Patrick Healey of Caliber Financial Partners: “You also want to understand the philosophy of a prospective advisor”

You also want to understand the philosophy of a prospective advisor. Are they an actual investment advisor? Do they do their own research or are they more of a relationship manager, you know, helping you to understand your risk tolerance, but largely not making those investment decisions on your behalf? It’s important to distinguish between […]

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You also want to understand the philosophy of a prospective advisor. Are they an actual investment advisor? Do they do their own research or are they more of a relationship manager, you know, helping you to understand your risk tolerance, but largely not making those investment decisions on your behalf? It’s important to distinguish between someone that is a hands-on invested advisor versus someone who is more client services or relationship manager oriented. One is not better than the other, it just depends on what you are looking for.

As part of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or adviser, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrick Healey.

Patrick Healey, founder and president of Caliber Financial Partners, is a more than 20-year veteran of the financial services industry with an extensive background in structured finance, investment banking, and equity research. Patrick is an avid traveler, endurance athlete, and wine enthusiast, and he applies this same passion for life as he does in working with clients.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve been in financial services my entire career. When I got out of college back in the mid-nineties, I worked for two different wall street investment banks. I worked for Lehman brothers for almost eight years in structured finance. while I was at Lehman, I went to NYU for graduate school, and one of the areas that I studied in addition to finance was entrepreneurship. And, you know, it’s really hard to use that kind of a skillset in a large firm like Lehman.

And so, after I left Lehman, I was looking for something more entrepreneurial to do, but something that really leveraged my finance experience. It was a time when looking for jobs after the financial crisis of 2008 was challenging. I had my securities license and I decided to start an advisory business within a large insurance company. During the financial crisis it was a challenging time to be starting a new business, especially as a financial advisor. But I survived that period and I’ve since thrived, and I’ve been running my own firm, Caliber Financial Partners, for the past 8 years.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

So not when I first started in the industry, but after I left Lehman and before I became a financial advisor, I worked for a day trading firm for six or eight months. Technically speaking, it’s in the financial services sector, but that is a very, very difficult business to be successful at on a consistent basis. I always joke that you look at the top 10 list of Forbes billionaires, and you don’t see any day traders on that list. There are some people that are very good at it and I’m not trying to knock the industry, but it was not the type of thing that I could be successful at. I do a lot of fundamental analysis and research companies and a lot of the folks I was working with that were traders didn’t even know the companies they were investing in. They were investing based off of charts and ticker symbols. It is incredibly quick-paced and an often times frustrating business to be in. I did learn a lot about reading charts and picked up experience on identifying entry points for investments, but it was the most expensive learning experience I’ve ever had.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I don’t really work on projects as part of my practice. I spend a lot of my time doing investment analysis and research so that I’m better equipped to serve clients. From a practice management standpoint, as a result of the pandemic, I’ve started considering whether it makes sense and is feasible for me to run a virtual office as opposed to having a physical office. A lot of clients as a result of the pandemic are more comfortable or only comfortable with having virtual meetings and so that’s something I may consider, operating my office virtually, if it will make people more comfortable and have a positive impact on current and prospective clients lives.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?

I started as an advisor in 2008 with an office at MetLife in New York and quickly realized that was not the environment for me to run my practice. I liked the general business that I was in, but I came to understand that, personally, that level of structure was not beneficial to my working style and I knew I hadn’t quite found what I loved to do yet which is so important in being successful. So, I left and began working for another firm, an independent financial advisory firm for almost four years in central Jersey. There was definitely a notable inflection point where people started taking me seriously as an advisor. I had to do less prospecting and outgoing inquiries as people within my personal network, friends, family, colleagues, old classmates, began taking me seriously. That was the biggest tipping point, once you’ve established yourself and your reputation is perceived more as a professional the business gets much easier and you can begin to really focus on expanding your skills and discovering what you love. I gained the ability to spend more time doing what I love to do as part of my practice, which is research and fundamental analysis and portfolio management.

What three pieces of advice would you give to your colleagues in the finance field to thrive and avoid burnout? Can you give a story or example?

If you’re just getting started or if you’re at a speed bump in your career, it’s important to diversify your new client opportunities. You’re going to have to try a bunch of different things to see what’s working best for you. Whether that’s seminars, client appreciation events, mail prospecting, phone calls, etc. Find what your niche is and find what you’re comfortable with. Some of them are going to work for you and some wont which is okay because at least you learn where you want to focus your time and energy and financial resources. If you find things that are working for you, continue to hammer them until they don’t work for you anymore.

