In a Nutshell: Hard work, a deep love for his clients, and a niche working with retirees of a particular company led this advisor to the pinnacle of the profession.
Guest: Barron’s Hall of Famer Scott Tiras, President of Tiras Wealth Management, which is a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services. Scott has more than 30 years of experience as an advisor. Currently he manages around 700 family relationships and more than $1.5 billion in assets.
My Key Takeaway: To create an experience that makes clients feel like they’re your only client:
- Identify your “bread and butter client,” meaning the people to whom you can bring the most value over time.
- Focus your pitch and your value proposition on what Scott calls “the soft side of retirement” — the things clients and prospects will be retiring to, not just their raw numbers.
- Challenge yourself and your team to excel. Scott channels his competitive energy into running a world-class business. You need to find a similar motivation and drive to deliver “hall of fame” service and keep growing.
1. How Scott targets a local company niche with on-site workshops that demonstrate his expertise and lay the foundations for strong relationships.
2. How Scott leverages his team of 16 to support him and personalize the relationship building touches that keep his clients connected to the business.
3. What Scott does to build his brand and play an active role in his community so that he has a noticeable, positive presence.
Complementary Episode: Pair this with my conversation with Matt Reiner about using AI and tech to automate simple tasks so that you and your key team members can focus on cultivating relationships. Listen/read here.
Resources Featured In This Episode
Values Clarification Toolkit Click here to download this FREE tool and start living your values.
Steve Sanduski: Scott, welcome to the show.
Scott Tiras: Thank you.
Steve Sanduski: Well, I’m very happy to have you here. We’re here at the Barron’s Conference and I was able to listen in on your session this morning. So I got a little bit of your background before we’re actually having our conversation here. But why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about what your business looks like today?
Scott Tiras: Well, my business today, looks quite a bit different than it did 32 years ago, as you can imagine.
Steve Sanduski: And we look a lot different than 32 years ago.
Scott Tiras: Yeah. As my wife and kids tell me, I’ll tell you that for sure.
Yeah. But no, I’ve got a fairly larger practice. We manage about 700 client relationships, but our clients are typically going to be ones where we would consider them more of the massive fluid, really clients who’ve got $1 million to $10 million, are the ones that we enjoy working with the most.
Doesn’t mean we don’t have some that’ve got less and some that have more, but that’s really going to be our client focus and where we think we do our best work. We really have more of a vertical practice, which means, that I’m the individual that brings in the business. I’m the individual that actually meets with the clients. We can talk more about that in a few minutes, but that’s the part of my job that I really enjoy.
And then I’ve got 16 staff people that allow me to be able to get lots of leverage again, to allow me to be able to spend the time with the clients the way I want.
Steve Sanduski: So 1 million to 10 million is kind of an ideal target.
Scott Tiras: Bread and butter. Yeah.
Steve Sanduski: Your bread and butter. So did you start out that way or did you eventually evolve into that?
Scott Tiras: Well, when I first started back in 1988, I can tell you that back then, you have a telephone book basically and a telephone and you make a bunch of phone calls. And I was just excited to get in front of anybody again, who had a $2,000 IRA. And then you look for the next person that had a $2,000 IRA and you get in your car and you drive across town, you sit at people’s kitchen tables and you hope that they give you $2,000 for the IRA.
So you really start more slowly. But I will tell you, I got some good advice when I first started. Somebody told me, who’d been in business for a while, they said, “You know what Scott, I know you were a CPA and you don’t want to go back and do that, which is some pretty good motivation.” Which I didn’t. And they said, “So in order to be successful in this business, you really have got to put your nose to the grindstone and you have to do that for three years.
Because after a year you’re going to lift up and say, “You know what? I’ve worked really, really hard over this one year period. And you know what? At the end of the day I really didn’t make much money.” And the second year you do the exact same thing and maybe you make a little bit more money. So my first year I made $20,000, second year $40,000, but then by my third year I actually made $100,000 because I continued to work hard and focus. Then I lift up my nose and say, “You know what? This actually is a good career. I think I can actually pay my bills.”
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Steve Sanduski: And then was there a pivot in the business? Was there a point where everything clicked or something happened or maybe you got a certain client that led to a bunch of other clients or anything like that? Where you could say, “Wow. Prior to that happening, what my business looked like and then here’s what my business looked like after that happened.”
