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Outside Entrepreneurial Interests Can Make You a Better FA

By Crucial Clips     September 30, 2015
The following text is a transcript of a portion of a speaker's presentation made at an industry conference or during an interview. This transcript solely represents the view of the individual who spoke, and not the view of Financial Advisor IQ or any other group.
Source: FA-IQ, Sep. 30, 2015 

MURRAY COLEMAN, REPORTER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hi, this is Murray Coleman with FA-IQ. I’m here today with David Steele, CEO of One Wealth Advisors in San Francisco. And David, you have a lot of different interests outside of advising. Can you kind of tell us a little bit about how those feed into your role as advisor?

DAVID STEELE, CEO, ONE WEALTH ADVISORS: Yeah, I mean, most of our clients are entrepreneurs, or they work in a very entrepreneurial environment. And so having started — created — other companies outside of the advisory space has really been able to give me, I guess, empathy and a real understanding of their daily concerns and thoughts, and allows us to provide more three-dimensional advice to our private clients.

MURRAY COLEMAN: Sure, and you also have talked in the past about how setting up an outside business is sort of like setting up a business plan for a client, correct?

DAVID STEELE: I’d say it’s almost identical. I mean, any good business plan consists of identifying a vision and goals and trying to develop a strategy — a road map, if you will — to achieve those goals. And that process is the identical process that I think any best-practices financial planner utilizes for private clients.

MURRAY COLEMAN: Now, you own yoga studios. You own other types of businesses that wouldn’t normally be associated with financial planning. How did you get involved in those? And do those activities kind of keep you, you think, a more well-rounded person and a better advisor?

DAVID STEELE: Absolutely. I mean, my three other businesses outside of financial planning are a restaurant company that has seven restaurants, a music-festival company that puts on pretty big music festivals, and a yoga-studio company with several yoga studios. And seemingly, they’re very different businesses. All of them are areas of personal interest of mine, so that is definitely the motivation for creating those businesses.

But the work that I do at each of them is identical — which is setting goals, identifying the vision and creating a strategy to achieve those goals. And again, I’m repeating myself, but that’s the exact same process we do with our private clients. So I think it does give us more of a three-dimensional way of thinking about the world, about business; and maybe we tend to be a little bit more creative.

It certainly allows for us to have empathy for a greater array of our private clients. But our private-client business is.… It’s my primary business. I spend 90% of my time on it. So the other things that I do really work to sort of complement my private-client business.

MURRAY COLEMAN: And do you do very many client meetings at your other businesses? Or do they help you gain new prospects too?

DAVID STEELE: We don’t do any business development. We’re by referral only, and we’re really happy with the size of our book of business. And we grow by nature of people referring us, other clients, and through organic growth of increase in asset values. And I do think there’s such a thing as too much growth — and that’s maybe not considered on Wall Street, and we’re a little odd in that way.

And so I’m not really ever “prospecting,” to be frank. But I tell you what: It’s fun going with clients to music festivals and getting them backstage. And it’s fun getting clients reservations at my restaurants, some of which are hard reservations to get. And that’s kind of cool.

MURRAY COLEMAN: Well, thank you very much for your time today.

DAVID STEELE: Absolutely. Thank you.