Firm History

Continental Advisors was founded in 1999 by Dave Purcell and his brother Paul. The firm represents the Purcell family’s fourth generation of financial services industry professionals. In fact, the name “Continental” was selected to honor the heritage of a successful financial advisory practice and insurance agency founded nearly 100 years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Prior to founding Continental, Dave had spent the previous eight years working at Warburg Dillon Read LLC (WDR) and its predecessor organizations (originally O’Connor and Associates) assisting and servicing leading pension funds, hedge funds, and institutional asset managers across North America. Continental was the logical next step to employ and build upon many of the best practices of several portfolio managers he most respected.

Salt Lake City, UT circa 1940 – The office of Continental Agency & Co. with Founder, P.J. Purcell and Partner, Phil J. Purcell


The Purcell brothers, along with investment partners Dave O'Neill and John Patience, have spent nearly two decades refining and executing upon these best practices, which are embodied in Continental's twelve investment principles. At the core, Continental attempts to combine traditional value-based investing in public equities with updated risk management tools and techniques. Continental focuses research activities primarily in specific sectors (financial services and healthcare). Fundamental research and the investment decision-making process remain concentrated at the senior partner level, not delegated to teams of vice presidents, analysts, and associates. The firm remains at the forefront in attempting to create portfolios with asymmetric exposures through the active use of equity options as a complement to the fundamental research discipline.

Today, the firm manages approximately $300 million in assets for predominantly high-net-worth individuals and families.