Scott Tiras: Yeah.
Steve Sanduski: Did you have any moment like that?
Scott Tiras: Well, I mean, it’s a grind, no doubt about it. And I did the math a long time ago and I figured out that if I work two extra hours than my peers did, if I got to work at 6:00 and somebody got to work at 8:00, you do the math. That’s about three months more of work you can get done in a given year. And then when you do that year after year, after year. I mean, you would suspect if you’re doing some things right, that you’re going to be a little bit more successful.
But what I determined also, is that I wanted to get in front of big groups of people. I am not afraid of public speaking and I figured if I could talk to 10 people or 20 people or 30 people at a time, then maybe I can get to three or four people again, on my books instead of just making one phone call at a time.
So I started working with some different corporations who let me come in to be able to do some financial planning workshops. And then in 1997, so talking about the pivot, one of them actually got a lot of traction. So it was a major oil company in Houston and we actually signed a formal financial planning contract that still exists today.
Steve Sanduski: Okay. Now is that even doable in this day and age? So that was back in the 1990s. If someone’s listening to this and says, “Wow, I’ve got this big company in my town, could I do what Scott did? Could I go knock on the door there and say, Hey, let’s sign a financial planning contract.” I mean, is that something that someone could do today? What advice would you give if someone says, “Wow, I love that idea, but I don’t know the first step on how I’d even try and approach that.”
Scott Tiras: The answer is absolutely. But it’s networking, right? So I got this relationship because there was an HR person that worked for basically, a medical center in Houston, who’s good friend was also an HR person that worked for this major oil company. And so we’re talking to him. He says, “Hey, by the way, I think they’re looking for somebody right now. They just put in an RFP. You should call them and see if you can put together a proposal.”
I called him, he says, “Oh, we already got our 10.” I begged him. He said, “Okay, we’ll take 11.” They did a one year due diligence and they finally chose me. We were very fortunate. But financial literacy is a big deal. I mean, it’s a big problem today. A lot of times we think that even these oil companies, there are some really smart people there, engineers, really, really analytical individuals.
But this is number one, what they like to do, they don’t have time to do it and they want to delegate this to somebody else. So this is a really important benefit. The problem that you have and the problem that we had and the agreement that we had with the company is, that they’re worried that you’re going to try to sell their employees stuff and then they’re going to take the brunt of whatever that sale is going to be. So you’ve got to be very, very careful and cognizant of the fact that, that’s going to be their biggest pushback.
Steve Sanduski: Now, at this company, are you able to do your planning on-site or do they come to your office or how does that work?
Scott Tiras: So when we do our workshops, we actually do our workshops on-site in one of their rooms. Sometimes they will set us up in a separate room if they want us to be available to do one-on-one meetings with their individuals to answer specific questions. Or if there is a transition that took place, they bought a company, sold a company, they’ll want us to be on-site for that. But for the majority of it, they want us to be able to establish a one-on-one relationship with that employee and then have the employee come in and work with us on the employees timescale.
Steve Sanduski: Well, I love this idea of working with a corporation. I’ve worked with and talked to a lot of advisors over the past 25 years that have started basically, going deep and narrow with one or two local companies where they become the go to person for that organization. And they become known as, “Oh, if you’re going to be retiring or if you’re getting downsized, you need to talk to Joe or you need to go talk to Mary because they’re the experts here.”
And once you get that first person at that company, then you can start. From there, they might introduce you to a second person and a third person and then maybe you speak at the retiree group that has a monthly breakfast kind of thing.
Scott Tiras: No. That’s actually a very good question because what we were lucky enough to be able to get, was the ability to go on-site and do these workshops. But I think in most of the cases, I don’t think the corporations going to want to tell their employees, or make the time for the employees to take a day off to listen to a financial planning workshop. So really what you’ve got to do is, become an expert in their benefits to where the HR people are comfortable referring you their employees and the other employees are comfortable referring their employees.
Because you’re absolutely right. I get calls all the time from employees saying, “Hey, I’m getting ready to retire. I’ve got these different plans. I really don’t understand. Can I come in and talk to you so you can explain to me what the process looks like? Go through the paperwork in terms of how I fill out all my pension forms, what boxes to check.” They know that we’re going to be a good resource for them to utilize.
Steve Sanduski: And so when you do this workshop, is this like an hour long and what do you actually cover in a workshop like that?
