Veteran financial advisers open first Toledo Raymond James officeWritten by George J. Tanber, TheNewsmeister.com | | firstname.lastname@example.org
A struggling local economy hasn’t kept some entrepreneurs from opening new businesses. The old economics adage that no matter the market condition there are always opportunities for success remains true, even in a business climate as stagnant as the one in Lucas County.
This was part of the thinking that brought veteran financial advisors Neil Garrison, Richard Bohn, Gregory
Shemas, Thomas Briggs and David Sattler together in April to form NWQ Wealth Partners. The firm, in the King’s Pointe business park off McCord Road in West Toledo, is affiliated with Raymond James of Tampa, Fla., one of the country’s more successful financial services companies. It’s the company’s first Toledo office. [There is a Raymond James affiliate in Perrysburg.]
NWQ’s five partners, with 83 years experience in the field with mostly large brokerage firms, said they decided to start their own, smaller company, in part, to gain more independence in choosing their clients and the sort of services they want to offer.
“Toledo is not New York, Chicago, Miami or Dallas,” said Briggs. “People here need a particular type of representation in financial planning.”
On that subject, one part of NWQ’s early success has been Toledo’s high unemployment rate, according to the brokers. As a result, the group is seeing an unusual number of requests to help the recently unemployed with their 401(k)s.
“Unfortunately, people are losing their jobs,” Garrison said. “They’re seeking advice on how to go from where they are at this point in their lives to their retirement years.”
“We found a niche where we can help some people,” Bohn said.
The help usually begins with rolling a 401(k) into an IRA, according to Sattler. “Then we help them manage the IRA account.”
What makes NWQ different from the larger investment firms is that although the brokers are independent contractors they often work together assisting with one another’s accounts, Shemas said.
“The synergy here is great. We all help each other,” said Shemas, whose strength is securities trading. “If I have a client who needs help with his 401(k), I can go to Dave [Sattler] and bring him on board. Our clients are telling us, ‘I want more people looking at my account so I can get various opinions and viewpoints on how I should be invested.’ ”
The brokers say the affiliation with Raymond James has been a boost to their business as well, since the company was not impacted by the economic fallout in the industry that resulted in a number of mergers among the large financial companies, such as Merrill Lynch/Bank of America, Morgan Stanley/Smith-Barney and Wells Fargo/UBS.
“Raymond James turned a profit in a year  when everyone else was losing money,” Garrison said. “The advantage for us is the company has the financial resources to provide us with the technical and planning support we need to be successful.”
Another advantage, NWQ’s brokers believe, was the group’s decision to locate in suburban Toledo, rather than Downtown.
“Our goal was to create a comfortable environment,” Bohn said. “When you walk into our office it’s like walking into your living room. Also, we wanted a convenient location. It’s easy for our clients to park their vehicles and walk into our office.”
The firm currently occupies 3,028 square feet of space, but has an option to add an additional 1,600 square feet should the business grow. Based on the first nine months, the brokers believe expansion is a possibility.
“So far, it’s going extremely well,” Briggs said.
Tags: Raymond James