You’re going to need to continue to reinvent yourself because what works for you now might not work for you two years from now. The world changes all the time, people’s perceptions and tastes change all the time and so I think it’s important to try and think outside the box in terms of how you interact with your clients and how you prospect with new clients

Finally, it’s important to measure your success honestly at the end of the year. I may be biased on this perspective because this is the way I run my practice, but I think it’s very important to conduct your own research and due diligence. Whether that is analyzing companies, evaluating an alternative investment sponsor, measuring the success of a service provider, like a custodian or a broker dealer, or a third-party money manager, to the extent that you use those. Of course, you should be diligent before you make an investment recommendation, but you should also be constantly evaluating your decisions on an ongoing basis to make sure that you’re properly representing your client and that you’re honoring your fiduciary responsibility.

Ok. Thank you for all of that. Let’s now move to the core focus of our interview. As an “finance insider”, you know much more about the finance industry than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to hire a financial advisor (not you :-)), which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing? Can you give an example or story for each?

The number one question is, does the financial advisor have a fiduciary responsibility to put your interests ahead of their own? It is also important that if somebody is going to make an investment recommendation to you, that they are able to explain to you, in plain English, why they’re making an investment recommendation, the justification for it, and what could go wrong.

You also want to understand the philosophy of a prospective advisor. Are they an actual investment advisor? Do they do their own research or are they more of a relationship manager, you know, helping you to understand your risk tolerance, but largely not making those investment decisions on your behalf? It’s important to distinguish between someone that is a hands-on invested advisor versus someone who is more client services or relationship manager oriented. One is not better than the other, it just depends on what you are looking for.

It’s important to establish with your financial advisor, what their responsibilities and duties are to you as the client. How often are you going to do reviews? How accessible are they to you? If you have questions or something comes up, are they the type of office that has thousands of clients where you may have to wait six or eight weeks to get an appointment? For example, I personally run a boutique office. I am very selective in terms of the new clients I’m willing to bring on which generally makes me very accessible. My clients will get a return phone call the same day, as long as I’m not out of the country. So, I value setting parameters for client advisor relationship upfront and as a prospective client, holding that advisor to those parameters is equally important.

I think most people think that financial advisors are for very wealthy people. This is likely not actually true. Can you explain who would most benefit from hiring a financial advisor and why? Can you give an example?

A lot of people that don’t consider themselves wealthy have a lot more wealth than they realize, and financial advisors are beneficial for anyone at any stage in the game.

The goals one may have earlier in life might be more about saving a little bit, putting money into your company, retirement plan, and doing some level of college planning, or securing life insurance. That’s where advisors can really help people that might not consider themselves as established or wealthy.

One thing that is largely overlooked is we are going from a paradigm shift where there’s a transfer of wealth that is going from the baby boomer generation as they pass away to millennials. People that don’t consider themselves wealthy right now, may in fact come into wealth as their grandparents or parents pass on. If you don’t have experience managing investments or managing wealth an advisor could be very instrumental in helping you do that as you accumulate greater sums of wealth.

You’d be amazed how people that don’t consider themselves wealthy actually have more wealth than they realize. As you advance through different stages of your life, the way that a financial advisor can make a positive impact on your life will change. Whether it’s insurance, college planning, wealth growth, capital appreciation or retirement planning, there is always room for improvement and knowledgeable financial planners and advisors can guide anyone toward the right path.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Some of my early bosses that really took a chance on me when I was coming out of college, when I really didn’t have experience, I am very grateful to. One of them is actually a client of mine currently. I had a lot of great memories at the first firm I worked at, DLJ. My first two bosses there really took a chance on me when I was a recent grad, a time when you really need that first opportunity. Everyone’s looking for somebody that has experience, but the only way you get the experience is if somebody takes a chance on you. I maintained a very close relationship with all of my previous bosses and one of whom is now a client of mine, so it really came full circle for me.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It may sound ironic coming from a financial advisor, but I think there needs to be a push in society for people to truly focus on what makes them happy, especially professionally. When you’re picking a career, and this is probably more applicable for younger folks, whether they’re in college or as they’re growing up or even post-graduate and still in their early stages of life, pick a career that you’re passionate about. Money is important, it allows you to explore different things and gives you options in life but being passionate about what you do for a career is equally if not more important. If you are not happy with your job then everyday life, your home life, social life, etc. all will be negatively impacted so if there is one token of advice I can pass on to society it would be that.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Connect with me on Linkedin,®-8042807/

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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