Wealth manager opens his own firm

Lake Country Wealth Management, a new independent wealth management firm, opened its doors in Delafield in July. However, Brion Collins, the firm’s owner and manager, has operated wealth management firms in the area since 1998.

Collins was formerly a partner in Integrated Financial Services Inc. He and his former business partner, Todd Sivak, parted ways earlier this year, and Collins founded Lake Country Wealth Management. 

“I sought to capture all of the benefits and all of the good that we had in the organization, the people and processes, and redesign them while building a new organization, including the deliverables  –  to make them more customer friendly,” Collins said.

IFS no longer exists, and Sivak now works for another Wisconsin wealth management firm.

By becoming an independent firm, Lake Country is able to give its clients a much larger range of choices. While Lake Country is an independent firm, it still uses a broker/dealer to close trades, mail paperwork, perform due diligence and handle other back-room functions for it, Collins said.

“They are not owned by an investment company or life insurance company,” he said. “It gives us a range of products to offer our clients that is very wide but not infinite. Our offerings in the mutual fund or stock worlds are very broad.”

Because of recent high-profile financial scandals, Collins believes some investors are choosing to be advised by wealth management professionals that are not tied to one specific company or product line.

“As customers have become more aware, more of them are demanding transparency and a more streamlined cost structure,” he said. “We can now offer a wider breadth of services – investments, insurance, advice, commission and fee-based work. There really are no limits.”

To date, about 40 percent of IFS’ former clients have signed on with Lake Country Wealth Management.

“I anticipate reaching 60 to 70 percent within the first two months,” Collins said. “And we hope to be at about 75 percent within six to 12 months. We hope to be where we were (with numbers of clients) within the first 12 months.”

Collins also sits on the investment committee of Paladin Partners LLC, a fee-only financial advisory firm that opened in August. Paladin Partners is owned by Bill Baxter, who formerly worked with Collins at IFS.

Baxter and his employees have given up their securities licenses to avoid any conflict of interest, Collins said. Because Palladin Partners only offers financial advisory services, its clients are frequently advised to contact financial services professionals.

“Most of their recommendations involve getting things done on various levels,” Collins said. “Their services are entirely advisory. All they provide is advice, modeling, forecasting and strategizing.”

Lake Country has seven employees; Paladin Partners has four. Both companies are based at 709 Milwaukee St. in Delafield. Lake Country occupies about 2,300 square feet, while Paladin Partners uses about 1,000 square feet at that address.

Paladin Partners is entirely owned by Baxter, but the two companies effectively operate as sister companies.

“Bill and I go head-to-head on strategy, but that’s good for clients,” Collins said. “There is a common philosophy in both companies.”

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