2011-01-28 / Business

Ephraim Ulmer, investment counselor

By John Temple Ligon temple@thecolumbiastar.com

What’s the difference between an investment strategy called “long–term” and another known as “buy and hold?” How about the difference between a financial planner and an investment counselor? Is the economy growing or slowing? Still practicing the “random walk theory?” What’s the matter? Don’t know how to pick winning stocks?

Pull together $1 million as an available investible minimum and make an appointment to see Columbian Ephraim Ulmer, investment counselor and principal at Godsey & Gibb Associates. But first, get oriented: godseyandgibb.com

Ulmer’s parents lived in Allendale, S.C., where there was not much for birthing. Ulmer’s Allendale parents chose the Columbia Hospital at the corner of Hampton and Harden for his birth.

The year Ulmer was born, 1947, was when his father started The Colony furniture store at first in West Columbia and then on Garners Ferry Road, even though the family continued to live in Allendale.

His father owned Allendale dealerships selling Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles. His mother was Southern Bell’s chief Allendale evening operator.

Ulmer had two younger brothers, who both continue to live in South Carolina.

After playing in just about every sport available on a pick–up approach, Ulmer never played varsity at Allendale–Fairfax High School. Still, his ’ 65 senior class elected him president. While in high school, Ulmer spent his afternoons on the job at one of his father’s U.S. Highway 301 motels, usually the Howard Johnson’s, where he carried Jimmy Durante’s luggage.

Ulmer’s father had a family restaurant on 301. Before the interstates changed everything, the majority of travelers driving through Allendale were from the northeastern United States. So the family restaurant on 301 was named “Long Island” to gain an immediate familiarity with the tourists.

After graduating from The Citadel as its senior class president (two years after author Pat Conroy), Ulmer went to work for his father and the family emporium for about a year before enrolling in law school at USC. For most of his time in law school, Ulmer lived in a garage apartment behind the large stuccoed house on the southwest corner of Laurens and Pendleton, all of two blocks walking distance to Don’s in Five Points.

Fresh out of law school, Ulmer did not practice law. He began an investment management firm. He soon accepted an invitation to open stock brokerage offices for Dean Witter Reynolds in Columbia, Greenville, and Charleston, employing 42 brokers.

Ulmer returned to running an investment management office, this time as WRC Capital Management.

Managing a merger with a larger operation, Richmond– based Godsey & Gibb, Ulmer began a business relationship with Richmond’s Frank Gibb that continues. They have financial planning offices under the name Godsey & Gibb in Richmond, Virginia Beach, Greenville, and Columbia.

Godsey & Gibb has nearly $ 400 million of client assets entrusted under its management. The firm provides wealth management on a fee– only basis.

After an account is established with a minimum of $ 1 million and off and running for its first year, the firm’s annual fee starts at 1% of the money under management and goes down from there as the amount of money managed goes up.

Ulmer has three daughters. The oldest Geordie earned her masters in accounting at USC. She is a CPA with Price Waterhouse in Seattle.

The middle daughter Jessie is a Clemson pre–med graduate going through the application process for medical school. She works in Columbia with Sandhills Pediatrics.

Ulmer’s youngest daughter Kistler, 20, is in her junior year at Clemson as a pre–vet major.

Ulmer’s history of athletics and especially distance running has prefectly prepared him to climb mountains. He has climbed Mount Ranier twice, and he regularly returns to peaks in Ecuador and Mexico.

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