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Executive profile: Jeffrey A. Montgomery, chairman and CEO, NFP Securities, Inc.

by AICPA Custom Media Solutions

Jeffrey, why is now such an important time for investors, particularly those who are high net worth (HNW) individuals and small business owners?

High net-worth individuals and business owners have more information about, and access to, more investment choices than ever before. While this is a good thing, the environment creates incredible complexity. The key is finding quality advice to help sort through it all and make the right choices.

What should young people be thinking about now when it comes to their financial and retirement planning?

The time to start planning for retirement is now. The days of lifetime employment with a blue-chip company guaranteeing a rich pension are over. For young people, the key to a sound financial future is early and aggressive participation in all types of voluntary contribution plans (401k's, health savings accounts and more).

Why are CPAs ideally positioned to offer clients financial planning, investment advisory wealth management and insurance services?

We believe CPAs are ideally positioned to offer their clients these services for two main reasons. First, they are intimately involved in and truly understand their client's financial situations. Second, they have the strongest client relationships of any professionals.

Why do CPAs make good potential partners for leading financial services providers?

CPAs have their clients' ear and confidence to an extent beyond that of any other client adviser. This represents not just an opportunity for CPAs and their financial services partners, but a responsibility to put those advantages to use to better serve clients.

What are typical concerns or misconceptions that CPAs may have about referring their clients to (or partnering with) outside providers of financial advisory services?

No doubt there are perceived cultural differences on both sides. However, often these differences are more superficial than substantive. Professionals who choose to work with professionals from other disciplines need to keep the lines of communication open and focus on solving client needs. Another area of concern is regulatory risk which can be mitigated or eliminated by partnering with a strong and reputable financial services provider.

What are some of the metrics that your organization uses to measure a successful partnership with CPAs and other financial advisers?

The most important metric we use is client satisfaction. When clients demand a team approach to solving their needs, satisfaction is verified through their repeat, increased and referred business. Then you know you're on to something.

Looking ahead three to five years, what new services do you anticipate NFP offering to high net worth individuals and small-business owners?

Appropriate solutions for HNW individuals and small-business clients will be driven by asset allocation, risk management, consolidated statements and some alternative investment classes such as real estate and tax-efficient funds. These solutions will be delivered through a comprehensive financial plan crafted by an experienced professional. To that end, our new Wealth & Income Planning unit will focus on strategies and tools exclusively for Baby Boomers.

Many say retirement is no longer a single life stage, but a series of life stages with differing needs. How many retirement life stages does your organization identify and what are the important needs for each?

NFP identifies three life stages in the retirement years, although the start and duration of each phase varies by retiree. The "active phase" involves rollovers, retirement income planning, wealth transfer services (received) and stock options treatment. The "settled phase" involves sale of home (downsizing), estate planning and trust services. The "care phase" involves long-term care, wealth transfer (sent) and charitable giving.

The oldest members of the so-called Baby Boom generation will soon be reaching retirement age. How well prepared are they and how is your organization helping to educate them (and the professionals who advise them)?

Baby Boomers face several prominent risks as they enter the retirement years, including longevity, inflation, market risk and health risk. NFP is focused on helping Boomers navigate these challenges by equipping our advisers with the latest education, training, resources and support with regard to retirement income distribution. To this end we have created a new business unit titled Wealth E Income Planning that will focus solely on delivering these unique strategies and tools to the Boomers through NFP advisers.

Jeffrey, is the any additional information about your organization that you would like Journal of Accountancy readers to know about?

National Financial Partners Corp., through its subsidiaries, distributes financial services primarily to high net worth individuals and entrepreneurial companies in the United States. NFP is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol "NFP."
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jan 1, 2006
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Next Article:Sounding the retirement alarm for baby boomers: CPAs, financial services providers heed the call.

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