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Turning Knowledge into Action

Photo of author, Teresa Shawver, FPQP™, CPFA®.
Teresa Shawver, FPQP™, CPFA®
Manager of Advisory Service Standards

Specialized Practice Groups Leverage MCWS Team Strengths to Benefit Clients, Peers

In the last quarterly issue of Huddle, I introduced SMART Assessments as a part of our high standards of care — the custom assessments we make about each client to identify issues and opportunities related to family, career and business, investments, taxes, risk management, strategic debt, and so much more. SMART Assessments demonstrate an advisor’s true understanding of your personal/family/financial situation that then translates into a financial plan we build with you to accomplish your goals.

In this issue, I want to share another important internal tool we use that has a significant impact on the way we do business – our Specialized Practice Groups or SPGs. At McKinley Carter, we are fortunate to have a “deep bench” of advisors with a collective industry experience of 500+ years. But, just as doctors cannot specialize in every discipline of medicine, our advisors recognize they cannot be specialists in all financial domains that impact our clients – it’s just not possible. Therefore, to best leverage their varying backgrounds, knowledge, credentials, and experience, we formed SPGs that bring together small groups of advisors from across our regions of operation to serve as a resource for the firm and (indirectly) clients.

The 3-4 member SPGs operate as a “think tank,” meeting monthly for a deep-dive into current issues so they can produce timely and relevant content, answer questions, and offer guidance to others in the firm. Their “mission” is to produce training/education content for their internal peers, author blogs and articles for public consumption (some of which are shared in this Huddle edition), present key findings to community groups and external business organizations, and keep abreast of industry news, legislative changes, and market conditions that affect what we do. We are open to expanding the SPG concentrations, but for now there are five: Financial Autonomy, Illiquid Assets, Legacy Planning, Risk Management, and Tax Planning.

We’ve found that this sharing of in-depth knowledge and up-to-the-minute information has a very positive trickle-down effect on client service — advisors know they have a full arsenal of financial and business information/advice at their fingertips should a very complicated or out-of-the-box scenario or question arise.

As an example, our Tax Planning SPG tackled the almost daily tracking of the new federal tax law from proposal to committee review, and ultimately to final passage, continually researching and evaluating how the Tax Reform Act would impact our clients, our advisory team, and our firm. In mid-January, the Tax Planning members presented a summary of the tax changes and what they meant for all of us (and you!) to our full advisory team. It offered a great opportunity for Q&A, where advisors could be your voice by sharing questions or concerns they were hearing from clients.

For an investment firm our size, we know it’s uncommon to have such a broad depth of knowledge and experience from which to draw. So, we are making the most of it! Our SPGs have a significant impact on the way we do business, and we are enthusiastic about the possibilities.

We encourage you to talk with your advisor about SPGs and how they have made a difference for you personally. If you have suggestions for potential areas of concentration or matters which you or others would like to hear more on from the SPGs, let us know.

Stay tuned for future articles on McKinley Carter standards of care. In the meantime, thank you for the continued trust you place in us to take care of you and all you care about.

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