The Best Wealth MANAGERS

The measure of success for any good wealth manager is to be the first person a client calls as a result of any major life event or transition, whether it be a medical diagnosis or an engagement. That was the goal Susan R. Colpitts, CPA, PFS, Co-Founder and Chief of Client Experience for Signature Family Wealth Advisors wrote in the business plan when she and her partner founded Signature in 1994, and the plan looks exactly the same today 22 years later. 

“The way you get there is by establishing a relationship the minute a potential client walks through the door,” said Colpitts, who is a certified public accountant (CPA) and a personal financial specialist (PFS). “The goal for me is to spend as much eyeball to eyeball time with my clients. People remember that we are here for them and we understand them.”

Signature Family Wealth Advisors provides wealth management for families who have a net worth of $10 mm and above. Colpitts says their ideal client is likely to be a CEO, usually first generation creator of the wealth, who has worked really hard at what the business was built around, but confident enough to understand managing the wealth may not come naturally. 

“We have a client who built his company from scratch, felt like he needed to keep tending to his personal finances. This meant he wasn’t spending time on his business, which he owed to his shareholders, or he wasn’t spending time with his family. So it made a lot of sense for him to turn it over to us. Our clients trust us to handle the details and we do a fabulous job for them,” she said.

Colpitts finds that as technological resources increase, greater financial literacy can assist families overall planning. Online resources are a great way for people to get questions answered, read informational articles and comparison shop. But Colpitts says that no amount of technology will ever replace the need for the human element in a financial planning relationship. She believes that to be true across all generations of people.

“We have to be very respectful of the resources becoming increasingly available,” she explained, adding “One of the reasons I’m happy in this business model is that we are in a great business position to always provide that human ear to what someone is trying to accomplish. The ability to synthesize that, ask questions and watch facial expressions is invaluable.”

And the one-on-one value that Colpitts and her team provide has helped a lot of families’ with preserving their wealth. “If you integrate the goals and the work around investments, estate planning, philanthropy and income tax management, you can make progress toward preserving the wealth for these families. That was the premise when we started the firm. And it works.”

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