Scott Tiras: So when we do the workshops for this one particular company, it actually is a two day workshop that we do. They want to make sure that the employees that they invite to this one workshop, which is our bread and butter, we do other workshops for them too but this is our bread and butter workshop, where their employees are within five years of being eligible for a pension.
And so those are the individuals that they invite to this workshop, where we talk about the soft side of retirement. It’s not retiring from this oil company, what am I retiring to? Right? I mean your body knows, you’ve got to retire to something and so you have to understand that you’ve got to have something, a plan in place. You can’t just follow your spouse around all day and say, “Hey honey, what are we doing today?” Because he or she is going to say, “Well, I don’t know what you’re doing. I’m going to do what I’ve done for the last 30 years.” So, you have to talk about that soft side.
Scott Tiras: But then you also need to go through the analytics of asset allocation. Why the asset allocation might change the analytics of, “Hey, I’ve got $1 million. How much can that afford to pay me again, every single year without the risk of running out of money over a period of 30 years? Where should the money come from, from a tax leveling standpoint?”
Then you want to talk about, what insurances do I still need? How does Medicare integrate into by my company’s retiree medical? So we talk about all those topics and many more. Estate planning, for instance, wills, power of attorneys, we talk about all that, but they’ve given us two days to go through and allow it to be very comprehensive and allowing us to be able to establish a deeper relationship over that two day period.
Steve Sanduski: Wow, that’s amazing. Two full days.
Scott Tiras: Yeah. We’ve been very lucky.
Steve Sanduski: So are you presenting most of those two days? Do you have another colleague that helps you with that?
Scott Tiras: So because the whole company is nationwide, I’ve got people that we have trained specifically, all over the country to build and present those workshops. So I still probably do, maybe half of those here in Houston, but then also have other advisors in Houston too, because as you can imagine, with a lot of employees that have got questions, we can’t take on all those employees as clients. So we’ve built out a team, again, that’s well-trained, able to answer those questions for the employee. It is very well apt again, to be able to establish a longterm relationship with them as well.
Steve Sanduski: So how do you handle 700 households? So I think you’re the main advisor. So from a structural standpoint, and you’ve got all this staff, so how do you work with that many folks? How do you get to know them personally and understand their situations and how is your office structured so that you can focus your time and energy on the thing or couple things that just you should be doing? How does that work?
Well, it’s not only that, it’s not the things I should be doing, it’s the things I want to do, right? So the part of my job that I really enjoy is sitting and meeting with clients and talking to them and helping them and give them advice. That’s the part that still drives me today. That’s the part that I enjoy. It’s rewarding again, for me. So what I’ve got to get is, I’ve got to get my staff to give me all the leverage that I need, try and be able to spend my time just doing that. And so we have a requirement I guess, if you will, with our clients, that we need to meet with them at least once a year.
But I mean, from a time management standpoint, meet with them four times a year is going to be a little bit more difficult. So that’s where we’re able to leverage our client service paraplanners to where they’re reaching out and touching our clients often. And then we’ve got some very skilled, again, paraplanners and staff and analysts as well. Again, that can answer a lot of client’s questions if we’re not around and than the clients become very comfortable calling those individuals too, again, at times that they’ve got questions that are more specific.
Steve Sanduski: So what does a typical day look like for you?
Scott Tiras: A typical day, I’m in the habit of, excuse me, a creature of habit. So I get up fairly early, typically around 4:30, try to exercise, got one of those Pelotons and I can tell you, I like my Peloton a lot. So I’ll get my exercise in, I’ll try and get to work by 6:00 and for a long time, probably the first 20 years of my career. Again, my typical schedule is getting to work at 6:00 and work until 8:00, unless there was something else that was kind of going on.
Steve Sanduski: So just two hours?
Scott Tiras: Well, 6:00 until 8:00 PM. Yeah. But I mean, you can get a lot of work done between 6:00 and 8:00 AM.
Steve Sanduski: Yeah.
Scott Tiras: Again, because it’s really quiet around the office and nobody’s really calling you. It really gets you prepared for the day. So, I will typically get up, I’ll have my cup of coffee, get to work at 6:00 and then I start answering emails right away. As I’ve mentioned before, again, if a client wanted to talk to you tomorrow, again, chances are they would have called or emailed you tomorrow, but they emailed you today or called you today, guess what? They want to talk to you today.
