Firm History

Continental Advisors was founded in 1999 by David Purcell and his brother, Paul.  They represent their 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 started by their great-grandfather nearly 100 years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Continental Advisors evolved from a dream, a belief and years of training and practical experience.  The dream was to own and operate an independent client-focused investment management business. The belief was that equity market inefficiencies could be exploited by disciplined fundamental analysis and stock picking.

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

The final stage of Continental’s evolutionary formation came during Dave Purcell’s eight years working at Warburg Dillon Read LLC (WDR) and its predecessor organizations (originally O’Connor and Associates).  In addition to formal training in derivatives and risk management, Dave worked with leading pension funds, hedge funds and institutional asset managers across North America. In his last position at WDR, Dave led a team that specialized in developing programs to structure portfolios incorporating strategic or fundamental investment strategies, with the tactical use of equity options.


In 1999, Dave founded Continental as the logical next step to employ and build upon many of the best practices of several portfolio managers he most respected.  The Purcell brothers, along with senior partner Dave O’Neill, have spent more than a decade 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).  Further, 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.  Finally, 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.

Over its fifteen year history, the firm has grown to include five partners, and nine total employees.  Today, the firm manages approximately $272 million in assets for multiple investor types, including high net worth families and individuals across three portfolio strategies (Financial Services, Healthcare and Opportunities).