Financial advisor forms new firm

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:59 am

Robert “Reb” Bortz, who formerly operated a Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. office in Waukesha, recently founded Paramount Financial Strategies, a new full-service financial and investment management boutique.

The firm occupies about 3,200 square feet at W239 N1700 Busse Road in Waukehsa, next to InvestorsBank.

Paramount Financial Strategies sells securities and investment advisory services through AXA Advisors LLC which is part of Paris-based AXA Group, a global financial firm with $1.87 trillion under management. Paramount Financial Strategies was named a platinum firm by AXA Advisors when it joined the platform in late September. Paramount is one of less than 50 firms in the U.S. to earn the platinum designation.

“Being anointed and awarded the Platinum franchise was a coup,” he said. “When we did that it allowed us to establish a doing business as (name), which is important for our business continuity. I want to continue the business beyond my career. I have children interested in joining the business.”

When Bortz formed Paramount Financial Strategies in September, four of the employees from his former Lincoln Financial Strategies office joined his new firm. The firm now has 10 employees, four of which were provided by AXA Advisors, Bortz said.

All of Bortz’s pre-existing clients from his former practice have transferred their accounts to Paramount, he said. Paramount now has more than $300 million in assets under management.

“My clients are successful middle-aged business executives and owners,” he said. “This type of progress and entrepreneurship is how they got to where they are. Change and progress is always viewed as a positive. They understand that I spent 25 years with Lincoln and that I don’t make a decision to change quickly.”

Because of Paramount Financial Services’ platinum status, the firm has access to additional compliance, sales and marketing and related resources from AXA, Bortz said.

“It’s almost like a concierge (service),” he said. “For every client we need a higher level of research and service that is available in the platinum model.”

AXA Advisors has an established support staff in downtown Milwaukee, which helped convince Bortz to join its platform.

“The Lincoln (Financial Advisors) had terrific services, but the main set of HR and support was in Chicago,” he said. “Our practice had grown to a place that we needed more outsource support, and local facilities delivered that.”

While he was affiliated with Lincoln Financial Strategies, Bortz created a business model that could grow through acquiring the practices of other financial managers and life insurance professionals when they wanted to retire. Because AXA is such a large organization with many resources, Paramount Financial Services will be better able to continue that practice, Bortz said.

“Another reason that I was willing to join was because AXA has a program to encourage and facilitate the purchase of retiring advisors’ practices,” he said. “And they are willing to provide funding for that. This is a $1.8 trillion organization, the 15th-largest company in the world. Having AXA willing to help finance these purchases of either an internal or outside producer who is retiring was a unique resource to me and my business model.”

Although Paramount Financial Services has only been affiliated with AXA for a short time, the company has already helped connect Bortz with a well-established financial advisor looking to create a succession plan.

Robert Ryan recently joined Paramount Financial Services as a principal and partner. Ryan, who has a large AXA practice, was searching for a way to transition his clients when he retires. Ryan, who has more than 5,000 clients, will maintain his own office.

“I want to be in a position five years from now where if I feel like I can leave it, I might,” Ryan said. “This creates that transition for my clients.”

At the moment, Bortz is not looking at acquiring any other practices because of how large Ryan’s practice is.

“This is the largest merger of practices I (will) have ever done,” he said. “I want to make sure we work hard to do a good job. This would be a 10-fold increase in terms of the clients we maintain.”

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