Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read May 2021 — There are many opportunities for a wealth management firm like Wealth Strategies Partners in places like Sarasota and Nashville, which are attracting a lot of high-net-worth families. Paul Allen, president of the firm, thinks his company has a strong differentiator in that it does not only focus on investments but all aspects of financial planning.
How has the firm grown despite last year’s challenges?
Last year, so much focus was on the stock market volatility caused by the pandemic. The markets dropped almost 40% in three months, and rightfully, there was short-term concern. However, all of that is 100% outside the control of investors. Our team chose to focus on the areas we can control – not only investments. We focused on evaluating and updating trust documents, healthcare directives, and liability exposure. These areas are the parts of financial planning that can be controlled and must be addressed but often get overlooked. As a result, we saw a lot of growth in our financial planning last year.
What are the unique challenges or opportunities for your firm in Nashville?
Nashville is rapidly growing. There are more and more people moving here from other areas. One of the largest opportunities for our practice are executives and high-net-worth individuals moving here that desire local relationships when it comes to their financial planning. Tennessee is a state with no income tax. The tax environment alone is one of the most important reasons that new residents want to revisit their financial plans with our local team.
How has demand for your services changed over the past 12 months?
By far the greatest demand from clients is their desire for a total financial planning relationship. Over my 26-year career, I have noticed that almost every firm, whether it’s a big Wall Street firm, regional investment firm or an independent firm like mine, says they provide total financial planning. The reality is most firms focus strictly on investments. Families think much more deeply and holistically about their plans now. That’s one of the most significant shifts I’ve seen in the past 12 months.
In what ways have you adapted to technology, especially now that more people are working remotely?
I have been extremely proud of how our firm adapted to remote work. We have offices in multiple cities, so in some ways, it was easy for us because we’ve always collaborated from different locations. However, we implemented technology in our practice like never before. We utilized Zoom for client reviews and educational seminars. Before I couldn’t even spell Zoom, and now, I’m using it to meet with clients and host educational events. That is something I am proud of. We were able to adapt quickly and successfully.
What specific service areas are going to see the greatest demand?
High-net-worth families are going to demand total financial planning in a family office environment. Families need help with portfolio management and retirement planning. However, those are only two rooms of the financial house. There are many rooms that need to be kept and cleaned. We call it “keeping your financial house in order.” Our firm exists to take care of every room and help our families with every financial planning component.
Do you see a recovery in business travel in 2021?
I am absolutely seeing a recovery with business travel. People want to meet face-to-face, and they are itching to go places. I first noticed the recovery during spring break in Sarasota. It was so busy you couldn’t even get an Uber out of the airport. We’re going to see a massive shift toward increased travel this year. In our firm, I expect that we’ll be traveling 100% to 200% more compared to last year. I am already back on the road meeting with clients.
What are the opportunities for your business in the Tampa Bay-Sarasota region?
The biggest opportunities come from our ability to meet in-person again. We recently purchased and completed renovations to our new office building in the beautiful Burns Court Historic District to expand our local footprint and continue offering tailored, white glove financial services to the Tampa Bay-Sarasota region. We’re excited to welcome our clients and community into our new space and begin hosting events later this year.
What is your outlook for the stock market for the next 12 to 18 months?
If interest rates remain low, and the 10-year Treasury is at 1.5%, that is going to provide a very favorable environment for equities long term. That does not mean we’re not going to have short-term volatility. We’re experiencing that right now, but if interest rates remain low, equites should continue to do well.
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