This is the first in a new series of posts where we feature a member of our team using a Q&A format so you can get to know them a little better – both personally and professionally.
We have added three new team members this year, and one of those is Chad Hamilton, who joined Brown and Company in January as Director of Practice Management. Some of you will remember that Chad was part of the team from 2001-2009 and has come full circle to re-join the firm a decade later, albeit in a much different position.
By way of background, Chad has been in the industry for over 20 years, is a Certified Financial Planner® and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, and has been quoted in leading industry publications (including Investors’ Business Daily, Kiplinger’s, CNBC, Financial Advisor IQ, and others). He has also written two books: Deep Wealth and Redefining Financial Freedom.
Q: Can you briefly describe your role as Director of Practice Management?
A: Sure – the old cliché is that it’s easy to get so caught up working in the business that you forget to work on the business. Practice management is about working on the business in a wide spectrum of ways ranging from improving the planning process and client experience to growing the firm with a focus on marketing and business development activities.
Q: What is your favorite part about working for Brown and Company?
A: I’m driven by ideas, and I love the opportunity I have in my role to think creatively about how to effectively communicate what we do and how to continually think of new ways to improve on the value we provide to clients. Whether it is creating videos to help people understand what kind of legacy they want to leave (see here) or tools that help define what an ideal retirement looks like (here), the creative process is my favorite aspect of what I do.
Q: What do you find most challenging at Brown and Company?
A: Differentiating from other wealth management firms is always a challenge. Twenty years ago, we could talk about taking a goals-based, comprehensive financial planning approach and that was different in an industry that was mostly product focused. Now, pretty much everyone is using the same words about providing financial planning and wealth management.
ROI (Return on Investments) is important, but money is a means to an end so we are ultimately looking to maximize ROL (Return on Life). Our existing clients understand how our process enables us to help them achieve this. The challenge is to help prospective clients see how we can help them maximize their ROL.
Q: What advice would you give to recent new hires?
A: In the wealth management industry specifically, my advice is to try to remember to keep an eye on the big picture. Financial planners tend to be very detail-oriented, and that’s a good thing. But they can really get bogged down in the numbers and miss the proverbial forest for the trees.
Just because technology allows you to run endless iterations to model every conceivable scenario doesn’t mean you should. Precision does not equal accuracy. Most often it is best for all involved to step back and show a summary of the key points rather than a thick book of detail. You can still have the book ready to go when the engineers ask for it.
Okay – So now on to the important stuff…
Q: What is your favorite movie and book?
A: My favorite movie is Good Will Hunting. My favorite book is The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Q: What is the first concert you attended?
A: Guns N’ Roses and Metallica at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. I was on the field only a few rows from the stage. I don’t know how my friends and I landed those tickets or how my parents let me go without earplugs.
Q: When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
A: I saw the comedian Nate Bargatze at the Paramount downtown a few weeks ago, and he was really funny. He has a special on Netflix called “The Tennessee Kid” and, if you remember nothing else I’ve said here, do this one thing: Go watch it.