Financial advisor James Trimpe characterizes his relationship with many of his long-term clients as “Friends first and clients second.” In essence, he said, his end goal is to help bring all his clients to that sweet spot over time. A 32-year veteran of the securities industry, Trimpe made a new start with the new year and moved to Raymond James & Associates, Inc., the first week of January.
After 21 years with his previous company, Trimpe said, for him, a chief appeal of Raymond James was the culture and philosophy that espoused a more advisor-centered – and client-centered – approach. “It takes me back to the way things used to be,” he said, “when advisors owned their own business and client base, and the company was there to provide tools for us to flourish. Because if we flourish, they flourish.”
One tenet of that advisor-friendly culture Trimpe noted is its structure. “It’s the concept that they are an advisory firm that owns a bank instead of a bank owning an advisory firm,” he said, and explained why that distinction is important.
For example, said Trimpe, there appears to be a trend in financial advising to focus on the largest client accounts and sacrifice the smaller ones. “Many of the largest banks’ philosophies dictate down to the advisory company and mandate the size of the account minimum they expect advisors to gravitate to,” he said, “and to give away smaller accounts that don’t meet those requirements. It’s just the culture in the industry. It seems as if you don’t have a quarter of a million or half a million dollars, they don’t want you,” he said.
But Raymond James allows advisors the trust and flexibility to make their own decisions on whom to conduct business with, according to Trimpe. “They support my philosophy that no matter how much money someone has, it’s important to them, and it’s up to me to decide who to deal with,” said Trimpe.
This is one example of how clients and employees come first at Raymond James, said Trimpe. “You do what’s right and take care of the client because you have a long-term relationship with them,” he said. “I’m not going to send an 85-year old lady who is down to her last $30,000 to a call center. She’s been my client 30 years, and I will take care of her until she is not with us anymore.”
In fact, Trimpe noted, many of his clients have grown with him over the years. “The best clients I have are the ones in which I’ve gotten to know them over the years and know about their families. I have to understand what the client’s total picture is, and what their goals are in life. That helps me to give them the best advice I can.”
Trimpe said colleagues in the industry who work for Raymond James helped him cement his decision to make the move to the company. They echoed his belief in the company’s advisor-centric culture, and had nothing but positive things to say. “I know so many people at other companies who don’t like who they work for,” said Trimpe. “But I heard from several people who said they love it at Raymond James,” he said. Having the support of Raymond James to do business the way he wants to is important to Trimpe, he said, and will help to make him more successful for the company.
The key to that success is understanding his clients’ needs and employing the golden rule. “I treat my clients the way I would like to be treated,” said Trimpe. “If I’m the customer, I don’t buy things under pressure and I don’t let somebody hard-sell me. When I’m making presentations to my client, I translate that so that they’re comfortable and making the decisions that are best for them.”
What does it mean to Trimpe when he says his professional motto of “Friend first, clients second?” In the past, it has meant being a pallbearer for a client’s funeral, helping a client decide about buying a new car or a house, or even just sending flowers to a client’s daughter to celebrate her recognition as homecoming queen.
“It’s part of why they do business with you, and refer their friends to you,” said Trimpe. “You know what their financial state is, and what the big picture looks like for them, so you can give them sound advice they need to make life decisions. It’s that personal connection.”
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Raymond James & Associates, Inc. Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC. Any opinions are those of James Trimpe and not necessarily those of Raymond James.