Wealth Protection

A Long Way From The Kitchen Table

John Kailunas II, founder of Regal Financial Group, Regulus Advisors and Regal Investment Advisor, remembers when he followed his dad’s lead 28 years ago, and sold life insurance sitting at countless kitchen tables in the Midwest.

Today, Regal Financial Group has a nationwide presence, with over 150 representatives offering a full spectrum of financial planning expertise through their RIA, Regal Investment Advisors, and an independent broker-dealer through Regulus Advisors.

“We do a holistic approach with clients,” Kailunas II, says mainly individuals with investable assets ranging from $250,000 to $750,000. “We handle all of their needs from insurance investments to estate planning – even some accounting and concierge work. We are all-encompassing.”

Having earned a spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Top 50 Wealth Advisors, Regal Investment Advisors offers a team of experienced brokers who value their well-deserved reputation of providing excellent advice with a high standard of integrity.

Since a majority of Regal’s clients tend to be retired small business owners needing to create a sustainable income from their assets, ensuring there’s enough money to last during a lengthy retirement span requires communication, even if it means discussing uncomfortable topics.

Kailunas II accomplishes this by presenting clients with a variety of “what if?” scenarios to determine where their tolerance threshold is for handling life events. But these aren’t always easy conversations. He added that it’s particularly disheartening to have to tell new clients coming from other advisors that their portfolios aren’t strong enough and they may need to delay retirement.

“We address the death of a spouse, a child, even the drug dependency of a child and how that child could end up being back in the household,” Kailunas II explained. “We let the clients pick where their stress points would be. I think the communication of those events and the possibility of those events is sobering for clients, but yet they realize that life continues to happen, and there will be things that push their portfolios, needs, or desires in different directions. We, as prudent planners, need to be sure that we are taking care of all of those risks to the best of our abilities.”

Regal offers a full suite of tools to give clients the best options, ranging from annuities and insurance to treasuries and equity portfolios. “We put together a portfolio giving different scenarios of market loss and where they would be, to find out what they can tolerate,” Kailunas II said.

“We set those as benchmarks and use that moving forward to capture the upside. Everything is customized for our clients. We sit down and go through it with them in general terms instead of using industry-specific jargon,” he explained, adding that clients typically care more about what feels good and what hurts than about following trends.

When it comes to selecting long term care products, particularly insurance or annuities with living benefit riders, which he usually recommends for a portion of a client’s investable assets, Kailunas II first looks at the family history, quality of life and spending habits to ensure that benefits align with needs.

“The sequence of events and returns are so important in that potentially 30-year track record,” he said. “It’s important to paint those scenarios out and make adjustments accordingly.”
By utilizing a tactical management style, Kailunas II said they are able to keep clients going in the right direction. “We think outside the box for solutions, and repeatedly articulate that so clients understand what we are doing with their money and how the different components are going to interact to help them achieve their goals in the future.”

Kailunas II also sees his role as that of an educator and a partner whose job it is to talk clients down from highs and push them up from lows during market fluctuations. Following the market corrections of 2008-09, he said that his clients benefited from gaining an understanding of correlated and non-correlated assets, and what those meant.

“They started to understand that they had to take responsibility for their portfolios, and that it wasn’t just set the dial and forget it,” he said, adding that, despite the difficulties felt all around during that period, he, his staff and his brokers all gained valuable insights for leadership and for creating new opportunities.

Regal’s greatest obstacle wasn’t managing portfolios during the recession – it was being affiliated with AIG, a scenario that eventually led to the creation of Regulus. “One day we were backed by a trillion dollar company,” Kailunas II said, “and the next day, it’s the most hated company in the United States. We struggled with that. Our advisors were loyal to us and stayed with us. We crafted a plan to be truly independent and integrity-based in adjusting things – and looking clients or brokers in the eyes, and taking them in the right direction.”

Despite the challenges leading up to its inception, creating an independent broker-dealer has turned out to be at the top of Kailunas’s II list of successes, because so many naysayers told him it couldn’t be done. “It’s about people and doing the right thing, working hard and being diligent,” he said, adding that earning profits in the first quarter has been added proof that it was the right decision, albeit a decision he now wishes he had made sooner.

Above all, Kailunas II knows his ultimate success has been in building great relationships, both with clients and with the brokers who’ve stuck by him throughout the transition. “They believe in us and they believe in our vision – the vision of the entrepreneurial spirit – and in creating a value with the end client through their organization.”

For more information, visit: www.regalfin.com

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