Spotlight On: John Wright, CEO & Managing Partner, Northwestern Mutual Goodwin, Wright

Spotlight On: John Wright, CEO & Managing Partner, Northwestern Mutual Goodwin, Wright

2023-02-02T12:38:30-05:00February 2nd, 2023|Atlanta, Insurance, Professional Services, Spotlight On|

2 min read February 2023 — In an interview with Invest:, John Wright, CEO and managing partner of financial planning firm Northwestern Mutual Goodwin, Wright, talked about the firm’s growth and success in the insurance and investment segments throughout last year. Wright’s top near-term goals include recruiting 30 new professionals and expanding the company’s footprint through strategic marketing efforts. 

What have been some highlights for Northwestern Mutual over the last year? 

Since the pandemic, both nationally and locally, there has been remarkable and record-setting growth despite the down market and challenges from higher inflation. We have seen solid results both in the insurance and investment segments. 

Additionally, 2022 was our best year in attracting proven professionals to the financial planning industry, as well as supporting continued, long-term career development of current advisors and their team members. Occasionally we attract to the firm individuals already working within the profession but, for the most part, the majority of professionals are new to the industry. In 2022, we welcomed 26 new advisors to our firm.  

What are your top goals and objectives for 2023? 

Every year we have recruiting and development objectives, and in 2023 we would like to attract 30 new advisors to our firm. We are also continuing to commit to our college advisor internship program on all Georgia college campuses. We truly are continuing to expand our footprint due to strategic marketing and recruiting programming. 

We also believe, overall, this year will be better for our clients. Our integrated financial planning approach both protects what is most important to our clients while helping them to prosper through proven wealth management strategies. 

What is your approach to recruiting and retaining talent in a competitive market? 

Our process of growth is organic, and we’re most successful when referrals are generated by people who know us best. Most referrals – new talent – come through our existing advisers, associates and clients, which is a unique recruiting strategy than most. Our biggest goal is to “attract to retain”, which this strategy brings us to the marketplace with a different mindset. 

Across the country, our firm has the highest retention scores. I believe professionals take note of this, as well as value the adviser-centric approach. Retaining great talent starts with making the right selections. We know the professional profile of individuals who enjoy and have proven to be successful in this profession. We’re committed to customizable, one-on-one training with mentors, which also supports our unparalleled retention. 

How is your firm navigating the current economic environment? 

Inflation is definitely a concern held by many. The interest rate environment is equally a challenge and something that we must consider, and for which adjustments are made. Our ability to pivot and change with the market when appropriate is the reason we do individual holistic planning. However, the current environment is an anomaly and not something we should continue to expect. We are very strategic in our financial planning work and understand the importance of playing both offense and defense.

How has demand for your services shifted in the past year?

The investment side is more of a demand product. However, what separates us is our proprietary products and services combined with our integrated approach to financial planning that combines insurance and investments. When we layer in our proven planning tools and trusted advisors, our approach is truly unique. It is hard to have a winning endgame if you don’t have the proper plan or vision. Through the combination of our planning software and a trusted advisor, we guide our clients and help hold them accountable to the plan and roadmap to which they agreed. The right data coupled with the right adviser is the winning formula in helping our clients realize their goals. 

Is there any legislation you are monitoring? 

We are always following what is going on in Washington. That includes anything from tax reform to laws that directly impact financial planning. We actively engage and are in Washington often to stay connected.

One of the things we are most proud of is how we are serving diverse markets across Georgia and nationally.  We are a long-standing firm in Atlanta, having started in 1885, but the reality was we did not have enough advisers who were of color or women. Financial services is greatly underrepresented in these areas, but the progress we have made is incredible. In 2023, we will have our first African American executive to serve as a Managing Director, which is tremendous. It is going to be exciting for his clients, our firm and him.

One of the things that sets us apart is the fact we are a Fortune 500 company and one of the few financial companies within the Fortune 100.  We have very high ratings – the best in the business, as well as a stable outlook. There is a strong spirit of entrepreneurialism within our firm, as this profession offers a wonderful opportunity for self-employment – to launch your own business – while benefiting from years of success and affiliation with a Fortune 500. 

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