You’re a Financial Planner…Now What? Buy into a Firm that Fits You in Structure and Culture

Next Generation Planner: October 2020

 

Hannah Moore, CFP®
Owner and Principal Financial Planner, Guiding Wealth
Podcast Host,
You’re a Financial Planner…Now What?
www.linkedin.com/in/hannahmoorecfp/

The financial planner’s career path is often thought of as very linear: go to school, get your CFP® certification, begin working for a firm and work your way up, or start your own. However, you can’t plan for everything, and sometimes you’re introduced to opportunities you don’t expect.

Like many of our other guests on the You’re a Financial Planner…Now What? podcast, Katie Seay, CFP®, proves that life as a financial planner so often takes you in a different direction. In a recent episode, Katie talked to me about what makes The Trust Company unique, how her career has evolved, the importance of firm culture and more.

From Atlanta to Manhattan

Katie went to the University of Georgia, initially as an international affairs major. When she came across family financial planning, her curiosity was piqued. She fell in love with the program and the work, and began working at Ayco in Atlanta, a Goldman Sachs company. After marrying her husband, Katie moved to Manhattan, Kansas, which was a big cultural change from Atlanta. However, it brought her to The Trust Company.

A trust company shares similarities with normal financial planning firms, but a few things set it apart. An independent trust company is not owned by a bank and it’s regulated a bit differently. Trust officers and financial planners are “hands-on as well as multigenerational,” as Katie put it, working with grandparents, parents and kids throughout their lifetimes. What you do at a trust is not that different from what you do at a firm.

“We really are part life coach and part financial adviser,” Katie said. “I don’t think the role is necessarily unsimilar to what a lot of financial advisers are doing with their clients, ours just happens to be a more structured role.”

The Trust Company’s Unique Structure

Part of what Katie loves about working at The Trust Company is how she’s helped it grow. The Trust Company has been around since the early ‘90s, so when Katie joined in 2012, the business was already established. What wasn’t established, however, was the financial planning services part of it all.

“I’ve really gotten to create my own business within a business, if that makes sense,” Katie said. “And so it’s been the best of both worlds for me. I’ve gotten to do my own thing, but have all the support and resources of an established business.”

What has helped Katie grow her business within a business? Maybe part of it is the unique way The Trust Company is structured. The Trust Company has been majority employee-owned since its inception; every employee at The Trust Company has the opportunity to buy in.

This allows everyone to have a seat at the table and feel valued and proud of the company. Katie explained that The Trust Company’s structure adds to conversations with clients, too.

“Being still a small business, a lot of times we get questions about, ‘What are your plans? How do I know you’re not just going to leave?’ Things like that,” said Katie. “And so it’s a very easy conversation to say, ‘Well, I’m an owner of The Trust Company and here’s how that works and here’s why that’s important to me.’”

The Importance of a Firm’s Culture

Unique structure aside, Katie also believes strongly in The Trust Company’s culture. When your firm’s culture resonates with you, you believe in what you’re doing. It’s much easier to “sell” your services when you have confidence in where you’re working and the services that you’re providing, Katie explained.

That’s why it’s so important for new financial planners to find a firm that aligns with who you are. It’s something Katie wishes she had paid more attention to when she entered the profession.

“These are people that you’re spending most of your day with,” Katie said. “You’ve just got to make sure that you really believe in your company because that’s ultimately how you are going to be a successful professional.”

Editor’s note: Listen the full You’re a Financial Planner…Now What? podcast episode with Katie at https://www.financialplanningassociation.org/yafpnw-buying-into-firms-fit-structure-culture, or download the podcast on the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Hannah Moore, CFP®, is a Certified Financial Transitions™ expert. She is passionate about helping people understand their money in meaningful ways. In her spare time, Hannah can be found spending time with her husband Charlie, chasing after her daughter Alice, quilting, gardening, beekeeping or cheering on the Baylor Bears.