Spotlight On: Scott Wood, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, True North Advisors

Spotlight On: Scott Wood, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, True North Advisors

2022-07-12T09:31:11-04:00April 27th, 2022|Dallas-Fort Worth, Real Estate, Spotlight On|

Scott Wood2 min read Apri 2022 — Scott Wood, co-founder and CEO of True North Advisors, spoke with Invest: about his takeaways from the pandemic and what is needed to ensure that talent continues to grow. He also discussed his outlook for the near term.

What have been the greatest takeaways from managing your organization during this difficult time?

Our third core value is Teamship, which stands for Teams Win Championships. It’s a play on words that we created for the value of being a team. I believe that’s one of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic. When everyone had to go remote, you quickly realized how much you depended on your teammates. We really worked hard throughout the years to create a unified team, and that proved successful for us during that time.

Also, we were ready for COVID. Prior to COVID, every single person had a laptop, had remote connectivity, and had the ability to access our network from home. It was fairly easy for us to go remote from a technological perspective. We learned how effective, efficient and productive we can be in a remote environment. One of the things we talked about as a company, prior to COVID, was the standard of being on Zoom with a client. In the beginning, there was pushback; however, now it’s a standard across the world.

What is your overview of the financial and wealth management sector in North Texas?

I think there’s a couple of things happening. First, within wealth management, there’s the independent movement. People are moving away from big banks and looking for more personalized service. They’re moving to a small, local business, effectively. So now there’s the big bank versus the RIAs, or Registered Investment Advisers, which is what we are. Second, Dallas has a robust RIA community. There’s been a lot of consolidation of RIAs from big private equity firms coming in and trying to buy them out.  

What are clients looking for when they come to True North?

Twenty years ago, you would do asset allocation and you would monitor their performance. If that’s what you do today, then you are a melting ice cube. You have to deliver more to the client. As a company, our core purpose is Fulfilling Lives™. We want to connect with the client and comprehend what it means to fulfill their life. Once we understand it, we want to know how we can use our financial toolbox to help support them. Put simply, what folks really need is someone who can come in and make sense of their entire financial picture and be their strategic partner.

What concerns have your clients raised due to rising interest rates?

I don’t think our clients think about rising interest rates in the long term. They think about not getting yield and not getting cash flow or income from their bond portfolios. As they think about interest rates, they’re thinking about how they can get more yield from their assets. 

What is the impact of technology in the industry and how are you leveraging technology to improve client experience?

The impact that we’re feeling relates to the tight labor market. We’re a dynamic, growing marketplace in North Texas and it’s hard to find talented people. If there are things we can do with technology, we want to use it, especially with the insufficient amount of labor. The challenge is finding people, but we can use technology to solve that issue.

What is needed to ensure that quality talent continues to grow?

Part of that is making sure they have a clear career path within the organization. Earlier this year, we went through a reorganization of titles. We did that exercise to make it more transparent for our team, and future hires, so they are informed and educated on how to move to the next level. As far as retaining our current talent, we are big believers in creating a culture that people want to be a part of. We also think that it’s important for people to be tied to the firm’s economics to some degree. We try to create a multi-level approach when attracting and retaining talent.

What is your outlook for the near term?

Everything is going well. We measure our annual success by how much new business we’re able to onboard. Also, we measure it by how much current business we’re able to retain. We have met 40% of our goal for this year. We also have a 99% retention rate of clients. I think longer term, the question is, how do we continue to create a culture that people are attracted to? In the end, it’s about creating great results for our clients and fulfilling their lives. 

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