DeWaay Capital Management
Speaking with Don DeWaay is like drinking from the proverbial fire hose. The transcript from our preliminary interview came back at 12 pages (and that was just a preliminary interview). Passionate? Outspoken? Articulate?
All of the above for the CEO of DeWaay Capital Management.
Industry accolades aren't new for the Clive, Iowa-based DeWaay. He was named one of the top 10 most dependable wealth managers by Forbes Magazine, has received numerous awards for his charitable involvement and more impressively, he was the recipient of the 2008 Better Business Bureau Integrity Award for his high ethical standards (sorely needed in an industry that now ranks with Big Tobacco on the popularity scale).
"The driving ambition and mission of this firm is not only to do good for the clients, but to alter the landscape of this industry," he modestly states. "Everybody is mired in the same kind of lazy thinking. It's a highly commoditized industry where people do all the same things and they tell lies every day about how they do it better."
Lest you think he's all bark and no bite, he started 25 years ago with a folding table in a basement and now resides in a 43,000-square-foot building he's christened Commerce Park. And when his former broker/dealer failed to meet his needs, he started his own.
"I still have a very good relationship with them and they opened my eyes to a lot of things. The reason I left is because I knew there was a higher calling. By that I mean we know high-net-worth investors are completely different clients from the guy on the street. They have higher expectations and have better resources. For that reason they achieve a better result than the buy, hold and pray that you usually see at other firms."
He describes Commerce Park as a kind of a meeting place for a variety of different disciplines in all elements of finance "that people can come as they would some place like the Mayo Clinic. Everything is together, organized and optimized. It's a state-of-the-art facility where we can bring all the collective talents of the wealth management team together in a very pleasant and relaxing environment.
"Our services may seem familiar when compared to other firms, but comparisons fall short once our clients experience the way we do what we do. We can meet client needs at a level of expertise and experience that most attribute only to the giant financial heavyweights. Yet we remain refined enough to deliver an unexpected measure of personalized attention to each of our clients."
With more than $800 million in assets under management and a referral base that he describes as having a missionary-like zeal, clearly it's worked.
Church and Swain, Planning Group of Raymond James and Associates, Inc.
Shelly Church zeros in on the generational transfer of wealth and divorce financial planning. Gee, know any boomers who might need that?
To say she's suited to address boomer retirement needs is a bit of an understatement; perfectly suited is more like it. With 26 years of experience, $265 million in assets under management and 115 high-net-worth clients, her Naples, Fla.-based practice is a case study in client satisfaction and success.
As the 1984 founder of Diversified Financial Group, Inc., Church served as its president until 1994. That year, she joined Raymond James and Associates as a vice president of investments and has served on the firm's Women's Advisory Council for 15 years. Formed to provide support to female financial advisors, one of the council's primary objectives is to mentor those in need of guidance and advice. Church is passionate about her role as a mentor and currently offers her time to regularly coach several female advisors new to the business.
"Tom James had a goal early on the get more women involved in the higher levels of financial services," she says. "I've stepped back recently to let some new blood take the mantel on the Women's Advisory Council, but the success of the symposium held each year dedicated solely to women and the industry is something I'm particularly proud of."
The accolades she's received both within and outside Ray Jay are something to note.
She was awarded a seat on the Raymond James Financial Advisors Council, was a member of the Raymond James President's Club from 1996 to 2000, and has been recognized with Chairman's Council honors since 2001. In addition, Church was named by Raymond James Financial Chairman and CEO Tom James to the firm's Executive Council, and served from October 2003 to October 2005.
Active in her community, she is a former member of the board of directors and president for the T.E.C.H. Foundation, an organization that provides training and education programs for the disabled. In 1994, T.E.C.H. honored her as Humanitarian of the Year.
Church received the Volunteer of the Year award from the American Heart Association in 2001 from the Collier County Chapter. In June 2006, she was awarded the Special Services Award for outstanding service at the Florida Affiliate level of the American Heart Association. In December 2005, she was named to the board of Boggy Creek Gang Camp, a Gang Camp located in central Florida, which serves seriously ill children.
So she has a boomer-centric practice and a boomer-sized level of community involvement. Any wonder she made our final cut?