What Does Exceptional Trust and Wealth Management Look Like?
During periods of crisis and volatility, financial and investment guidance become more important than ever. Bad financial advice in periods of stress can undo years of saving and careful planning. On the other hand, truly great providers of trust and wealth management services provide you with the confidence that no matter the circumstances, your financial goals will remain intact.
In our mission to provide the best possible financial services to our communities, we sometimes need to take a step back and examine what that means. It is to this end that we ask ourselves the following questions: What does exceptional financial service look like? How do we rate all of these measures? How can we improve in each of these areas?
The following list is what we believe are the necessary ingredients for providing exceptional trust and wealth management for our communities. Each one on their own is not enough. It is common for a firm or an advisor to rank high on any one of these points but to be truly exceptional you have to be a leader in each of these categories. Here they are:
- Expertise – The first thing needed to provide exceptional trust and wealth management service is proven subject expertise. This is attained through both formal studies and professional experience. At Stillman Bank, we pride ourselves on our continued learning and development to stay up to date and maintain the necessary knowledge to guide our clients.
- Compassion – “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” I can’t recall where this quote came from but it has stuck with me since I first started in this industry. Exceptional trust and wealth management service requires caring about the clients and communities you serve. We have an advantage in this area because it is already built into our culture as a local community bank. We will maintain this culture of caring as we grow by hiring the right kind of professionals – those who are in this business because they want to help our clients.
- Transparency – All fees and expenses should be easily tracked and understood. Investment returns should be reported net-of-fees and benchmarked to an easily followed index. Furthermore, clients need to see a measure of the risk taken to achieve those returns. Exceptional trust and wealth management service is not a black box. The cost, the results, and the process should all be available and understandable to our clients. Stillman Bank pledges to hold ourselves to this standard in everything we do.
- Accessibility – Providing exceptional trust and wealth management service is not possible through an 800 number. We will be available for our community to answer their questions when they need us. Our clients will know the person who answers the phone when they call.
- Consistency – We work to provide the same level of exceptional service to every client that comes in our door, every time, year after year. We will never be perfect in this, but we will always strive towards that goal.
- Growth – This does not mean business growth, it means professional growth. It means growth in knowledge and always seeking to improve. A truly exceptional business of any type knows that they will never have it all figured out. They must always seek to improve. They must always be growing and adapting.
This list is not exhaustive but is a good place to start. And, we are always receptive to additional things that our trust and wealth management department should focus on. We pride ourselves on doing an excellent job for our clients but continually strive to get better. One way we do that is through feedback from our clients and friends.
Please stay safe, be kind, and let us know how we can help.
Keith J. Akre, CFA, CFP® – Vice President & Trust Officer
Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of Stillman Bank. Investments available through Stillman Trust & Wealth Management (1) are not FDIC insured (2) are not deposits, obligations, or guaranteed by the bank, and (3) are subject to investment risk including possible loss of principal.