Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Financial advisor finds more freedom, less stress away from Wall Street

Showcasing early entrepreneurs has a twofold purpose. One is to offer an added marketing communications or social media element to help promote their businesses. The second is to provide a forum through which they can guide other aspiring business owners around avoidable obstacles and toward a path of attainable goals. Sharing insights begins with hearing their stories firsthand beginning with a conversation with
Frank Griseta, financial advisor
The Griseta group

I realized early on that the trend among Wall Street financial institutions was to focus more on revenue than on what was best for the customer. This wasn’t my approach. I wanted to do something that was more efficient and a lot more beneficial for the client. I wanted to perform this way within the firms that I had worked, but wasn’t allowed to. Meanwhile, I continued providing my clients with a very great value at a very reasonable price. As a result, when I moved my practice to my new firm, most of my clients came with me. I was told by a very successful person that if you want to work for a company that doesn’t exist, go out and create it. And that is exactly what I did.

The Griseta Group focuses on comprehensive financial planning for its clients. Outside of just investments linked to the stock market which, of course, is a very important part of a financial plan, I like to look at the overall financial picture and try to help clients have financial success not only in one area, but in all areas of their lives. I feel that once someone is well-rounded from a financial standpoint that it alleviates a lot of stress from their life.

Because the margins are tight among the competition, most of them look at the amount of assets coming in and invest them simply to generate the greatest amount of revenue. To me, it’s more about getting a person from point A to point B. I feel that the way I invest money and the fee that I charge creates a lot of transparency. My approach allows the client to see the activity within their portfolios to the point where it’s clear that I am not just trying to generate revenue. Even before I create a relationship with a client, I explain to them how I will be moving their assets and how I be compensated, so that they have a complete understanding of the process as well as of each transaction.

Usually, I look for clients with at least $250,000 to $500,000 or more in investible assets. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people under those amounts are not entitled to financial planning, we well. For people who fall into this category, I have established programs that are just as transparent as those that I offer my other clients.

I’m a pretty avid networker. I attend a great number of events on a regular basis, but do so strategically. I try to target those in their 40s to 60s who most likely are in the asset bracket on which I’m focused. I also recently rejoined the Greater O’Hare Association and Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce which I think will be a good fit for me.

What surprised me the most about starting my business and being away from Wall Street was the amount of freedom that I have in being able to take care of my clients. If you are less stressed you can perform at your best. Moving away from the corporate rat race is allowing me to do that. The one thing that I would have done differently would be to have more help in the beginning. Moving a book of business requires a lot of paperwork of which I did 95 percent by myself. I’d tell prospective entrepreneurs that entrepreneurship is very rewarding. Make sure you do your homework, make certain you are prepared, and have the proper funding necessary to serve your clients. Make use of an advisor or mentor to help you distinguish between the emotional decisions and the business decisions. In the end, just never give up.

Editor's question: How many of you entrepreneurs have also built the business that you've always wanted to work for?

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