Staying True to Wealth Management

Today, one key phrase heard all over the financial industry is “wealth management.” Traditionally, this professional service has encompassed a comprehensive approach to financial planning, and has included investment, accounting, insurance, tax and estate planning.

Recently, George Raftopoulos, principal of Nvest Financial Group, told The Suit that, what he sees evolving, is that wealth management, for many advisors, is becoming nothing more than a process of collecting assets under management. That doesn’t sit well with the highly credentialed industry veteran. “What we practice at Nvest is traditional financial planning. We take a client through a six-step process that looks at all facets of their financial situation, not just investing their money,” he explained.

With clients throughout the Northeast, Nvest Financial Group has grown from a local financial planning practice to a regional boutique firm having a presence from Boston, Mass. to Kennebunk, Maine. Looking to continue growing both organically and through acquisitions, Nvest recently acquired a firm in Portsmouth, N. H. “We are bringing on advisors and growing in significant leaps and bounds,” Raftopoulos said.

As part of Nvest’s approach to delivering customized solutions, they spend time understanding client needs through face-to-face conversations, and by determining a client’s risk tolerance. While most firms have annual reviews, Nvest reaches out to their clients on a monthly basis to keep in touch and to learn about any life changes that might have happened. This hands-on approach has paid off. While the economic crisis of 2008 was an extremely challenging time for investors and advisors alike, Nvest’s client base grew through referrals due to the firm’s approach to communication, reviews and portfolio diversification*.

This commitment to personal attention continues to prevail, even as the robo-advisor movement – one of the latest digital trends – is upon us. Some advisors see the surge of new “self-help” online programs and tools for investors to use to manage their own financial planning as a threat to maintaining or growing their firms, but Raftopoulos isn’t alarmed.

“We’re seeing a continued shift in technology and programs being developed for the newer generations that appeal to them in a way that tries to eliminate the advisor. But at the end of the day, we see those clients coming back to an advisor because they need that human touch. People come right back to advisors who understand their emotions and their needs,” said Raftopoulos, adding that this becomes very evident during market corrections and other economic issues that cause investor concern. To connect with millennials and reach new audiences, Nvest maintains an active presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. While acknowledging that social media is important, Raftopoulos respects the need for compliance with industry regulations.

In another entrepreneurial venture, Raftopoulos also operates a business consulting firm specializing in exit planning, succession planning and strategic growth for small- to medium-sized companies. He plans to continue to build the firm, especially since the response from business owners has been very positive.

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•    Diversification does not assure profit or protect against loss in declining markets, and diversification cannot guarantee that any objective will be achieved.

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