So we’re very, very big on responding to our clients immediately. Whether they send me an email on a Sunday night, it could be Saturday morning or very first thing early in the morning when they see an email from me, at 6:05 and again, I think that makes them feel good. They don’t want to be up at 6:05 but they’re glad, their guys up at 6:05.
Steve Sanduski: Right.
Scott Tiras: Again, working for them and so I think that helps make the business sticky as well.
Steve Sanduski: So how many meetings a day would you have, with that many clients? Does it look that way? Do you say, “Well, I meet with clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, or do you have a structured schedule like that?
Scott Tiras: We do have a structured scheduled. So we’ll see five or six people a day. Try not to see quite as many people on Fridays. It’s kind of my catch up day, if you will. But I will, invariably. I don’t see people on weekends. I try not to work weekends anymore because I’ve got four kids and a wife that would appreciate me being at home a little bit more.
I think it’s important though, that you do have some level of routine that continues, that your clients can also count on, if you will, and your employees can also count on. We just try to see as many people as we can but we try to limit their meetings again, to once or twice a year and then we make many outgoing calls, lots of emails. We touch them in many, many other ways, besides that individual one-on-one meeting.
Steve Sanduski: So how do you prep for those meetings? Because if you’ve got five in a day, how do you make sure that you’re up to speed on what their situation is? And you can go into that meeting confident like, “I know what’s going on, I know what questions we need to be asking and talking about.”
Scott Tiras: And that’s the leverage that I get from my staff. So after every meeting, we put together a very, very detailed summary letter that we actually send our clients, so we know exactly where we left everything, what their questions were, what’s going on with their kids. Again, what estate planning work they’ve done or still need to do, questions they had about their asset allocation, insecurities about their business, vacations they went on. And so it’s easy for us to kind of pick up where we off based on that summary letter.
But we’ve also gotten our staff to the point again, to where they can put together based on our processes that we’ve put in place. They could put together the entire client prep where it takes me literally, five minutes to be able to go through and be prepared to talk to that client. That’s the leverage that I’m talking about. You’ve got to have that.
Steve Sanduski: You have a second person that’s sitting in on each of these meetings with you and are they taking the notes then and they’re preparing the summary letter? Do you then review the summary letter? How does that process work?
Scott Tiras: You just nailed it. That’s exactly what happens. I’ve got another person who sits in and it’s also somebody who’s very well adept to their situation, to where if there’s a reason that they need to have something that’s specifically addressed, they can call the other person as well, that they feel comfortable with, even if that person is not me.
But that person will, they’ll take notes during the meeting, they’ll prepare the summary letter, I’ll review the summary letter, sign it, and then we send it on. But again, that’s the leverage that I’m talking about.
Steve Sanduski: So how do you select these people? So I mean, I think we all understand we’ve got to have amazing people on our team in order to be able to leverage like your time, for example. How do you go about finding people, and maybe not so much finding them, but in the interview process, when you have a candidate, do you look for certain characteristics? Are you looking for traits and maybe I’ll train them for the skill? Or how do you think about my ideal new hire, looks like this?
Scott Tiras: You know, we’ve gotten a lot of our employees from previous work that they’ve already had with Ameriprise, so they’re already trained on our systems. That’s a really good spot. But maybe they’re moving from Florida down to Texas, or from Austin to Houston. So that seems to be one of our best sources. But we’ve also hired individuals that have worked for some of our competitors. And as we do interview them, we need to make sure that they are a good personality fit. But they also have the same work ethic that we have.
We’re very big on work ethic and working hard and we like to have fun too and we do fun stuff for the staff and we can talk more about that. But at the end of the day, it is all about the client, making sure the client’s taken care of, very client centric. And we have to spend the time to make sure the client’s getting exactly what they want. So, we ask questions in relationship to that.
We give them scenarios. “You know, you’re really, really busy and it’s 4:30. You’re trying to get all your stuff done so you can get home but a client calls you at 4:15. So, what would you do in that situation?”
Steve Sanduski: I’d let the phone ring and go to voicemail.
Scott Tiras: Well, wrong answer might be the wrong answer.
Steve Sanduski: Wrong answer.
