When the COVID-19 outbreak caused widespread shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, it didn’t take long for the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic to lead to financial worries and stress. With unemployment rates skyrocketing and volatility in the stock market making headlines, concern and worry began to morph into fear and panic for many people.
Through it all, the team at SYM Financial Advisors has maintained a calm, methodical approach to helping clients stay focused on the future.
“We try to be very proactive in the way that we serve our clients,” explains Seth Whicker, principal & senior financial advisor. “It’s not just being reactive and them calling us and saying, ‘What do we do with this?’ For example, when they passed the CARES Act and its ensuing Payroll Protection Act, by the following Thursday I had already put together a webinar for my clients so that on Friday when they rolled out the applications, those individuals were ready to go. It’s just another way to serve our clients to make sure that we’re out ahead of it.”
SYM offers many of the same services that other firms do, but Whicker says one thing that sets them apart is the fact that the advisors don’t work on commission; they’re all salaried.
“Even though we have five office locations, we all get together as a group and we talk about client situations. I always tell clients, ‘When I come to you with a recommendation, I would love to say all these great ideas came from me, but the reality is that we all network and talk together,’” Whicker says. “It’s not unusual during the day for someone to throw out an email to the whole group and say, ‘I’ve got this scenario, can you help me with what’s going on?’”
“It’s very collaborative in the way that we work,” adds Tom Ackmann, principal and senior retirement plan advisor. “What’s important there is that it gives us the ability then to provide the best service and results-driven scenarios for our clients that we can. We meet with our clients very, very regularly to make sure that we’re knowing everything there is to know about them and we’re staying on top of things for them.”
An added benefit is the fact that team members have varied backgrounds and credentials, including MBAs, CFP®s, CFAs, FPQP™s, AIF®s, CAIA®s, CPAs and JDs, so there’s a deep knowledge base to tap into.
“We work with other professionals like CPAs, business attorneys, estate attorneys, making sure everything in a client’s financial life is working together. It’s great to be able to tell them, ‘You know what, I have an expert in the field who I think is the best, so let me invite this professional to join the conversation to ensure everything is done correctly,’” says Whicker.
When it comes to navigating retirement plans, 401(k)s,
and other investments during these uncertain times, Whicker and Ackmann agree that the best course of action is to consult firms like SYM that can help with designing a plan that will withstand changes that are bound to happen.
“If you do the work beforehand, if you’ve got the advice that you need, if you got somebody that’s helping you, the best thing to do right now is nothing. That’s because the end of the pandemic isn’t the finish line for people who are saving for retirement. The finish line could be five years from now, could be ten years from now,” Ackmann says. “I like being able to teach them perspective and let them understand that this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.”
For the advisors at SYM, it’s all about preparing for the future and having the right partners helping to guide your decisions.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, but we know something will – something always happens in the future – so we look at these as opportunities to figure out how we can best serve those clients,” Ackmann emphasizes. “We’re not just disappearing at this point.”
Address: Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, inona Lake, Mishawaka Michigan location: Midland
Phone: (800) 888-7968
Years in Business: 52
Number of Employees: 60
Products & Services: Wealth and portfolio management, employer-sponsored retirement plans