A second generation financial advisor and a managing partner at Oak Partners, Inc., Mario Ruiz had a unique tool at his disposal when he decided to pursue his industry: observation.
Ruiz’ father, Fred, founded Oak Tree Financial Services in 1993 and the company eventually evolved into Oak Partners, Inc. Leading up to the development of his own company matching his own vision, Fred worked for a couple other financial advising companies and studied their business models before forming his own. Ruiz witnessed the evolution, and it helped lead him to the successful career he maintains today. (He even offered some free advice informed by 24 years of experience, but you’ll have to read the whole article to find it!)
The first thing that stood out to Ruiz was the connectivity his father maintained with clients.
“While growing up, I saw that my dad was always on the phone talking with clients and prospective clients. I was intrigued by that because that seemed easier than jobs that I was doing at the time, like landscaping and working in the fast food industry,” he said.
After graduating from Purdue University in 1996, Ruiz was hired as marketing director for Oak Partners.
“While I was operating in that position, I was working on getting my securities licenses so I could become an advisor and start working directly with clients,” he said.
Soon after settling into his position at Oak Partners, Ruiz realized that the constant conversations his father had with clients were more than an appealing responsibility—they were a necessary one that fulfilled the company’s commitment to operating in their clients’ best interest.
“When I decided to join Oak [Partners] after graduating from college, I was impressed with the way the firm treated its clients,” Ruiz said. “Every client that came in felt at home, and was treated like gold not only by their advisor but by the entire staff. Even though the firm is much larger today, that friendly, bend-over-backwards culture holds true today throughout the firm.”
The size of the firm isn’t the only thing that’s changed for Oak Partners, Inc. over the years. The financial planning industry itself has changed quite a bit since Ruiz worked with his first client.
“Technology has changed the financial planning business like many others. Information is so rapidly available today that it seems like everything just happens faster,” he said. “I remember when I started I wore a pager on my belt that would give me updated market quotes every 15 minutes! Now, of course, not only do advisors have that information readily available at all times, but so do the clients.”
Although the industry shifts as frequently as the markets, Ruiz and his teammates at Oak Partners source a lot of pride in the stable forces of their company—namely, those strong bonds they foster with the community they serve.
“The thing that hasn't changed is the relationships with the clients. Clients still want to be treated like gold and sit face to face with the people running their accounts,” Ruiz said. “Luckily, the personal touch aspect of the business hasn't changed.”
His client base makes Ruiz especially appreciative of his career choice, and that fondness he has for serving clients makes him especially good at his job.
“At Oak Partners, we are not just there to sell our clients something and then forget about them. We are money managers who believe the best way to manage money is by knowing clients’ objectives and meeting regularly to make sure they are on track,” he said. “We introduce our clients to the proper strategies, and we are the ones managing those strategies.
“We don't farm out the management to a third party,” he continued. “This is important, because if an investment is under-performing, we know what that investment is and why it is under-performing. It is a very hands-on approach.”
The approach is as beneficial to customers as it is to Ruiz, who ensures that they’re at their best during each of his meetings with them.
“I like that we get to work with clients who are goal-oriented and have saved throughout their lives to meet their goals. Other professionals like doctors and lawyers may only see their clients when they are ill or when there is a problem,” he said. “We get to see our clients on happy occasions, like when they are preparing to retire, sending their kids to college, or buying a home.”
Of course, that responsibility can also be a lot of pressure. Naturally, Ruiz has found ways to deal with it.
“I like to exercise. This job can come with some daily stress, so getting out for a run or a bike ride along with some time in the weight room can really help relieve stress and keep me healthy. I'm also into boating in the summer and skiing in the winter,” he said.
His family provides an additional source of comfort.
“I've enjoyed attending my kids’ extracurricular activities,” Ruiz said. “They are a great place to stay in touch with the extended family, as well.”
Now, for that free advice we promised. With a global pandemic occurring, a lot of people have questions regarding their financial moves. Ruiz offered his take.
“Keep your eye on your long term goals,” he said. “The market is volatile in times like this but you can't get caught up on day to day losses if you are a long term investor.”
“Don't invest money that is needed in the short term in the market, because things like coronavirus do occur,” he continued. “Keep your short term money safe, and don't lose sleep when seeing losses in your long term money.”
For more tailored advice from Ruiz, visit https://www.oakpartners.com/ and consider planning your goals with him or one of his team members.