Scott Tiras: So I mean, those are the things that we want to hear from this person because there’s a lot of people that would, that’s really what they would do. They’d say, “You know what? I’m done at 5:00 and I still have 45 minutes worth of work I’m going to do and I’m going to not return that call or I’m not going to answer the phone.” But the client comes first and I think that most of our employees get that at this point. We’ve had a lot of success, very little turnover of clients, I think, because we do a really good job of servicing them, making them feel important and special.
Steve Sanduski: So how else would you describe service? I mean I’ve been really big on this idea of service here in recent months and years and just how important it is from a service or hospitality, whatever you want to call it, having deep relationships. How do you define service? How do you think about service? And when you say, we do a really great job taking care of our clients, what does that mean?
Scott Tiras: Well, you’ve got to put yourself in the shoes of the client, right? So what would you want, if you were them? Right? And so it’s what I call, the me test. So you’ve got to service your client the way that you’d want to be serviced. So as I mentioned, you call people back immediately, respond to their emails immediately. If somebody needs to come in and there’s not an appointment slot, you know what? You make the appointment slot at 12:00 or 12:30 during lunch.
I mean, you do whatever it takes to make sure that the client is taken care of. You touch them many different ways, whether it’s through birthdays or client anniversaries or children that they have, or grandchildren that they have. It’s all the Dale Carnegie stuff, right? Which is, everybody wants to feel important. You got to make your client feel important. You need to care about them. They need to see that you care about them. And if they do, they’re going to stay with you.
When we have our meetings, we may have a client service event that might last an hour, hour and a half. Maybe we spend 10 or 15 minutes talking about their asset allocation in the markets and we spent all the rest of the time talking about their family, the vacations, what’s concerning to them, what are their goals moving forward? We really try to make it very personal and very deep and I think that they appreciate that.
Steve Sanduski: Then, how do you track that, their birthdays, anniversaries? Do you use technology to do that and it prompts you? Or your staff, and says, “Hey Scott, we’ve got 10 birthdays this week. Let’s go ahead and get these cards signed.” How do you actually, from a system standpoint, make sure that those touches don’t fall through the cracks?
Scott Tiras: Yeah. There’s probably somebody on my team that could answer that question better than me, I can tell you. But they send me, it’s all about leverage, they send me the birthday emails that I need to send out to clients, that are somewhat more significant clients. I’ll send each of those an email or I’ll give them a call. So I know every day, who those clients are, that need to do that with.
But then we also have some systems in place where we send, it sounds kind of silly, where we send them a personalized, a birthday note signed by all of us. And then we put like a lotto ticket in there. And again, just to kind of make it fun and the clients can’t wait to email me and tell me they didn’t win anything or they won two bucks. Right? But it’s kind of neat and it makes it different. And then on a big birthday, again, what we do to make them feel a little bit more special is, there’s a Time Magazine of what happened back in 1945, in the records and movies and advertisements and things like that. But it’s very, very personal and they think that, that’s really cool too. You know?
Scott Tiras: Or, we send them a fruit basket, depending on what it is that we think they might enjoy. But people rarely get things like that, but if you’re the one delivering that, then again it makes that relationship that much more special.
Steve Sanduski: Yeah, it’s those little touches-
Scott Tiras: Yeah.
Steve Sanduski: … that show that, “Hey, I’m thinking of you as an individual.” I’m not sending out some mass market thing where they know that, “Oh, he sent this to 500 people.”
Scott Tiras: Yeah, clients are smart. I mean, they’re smart. They know, just like, I know. For my insurance agent, my property casualty, I know that when they send the calendar out that it’s, I’m looking and you could tell it’s a copy of something from somewhere. I mean, I like the calendar, but the end of the day, it doesn’t feel that that special.
Steve Sanduski: Right, yeah.
Scott Tiras: So we feel that we need to have a deeper relationship with our clients, where they feel like they’re our only client. If we can make them feel that way, then I think we’re doing a good job.
Steve Sanduski: So you’ve been in the business for more than 30 years. You’ve got a lot of referrals that come in, so you’ve got a fairly consistent base of new clients coming in. But let’s say, you were starting over, what would you do?
Scott Tiras: Don’t make me do that, please.
Steve Sanduski: Yeah. But if you were hypothetically. If you had to start over today, what do you think you would be doing? Knowing that we’ve got social media, we’ve got podcasts, we’ve got different ways to connect with people and people like experiences now and that sort of thing. So how would you think about what I would do to build a new business today?
