact portfolio performance. We tend to favor active versus passive management and strive to add value on a risk adjusted basis. Our basic tenets are global asset allocation, absolute returns, risk management and tax efficiency.

Interconnection of global economies has become more prevalent than ever when it comes to constructing investment portfolios. While the United States is still considered the driving force behind the global economy, other parts of the world are experiencing tremendous economic growth and development. At Commons Capital Advisors, we believe this changing global landscape presents investors with an unprecedented opportunity to widen their investment scope, adopting a global strategy as the foundation of their portfolios.

Objectivity, expertise and independence are all absolutely necessary in order to design, implement and monitor a portfolio that is appropriate for your needs, now and in the future.

Equity Philosophy

Our stock portfolios are constructed using a “bottom up” sector framework, where we de-emphasize the significance of economic and market cycles. Our approach focuses on the analysis of individual stocks and therefore we concentrate on a specific company rather than on the industry in which that company operates or on the economy as a whole. We use the eleven GICS (Global Industry Classification Standard) sectors that provide the structure for all S&P indices, and are widely accepted as an industry benchmark by investors in the U.S. and around the world.

Fixed Income Philosophy

The primary objective is current income and reasonable stability of principal. We don’t believe in trying to outguess interest rate moves, a high risk strategy with little chance of good long-term results. Fixed income can be used as a primary driver to generate desired lifestyle income. Historically, stocks have offered higher returns than bonds, however, fixed income investments are generally less volatile.

International Equity Philosophy

Our objective is to provide long-term growth of capital by investing in a diversified portfolio of international equity securities and exchange traded funds whose issuers are considered to have strong earnings momentum. We focus on companies that have experienced above-average, long-term growth in earnings and have strong prospects for future growth.

Alternatives Philosophy

Alternative investments exhibit different characteristics in terms of volatility, liquidity and performance than certain other traditional investments. Allocations to alternative investments may improve your risk-adjusted returns in certain kinds of market environments, however, hey are typically only available to accredited investors. These vehicles have demonstrated a high degree of risk that may make them unsuitable.

We are diligent about understanding and measuring the sources of risk so they can be managed appropriately.
  • Utilize the Modern Portfolio Theory to create an ”efficient portfolio”
  • Overweight and underweight asset classes, sectors and regions
  • Pair active and passive strategies
  • Limit position size — avoid concentration
  • Daily monitoring at a granular level
  • Thorough time-tested fundamental and technical analysis
  • Hedging risk during significant downturns
  • Time Horizon - When will the funds be needed?
  • Purpose - What are the assets intended for?
  • Asset Allocation - What asset classes are suitable?
  • Rebalancing - How often will the assets be rebalanced?
  • Return Expectations - What is your expected annual return?
  • Investments Eligibility - What types of securities will be held?
  • Benchmark(s) - How will we measure the portfolio?