Investing & Economy

Little Marketing, no seminars, no cold calls: no problem

Pure-play referrals

The markets have started to rally in 2023. But there is still the risk of recession and the challenges of living in an inflationary environment. And, knowing that a satisfied client base leads to referrals, at Miami-based UBC Wealth Management LLC the emphasis is on wealth retention—especially in economically troubled times.

“We really believe that it’s more important to not lose money than to make money,” Oscar Vega, RICP®, founder and CEO at UBC Wealth Management told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview. “One thing I realized a long time ago was that the satisfaction a client got from making money never, never equaled the dissatisfaction that a client got from losing money,” he said.

Nonetheless, UBC Wealth Management has indeed been successful at making its clients money with little or no market risk, while eliminating any sequence of return risk.

And a key strategy is to always be prepared for the down times and structure portfolios accordingly. As such, client investments do not take a big hit, nor does the firm’s business.

Oscar Vega“If anything, the business actually grows,” he noted. “Maybe not in terms of total assets under management, but it grows in terms of clients. We end up getting more referrals—more people come through because of the success that we’ve had in down markets.”

Much of that success is rooted in Vega’s dedication to lifetime learning. He attained his Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®) designation in 2019 after 25 years in business. Just recently, he completed the curriculum for the Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®) designation from Yale School of Management. With the industry constantly changing, Vega feels that such education is the way to stay on top of things.

Vega describes his practice as a boutique independent investment advisory firm. It does not represent any particular product or service.

“Therefore, I can advise clients on everything and anything and be what I call a full fiduciary, which you can’t be unless you have access to pretty much to all products and services,” he said.

The approach allows UBC Wealth Management to put clients’ interests first and the structure of the company leads to providing optimum service. “We have to provide great service because it’s the only way for me to stay in business; I only take referrals—I don’t make any calls; I don’t do any marketing pretty much.”

Vega also, unlike many others in the industry, doesn’t do seminars. “For a lot of the independent industry, it’s geared around seminars and I’ve made it very clear to the wholesalers that I don’t do seminars, I just rely on phone calls from referrals and a strong website presence.”

For an advisor, such an approach can be risky. “If you are waiting for referrals, you can end up in a tough situation for growing your business,” Vega said. He added: “That has not been my case. Every time I think, ‘Okay, is this going to run out? Will I keep getting calls?’ I continue to get business.”

Vega says he looks forward to, and embraces a call, when a client has a concern or a specific issue.

“I really make a big thing about it,” he explained. “That way the client can have a really, really good experience with our whole process.”

And that paves the way for Vega to ask for a referral. “I do ask clients: ‘Is there anybody else that I can help the same way that I’m helping you? So, I grow my business by taking advantage of strong customer service.”

In late 1994 Vega started out in the health insurance business, seeing it as a good opportunity to start an independent business. One of the investment firms/carriers he worked with early on urged him to consider offering other financial services such as life insurance, mutual funds, retirement planning for businesses and individuals and more.

The company gave Vega a business development allowance of $2,300 per month. This amount, combined with his health insurance income, afforded him time to establish himself in a business where the survival rate at the time was less than 2% in the first five years.

By 1997, Vega had a lot of success while the industry was changing. Interestingly, Vega says that in the years 1997-2008, a good part of his client base was made up of professional baseball players.

But when the economic crisis hit in 2008-09, he decided there was more of an opportunity by starting his own independent firm that would expand into the retirement income planning market.

“Since then, the practice has focused more on clients in situations where they needed to retire either immediately or they were maybe five to 10 years from retirement,” Vega said.
What’s more, the practice—thanks to Vega’s strong referrals and emphasis on customer service—has been thriving.

In 2022, he earned the honor of ‘Top of the Table’ qualifier with the Million Dollar Round Table (MRDT). “I’m proud of that because less than 4% of enrolled financial advisors achieved ‘Top of the Table status,” he said.

MDRT is a global independent association of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 70 nations and territories. MDRT members are said to demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service.

For more information, visit:


Related Articles

© 2017-2021 Advisors Magazine. All Rights Reserved.Design & Development by The Web Empire