Older financial advisors are retiring at a rate much faster than they are being replaced. While this may be a concern for some, others have found the golden key to succession in the form of the family dynamic.
No matter the combination of partnerships, family members working together toward a common goal has a powerful impact on the lives of those they serve.
This mother-daughter team is special, and they’re making the hard work look easy.
Special people, indeed
Financial advisors Patricia “Patty” John and Jamie Roach not only gel, but they are also thoroughly committed to each other’s personal success, and to enrich their clients’ lives. Their clients know how much they care about them and their families.
From a business perspective, their differing worldly viewpoints, and backgrounds, personal histories and ages simply add more color to the mix. They don’t agree on everything, nor should they, but they clearly share a similar unwavering respect.
Patty worked in banking and financial services prior to becoming an advisor. She was invited to join an older advisor who was considering retirement. Who knew it would take him 20 years? He became her teacher, mentor, and friend. While they were working at a large wirehouse, Patty and her partner felt the firm did not share their values. She considered leaving the business, that is, until someone suggested contacting Hefren-Tillotson.
Daughter Jamie enjoyed building and maintaining personal relationships while working in recruiting and human resources for Siemens. She was traveling a lot and, at the same time, missing being home with her family. Jamie dreamed about using her entrepreneurial skills to work in a financial advisory capacity and partnering up with Patty. Jamie and her mom talked about it for nine months. And then, in 2015, the stars aligned and they made it official.
Making it real
Growing up, when Jamie wanted to get her mother’s attention, she would call her by her first name – and Patty was okay with that – but Jamie later found out that calling her mom ‘Patty’ at work, wasn’t the best idea. She recalls her first solo meeting with a woman who later became a client. Jamie said her Mom wasn’t there that day, and by chance, referred to her as ‘Patty.’
“The woman sat back in her chair, her face was slightly twisted, and she shot back at me. ‘Did you just call your mother Patty?’” I was so startled, I said, “Uh, Yes. Why? I work with her!”
“She’s your mother!” the client said sternly. “Why aren’t you calling her Mother or Mom? She’s earned it.” At that moment, Jamie thought, “Yeah, I’m done with that.” Deep down, she always felt she should address Patty as mom. And now, as a mom herself, whose kids may work with her in the future, it resonates even more.
“Clients find it much more endearing when Jamie calls me mom, but it also depends on who our audience is,” Patty said. “People in the community know us as ‘Jamie and Patty,’ because we are very active, and so they leave it at that – like we’re friends.”
Where the rubber meets the road
When meeting with clients and prospective clients, do millennials gravitate toward Jamie, while boomers and seniors gravitate toward Patty? Not exactly.
“Some clients that I’ve had for years, who, I thought, would not want to talk to Jamie, for whatever reason, tend to call for her directly!” Patty said. “They don’t want to talk to me anymore!” Notably, it is ironic that clients younger than Jamie also calls Patty directly. Then again, talking to Jamie is like talking to Patty and vice versa.
“Mainly, together or individually, we don’t talk to genders or age groups, we talk to individuals based on their knowledge and the amount of involvement they want to have in their financial lives. Our discussions are always needs-based, so we don’t change the language to talk with a younger male or an older female,” Patty said.
Among other things, Patty and Jamie are tuned in to what the other one is thinking. The benefit of a tight relationship is they are not always thinking the same things, so it creates individual understandings of the relationships they have with their clients.
Patty says it’s perfectly natural to become emotionally attached to clients. “We don’t just care about their investments, we care about them, that they are taken care of. I am comfortable leaving the office for a vacation because I feel that Jamie knows the business, knows our clients, and knows my trust and confidence is with her.”
“And speaking of caring,” Jamie added, “Mom was a steelworker in the mill when we were growing up. When we first starting working together, she wouldn’t talk about this, ever! But I encouraged her to tell everyone how she got to where she is today – by working a swing shift and shoveling coal.”
“Mom always worked hard to provide a good life for my sister, my brother and me. It was hard work for her, an important chapter in our lives, and the best part is it drove her to enter the business that we’re in. And now, thinking about those years, boy, was she tough … and strong. In more ways than one!”