Relationships are key to scaling a financial advisory practice — but it can be challenging to interpret an investor’s thoughts, perspectives, and emotions from the other side of a screen. What’s the best way to give clients the personalized attention that each of them deserves?
It’s this question that guides Pat Hehir’s technology choices as he future-proofs the operational infrastructure for Princeton Financial Partners.
“When you do the right thing for people, without worrying about the fees you’re getting paid, it comes back in spades,” Hehir says. “This profession is about treating everybody with respect, regardless of whether they have $10M or $10,000.”
This ethos has been the driving force behind Hehir’s approach in his 30 years in business.
“When I first started, sometime in the mid-90s, I had a client who was a concrete engineer with maybe $4,000 that he invested into a mutual fund,” Hehir says. “I always took the time to talk to him and explain things to him. Fifteen years later he got back in touch with me because his company was acquired, and he had a million-dollar rollover. He sought me out to work with me because he knew that he was probably my smallest client — but I still took the time to explain stuff to him, anyway.”
No matter how busy he gets, Hehir strives to be fully present for each and every client. It’s this reason why his longest standing relationships have been upwards of 30 years.
Introducing Princeton Financial Partners
Princeton Financial Partners, LLC is a full-service company specializing in retirement planning and investment management for long-term goal attainment. Based in Newton, Pennsylvania, the firm is a branch office of Andrew Garrett, which is a full-service financial and advisory firm with investment banking, capital markets, and strategic corporate advisory divisions.
“There are four reps including myself, a sales assistant, and an administrative assistant,” says Hehir. “We’ve all been working together for a long time, since the early to mid 1990s. We have clients who we share, who we brought over from previous roles.”
Over the last three decades, the parent company of Princeton Financial Partners has gone through a number of acquisitions and shifts.
“Our team decided to have our own company with our own name, so that we are always representing ourselves the same way to our clients,” says Hehir. “It’s easy to understand.”
Hehir learned about CircleBlack through RBC, one of Princeton Financial Partners’ custodians. He had been seeking an asset aggregation solution that was more robust and user-friendly than the Excel spreadsheets that he was accustomed to using.
“I didn’t really have access to my clients’ data unless they sent me a statement,” Hehir says.
He transitioned to CircleBlack as soon as the platform was offered to him through RBC and began using the software to aggregate client data.
“It gives me a more complete picture of my clients’ financial wellbeing and makes me a better advisor as a result,” says Hehir.
Technology Powers Peace of Mind
As a financial advisor, Hehir’s primary goal is to ensure that his clients are confident in their progress towards their goals.
“No matter what they want to achieve in life, it’s always about making sure that they have enough and that they are comfortable,” Hehir explains. “People aren’t always confident or comfortable dealing with finances, but the right reporting helps ensure that they are on-track and can relax a little bit.”
Improving Precision in Communications
Every day, Hehir starts his mornings by logging into CircleBlack to review assets over the previous few days, to see if any accounts were more volatile than others. He also double checks which clients have been logging into Princeton Financial Partners’ branded app as a sign for who might be feeling nervous.
“This data tells me whether I should be reaching out to clients to be more proactive,” he says. “We can quickly get on the same page by looking at the same data in CircleBlack.”
Integrating Client Data for Greater Conversational Empathy
Hehir relies on a network of integrations, with CircleBlack as the foundation, to optimally assess his clients needs. As an example he uses Riskalyze to capture responses to survey questions, in addition to MoneyGuide for goal planning. Hehir also relies upon CircleBlack’s integration with Redtail to maintain an integrated view of every clients’ needs.
This technology communication enables greater collaboration firm-wide within Princeton Financial Partners, as all four advisors at the firm use CircleBlack.
“I was the first person to start using CircleBlack at our firm, and I was able to get the other guys to use it,” Hehir says. “This helps us work together to better support our clients.”
Improving Work-Life Balance
Ultimately, Hehir’s professional life supports his family life. He has three teenage children with whom he strives to spend as much time as possible.
“CircleBlack helps me run my business efficiently, so I can take my boys to hockey practice,” he says. “I’m able to get the data I need from my phone, from anywhere.”
Moving Forward: Building a Stronger Business
Even with 30 years of experience as a financial advisor, Hehir seeks to continually level up. These days, he’s thinking a lot about engaging younger clients, helping people figure out how to lower their tax rates, supporting family planning, and getting ready for the generational wealth transfer.
CircleBlack is his foundation for continued capacity building for his practice. One of his goals, in the coming year, is to use technology more strategically in his workflows.
“I’ve gotten a lot of benefits out of CircleBlack,” he says. “But I feel like I’m just scratching the surface. Now, I want to go deeper.”
This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, investment, accounting, legal, or tax advice.