Allison Felix is the recently made President and Principal of Cassaday & Company, a wealth management advising company that assists people who understand the need to fund retirement but don’t know how or aren’t able to put in the time to do it on their own. A lot of their clients seek help with investing in and managing stock, saving for retirement, building a plan to save for their children’s education, and planning for unexpected expenses such as potential health issues down the road. Cassaday & Company stands out in the financial industry because of the connections they build with their clientele and the continuity they maintain between advisers to ensure that each and every client is taken care of properly. “You can go to another financial adviser down the street,” says Allison, admitting that wealth management firms are a bit of a common practice. “It’s about the relationship building and the rapport building that you have with your financial adviser and by extension the team that supports that adviser.” That’s where Cassaday & Company really shines.
Allison joined up with Cassaday & Company right out of college. At the time, her course of study was communications with a focus in public relations. She had just moved to Northern Virginia and realized she needed to find a sustainable job quickly, so she applied for the position with Cassaday & Company. “I think the stars aligned that day, and when I interviewed, I ended up recognizing our CEO. He had spoken at the university at a dinner I’d attended, and so it was just a great connection at the time, and it made Northern Virginia become my home.”
Factors of Success
In terms of the investment side of what Cassaday & Company helps their clients with, they have a proprietary process called Diesel that ensures cash flow for clients through their retirement. It’s not so much a secret method of success as it is a well-known, trusted method that actually works and has been tested over time. They also offer education services to benefit their clients. “We have a Wealth Management Symposium coming up next weekend which is entirely about educating our client base,” says Allison. “It goes from everything financial to your health and wellness and how to enjoy life in retirement, and so it spans the spectrum of life stages, and that is in no way an economic benefit for us. It makes the client understand that we want to be a part of their world in terms of everything with a dollar sign in front of it.” Cassaday & Company also walks clients through insurance options that make sense for them and provides helpful materials such as the “What My Family Should Know” document to prepare for the future.
The other largest contributing factor to the company’s success has been how they treat their employees. According to Allison, “Our firm has paid their employees based on top-line firm revenue. Everyone in the firm has an ownership component to their motivation. They know who is the important person in the relationship (it’s the client). They know what’s going to distinguish us from the company down the street, and that will be part of their career path and their, you know, future earnings, without having to jump around to multiple companies and find experience elsewhere.”
Planning for the Future
Surprisingly enough, most wealth management advisory companies neglect to get to the point of establishing an internal succession plan. “For being financial planners and having ‘plan’ in the title, they are notoriously bad at planning for themselves,” notes Allison. “So to have a succession plan in our industry is actually not the norm, which is a disappointing fact. You wouldn’t want to hear that about your financial adviser. You’re expecting them to put a plan in place for you. If they don’t have a plan in place for them, you might want to think twice.” Continuity between financial advisers is a key component of Cassaday & Company’s brand, so it is very important that succession is just as smooth because that is what the clients expect from this company. “We feel that we’ve all put our heart and soul into this place in making it a success,” Allison adds.
Everything Cassaday & Company does keeps the future in mind, from recruitment and training to growth and succession. Allison attributes a fair amount of the company’s success to its ability to find good people and mentor them properly. “Their growth and development continues at the organization. They haven’t stayed stagnant. All of our financial advisers were brought in as young people right out of college, mentored and trained by our CEO.” The wealth management firm actively looks into the future to continue the success track they have been on thus far because they realize that even if they want a small firm feel, they have got to work hard at their growth in other ways due to inevitable changes in the economic environment and technological developments.
Learn more about Allison and the firm at Cassaday & Company.