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Relationships are the key to success for Benjamin F. Edwards & Co. financial advisors

By: Curtis Hankins Last Updated: October 14, 2019

Wealth management is Benjamin F. Edward & Co.’s business, but it’s not what makes their business work – relationships do. Cliff Bryan and his team of Jeff Fernandez and Robert Kollar are a group of financial advisors who understand the value of trust.

“Without question, the first thing our clients do is build a relationship with us,” Bryan said. “That trust that they have in us is essential. We want to model a portfolio or investment strategy from a wealth management standpoint that gets them down a path towards retirement or to reach their goals. But the longest path you can take is the one that creates a relationship that you walk together.”

The first thing Fernandez does when he meets clients is to find out their goals and objectives.

“We don't ask our clients, ‘How much money do you make?’ It’s ‘What are your goals, your timeframe for reaching these goals, and what do you hope to accomplish?’” he said. “Every client is unique. There’s a range of investment choices we recommend, but it’s important to tailor those choices towards what those goals might be, which include anything from living well in retirement to putting kids through school. Each goal has a different set of investment recommendations.”

The relationship between a financial advisor and client is one that can last decades or more. That bond is what Bryan loves about his work.

“Every one of our clients becomes our friends, it’s much more than just a business relationship,” Bryan said. “Our goal is to help our clients meet their goals, but doing it through trust, respect, and a relationship that’s both open and communicative from all parties.”

Fernandez came to Benjamin F. Edwards from a more corporate environment and discovered a night and day difference.

“This is just a very rewarding job,” he said. “You build relationships with clients that last a lifetime and you’re dealing with something that’s critically important to their lives. We talk to our clients about everything. You hear about their kids’ education, grandchildren, and there’s something very rewarding about being included in that conversation. I can’t say there’s a better job on the planet quite frankly.”

The relationships that Bryan’s team has built over the years with clients is so strong, that they stick with them wherever they venture.

“Forty percent of our clients don’t live in the state of Indiana,” Bryan said. “Whether they live in Washington, California, or New York, there are a lot of financial advisors across the states they could do business with, but they choose to stay with us because of the relationship we have built.”

Kollar is new to the team and was a trader in Chicago for 28 years. He mostly worked for himself at that time, and it was a very solitary job. When he transitioned over to financial advisement, it helped him learn more about himself.

“When you’re in trading, you’re kind of fighting everybody,” Kollar said. “What surprised me about getting into this industry is how much I enjoyed being around people. That was the icing on the cake for me. I didn’t realize relationship building was a skillset of mine until I started doing it.”

The advisor team is backed up by Deanna Lindlow and Jennifer Espinoza, both Senior Financial Client Associates. They work tirelessly to keep things running smoothly.

“I just love the relationship we have with our clients,” Lindlow said. “It’s not only our job, but they become our family as well. We’ve been with our clients for years and have gone through so much with them. It’s a special relationship—it’s not just strictly business-- it’s a personal, one on one conversation.”

Espinoza noted that it is not just the Chesterton office of Benjamin F. Edwards that thinks like they do, it is a companywide philosophy to care about people and relationships.

“It’s not just that we like being in this office-- we like being in this company,” she said. “At any given time, you can call any given office across the country to ask for help. You can call Tad Edwards, our CEO. It’s a family-oriented feeling, and it’s very refreshing.”

To learn more about Benjamin F. Edwards & Co., visit them at benjaminfedwards.com.