Active investment management’s weekly magazine for fee-based advisors

Mark Swartz • San Ramon, CA
Mark Swartz Investment Services • Securities America, Inc.

I entered the financial-services industry more than 20 years ago and have always had one goal: helping people better understand and navigate the world of personal finance. To do so, I believe you need to build strong client relationships, and that starts at the very first meeting.

I tell all new clients that our mission is to get to know and understand their needs, wants, and long-term goals. We want to help them develop, implement, and monitor a strategy that’s designed to address their individual situation. I also tell them that I want their experience to exceed their expectations in all ways: the value we bring to their financial and investment planning, the level of service we deliver, and the comfort they have in working with our firm.

After we discuss our customer service philosophy in this way, I do something that I think is a little unique in our industry. I explain that I have learned in my 20 years in the business that successful relationships are built on getting to know each other, developing some mutual ground of understanding and respect, and, ultimately, trust.

Since I am asking them to open up to me about their most personal financial matters, I take the time to introduce myself and my background. I have developed a slide presentation that I use to take clients through my story: where I grew up, what my family life was like, my time in the Navy, my education, my work experience, our firm’s educational outreach, and what my personal life is all about today. I believe this sets a great tone for an in-depth conversation and puts clients at ease in going through the initial discovery process.

I also take them through three important additional points. First, I emphasize that all our discussions are totally confidential. I will not share their information without their direct consent. Second, my role is to provide guidance, consultation, and recommendations. But the client needs to understand that they are ultimately in charge of all decisions.

Finally, I explain how we are compensated, which is in two ways. The first is a fee for our advisory services. We believe that our comprehensive planning, range of services, and implementation capabilities will more than justify the fee in their eyes after they have completed the full planning cycle. The second way we get paid is by earning their trust and respect. If they are happy with our services, we would greatly appreciate a referral to a friend, family member, or associate.

Disclosure: Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., a registered broker-dealer, member FINRA /SIPC, and advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. An SEC registered investment advisor, Mark Swartz representative. Mark Swartz Investment Services is not an affiliated entity of the Securities America companies. CA Insurance License #0B06800. Item #1784190.1

Photography by Saul Bromberger