Mother-Son Team Building Strong Financial Services Niche | Business Observer
When Jeff Galati decided to take his dog to the park for a weekend four years ago, he had no idea it would be a major career change. But as Galati was crossing Goodlette Road in Naples, Kevin Erndl passed by chance.
‘Be honest. Do what’s right for your customers, and eventually things will work out. Sometimes we say (to customers) things that they don’t want to hear, but it’s the right thing to say to them. So do it right and be honest. Jeff Galati, Wealth Management Advisors
Erndl was a partner of Naples-based Capital Wealth Advisors, an independent financial advisory firm that provides wealth advisory, estate planning and family office services. He had known Jeff’s wife, Caroline, for years, and he knew that Jeff and his mother, Roxane Kronon Galati, ran their own financial planning and investment advisory firm in Naples, AmeriPlanning and Investments.
Seeing Jeff that day inspired Erndl to pick up the phone to speak with the Galatis about the opportunity to join the team at Capital Wealth Advisors. “If I didn’t take this walk with my dog, who knows what things would be like?” Said Jeff Galati, 33.
The mother-son duo joined CWA in 2018, and in August they were each named Executive Vice President of Private Wealth Management. The new roles and titles are recognition of their hard work and the value they bring to the company. It also marks the continuation of a somewhat unusual partnership in financial services, which tends to rely heavily on father-son combos, not mother and son.
âOur titles are run by merit, so there is very little subjectivity in our titles,â says Erndl. âThey’re going to be performance-based. And what Jeff and Roxane have accomplished in four years at CWA is something most financial advisors would be happy with and consider a very successful career.
Jeff and Roxane currently provide investment advisory services to around 130 households, CWA officials say, having closed their other business and transferred all of their clients. Since then, says Jeff Galati, âThe growth has been phenomenalâ¦ We have integrated very well from the start here and have been able to maintain the same business practices, just with more extensive offerings. Officials refuse to disclose specific assets under management or other income figures.
Roxane Kronon Galati, 65, started her career in accounting and obtained her CPA designation in 1979. In 1994, she and her family moved to Naples, where she bought an accounting firm from its former owner who had to sell because of illness. She ran Hayes & Galati for 10 years and could barely keep up with demand as the Naples area grew.
But after several years of working 100 hours a week around tax season, Roxane wanted to leave. Neither of her children were interested in accounting, so she sold the business in 2004.
She had also obtained the Chartered Financial Planner designation and her insurance license during her career. So, once she sold her business, she began to use her expertise and training while working for New York Life Insurance and helping clients plan for retirement and succession through her company, Galati. Financial.
When Jeff Galati graduated with a finance and economics degree from the University of Alabama in 2009, it wasn’t the best time to look for a job in financial services because of the recession. He wanted to be in Naples and accepted an agent position at New York Life Insurance, with the goal of getting into investment management.
âJeff was extremely coachable, always on time and for someone right out of college he was definitely professional and mature,â said Greg Jensen, the now retired former managing partner of the New York Life office in southern Florida. âHe really had his goals and objectives clearly aligned with what he wanted to do. It was a really easy decision on my part; he was definitely someone we really wanted to have in our organization.
In 2016, Jeff, who holds both the Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Planner credentials, joined his mother and the two started AmeriPlanning and Investments. As they developed this business, they used some of the same philosophies that they still practice today. A large? The importance of communicating and over-communicating with customers.
âReturn phone calls and emails quickly, even if you can’t help them right now, just to get them recognized,â says Roxane Kronon Galati. “People need to be recognized.”
This emphasis on communication begins as soon as customers come to them for the first time. âWe have to understand the customer first, and then we can adapt things around them,â says Jeff Galati. âBefore recommending anything, we make sure we fully understand the client’s situation and make sure that any recommendations we make are appropriate. We’re not just going to throw out recommendations without really understanding what position the customer is in.
When Erndl approached the Galatis, they could see the benefits of partnering with a bigger company. CWA has more than 40 employees and offices in North Carolina, as well as its head office in Naples. It serves customers in over 40 states.
âWe had hung our own shingle and were on our own, but we needed to widen our bench, so to speak, and have more in-depth investment management offerings than we could offer between the two of us,â says Jeff Galati.
It would also give them the opportunity to focus on their financial skills without worrying about all the things that come with running a business, whether that’s filling out papers or figuring out how the office carpet is going to be cleaned. . âIt has allowed us to really focus on what we’re good at, and it comes down to meeting and helping people,â says Jeff Galati.
Just like they did when they were alone, Roxane works with clients on financial, tax and estate planning, while Jeff takes care of investment management. Roxane appreciates that Jeff is now part of a larger investment management team, where he can get advice and guidance from other advisors as he continues his career. âIt was very obvious that the firm had a process, and everything that is done is done with a great understanding of why it is being done,â she said.
The relationship worked well for both parties.
âThey’re two of the most organized and disciplined people when it comes to managing customer relationships,â says Erndl. âThey have impeccable follow-upâ¦ You work so hard to attract and win customers. It is essential to serve them, communicate with them and maintain this long-term relationship. And they really focus on long term, high quality relationships. “
With four decades of experience, Roxane is always ready to share her expertise with CWA clients and staff. âIf other advisers have a question about pension plans, I can usually help them since that’s my expertise,â she says.
This team mentality is another reason the Galatis have reached the positions they hold at CWA. âWe have a number of metrics we’re looking at to move people forward in the business,â says Bill Beynon, CWA Co-Founder, President and CEO. âIt’s not just about financial growth. There are a variety of other things, and Roxane and Jeff hit each one of them. We have a team culture here, and Roxane and Jeff have been good at stepping in and helping other counselors and always available to answer questions if people need help.
Jeff himself has also learned a lot from his mother over the years. A key lesson? âBe honest,â he said. âDo what’s right for your customers, and things will work out eventually. Sometimes we tell people things they don’t want to hear, but it’s the right thing to say to them. So do it right and be honest. “