On August 1, 2018, Jon Houk and JPH Advisory Group joined Gratus Capital, LLC, adding a terrific team that cares deeply for clients and shares a common approach to integrated, thoughtful financial planning and investment management.

Hank McLarty, Gratus’ founder, set out to create a firm that works every day to provide financial well-being at the most personal and yet sophisticated level. Jon P. Houk founded JPH Advisory Group in Atlanta in 1992 with one goal in mind: to create a place where he could work in the best interest of his clients.

Together, it is our goal to raise the bar in the wealth management profession, enriching the lives of clients by providing a path to financial independence.

Members joining us from the JPH team, from left to right:  Veda Deshpande, Curtis Hearn, CFP®, Jon Houk, CFP®, Joshua Swartz, CFP®, Brittany Teilhaber, Magda Richard.
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On June 15th, Gratus team members visited the Junior Achievement of Georgia Discovery Center at the World Congress Center in downtown Atlanta. The JA Discovery Center program was created to prepare and inspire young people to succeed in a global economy. At Junior Achievement, their vision is to develop a generation of individuals who are armed with the confidence, knowledge, and determination to thrive – to build a better future for themselves and their community.

Gratus Capital at the JA Discovery Center

Gratus volunteers joined together with groups of 3 to 5 middle school students to mentor them through their day in a financial real-life simulation. The team used digital tools to lead the groups through the program, where the students were given careers, income, and families. In the simulation, each student learned how education, income, and credit can affect their future. They created a budget and learned how taxes are taken out and what to put aside for retirement, emergencies, and general savings. With their new budget, each group set out to visit the different businesses at the JA Park to learn about daily, monthly, and yearly expenses and how they relate to their budget and savings plan. The team enjoyed educating the students on how to make money and how to spend money wisely in a hands-on and fun way.

JA launched its first discovery center in Georgia in 2015. 174,000 students throughout Georgia participated in JA programs last year, and 9 out of 10 teachers observed sustained higher levels of engagement in the months following their students’ participation in JA BizTown or the JA Finance Park. JA has provided 2.5 million contact hours to students, accumulated 15,000 volunteers, and partnered with over 300 businesses in the United States.

Get Involved at JA Discovery Center

Volunteering with JA goes far beyond time spent with the students. The experiences you share and scenarios you help bring to life will impact the students forever. To learn more about how to volunteer with JA Finance Park at the World Congress Center, visit

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Every year, Gratus team members organize and participate in quarterly volunteer events.  After each event, the team completes a survey and votes to determine which one had the biggest impact on the Gratus team and the community.  In 2017, Gratus hosted an event for Make-A-Wish®, volunteered on the farm at Camp Twin Lakes, planned a carnival for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta℠ Scottish Rite Hospital, and helped families Christmas shop at MUST Ministries Marietta.  The events helped provide resources to those in need and aimed to make a difference.  Although all four events were successful, the Gratus team voted and decided the event at MUST Ministries Cobb Toy Shop made the greatest impact overall.

MUST Ministries Donation

In March, a few team members visited MUST Ministries Marietta to deliver a donation acknowledging the impact of their event.  The donation will go towards the services MUST Ministries provides including groceries, job training, housing options, and meals.  Donations to MUST Ministries help 30,000+ clients they serve each year.  For 47 years, MUST Ministries has worked to fulfill their vision of connecting people who have a desire to help with those who need it most.

For More Information

Taking the time to invest in our communities is an important belief for team members at Gratus.  In addition to being fun team-building experiences, these events provide an opportunity to pause and put others first.  To get involved with MUST Ministries, please visit their website at  If you are short on time, please consider making a financial donation online or contributing much-needed items from their Amazon wish list.

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On March 20th, members of the Gratus team enjoyed a community garden workday with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The ACFB Community Gardens project supports a local movement designed to give all residents of Atlanta access to fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. The program develops and maintains more than 100 gardens around the Metro Atlanta area by offering expertise, seed donations and coordination of volunteers and community members.

Our Giving Garden in Mableton

At Our Giving Garden, volunteers work together to grow and sustain affordable and healthy food.  Our goal was to help prepare Our Giving Garden in Mableton for the growing season.  During our time at the garden, we built pallet shelves to house the compost, weeded, dug trenches between beds, and prepped pea seedlings for a bamboo trellis. Team members went home tired, dirty and full of appreciation for the effort that goes into maintaining these great community assets.

