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

Emrich M. Stellar Jr., ChFC, CLU, CBEC • Bethlehem, PA
Stellar Advisor • Lincoln Financial Advisors

I think the famous quote often attributed to Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” is very relevant in terms of how an advisory firm can best guide its clients. I think it’s important for advisors to affiliate with a value system that will stand the test of time. We have always believed in the “Serve First” philosophy. This requires that we not only seek to understand our clients’ goals and objectives but that we also understand the myriad solutions that are available in both planning structures and through the implementation of investment and insurance solutions.

Part of delivering on this belief system requires a foundation of deep professional knowledge and training, as well as continuing education. The rigorous study involved in earning the Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Certified Business Exit Consultant (CBEC) designations was very beneficial to my professional development. I am also a member of several professional organizations, including the Society of Financial Service Professionals, the International Exit Planning Association, and the Estate Planning Council.

But credentials are really just foundational elements. I think a deeper level of professional knowledge—and wisdom—can only come through the sharing of ideas with other experienced financial professionals and centers of influence, such as highly competent accountants and attorneys. This philosophy of lifelong learning exists throughout our organization and is central to our ability to deliver truly excellent results for our clients. I am also a member of other advisor groups, such as The Resource Group, an elite planner group within Lincoln/Sagemark. As part of this involvement, I have the ability to share and learn industry best practices in “roll your sleeves up” conversations with some of the most highly accomplished people in the planning business. Not only are my peers a great resource, but they are also my friends.

Additionally, I have been fortunate to be part of a corporate culture that goes back about 80 years, starting with Connecticut General’s (CG) service philosophy, as well as their program construction principles. These have proven value that has lasted through several decades and the transition from CG to CIGNA and then Lincoln. Program construction is a process that requires comprehensive data discovery and analysis so that we can develop options that are based on the client’s objectives as well as observations about their current situation.

My team and I feel privileged when we are invited to work with a client. We address each client engagement with respect and a deep sense of responsibility, and often feel we get to know the client’s situation almost better than they do! Through the proper process, we bring the options and education so that a client can go from awareness to knowledge to wisdom. We always want to be transparent and proud of our recommendations, service, and continuing commitment to client needs. Our highly collaborative approach to the planning process may take a little longer, but, in the end, all parties are better off for having worked through it the right way.

Disclosure: Securities and advisory services offered through representatives of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, a broker-dealer and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation and its affiliate companies. Lincoln Financial Advisors is not affiliated with Stellar Advisor. CRN-3741993-090121

Photography by Michael Branscom

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