Stern Value Management advises senior managements and boards of directors on management systems designed to maximize the value of the organization. More than 800 firms have implemented our program, and those that have drilled the methodology down to the shop floor have outperformed the organizations for whom the implementation has been limited either to senior management or down to middle management. Value maximization means that investments will be undertaken only if there is a committed belief that the returns on such investments will exceed the required rate of return for risk. Of course, this implies maintaining very, very high standards of professional ethics. It is our belief that reputation is the most important asset of the firm after the quality of the management team and other employees in the organization. We encourage employees to help each other by using big brother big sister approaches to the development of all employees. This leads to the greatest likelihood for innovation. This was uppermost in our mind at the time we developed the Free Cash Flow concept and invented EVA as a performance measure, as a rank ordering process for investments, and also to encourage breakthroughs in developing solutions to help our clients create value.
We do not differentiate between firms that are family businesses, privately held, or firms that are publicly traded on share markets. To us the principles of value maximization are the same. New ideas are volunteered by employees in the firm for developing innovation that can provide for firms becoming distinctive and proprietary, so that they can charge a premium price for the goods and services they produce. We are also encouraged by the number of government organizations and nonprofits that have implemented our approach, where they recognize that the guiding principles of Economic Value Added can become the basis for achieving truly outstanding performance on a sustained basis.
In addition, we sought out academic scholars of renown to publish their ideas in a publication we developed, now known as the Journal of Applied Corporate Finance (JACF), but where mathematics, statistics and econometrics would be minimized, and where a simple and plain story could be told in simple English, so that people would have no difficulty in learning these ideas from some of the greatest scholars in the world. The leading professors in the world of financial economics have not only published in the JACF, but their ideas have be-come a part of our own methodology, integrating these ideas wherever and whenever they could help our clients improve their value creating process.
Another important value is our objectivity. We give advice as if we own our clients firms ourselves. We are not interested in closing transactions for the purpose of generating fees, but rather to encourage our clients to turn down investment opportunities if we believe they will destroy value by closing the transaction. In short, objectivity is our pledge. We will never recommend something we ourselves would not implement. We view it as our responsibility. Thus, we provide highly objective, insightful, fact-based and actionable, advisory services to our clients. Our expertise in Value-Based Management leads us to successfully resolve complex issues in almost all functions in our clients. We are proud that we are involved in the transformation from size for its own sake to making investments and engaging in financial policies that can be expected to maximize economic value.