Better Alignment with Clients: Eagle Financial Group’s Story
As a financial advisor, Kevin Andrews has earned a reputation for this thoughtful, diligent, and relationship-focused approach to investment management.
Recently, his Idaho based firm Eagle Financial Group crossed two major milestones: crossing the $100M+ AUM mark, at the same time as Andrews’s 20-year professional anniversary as a financial advisor.
Eagle Financial Group is on a growth trajectory, with Andrews having built a business that supports his life goals and makes him proud.
“We have great personalities at the office,” he says. “We’re pretty darn laid back. I haven’t worn a tie in almost 20 years. Most of our clients are teachers and farmers. Sometimes, we’ll have annual review meetings on my clients’ tractors as we plow the fields. We’ve even met at clients’ cabins. I don’t want to live at the office 24/7. That’s not what this job is about.”
In the coming years, one of Andrews’s goals is to double the firm’s AUM by expanding his team of advisors. Here are the steps that he’s taking to get there.
Introducing Eagle Financial Group
Based in Eagle, Idaho, Eagle Financial Group is an independent financial planning and advisory firm focused on delivering highly personalized recommendations. The firm is known for its thorough due diligence processes, in addition to a multigenerational, family-focused approach.
“I ask a lot of questions and am inherently skeptical about things,” says Andrews. “I like to get to the bottom of what’s smoke and what’s not — to focus on what’s real — when putting together the puzzle of clients’ investment plans. I try to know my little corner of the world better than anybody else.”
Many of Andrews’s clients are families consisting of older parents who are navigating wealth transfers to their children.
“Parents in their 60s and 70s trust us to communicate what’s going on with their wealth with their kids,” says Andrews. “Even in the tightest-knit families, the lack of a plan can cause major problems. It’s crucial that everyone knows what’s going on, so families can be on the same page.”
Eagle Financial Group’s client retention rate is 95%, according to Andrews, with several having been with the firm since its establishment 20 years ago.
Adapting to a Shifting Industry
In recent years, Andrews has noticed a shift in his role as an advisor. His clients have been leaning on him more as an educator.
“I feel like we’re counselors or psychologists most days,” he explains. “The market challenges that we’re seeing these days are unique. We’ve been under pressure to put on our economist hats and respond accordingly. It’s more than planning.”
Andrews has also been taking action to adapt to the increasingly fast pace of technology.
“There’s so much data in our world, and our clients expect us to know every detail,” says Andrews. “There’s a lot we need to keep up on — it’s challenging but a lot of fun.”
That’s where CircleBlack enters the equation for Eagle Financial Group.
“CircleBlack is an access point for our clients to engage with our firm,” says Andrews. “The reports are very simple and easy to understand. We use it in every client meeting — even the last-minute ones.”
Knowing how fast information moves, Andrews strives to create a slower-paced educational experience for clients. Typically, meetings begin with a view of performance. From there, conversations become more focused on client-specific questions.
“CircleBlack is a great centerpiece in our client meetings,” he says. “We start with a shared view before going off on tangents.”
CircleBlack helps Kevin Andrews maintain positive, forward-moving discussions with his customers.
Ensuring Better Client Outcomes
“I love putting together the puzzle of clients’ specific investment choices,” says Andrews. “It’s a fun challenge, unique for everyone, with an infinite drawing board. Knowing that you can do things 10 different ways, the fun is in finding the best possible path.”
Keeping Up with Change
One trend that Andrews has observed is that the investing landscape is continuously changing.
“ETFs are becoming more prevalent, while mutual funds are becoming less relevant,” he says. “Staying in front of these trends is super important. Being open to new ideas is crucial.”
CircleBlack helps him focus and maintain a steady handle on client communications, to ensure that clients are on board with recommended investment decisions. To help prevent confusion, Andrews maintains a consistent presence in addressing his clients’ financial concerns rather than waiting for problems to arise.
Providing Higher Touch Service
With CircleBlack, Andrews is able to focus on delivering the best possible level of service to his clients. Specifically, Andrews relies upon CircleBlack’s network of software integrations.
“MoneyGuide Pro is my favorite planning software,” says Andrews. “The income segmentation tool is particularly helpful. Before integrating Money Guide Pro and CircleBlack, I would do this by hand.”
Through strategic tax automation, Andrews can focus on the human-level conversations that his clients need to make their best decisions.
Becoming More Data-Driven
Since implementing CircleBlack, Andrews has relied on the platform as his primary tool for generating client reports. With this systems-based approach, he is able to generate performance reporting faster, without the risk of human error.
“All I need to do in CircleBlack is click a few buttons,” says Andrews. “Our clients love the reporting because they get access to the exact information that they need. We can stay focused on the big picture or go as deep into the data as we need.”
With these systems in place, Andrews has been able to delegate report generation to his assistant — and free up hours in his day, as a result.
“She does all the clicking and getting things ready in time for every client meeting,” says Andrews.
With this delegation, Andrews has more time to commit to his family while creating gainful employment opportunities for the people at his firm.
One of Andrews’s biggest investments has been in his own expertise. He is continually learning, expanding his skillset, and scanning headlines in the media.
“I scan everything in the media, just to see what’s flowing through and what my clients are reading,” he says.
In the near future, one of his goals is to hire a junior advisor so that he can focus his attention more strategically.
“I’m finally hitting a point where I am maxing out on what I can do myself,” says Andrews. “It’s a great place to be, but it’s also a challenging place to be.”
“It’s up to me whether I want to scale up my business. The question is how big I want it to be. I’m not really sure yet. It depends on whether I can build a team with that go-get-em attitude. Great talent is out there, but they are unicorns.”
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.