E2 – How to build wealth? Interview with Financial Advisor Ryan Frost

Jun 7, 2024

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As a business owner, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to grow from a one-person operation to a medium-sized company. Delegating responsibilities is the key, and that’s something I’ve had to learn over time. Many of my first employees were people I had previously worked with, including my old boss who now works for us as well.

Investing for the Long-Term

When it comes to investment portfolios, it’s important to take a long-term view. While the goal is to see the value increase over time, there will inevitably be periods when markets go down. Clients who make the fewest changes to their investments usually end up making the most money. As advisors, our role is to manage people’s expectations and natural urges to tinker with their investments. We typically recommend a balanced portfolio that aims for consistent returns of 7-8% per annum over the long-term (3-5 years or more). This involves a mix of low-cost index funds (ETFs) and actively managed funds where appropriate. The key is to avoid making frequent changes, as market drops are a normal part of the investment cycle.

Building a Wealth Management Business

Starting a financial services business can be quite challenging, especially if you’re going it alone. That’s why we chose to join a larger network when we launched Harrison Brook, even though we operate independently as a French company. Having that support and infrastructure in place has been crucial for our growth. To get started in this industry, you’ll need to obtain the necessary qualifications, such as the AMF certification in France or the Series 65 exam in the US. However, the real expertise comes from practical experience, not just passing exams. Building relationships and managing client expectations are vital skills that develop over time.

Navigating the French Market

Operating a business in France can be more challenging compared to other countries due to language barriers, higher taxes, and complex regulations. This has actually deterred many of our competitors from establishing a presence here, which has worked in our favor. As an English-speaking firm, we primarily serve expatriate clients from the UK, US, Scandinavia, and other countries. This includes individuals who are relocating for retirement or work contracts. We help them manage their various investment accounts and pensions in a tax-efficient manner.

Balancing Work and Family Life

As a parent of a young child, I’ve had to adapt my work routine to accommodate the demands of family life. The flexibility of being an advisor allows me to work from home when needed, but it’s still a delicate balance. Sharing responsibilities with my wife, who also works in banking, has been crucial in managing the workload. We’ve also started a regular savings plan for our daughter, recognizing the power of compound interest over the long-term. I encourage all my clients to start saving, even if it’s a small amount, as the earlier you begin, the less you’ll need to contribute to reach your financial goals. Overall, the journey of building a wealth management business in France has been both challenging and rewarding. By focusing on long-term investing, delegating responsibilities, and maintaining a work-life balance, I’ve been able to grow Harrison Brook into a successful and trusted advisory firm.

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