Where Success Resides

The worth of a well-developed advisor/client relationship might not be fully valued in a large bank or wire house setting.

There, volume alone is king, and any additional time for individual clients is scarce. A growing number of privately-held financial advising firms, however, are increasing their emphasis on the relationship aspect of the business, contending that the relationship is where their success resides.

Ask Roger E. Kiger, the chief manager and investment advisor representative with Visionary Horizons Wealth Management, located in Knoxville, Tenn., and he’ll tell you that the time he spends simply talking with his clients is where the most valuable transactions take place.

“For the most part, this industry does not understand the value of time spent with our clients,” Kiger said. He notes that, until they are educated otherwise, most clients enter a firm thinking that the advisor spends 80 percent of his or her time looking at screens and picking stocks. For Kiger, it is just the opposite. “The majority of our time is literally spent face-to-face with clients, dealing with their real life issues as they relate to their financial well-being.”

That time commitment is the main reason he no longer accepts new clients for his own practice within Visionary Horizons, but instead refers them to associate advisors building their own practices via the infrastructure the firm provides. It is a reflection of his deeply-rooted belief that the client relationship ought to be primarily with his or her advisor and not with the firm.

“We are actively recruiting advisors away from banks and wire houses to allow them to build their own practices within our firm, so they can be completely independent advisors, able to focus on their client relationships,” Kiger explained.

So far, Visionary Horizons has associates in three states and seeks to increase its national presence during the remainder of 2016 and into the coming year.

The firm began in 2008. It was such a tumultuous time in the market that an outsider to the financial services world might see it as the worst possible time to hang out one’s own shingle.
“Not so,” Kiger said emphatically.

“In actuality, it was the time when clients realized they needed the most help,” he said. “The phone was ringing off the hook for about two years.”

Kiger attributes this response to a poor service model employed by the banks and big wire houses. He actually describes the services during that time as, “just terrible.” Those advisors were not returning phone calls to clients at the very time when they needed answers and guidance the most.

As Kiger explained, this is where his focus on building a relationship with the client and not the product of any financial tool he was using really became a winning game changer.

“They (the banks and wire houses) were not calling people back at a time when they were struggling through the worst economic recession since the Great Depression,” he said. “And they had nobody to talk to.”
What Kiger sees as his greatest success is the relationship he built with each of his own clients before volatile markets sent their portfolios on a wild roller-coaster ride.

It’s the work done on the front end of the relationship – the education regarding market cycles and trends, the planning for life’s “what ifs” – that buoyed, and still buoy, Kiger and his clients through choppy waters.

“If everybody is prepared before the crisis hits, then there really is no crisis, because the damage isn’t nearly as severe for those who understand what is coming and are ready for it.” Kiger  emphasized, “Our clients sleep well at night because we have a relationship with them, and through that, they know they are protected.”

Learn more about Visionary Horizons Wealth Management online at

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