SUCCESSION AND SUCCESS Reflections on My Presidency
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
firm. We saw an amazing amount of growth during that decade — in fact, it was almost too much. When the new millennium rolled around, it felt like we were outrunning our headlights. To really take our services to the next level, we needed to offer more comprehensive asset-management services. Then, in 2003, I met Chris Cousins. Unlike other members of our team, this young man loved everything to do with portfolio management. We brought Chris onboard, and he immediately got to work using his skills to complement Financial Architects’ macroeconomic approach. Over time, it became clear that, beyond his professional talents, Chris had a flair for leadership, and he quickly took on more responsibilities here at the firm. This laid the seeds for our succession plan. Chris joining our leadership was like attaching the final leg to a three-legged stool. It was evident to me that we had assembled a dream team, and it was time to think about the then-distant future. It may sound strange to plan on stepping down from a company years in advance, but, when you are entrusted with the financial well- being of so many families, you have a moral obligation to ensure any changing of the guard is as smooth as possible. You see, we are passionate about never losing a client. For us to be successful in that goal, Financial Architects must not only survive; it must thrive into the future.
And to thrive, a firm has to outlast any one individual — a client, an advisor, or yes, the founder. Put simply, I can’t do this when I’m 80, nor should you want me to. That’s why I took the time all those years ago to prepare Chris and Pat to step into my shoes. The last thing I wanted was some outside individual or company stepping in to run Financial Architects. I couldn’t be happier with this succession. Two long-serving members of Financial Architects with whom I’ve worked personally are taking the next big step in their successful careers. Both have earned the confidence of our entire team by running their own divisions within the company. They are proven leaders who display our values and are deeply familiar with our clients and processes. There simply are no better people for the job. Of course, there will be change. As economies shift, old products become obsolete, and new ones come on the market. Financial Architects methods will continue to adapt. For example, we didn’t have exchange-traded funds 25 years ago, and now they’re everywhere. Who knows what we’ll have in 10 years? I certainly don’t, but I do know this succession gives our firm the energy, vision, and flexibility to capitalize on these changes when they come. The other difference you’ll likely notice is the speed of Financial Architects’ growth. Chris and Pat will have the opportunity to
In May of this year, we completed the internal ownership change at Financial Architects, Inc. The planned succession
of our firm’s leadership has been in motion for the past five years, and I’m excited by Chris’ and Pat’s plans for the future. Still, while reaching this milestone, I can’t help but reflect on the past and how much this journey has meant to me. Thinking back to 1985 when it was just Turner Thompson and me against the world, it almost would seem impossible that the Financial Architects of today is the same firm. Back in those days, it was just us doing everything to run the office. Now we have an amazing team of architects and a talented support team aiding clients every single day. I have no doubt this incredible growth is thanks in large part to the two who are now taking the helm of our company. The wind really began to fill our sails in 1990 when a young Pat Marody joined our ranks. Early on, we could see he had the talent to become an effective advisor. But what struck me the most was our ideals about good financial stewardship, keeping family first, and doing the right thing were very much in line. Indeed, he became like a brother to me as we bounced ideas off each other and charted the future of the
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