I recently interviewed Tom Sedoric of The Sedoric Group/Wells Fargo Advisors. He has been ranked the #1 Financial Advisor in New Hampshire and rated one of the best advisors in the country five years running.
John: Give us some quick background on The Sedoric Group/Wells Fargo Advisors?
Tom: Sure, we are firm based in New Hampshire that manages about $320m for 200 families. Most of our client base is what is called the mass affluent. We are a team of four soon to be five people who act like a virtual family office co-ordinating information between various professions such as lawyers, accountants etc. We are a fiduciary and run our business on an acronym we call ART (accountability, responsibility and transparency) which is part of our core values.
We also consider ourselves risk managers. Not just about what happens in the stock market but changes in tax legislation, issues with intergenerational wealth, policy changes in Washington D.C. etc. So our responsibility goes beyond managing money.
John: How did you become a financial advisor? What brought you to this industry?
Tom: After graduating and short stint as a ski bum I began a successful career at Xerox . What I liked most was working directly with clients. Looking back at my ski bum days I noticed I was the only person around me who subscribed to the Wall Street Journal. It was something I picked up from my father when I bought my first stock aged 19. Rather than climb the management rungs at Xerox I realized I wanted to work in this industry so I could help and deal directly with clients.
John: Barron’s recently ranked your firm as a top advisor. What distinguishes your firm from others?
Tom: We are great listeners. We spend time with our clients understanding their needs and goals. For example, we spend a lot of time thinking about distributions/withdrawals once a person retires. Even if we have a client who is 50 and plans to retire in 15 years we start considering their best options. In our mind asset location can be just as important as asset allocation so we make sure assets are in the right place.
John: What software, tools and techniques do you use to ensure you remain successful?
Tom: Wells Fargo provides us with very good resources. For example we use Envision to manage our financial planning process.
John: Your firm has been very successful but what challenges do you face on a day-to-day basis?
Tom: I think people are generally emotionally fatigued after 5 years of financial turmoil. Our biggest job is managing expectations. We are living in a parallel universe when the central bank is pumping $85bn into the economic system every month. We understand why they are doing it, but it can’t last forever.
John: What software and tools do you think are missing in the industry?
Tom: An integrated tool that allows clients to get a 30,000 feet view of where they are, where they want to be and how close they are to their goals. There is software that does this but not in a summarized fashion.
John: Lastly, What do you think advisors need to focus on in the future to be successful?
Tom: Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. You will learn and grow considerably faster.