Advisor Spotlight: Bryan Beatty
Bryan D Beatty, CFP® AIF®
Egan, Berger & Weiner, LLC
2017 GDC: $1,183,944
Office Location: Vienna, VA
Years in industry: 26 years
Voya honors: Chairman’s Circle 2018
Bryan Beatty has been named to the 2018 Financial Times FT 400 Top Advisers ranking. This award “provides a snapshot of the best professionals at traditional US broker-dealers”. Voya Advisor News sat down with Bryan to learn about how he got started, his approach and the team at Egan, Berger & Weiner.
How and why did you get into the business?
Bryan: I got into the business right out of college, mostly because I was studying finance with a concentration in investments. I took part in an investment challenge during college, creating a fictitious portfolio to invest for a certain period. Over the four year period, I kept finishing in the top one percent and I thought “Maybe I have a knack for this!”. This experience pushed me towards managing money for my career.
I started working in the business right after college in 1992. I joined a small independent broker dealer, where I had a limited number of products available to me. Both at this firm and at an insurance company I later joined, I kept coming back to wanting to do what is right for the client, even if it is not selling insurance. I knew I needed to take a different direction.
A turning point came when I attained a Certified Financial PlannerTM certification in 2003. This really put me down a new path of going independent and establishing my own financial planning firm. I wanted to find the right way to run a business that had an integrated approach to planning. In 2004, I folded my firm into Egan, Berger & Weiner, which has turned out really well.
What are the 2-3 keys to your success and growth?
Bryan: Getting my CFP® certification was the number one most important decision of my career. It provided clarity around what comprehensive financial planning looks like and a framework for how everything in the planning process should start.
The second major turning point was joining Egan, Berger & Weiner. At the time I joined, there were only three principals and I took on 25% of the firm expenses before making any money. Despite the risk, I joined because we each brought complementary skills to the partnership. I had a management background, while the team at Egan, Berger & Weiner had marketing and leads. I brought greater management and sales structure and helped grow our opportunities much faster than any of us expected. Likewise, the firm has provided me with greater marketing and prospecting support that I could not have realized on my own.
What is your approach to financial planning?
Bryan: Everything stems from a financial plan. First, we determine where a client is on a macro level before making any sort of recommendations. We do not go into a meeting with any pre-conceived notions that everyone should have – for example - life insurance, long term care or any of the other hooks advisors use to gain clients. We take an approach that clients work with us for the financial plan and the advice that comes out of that plan. It is a very different angle from how I came into the business, which focused on the product or solution.
Clients may come in thinking they simply need a single solution to a problem. This is often true, but planning reveals additional or different problems that need solving. If you are selling the solution before the problems have been exposed, it is a backwards approach. We always start with the macro plan, after which we get to the specific products and solutions in a more natural and comfortable progression.
What kind of support do you get at Egan, Berger & Weiner and how has that helped you?
Bryan: Our partnership allows each of us to concentrate on different roles. When you are on your own, you have to wear every hat – you’re the business owner, financial advisor and administrator all at once. When you get into a team, you can hire people to do associate planner work and specialize in areas such as insurance, college planning, etc.
Succession planning is another key benefit of joining the team. The firm owns the entire book of business, so we have ingrained succession planning in place to help both advisors and clients. We have succeeded two advisors businesses from the firm, and retained 99% of the clients, which is a great win for all.
Today, we have 14 employees. This includes three owners and six advisors. There is an opportunity for ownership of the company if advisors do well, which is a great incentive to grow and build loyalty.
How do you use marketing to support your business growth?
Bryan: We grew our business through educational seminars. Through an arrangement with the adult education system in Fairfax County, we conducted seminars, which was a great source of marketing and prospecting. While this arrangement has ended, we continue to offer 90 minute seminars in our office, although less regularly as attendance numbers have dropped off. Recently, we started teaching retirement and mid-career workshops. Because we have a good reputation for our seminars, we were referred for this opportunity. Being in the right place at right time with the right experience and reputation paid off!
Share a fun fact or two about you.
Bryan: For 20 years, I played guitar and sang in an acoustic band, playing local venues regularly. I stopped doing this about five years.
Another fun fact is that, at age 50, I have two children three years or younger!