This is Chet Helck’s first appearance on the IA 25. Click here to view the complete list and Special Report schedule for extended profiles for each of the 2013 IA 25 honorees.
When we began our interview, Chet Helck pointed out that he started in the financial industry as a customer. In his first career, with John Deere, he accumulated enough company stock to see he needed professional advice when a competitor failed and he watched colleagues at that firm “get wiped out” when those stocks plummeted. With an advisor’s help, he was able to diversify his own portfolio so he wasn’t overweighted to company stock.
“In the course of getting to know the advisor and learning more, going to seminars and getting some experience with investing, over time he started to try to recruit me into the industry, and eventually I saw the benefit of that and started as a financial advisor,” Helck said.
That’s a humble beginning for the CEO of Raymond James Global Private Client Group who, as of October, is also the chairman of SIFMA, the trade organization representing securities firms, banks and asset managers.
The biggest challenge for advisors over the next year is simply dealing with the uncertainty in the markets and in consumers’ minds, according to Helck.
“People are still somewhat in shock from the business cycle we’ve just been through with the Great Recession, the failure of major financial institutions, the decline in market values,” he said. “Even though the market’s come back, flirting into all-time record levels—the first time we hit these levels was well over a decade ago–we’ve been through a long period of time where people have not seen a lot of positive market momentum that’s helped them accumulate the kind of returns they’ve hoped for.”
On top of that, Helck said, “we’re facing an environment with huge fiscal issues in the economy: still relatively high unemployment, sequestration, a huge deficit, possible tax increases. All sorts of challenges create a wall of worry that people are concerned about.”