My Toughest Challenge: Brion Collins

Brion Collins

Position: Managing director of Delafield office

Company: Bronfman E.L. Rothschild L.P.

What it does: Rockville, Maryland-based Bronfman Rothschild is an independent wealth management firm that provides financial planning and advisory services for affluent individuals and families.

Career: Collins previously founded Integrated Financial Solutions LLC, which he later renamed Lake Country Wealth Management. He joined BR in 2015 when it acquired Lake Country. Earlier in his career, he managed a manufacturing operation for Procter & Gamble Co.

The challenge

“The biggest challenge that we face is how to communicate with C-suite executives, and I can think of one in particular, where we are competing with somebody who has direct access to what we would generally view as the best and the brightest in the financial services industry.”

Collins was seeking ways to differentiate Bronfman and set it apart from the competition, he said. One of his biggest clients is a private corporation that has gone public.

“What sets one apart when they’re a smaller, closely-held corporation without the scale of some of these larger enterprises?”

The resolution

The key was demonstrating his integrity, both in business ethics and in proving his office could handle the technical aspects of a particular challenge, Collins said.

“On the technical side of the equation, there are a significant number of technical challenges that particularly public companies, C-suite executives, have, which is how do you manage your equity plan,” he said.

He worked to strengthen his office’s background in equity plan administration and knowledge of the tax code, Collins said.

“All of us need to be lifelong learners and there is a certain amount that, of course, we can learn,” he said.

About a month later, Collins had demonstrated he could handle the complexity the client demanded.

The takeaway

“We have to be courageous in seeking out relationships and opportunities that we might view as just out of arm’s reach because we don’t know what will happen if we seek out those opportunities,” he said.

But, he cautioned, you don’t get invited to these conversations unless you can demonstrate to other professionals that your knowledge of the subject is sound.

“As professionals, we are obligated to make certain that we invest heavily in what it is we do,” Collins said. “We should constantly strive to be the best we can be and we do that through lifelong learning.”

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