Integrated Services: Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC
Rebecca Pomering, CEO of Moss Adams Wealth Advisors LLC, says that the exceptional people at the firm and its business strategy have been the key to its success.
New clients can come in through introductions from the parent firm’s CPA partners; providing integration of services is what makes the firm unique. Since the parent company has been around for nearly a century, its dominant presence on the west coast serves as an introduction – “we have a good reputation,” says Pomering. The firm also has “good relationships with other attorneys, other CPAs, estate lawyers, and related professionals,” which all help bring in new clients, and its employees work in the community, acting as “good corporate citizens.”
Typical clients include business owners, “given the nature of our offering,” says Pomering, and multigenerational families, “many of whom have current or past family business interests; that’s our typical target market.” She says the company defines its “target client by their needs instead of size.” While some firms set a minimum asset amount, she says, “we define…instead by business services: succession planning, ownership transition, financial planning, estate planning, investment management and insurance.” Target clients have “complex enough lives or businesses that they’ll benefit from the broader range of what we deliver.”
Moss Adams rises above the crowd by its comprehensive integration of business and individual services. Says Pomering, “As a consultant, I’ve worked with hundreds of firms; we are unique.” She adds that in their core geographical market, “a lot of clients were impacted by bad behavior by their advisors, or even reputational damage in the larger brokerage houses over the last few years.” The firm’s role as a fiduciary, and the fact that it’s part of a public accounting firm “known as trusted advisors and fiduciaries,” has helped to educate the marketplace about true independent advice.
Integration of business and personal aspects, Pomering explains, as well as a goal-based approach in financial planning, distinguish the way they serve clients. “To integrate an individual’s personal and business needs is pretty powerful and unique in the marketplace on the west coast, from what we’ve seen.” The depth of the organization and the parent company behind it offers “tons of expertise a smaller wealth management firm couldn’t deliver.” Yet with only 35 people in the wealth management firm, it keeps the boutique feel.
Moss Adams is “an advisor on all things financial, but more than that,” adds Pomering. “I would say advisor on all things financial and personal” because of their relationships with their clients, and conversations on everything from children, philanthropic activities, and business to vacation plans and grandchildren.
Pomering hopes that “legislators will recognize that anyone giving a client financial advice should be required to act in the client’s best interest. I can’t believe there could be an answer other than that,” she says. It was under discussion when she served on the FPA board “many years ago,” and “the fact that we’re still having that discussion I find concerning.” Regardless of the outcome of the legislation and the study, she feels that compliance requirements and costs for everyone in the industry will increase. “It will have a bigger negative impact” on the independent small businesses in the industry, “and that’s unfortunate.”—Marlene Y. Satter
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