Our Giving Garden was established in October of 2016.  Since then, they have donated nearly 600 lbs. of organic produce to the Sweetwater Mission Food Pantry.  All proceeds are used for maintaining the land the garden uses or to provide donations within the community.

For More Information

Our Giving Garden has several ways to get involved. We encourage you to explore volunteer opportunities or to make a donation.  To learn more about the Atlanta Community Food Bank or Our Giving Garden, please visit their websites at and


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AdvisoryHQ recently released their 2018 ranking of the “Top 10 Best Financial Advisors in Atlanta, GA,” and we are proud to announce our inclusion on the list!

AdvisoryHQ developed a breakthrough “Top-Down Advisor Selection Methodology” that is based on a wide range of filters including fiduciary duty, independence, transparency, level of customized service, history of innovation, fee structure, quality of services provided, team excellence, and wealth of experience.

We are extremely honored to be recognized by AdvisoryHQ this year.

What makes this recognition even more special is the element of surprise.  Since AdvisoryHQ reviews and ranking articles are always 100% independently researched and written, firms do not even realize that they are being reviewed by AdvisoryHQ until after reviews have been completed and published to the public.

Read more at AdvisoryHQ:

Rankings and recognitions by unaffiliated publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that Gratus Capital will provide a certain level of results in client accounts, nor should they be construed as current or past endorsements of Gratus Capital by clients. AdvisoryHQ based its selection on publicly available information. Gratus Capital is not responsible for any content prepared by AdvisoryHQ regarding the services offered by Gratus Capital. Additional details regarding the criteria and process utilized in formulating these rankings can be found by clicking here.
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On December 12th, Gratus team members spent the day helping families in need shop for the holidays at MUST Ministries Marietta.  A nonprofit organization, MUST Ministries addresses the basic needs of individuals, families, and children living in poverty and residing throughout Cobb and Cherokee counties.  The ministry provides food, clothing, housing, and employment services.

Our goal was to help parents and other caregivers provide a joyful Christmas for their children without the financial stress that often accompanies the holiday season.

Plentiful Toy Shop

At the Cobb Toy Shop, moms, dads and other caregivers arrived by appointment to holiday shop for their children at no cost.  The gift stations were organized by age ranges.  Our roles were numerous, including escorting caregivers through the many shopping stations.  For each child, the caregiver selected one large gift, such as a doll, scooter or bike, and several smaller gifts, including puzzles, books, and hats. Gratus team members also helped restock shelves and box and carry gifts to caregivers’ vehicles.

More than 10,000 volunteers help MUST Ministries achieve its goal of being Georgia’s most respected servant leader.  The Gratus team is immensely grateful to have been a part of this incredible community effort.  We experienced firsthand how serving others positively changes lives.  Our team left the ministry with a deep appreciation for those who struggle to provide for their families and for the role others can take to assist families in need.

For More Information

The needs of our greater community underscore Gratus’ purpose.  Together, we can make a difference in others’ lives by volunteering and providing in-kind and monetary donations.  To learn more about MUST Ministries, please visit their website at

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Dressed in funny hats, wigs, and red noses, 17 Gratus staff members spent an afternoon at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta℠ Scottish Rite Hospital. Our aim was to put smiles on the children’s faces, and help them take their minds off their upcoming tests and surgeries.

Ultimately, our goal was to instill hope within each child as they face challenges caused by their medical conditions. Many of these young patients suffer from cancer, blood disorders, heart conditions, asthma, diabetes and other chronic medical conditions.

Games, Prizes & Smiles

Fifteen children ranging in age from four to 16 attended our carnival themed fun factory. Various play stations were set up, including face painting and tattoos as well as a variety of games, including darts, mini golf, knock-over-the-cans, and fishing ducks. Each child had the opportunity to win a variety of silly and unique prizes.

Throughout the afternoon, the Gratus team served cotton candy and popcorn in hope of minimizing, even momentarily, the stress the children and their families may be feeling.

Our team left the event in admiration of the courage required by such young individuals. We also learned more about how best to communicate with parents as each family dealt with their child’s difficulties in their own unique way. Many simply wanted to talk and we listened.

What to say to parents with a chronically ill child?

Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to say to a parent whose child is chronically ill. This article offers some excellent advice, spoken directly by the caregivers of chronically ill children.

For More Information

The needs of our greater community underscore Gratus’ purpose. There are many families among us who need compassion. Together we can make a difference in another’s life. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, visit their website. The hospital also has a Children’s Wish List.


