Company address: 709 Milwaukee St., Delafield
Company Web site: www.IFSfinancial.net
Industry: Financial planning
Number of employees: 12
Education: Summa cum laude with a B.S. in chemical engineering from Northwestern University.
Family: Wife of 15 years, Jennifer; and children, Elizabeth (13), Kristin (12), Jacob (10), Alex (8), Rachel (6), Catherine (3) and Gabriel (1).
What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?
“We made a decision to design and market a program that specifically meets the needs of medical professionals. In today’s climate of medical buyouts and transitions, physicians are an ideal fit for the specialized knowledge we have in dealing with complex financial situations. We also continued to expand our level and quality of team members (+33 percent), office space (+50 percent), brand recognition and technology while keeping our focus on consistent, high quality and innovative communication with our clients. By doing so, the families we serve know that they have a level of financial security that others may not be experiencing.”
What’s new at your company?
“Wealth engineering. We recognize that our industry has confused the customer with overuse of terms like ‘financial planning’ and ‘wealth management.’ Building on both the deliverables of our comprehensive process and my background in engineering, we have coined this phrase to better articulate the fact that we are helping our clients design and execute a very robust strategy that encompasses tax, estate, investment, risk management, cash flow, business planning, education funding and retirement forecasting.”
Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
“We have plans to add to both our advisory team and our staff. While we already possess one of the most technically competent teams (four CFPs, a CPA and eight licensed professionals) in the area, we recognize that the complexity of the financial system is increasing rapidly and the only way for us to stay ahead of the curve for our clients well being is to continue to invest in team members and breakthrough technology.”
What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?
“As stated above, our industry has really confused the consumer. One of our strategic objectives is to explain to successful individuals the fact that investment management is not equivalent to financial planning. Yes, we all need varied levels of help with our investment portfolios, but that’s not enough. Until one has a plan that integrates all areas of your financial life, inefficiencies abound and the customer loses out. Financial planning isn’t a luxury, it is a business and personal necessity. We hope to address this issue one client at a time.”
What’s the hottest trend in your industry?
“Fortunately, the media has been a great help in advising consumers of the importance of a well thought out financial plan that goes beyond the placement of a product. While many financially secure individuals may have a broker, an insurance agent and/or an accountant, they don’t yet have someone to oversee the entire process. We believe that the public is yearning for high quality advice, but the supply of such advice isn’t there yet. Organizations like IFS are benefitting from this trend.”
Do you have a business mantra?
“I believe there are three requirements for success in professional life: integrity, competence and ingenuity. The challenge is that you can’t ‘tell’ people they can trust you or count on your expertise/creativity; you must live your life so that they can see all three in your everyday actions. I’ll paraphrase St. Francis of Assisi by saying, “Go out and preach (the Gospel); use words when necessary.”
From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?
“Archbishop Timothy Dolan. I believe it is difficult for any of us to recognize just how challenging his vocation is. He doesn’t get to ‘pick’ his team members, yet he must motivate all to new levels of faith. He has needed to address some very difficult moral and financial issues, while still recognizing that the vast majority of his flock needs inspiration and leadership in order to deal with the ‘normal’ challenges of life.”