Welcome back to the 318th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today's podcast is Ali Swart. Ali is a Partner and the Managing Director for Waldron Private Wealth, a multi-family office based in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania that oversees nearly $3 billion in assets under management for 280 ultra-high-net-worth family households.
What's unique about Ali, though, is how she transitioned from a retail brokerage firm where she served nearly 400 clients (and was still responsible for business development to get more of them), to a multi-family office serving clients through specialized client relationship teams that keep advisor capacity to no more than 10 clients per advisor at any given time.
In this episode, we talk in-depth about how Ali and her firm serve their ultra-high-net-worth families with client relationship teams of wealth planning, investing, and client service, to delve into the full depth of their financial complexities while delivering a ‘white glove’ service, how Waldron instituted an in-depth upfront financial plan offering for prospects that can take 3 weeks to 6 months to develop and deliver (with the intention of building their relationship so well during that time that when it's time to decide whether the firm will be hired to implement the recommendations, a prospective client would feel like they are already so involved that they would be firing Waldron if they were to say no), and how Waldron implements four potential career tracks internally for their advisor team that focuses separately on people development, client relationships, business development, and technical expertise, so that employees can choose the path that is right for them, allowing them to hone their natural skills and grow their income doing what they do best.
We also talk about how Ali didn’t fully realize until after leaving her position at Fidelity the great opportunity she was afforded there to learn from and be surrounded by strong female leaders who were supportive of her, how, while Ali was pregnant with her first child, she started to contemplate her career path and the future of her family, and even though she was happy working for her previous firm, she realized she did not enjoy business development, and decided to take a chance with a recruiter who ultimately connected her with Waldron Private Wealth, and how, before accepting an offer to work with Waldron, Ali made them aware that she intended to continue to grow her family and negotiated that they implement a formal maternity leave policy as a contingency for her to accept their offer.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Ali shares how she struggled with the uncertainty that laid ahead after she decided to leave her former firm to work for Waldron (as she recognized that by taking a non-business-development role she would have to accept an initial reduction in salary), but ultimately decided to view it as an opportunity to take one step back in order to take two steps forward and gave herself a goal to become partner by the age of 40 (which she ended up achieving 4 years ahead of goal!), why Ali feels that it is important for newer, younger advisors to define their personal ‘mission’ to advance within the financial services industry (with the recognition that it will evolve over time just as people and professionals do) and keep that mission as a center of motivation and decision-making with confidence that success will follow, and why Ali believes the key to success for her is keeping her three core values of family, finance, and fitness in alignment… where she is present with her family at every opportunity, continues to advance in her career and support her firm in its growth, and maintains a healthy lifestyle to remain to be able to stay present for her family and her firm.
So, whether you’re interested in learning about how Ali handled transitioning from so many clients to so few, how Ali provides white glove service to her ultra-high-net-worth clients, or how Ali negotiated a maternity leave policy be implemented before she was officially hired at Waldron, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Ali Swart.