It’s often the little things in life that mean the most, like those simple gestures made to show appreciation or concern. Those gestures most often come from family and friends. They perhaps least often come from your financial advisor.
Well, unless your financial advisor is from the Welsh/Friesen Group at Morgan Stanley.
“I have personal issues with my own industry,” says Kevin Welsh, Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor at Morgan Stanley of Omaha. “I think the industry spends all day, every day, talking about finance, and I don’t think many clients care only about the financial aspect of their relationship with their advisor.”
“The process that we take them through is important,” he says, “but I think the reason people choose us is because of the time we take to spend with them.”
Financial Advisor and Certified Financial Planner Patrick Friesen joined Morgan Stanley in 2005. He has been with the Welsh Group since its formation in 2009. “We try to learn as much about the clients as possible to do our job,” Friesen says. “We make it less clinical and more personal than I think most people do. It makes more sense in the long run for their plans because we’re going to know what’s important to them.”
As a self-described extrovert, Welsh says, he enjoys the opportunity to meet with and learn about clients as much as he can. “We make a complementary team for the client because I spend the whole time trying to get to know them and their needs, and then we work together to interpret it.”
Not only does their process help Welsh and Friesen to advise clients on their financial futures, but also allows the team to show their appreciation for both the business and the personal relationships they have created.
Some ways that the team has engaged their clients or shown their appreciation is by organizing creative events such as wine tastings, golf outings, family photo sessions, and cooking lessons with a professional chef.
Personal gifts that reflect a client’s upcoming event or personal interest also help the team show its gratitude, such as travel books or magazines related to an approaching vacation and handmade pens, crafted by Welsh himself, for signing important documents. The advisors even give the gift of time, such as when they have helped clients negotiate a new car purchase.
Friesen describes the group’s philosophy: “It is less just going through the motions and more of engaging with the client,” he says. “I think a lot of businesses just go through the motions because there’s a template for everything; I think ours is more than a template.”