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Gratus Capital has been named to  The Forbes ranking of America’s Top 100 Wealth Advisors for the second year in a row. Gratus Capital’s Founder & CEO Hank McLarty is listed 67th out of 100 top-performing peers. The Top 100 Wealth Advisors were selected from nearly 20,000 nominations and over 4,000 candidates invited to complete the Forbes survey.

The Forbes ranking of America’s Top Wealth Advisors was developed by SHOOK Research, a research organization focused on the quality of the advisor. It is based on advisor experience and an algorithm that measures both qualitative benchmarks gleaned through telephone and in-person interviews along with quantitative data. Specific factors that were examined include: revenue trends, assets under management, compliance records, use of team, client retention and best practices in working with clients.

“If we’re going to recommend advisors to the public, we have to make sure every advisor is high quality. When we meet with an advisor for a due diligence meeting, we are thinking to ourselves, “Is this someone we would recommend to a friend or family member?,” said R.J. Shook, president of SHOOK Research, about the ranking process in Forbes Magazine.

The full list of Top 100 Wealth Advisors will be featured in the October 24th print issue of Forbes magazine.

We have built our business by focusing on our clients and providing responsive, thoughtful, accurate wealth management counsel,” said McLarty. “We understand we have an opportunity to play a significant role in helping clients to achieve their dreams and plan for the future, and we make them our mission. We are honored to be recognized by Forbes as a Top Wealth Advisor again this year, as another testament to the value and level of service we provide.”

A boutique wealth management firm focused on serving successful individuals, families, foundations, and endowments, Gratus Capital caters to clients across the nation with a tailored team approach, low client to advisor ratio and fee-based advisory services.

What new financial goals do you have in mind? Contact us to learn how we can help.


Developed by Shook Research, Forbes ranking based on overall quality of practice and algorithm of qualitative/quantitative data received in nominations from professionals from financial services, banks, brokerages, custodians, insurance, clearing houses and registered investment advisers. Criteria included client retention, industry experience, compliance records, firm nominations, AUM, and revenue generated for firms. Seven years minimum advisors experience. 

The above article is intended to provide generalized financial information; it does not give personalized tax, investment, legal, or other professional advice. Before taking any action, you should always seek the assistance of a professional who knows your particular situation for advice on taxes, your investments, the law, or any other matters that affect you or your business.

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We are pleased to announce that Wayne Holbrook has joined the Gratus team as our Chief Operating Officer.  Wayne is responsible for collaborating with the Executive team to develop and measure team structures, create operational efficiencies, and innovate policies and procedures to align with the firm’s vision.

Prior to joining Gratus, Wayne was the Chief Operating Officer / Chief Compliance Officer for Cornerstone Investment Partners and was responsible for operations, trading, finance, human resources, compliance and technology. Before that, he was a Global Partner with Invesco, where he was responsible for operations, trading and technology for the North American Institutional Group. Wayne earned his Masters of Business Administration from the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, and he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Please join me in welcoming Wayne to the Gratus family.

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Dedicated to helping others in our community, the Gratus Team recently volunteered at Camp Twin Lakes. The nonprofit organization provides week-long summer camps and year-round weekend retreats for Georgian children with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges.

Camp Twin Lakes collaborates with nearly 60 different nonprofit organizations to create customized programs that teach campers to overcome obstacles and grow in their confidence and capabilities.

The Gratus Team Charge

The Gratus Team was tasked with harvesting more than 548 pounds of potatoes, all grown on site at the camp’s sustainable teaching farm. Every potato will be converted into farm-fresh french fries, mashed potatoes, and other wholesome dishes. In fact, almost every meal served at the camp has some component that originated on the farm. All in all, our harvesting will feed approximately 800 campers this summer and saved the camp staff a full day of working in the potato fields.

Tangible Impact

After farming, we received an in-depth tour of the camp’s grounds. Along the way, all of us gained a deeper understanding of just how Camp Twin Lakes creates impactful and life-changing experiences for children facing serious challenges. After much reflection, we also hold a new perspective on how farming education can help to instill strength and confidence in those facing adversity.

For More Information

As strong advocates of volunteerism and charitable giving, we encourage you to explore volunteer opportunities with Camp Twin Lakes. Or, if you’re pressed for time, then please consider supporting their Wish List requests or planned giving efforts.

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Gratus Capital, LLC
3350 Riverwood Pkwy, Suite 1550
Atlanta, GA 30339
Phone: (404) 961-6000
Toll Free: 1 (888) 707-0773
Fax: (404) 961-6020