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Going Independent: Location, Location, Location

By Crucial Clips     December 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, Dec. 16, 2015 

Murray Coleman, Reporter, FA-IQ

“Hi. This is Murray Coleman with FA-IQ. I’m here today with Les Botkin, Chief Executive of Botkin Family Wealth in McMurray, Pennsylvania. Les, you found that location is a big component of a break-away, long-term growth plan, correct?”

Les Botkin, Chief Executive, Botkin Family Wealth Management

“Yeah, absolutely. When we decided to go independent, we knew we had to find the correct location. It was sort of the decision between going to another wirehouse or independence and this beautiful building on a major highway in Pittsburgh came up for sale about a mile down the road from our old office. So, we bought it.”

Murray Coleman

“And you used to work at Morgan Stanley. Where were they located before in terms of settings?”

Les Botkin

“We were in a large office building on the second floor with probably 22 or 23 other FAs. So, again, if you would have passed our building, you would not have known who we were or what we did, necessarily, and now, we bought this building. We retrofitted it, redid the whole inside, put up a beautiful sign with a message board. Probably have 10,000 cars a day pass here and they know exactly who we are and what we do.”

Murray Coleman

“Do you find that it’s already—you just moved late last year. Are you finding that it’s paying dividends?”

Les Botkin

“Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, referrals are obviously a huge part of our business, but we have had people that have pulled in. We’ve had contacts via the internet simply, I think, because of the visibility here on this highway.”

Murray Coleman

“So, in terms of your long-term growth plan, where does location fit in?”

Les Botkin

“It was everything for us, as I said. This was a very prominent building that had a retail shop in it, beautifully done. Everybody always mentioned it. I’m lucky enough to have a son-in-law that works in real estate. When it came for sale, I told my—I work with my two children—I said, ‘This is where we should be,’ and when dear old Dad’s old enough to be out, they can continue to work. So, we bought the building. Again, we didn’t want to rent. We wanted to own and 4,000 square feet, we’re only using probably 2,200 of it, so we have room for expansion.”

Murray Coleman

“What’s the advantage of owning over leasing or renting? I guess it feeds into your family’s long-term growth, correct?”

Les Botkin

“Yes. I think for clients, it’s a sense of permanence. We were able to put the walls in where we wanted with all new furnishings, new carpeting, so when clients came in here, coming from a Morgan Stanley, we also wanted them to truly feel like this was for real, and it’s such a beautiful space. It feels like a home.”

Murray Coleman

“Do clients comment to you about how nice it is to walk into a one-story building versus go up a big elevator in a big office building?”

Les Botkin

“Not too much of that, Murray. They just love coming into this space because again, we have leather couches in every office. We have a beautiful waiting area. We did build a conference room with a television, so one thing we do do that helps, we have lunch-and-learns. Our conference room will hold 15 people, so we probably do that every other month. We give our clients lunch. Bring a nice speaker in, so they feel like it’s an extension of their home.”

Murray Coleman

“And you’ve developed more of a home type of atmosphere in your office rather than a formal office type of feeling, correct?”

Les Botkin

“Absolutely, yeah, which is exactly what we wanted to create.”

Murray Coleman

“Les, thank you very much for your time today.”

Les Botkin

“Thank you, Murray.”