Scott Tiras: You know, it’s more difficult now than it was when I started, when I was 26 years old.
Steve Sanduski: Really?
Scott Tiras: I think so. Because you know, back then, you could call people in the telephone book, there wasn’t caller ID back then.
Back then, it was actually legal, right? There was no, do-not-call lists. Then, it was about getting in front as many people as you can get in front of. I think today, again, if I was to start, I would probably want to join a team of some sort as a junior advisor. I would do a good job scouting my team and trying to find somebody who you think is going to be retiring at some point, maybe not soon, but sooner than later where you, if you work really hard and you become a valued part of the team, you can then be in a good position to take over that business or those clients.
Now in the meantime, you’ve got to bring on clients and so it’s still my view today, that it’s about building your brand and getting active in your community. So my community, I’ve got four boys and they play baseball, back in the day with my genetics though, the favorite sport needs to be math. But we sponsor baseball teams. We have tables that we buy at the gala and we’ll put auction items together.
Again, I’ll write articles in our periodical that’s just in our neighborhood. We even put together a commercial that’s targeted specifically to the zip codes of where our clients are, again, to help build that brand. So you’ve got to do something to build your brand in your neighborhood somehow, and then the clients will come.
It’s also helpful I think, because I believe in financial literacy that there’s organizations out there that want to hear from people like us. They want to be educated. It’s scary politically and geopolitically, and we’ve got viruses out there, we’ve got all kind of have issues. People want information, but they want information I think, sometimes from a person and not just from the internet.
So I think that, that’s a role that we can all play and so you’ve got to figure out how do I get in front of those people as well. And it’s not cold calling necessarily, but it’s about networking. I guess using your LinkedIn and your relationships that way, again to get on those people’s calendars.
Steve Sanduski: So you talked about this idea of building your brand and I heard you here, talk about a 30 second commercial in your session earlier this morning, you talked about that. I’d love to have you go a little deeper into, what are you talking about with this 30 second commercial?
Scott Tiras: So again, it’s about building your brand, getting your name in front of I think, in front of your clients. So some people might think, “Oh, if there’s a commercial out there, that they’re going to get calls from everybody that’s got credit card debt or a $2,000 IRA. But that’s not really the case. What it really does is, it puts you in the front of mind of your clients and the people in your community. So when an event occurs again, they remember you, they’ve seen you, they’re going to see you again, probably tomorrow, whatever station that they watch.
I think what was surprising was, the good feedback they’ve gotten from my clients who’ve seen that, they feel good, they feel proud that they’re guy is the guy that’s on TV and it’s just not that expensive to put together. So, the way that we structured ours is that we put together a 30 second commercial, and it’s something that is fairly simple, but we target it to our clients zip codes specifically, or to the neighborhoods that I’m very active in, where maybe I coached somebody’s kid on a baseball team, but now they’ve seen my name, even though they’re not a client.
So, it makes for an easy phone call for them and at the end of the day, if you target certain, excuse me, TV stations, in just certain zip codes, it’s just not that expensive to put together. I was really surprised, maybe it costs me $30,000 or $40,000 a year, which is still a lot of money but it wasn’t hundreds of thousands of dollars like-
Steve Sanduski: Yep. Right. It’s not super bowl commercial money.
Scott Tiras: … yeah, nothing like that. But it was fairly inexpensive and I think it’s been very effecting helping us build our brand for our clients and to other individuals in our community.
Steve Sanduski: So they can target by zip code to run your ad?
Scott Tiras: Correct.
Steve Sanduski: Yeah. Very interesting. And then to actually create the commercial, did you work with a TV station or did you have a production company that specializes in creating commercials or how did you actually get the commercial created?
Scott Tiras: Well, and I don’t know if I’m allowed to mention names. We actually work through Comcast. So Comcast actually had their crew come out and put together the commercial for us as part of a package.
Steve Sanduski: Oh, okay.
Scott Tiras: They were very professional. The commercial, I thought looked great. I mean, it doesn’t have Star Wars, special effects and stuff but at the end of the day, it was very well put together, wasn’t that expensive, again, for them to do that. They made it real easy for us.
Steve Sanduski: Excellent. So you’ve mentioned this word work and hard work, several times in our conversation and earlier in your presentation you also talked about the idea of hard work. So where does that come from? So you’re long into your career, you’re super successful, you don’t need technically, to get to the office at 6:00 in the morning anymore because you’re financially set. Where does that drive come from? Let me just stop there. Where does that come from?
