A Conversation with Melinda Gunn

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How did you get into financial planning and investing?

After moving to the Memphis area and working several years for Financial Strategy Group as a financial/tax accountant, I was hired as the controller for Telarray (formerly FSG Investment Management) in 2005. As we grew, my responsibilities shifted to overseeing the reporting and data area of the company. Although I now work in the financial planning and investing industry, I continue to use my accounting skills.

What is your greatest career success?

It is difficult to choose one thing. I was extremely proud to become an owner in Telarray in 2018, but I will never forget that feeling when I opened the letter with my results from the CPA exam and read, “Congratulations!”At the mutual fund, I championed the launch of a unique taxable municipal bond fund. The IRS does not always allow state and local governments to issue tax-free bonds, so taxable munis are a small but increasingly significant niche in the muni market. The fund was controversial for several reasons, but did eventually get launched and has done well for about 10 years now.

What has been the most significant learning experience in your career?

The events of late 2008 were some of the most instructive times for me. I had recently come to the investment industry from my time in the Navy and found myself in the midst of a financial hurricane. We all know that things worked out in the end, but at the time there was real fear that banks would close their doors and cash would stop coming out of ATMs. Fortunately, markets have a way of working themselves out for long-term investors. The most recent downturn and recovery in 2020 is another powerful example of the value of the long-term approach that I learned back in 2008.

When people you have worked with talk about you, what do they say?

I think they would probably say that I am organized and meticulous. I hope that they would also say that they enjoy working with me!


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