President

Van Pearcy Financial

Raymond James Financial Services

Career Began: 1987

Home Base: Midland, Texas

Civic Affiliations: Scholarship endowment for MBA program at University of Notre Dame, scholarships for athletic trainers at Andrews High School, Van and Donna Pearcy Foundation

It’s obvious there is something outsize about Van Pearcy the instant you hear this West Texas advisor’s on-hold telephone music: the theme song from The Magnificent Seven.

Just about everything about Pearcy is large: the amount of assets he manages, his philanthropic impulse, his goals.

As Wilson Heidelberg, a local school board executive, notes: “He’s just one of those bigger-than-life people that can cause everyone around him to aspire to think bigger and better.”

With $735 million in assets under management, the 46-year-old Pearcy and his wealth services team are well-known players in their home market of Midland, Texas. In 1987, Pearcy opened the first successful office there for Edward D. Jones. When he moved over to Raymond James Financial Services in 2001 so that he could expand the business and build a team, he launched that firm’s inaugural branch.

Since joining Raymond James, Pearcy’s asset base has more than tripled — a result he attributes in large measure to a team approach that encompasses his own in-house team [including his wife, Donna, a vice president] and insurance, tax and estate planning specialists allied with Raymond James.

“When our clients and the local community saw that we were going toward a team approach, with several experts in our office, it threw a different light on our business as opposed to being a sole practitioner. We had a wonderful reputation prior, and it just grew,” says Pearcy, who works with 600 families, primarily retirees and oil and gas business owners. “We were the only team-oriented financial planning group in our area; that was big.”

Pearcy calls a team approach for a larger practice “an osmosis” of the business. “As we grew, we needed more hands. One of the things that’s helped our practice is that I try to push everybody. We have a weekly meeting that’s all about gaining new knowledge — or, if you will, teaching old dogs new tricks. We need to know what’s out there as products change, as services change, as laws change. The big challenge today is continuing to learn and adapt as these changes apply to our business,” adds Pearcy, who has consistently ranked as one of Raymond James’ top wealth managers. “We want to be at the forefront.”

Pearcy grew up in nearby Andrews, where he enjoyed a high school athletic career that’s still talked about. He set a national speed record as a sophomore, running 400 meters in 46.8 seconds. A top-ranked long jumper, Pearcy was a running back and punter on the football team as well.

In high school, he had first-rate coaches who helped him set goals — a quality that is evident in his financial services practice today. “Everything you read and learn today about goal-setting — writing them down, identifying the steps — that was instilled early on. It was instrumental in [causing] me today to be very much of a goal-setter.” Pearcy attended University of Notre Dame on an athletic scholarship. He played football at Notre Dame and, after getting his degree in economics, he completed a short stint with the Denver Broncos.

In recent months, Pearcy has developed a series of practice-building workshops for multi-million-dollar producers throughout the Raymond James network. The first of four workshops will be held this month in St. Petersburg, Fla. Proceeds, after expenses, will go directly to Pearcy’s non-profit family foundation.

At the workshops, Pearcy intends to share business-building ideas. “Like high school,” he says. “I’m going to ask advisors to write down their goals and establish the steps to get there.” He will also introduce the importance of philanthropy.

“Philanthropy has gotten very personal for me. What really matters is what you give away,” he says. “Because I sit across from a lot of older clients, you learn it’s not about the money. It’s not about the material stuff. It’s actually about what you can do for your fellow man and giving back. One of the key ways you can do that is by giving to those less fortunate. Another is by leading by example.”

Earlier this year, a first-class track and field facility for Midland’s youth got its first workout. Pearcy, with another local benefactor, raised the $2.2 million to build the complex. Every year, the Van and Donna Pearcy Foundation awards college scholarships to athletic trainers and managers from their alma mater, Andrews High School. “They’re the ones that kept me mended and well,” says Pearcy. Most recently, Pearcy and his wife have worked to develop a significant scholarship endowment for the MBA program at University of Notre Dame. At the moment, they’re helping to raise money for the expansion of the Midland Children’s Rehabilitation Facility, which serves children with neurological and orthopedic needs.

In many ways, it is a sense of giving that defines Van Pearcy — the man and the practice.

“What I have found is that, No. 1, I’m lucky to be in this business and to work with so many wonderful people,” he says. “When your clients say you’ve made a world of difference in their life — to say something like that, that gets you up in the morning.”

Freelance writer Ellen Uzelac is based in Chestertown, Md.; the former West Coast bureau chief and national correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, can be reached at ellenuzelac@msn.com.