Calamos Wealth Management Expands
Source: FAIQ, May. 8, 2019
GARRETT KEYES, REPORTER, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hello. My name is Garrett Keyes. I’m a reporter for Financial Advisor IQ. And I’m here today with Jim Baka, the president of Calamos Wealth Management. Did Calamos recently expand offices into different markets?
JIM BAKA, PRESIDENT, CALAMOS WEALTH MANAGEMENT: As we continue to look at our wealth management business, we’re always looking at opportunities for expansion. About three years ago, we actually set up an office down in Florida. So for the wealth management business, Florida is a key location because of tax reasons and retirees migrating down there.
So we set up an office down there. And when we did, it was important that we brought in a team that had some experience in the local market. That had some clients, that had some networks, and that knew the local market.
So we did that about three years ago, running a team. And they’ve been very successful since we’ve done that. We’re also doing something similar in New York as well. So we have an office in Rockefeller Center. And as we continue to grow and build our presence in the Northeast, we want to continue to build out that New York center office.
GARRETT KEYES: Did you move in to Florida through M&A? Did you acquire firmer practice or a team down there?
JIM BAKA: We did. So when we originally got into Florida, it was really bringing in a team, a team that was looking for a firm that had some brand recognition. A firm that could help further support their needs, a firm that had the right investment offering and wealth planning capabilities to really address the needs of their clients. So we did.
We actually brought in a three-person team down there initially that helped provide the initial team for our South Florida office. But we’ve expanded that team a few times already. And now we’re in the process of expanding it further.
So one of the things that we’ve learned is that to be successful, for us at least, it’s key to bring in a team and not just a single individual. So that’s going to increase your chances of success much higher.
GARRETT KEYES: How do you go about selecting which new markets to enter?
JIM BAKA: So some markets like Florida are very strategic. We want to make sure that we have a presence down there because of the favorable tax laws and the wave of retirees down in Florida.
But as we look at other markets, we want to also be strategic, as well. So the Southwest -- Phoenix, Scottsdale markets -- an area, it’s now the fifth-largest market in the country. And an area that is also a big place for retirees to migrate.
As we look at the West Coast, markets are very different. So we’re looking at opportunities in Southern California, Northern California. But the markets are very different. So the key to entering any local market is bringing in a team or a group of folks that are really embedded in the market.
That understand the market, that understand the challenges of the market, that have existing clients. Because they are so very different from Silicon Valley to New York City to Southern California. So we really want to bring in people that really understand that market.
GARRETT KEYES: Thank you for speaking with me today, Jim.
JIM BAKA: Thank you, Garrett.