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Don’t be fooled by carpetbaggers

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Last year at this time, I remember sitting down with a widow who had unexpectedly lost her husband. I recall that during our meeting, we would stop periodically for tissues and stories, but eventually she left a little bit more empowered to face the days ahead. She was clearly in shock, she doesn’t exactly remember the conversation, but we were able to find her immediate cash and bridge her to retirement. I cannot imagine having this conversation, or any conversation about something so important as your financial security or your family’s legacy, over a 1-800 telephone call with someone in another state who needs a system to remember your name.

When I started my career in finance in the early 90’s, I worked for Bank of America, until they left for the second time (only to return yet again) when the President at that time, Hugh McColl, announced, “We don’t intend to sell financial services to any place that has more animals than people.” I then went to work for First Union in the Hunt building (for you non-old timers: the Atwood Building).  Six months later the moniker on the door changed to Wachovia, then A.G. Edwards and now reads Wells Fargo Advisors. Somewhere in between the endless new policies of those ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ financial services, I decided I want something better for my clients. I wanted to be able to make commitments that don’t change when the corporate office wants to up their profits. That was much of the impetus for me behind being part of the team to form APCM Wealth Management for Individuals. We created this firm on the platform of Dave Rose’s decades old company, APCM, and the philosophy of ‘just do the right thing and the business will flourish.’ As you know, our business is an amazing success. One secret to our success continues to be hiring the best and brightest Alaskans who consider Alaska their home. We are an office of serious experts, carrying the same, and probably more, credentials than other firms of our caliber, including in the lower 48.  We have confidence that what we promise our clients is what we deliver. 

Lately we are seeing a new sort of carpetbagger in town. This one does not bother investing in infrastructure or community relationships in Alaska at all.  This group of financial salespeople will rack up the frequent flyer miles once every six weeks from some out of state hub such as Kansas or Texas or California. They have a giant marketing department and a contact management system that hopes you will believe they can remember their interaction with you and the 100 other clients they met this month, not to mention the new client quota numbers they are required to close. They try to tell you that you are special, and while they might have an amazing customer service team (the same team that customizes services for 3000 other folks like you), you cannot expect them to know you personally; to sit across from you during the hard times and the good times; to support the issues and causes that we as Alaskans value. Then they meet their quotas and get promoted to the next job that no longer requires them to fly two full days coming and going.  They sell hard so they get awarded a territory closer to home so they can finally see their kid’s soccer game in Kansas or Texas or California or whatever state they prefer to live.

There may have been a time when Alaskans could not find the right financial experts here, or the price was higher because of scarcity. This is no longer the case. Our office boasts CPAs ,CFP®s, Insurance Experts, Former Trust Officers, …all that expertise, all right here, all responsibly priced as a fiduciary to you. So, ask the next carpetbagger why they don’t live here. We do.  

Laura Bruce, CFP®, ChFC®
Director, APCM Wealth Management for Individuals

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