Wealth Protection

Managing Clients’ Assets and Investments, and their fears and expectations

There is no “I” in team. At Lafayette, Louisiana-based Summit Financial Wealth Advisors, the structure is a complete team-based model, according to David R. Daniel II, the co-founder and managing partner. As the company has grown, that’s the way it has stayed, and they want it to continue. “Everyone is pulling in the same direction. A client is the client of the whole firm, not my client or co-founder Fred Werner’s client. They are a client of Summit Financial,” says Daniel.

Getting Started

In the mid-80s, there was a big recession in Lafayette when the price of oil collapsed, recalls Daniel. He was in the construction industry prior to that but started applying to jobs at brokerage firms in town. He was hired by Werner, then the manager of the local E.F. Hutton branch in 1987, and they have been working together ever since. They opened Summit Financial in 2003.

Understanding Delegation

dd300x200The firm has a client minimum of $250,000. “Most clients are business owners, some are professionals,” says Daniel. “They understand you delegate things to people who know what they are doing, whether it’s law or investment management.” When asked how he knows whether a potential client is a good fit for the firm, Daniel says they meet with prospects, and during that process, “We ask questions, they ask questions and see if it will be a fit. We manage a client’s accounts a certain way, and if that’s not what they’re looking for, we’ll tell them, or they’ll understand that it’s not going to be a fit for us.” He adds that his firm is on the conservative side, trying to provide a reasonable rate of return without undue risk.

Managing Fears and Expectations

Daniel says the firm not only manages clients’ investments and assets, but also manages their fears and expectations. While robo and other types of investing are growing, he points out what robo investing is not capable of doing. “It can’t look a client in the eye, say we have a plan, we need to stick with the plan and that it will work out in the long run,” he says.

Many people today are concerned about retirement savings and possible long-term care needs. “It really depends on the individual client,” says Daniel. “Someone coming in selling a business or having a large rollover isn’t concerned about running out of money and can probably self-insure for long-term care. There is a group in the middle that comes in, works hard, and needs to make sure they are putting all they can in their retirement plans and saving on the side. Long-term care is not just about running out of money – they’re dealing with it now with their parents.”

While some of these clients may try to self-insure, some don’t have the excess funds needed to buy long-term care insurance, so the firm tries to come up with a plan to help.

As for the future, Summit Financial has specific goals. They want to continue growing and hope to open two more offices by 2019 in the Gulf South market.

For more information on Summit Financial Wealth Advisors, visit: summit-financial.com

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