We drove Heron Financial Group | Wealth Advisors at 170 MPH for the last several years, achieving a 40% annual growth rate 3 years in a row, lifting our assets from $63 million at the end of 2011 to $171 million by the end of 2014, employee head count from 1 to 7. We added only 12 families in that time frame (currently 87 families) as we concentrated on broadening and deepening our current client relationships.
We want to take this opportunity to recap HFG's transformation into a full service wealth advisory practice, and describe how our firm will evolve over the next decade.
David Edwards incorporated Heron Capital Management, Inc. in 1996 as a solo investment management practice investing individual clients in US mid cap growth stocks. As time went by, some of these mid-caps grew into large caps, which he did not want to sell necessarily because of tax consequences. He added small caps, value stocks and international stocks for diversification by 2000, but was still primarily an equity manager. By then, clients were asking, "Is my all stock portfolio right for my retirement?" "No! We need to get some bonds in there." So he began doing asset allocation among stocks, bonds, and cash, and also specialty sectors such as emerging markets, REITs and commodities.
The clients started asking other questions:
- "Is my 401K properly allocated?"
- "Can I retire early?"
- "Can I afford to buy a vacation home?"
- "How much can I give my child to pay for med school?"
- "I have a special needs grand-child. Can I set up a trust for their care and support?"
At first David would say, "Call your financial planner, call your trust & estate attorney, call your accountant." That was NOT the answer the clients were looking for. We had our hands on their money; clients wanted the answer from us!