Scott Tiras: You know, I’m a very competitive person and when you’re 5’6”, 150 pounds, you’re certainly not going to be doing it on the football field, you know? So I figured out a way to be able to do that professionally. And so I feel that professionally, I can compete against peers in a very friendly way and it’s easy to be able to see how I’m doing, relatively speaking and I enjoy that. I just enjoy the competitiveness there, but in a good way.
The other thing is, that I’ve built my practice working with clients. Again, they’ve got 1 million to 10 million, is going to be really the majority of our clients, but those are clients that need their money. It’s a big difference working with that type of client who needs their money, who needs income from that money versus a client that’s got $100 million or $250 million, their issues are a whole lot different.
Our clients are dependent on us again, to do a good job for them so they can live the lifestyle they want and we can empower them to do things that they want to do and I like that, I enjoy that. I enjoy meeting one-on-one with my clients where I don’t think I would enjoy as much, having a number of junior advisors where I don’t have that relationship, because I like meeting with clients. So, this is a profession that allows you to be able to do that. At the end of the day, I would love for myself to have all these other hobbies like playing golf or photography. By the way, my wife bought me a camera about seven years ago and haven’t taken out of the wrapper yet, because she was telling me I needed to get a hobby. But this is more fun for me than doing anything else like that. So I still plan to do this for another 10 or 15 years because it’s just what I enjoy.
Steve Sanduski: So were you like this as a kid? I mean, were you super competitive growing up or was there something that happened in the earlier days that really maybe, turned you a little bit and said, “Man, I want to get after this?”
Scott Tiras: You know, I think I’ve always had the competitive edge. But when you’re younger, you’re kind of the same size as everybody else. I wasn’t a star athlete, but I could certainly compete playing baseball or football or even basketball. But then, when genetics does its thing, you got to think of a different way that you could compete. I was competitive grade wise, I guess, my grades were good. That was another way for me to be able to compete. And then the next stage is, is you could compete professionally but in a positive way.
Steve Sanduski: So as you think about where the industry is heading, what do you think is going to be the most important skill or attributes that a financial advisor has that’s going to enable them to be successful in the future, regardless of where our industry is heading, regardless of what technology is doing. What do you think is that skill or attribute or characteristic, that they’re going to need to be successful?
Scott Tiras: That’s a great question. It’s something we think about a lot. As much as I would love to think that all my portfolios do so much better than everybody else’s portfolios, the fact the matter is, is most of our portfolios are becoming more and more commoditized. So it’s like, “Well, what else can you do to provide value? What can you do to develop a stronger, deeper relationship with that client?” Because I think, that there’s some clients that are independent, that want to make all the decisions themselves. There’s some that may be advisor receptive, and then there’s still a bunch of people out there that are visor dependent. They don’t like this stuff. They don’t want to do this stuff. They’re always going to want to hire somebody to do this for them. So what can you do to be that person?
And it’s not about the greatest asset allocation or our stock-picking in our view, it’s about deepening that relationship with them, their kids, their grandkids, answer the questions and they know that if something happens, they can call you and you’re going to call them right back and help them with their issues. I think it’s really more about that and that’s become more and more important as the asset management part becomes more and more commoditized.
Steve Sanduski: Excellent. All right, well, we’ll go ahead and wrap up here, but I always like to finish by asking, is there anything else that you want to share here that we haven’t talked about? Is there any question that you’re thinking, “Oh, I wish Steve would have asked me this?”
Scott Tiras: I don’t think there’s anything else. I mean, I’m passionate, as you can probably tell, about this topic. I love our job. I love the profession. I think we’re all very blessed to be able to be in this profession. But it still comes down to, as I mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with having good work ethics, still. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that.
I know that we hear about all this, life balance and I think you could still have all that, but you can feel better about what you do and the success that you have if you continue to work hard and I still enjoy that and I think most people do.
Steve Sanduski: Excellent. All right, well, Scott, I appreciate you being on the show. Congratulations being a Barron’s Hall of Fame Adviser and all the other accolades that you’ve had. You have done a great job in our industry and continue to hit the ball out of the park. So I appreciate you being on.
Scott Tiras: No, thanks for having me.